This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
Olympic Men's Golf Competition Betting Preview
Who is ready for some Olympic Golf?!?
Get your wagers and daily fantasy sports lineups in as soon as you can this week, as the action begins earlier than usual with a Wednesday, 6:30 PM ET start time. Kasumigaseki Country Club, just outside of Tokyo, Japan, will host the second tournament since golf was aded back to the Olympic Games. In 2016, England's Justin Rose, at 10-1 odds, edged Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson by two shots, with American Matt Kuchar taking home the bronze.
Much like a standard PGA Tour event, this week's competition will be a cumulative four-round, stroke-play tournament, but there will be no cut. A total of 35 countries will be represented, and the United States leads the way with four participants. World No. 1 Jon Rahm would have been the highest-ranked player in the field, but he was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test, so that honor falls to Collin Morikawa. Also forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 was Bryson DeChambeau, who has been replaced by Patrick Reed.
Handicappers are tasked with trying to dissect a course that hasn't been used for a PGA Tour even before, although it should be noted that Hideki Matsuyama has some history at Kasumigaseki, having won the Asian Amateur there in 2010.
Turning to the scorecard, we see a par-71 that plays longer than a typical Tour venue at a touch under 7,500 yards. Two of the three par-5s play over 630 yards and will be difficult to reach in two, while three of the par-3s will play over 200 yards. A good deal of the scoring opportunities will come on the many short par-4s, where players will often have short irons/wedges in their hands. It does not appear the bomb-and-gauge approach will be prevalent, as driver will not be necessary all that often. Expect players that rely on all-around approach to rise to the top.
All Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 1:00 PM ET Tuesday.
The following golfers, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes from tee to green over their last five tournaments:
Morikawa tops yet another list and by a wide margin – a testament to how dominant he's been this year. Always a superb ball striker, he's looked unbeatable when his putting has been in form like it was two weeks ago in England and at The Concession in February. He'll be in an unusual spot as the betting favorite at 13-2 odds, but given where he's at in the rankings these days, it's a position he will need to get comfortable with. The days of him winning at 30-1 or higher will likely be gone for a long time. All in all, he's the easy favorite to come away with the gold medal. The other Team USA golfer on this list is Thomas, and it may be a surprise to see him slot in fourth considering he hasn't contended for a win since taking down THE PLAYERS in March. His putting has been the main culprit for his struggles, but Thomas can't be overlooked at 11-1 considering he's one of the elite iron players in the game.
Viktor Hovland (11-1)
With only 60 players in the field and many having little-to-no PGA Tour experience, a longshot winner seems unlikely. I'll look to the top of the board in Hovland, who is in good form, having won in Europe following the U.S. Open while also finishing a respectable T12 at The Open. He seems to be often overlooked in the conversation among the top golfers in the world but his results speak for themselves. Since November he's recorded two wins worldwide and seven top-3 finishes.
Abraham Ancer (20-1)
Ancer has had his fair share of close calls during his PGA Tour career – he has finished runner-up four times – but he's still in search of his first win. Maybe a change of scenery will do the trick? If the course ends up being a positional one off the tee that emphasizes strong iron play, Ancer should be in the mix late.
Corey Conners (28-1)
In looking over the betting options, Conners jumps out as one of the best values. He is underpriced due to the fact he has won only once on Tour, but he was only three back heading into the final round of The Open two weeks ago and was frequently in the mix to win this spring. He's been a ball-striking machine all year and is the only golfer in the field to rank top-10 in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Approach this season.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (6-1)
Bezuidenhout has one of the best short games in the world but is often held back stateside due to his lack of distance off the tee. I don't anticipate that being a big detriment this week. He's one of the most consistent golfers going, having last missed a cut 22 starts ago. The South African won twice on the European Tour late last year and recorded his first PGA Tour top-10 at this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Si Woo Kim (10-1)
Kim is one of the most volatile players on Tour, as he's won three times in his career but has also withdrawn three times this year and has notched only one top-25 since May. Nevertheless, his focus should be at an all-time high, as a win this week would exclude him from a required two-year Korean military service. This is a generous price considering the lack of depth in this field.
Carlos Ortiz (14-1)
Ortiz' well-rounded game makes him a good target this week. He's gaining strokes in every category and also possesses some upside, ranking top-50 this season in both driving distance and birdies made. He has lacked top finishes lately, but that's created value on him and you could take him at 4-1 odds for a top-10 to be safe. He has a pair of top-5s this season, highlighted by a win at the Vivint Houston Open.
As much as this week's tournament will mean to Reed, you have to wonder how he will hold up having traveled to England two weeks ago, back to Minnesota last week and now all the way to Japan after being a late addition. Casey is an ideal fit for a head-to-head wager due to his consistency, with only one finish outside the top 40 all year.
Noren hasn't played his best golf recently, having missed the cut in three of his last four starts, while Pieters is trending in a better direction. He has fared well against PGA-level competition, with top-25s in three of his four starts in the States this season. I don't think either is necessarily a target for DFS purposes, but it's hard to pass up Pieters as a significant underdog.