Betting on Golf: RBC Heritage

Betting on Golf: RBC Heritage

This article is part of our Golf Picks series.

RBC Heritage Betting Preview

The PGA Tour heads north to South Carolina for this week's RBC Heritage, the annual post-Masters stop on the schedule. 

Usually the event following a major brings with it a pretty light field, but that's not the case this time around, as world No. 2 Collin Morikawa and tournament favorite Justin Thomas, at 9-1 odds, headline a group of players that includes 10 of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. Last year, Stewart Cink, at 125-1, picked up his third victory at this event with a four-stroke win over Emiliano Grillo and Harold Varner III.

Every edition of this tournament has been held at Harbour Town Golf Links, a venue that annually brings out the slew of Tour members that reside on Hilton Head Island. A traditional par-71 at approximately 7,100 yards, it's one of the shorter courses on Tour, and the Pete Dye design puts a premium on accuracy over distance off the tee. With some of the smallest green surfaces players will see, they will need to be locked in with their irons and chips. I'm looking at Strokes Gained: Approach as the key statistic to hone in on, as the champion ranked top-10 in the category four of the last five years, with two of them still winding up on top despite losing strokes off the tee.

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 4:00 ET Tuesday.

Birdies in Bunches

The following golfers, with a minimum of eight rounds played, have averaged the most birdies per round at Harbour Town since 2017.

It's no surprise to see shorter hitters on this list. Berger kicks things off after notching at least 17 birdies in each of his last three trips to Hilton Head en route to back-to-back top-15 finishes. He lacks value at the betting window, though, as the experts are well aware of his success and have priced him as the fifth choice on the board at 18-1 odds. He has also struggled a bit since blowing a five-shot lead in the final round of The Honda Classic. Also checking in at 18-1 – but in much better form – is Fitzpatrick, who has made it known that he has this week's event circled on his calendar. If there's ever a time for him to pick up his first PGA Tour victory, this feels like the spot. Fitzpatrick leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Total this season at 2.05 per round.

Current Form

These five players, on a per-round basis, have gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds.

Henley has emerged as one of the best iron players on Tour and has finished first or second in the SG: Approach department in four different tournaments this season. He led the field in that category at Harbour Town last year en route to a top-10 finish. The three-time PGA Tour winner is looking to break a five-year winless drought and makes for a solid choice at 22-1 odds. Also looking to break a five-year drought is Hadwin, who is arguably the hottest player in the field on the heels of three consecutive top-10 finishes. He has made 4-of-6 cuts at the RBC Hertiage with a best finish of T22, and his current form makes him a nice dark horse at 60-1.

Outright Picks

Patrick Cantlay (14-1)

Cantlay missed the cut here last year and skipped the event in 2020, which may have bettors overlooking him a bit. He played well in his first two appearances at Harbour Town, though, finishing T7 and T3 and leading the field in SG: Tee-to-Green in 2018. Cantlay has four top-10s in seven appearances thus far in 2022.

Tyrrell Hatton (35-1)

Hatton was in contention here in 2020, entering the final round tied for the lead before settling for a share of third. He struggled over the weekend at the Masters but has never had much success at Augusta. Hatton has played well this year, notching a runner-up at Bay Hill and a top-15 at Sawgrass.

Si Woo Kim (55-1)

Kim is a wild card on a weekly basis given his tendency to withdraw from tournaments, but there are certain courses that fit his eye and this is one of them. This is a pretty lofty number for someone that has three top-15s this year and a good track record here. He held the lead in the final round of the 2018 edition before eventually losing in a playoff. 

Top-10 Wagers

Chris Kirk (5-1)

Kirk struggled out of the gate here last year but played his final three rounds 11-under-par en route to a top-10 finish. With two such results in his last four events, he's in good form and a great value at this price. Kirk is gaining strokes in every category this season and ranks 11th in SG: Tee-to-Green.

Sebastian Munoz (13-2)

Munoz has turned the corner since last fall, recording a pair of top-10s and eight top-40 finishes over his last 10 starts. He has managed to do that despite some struggles on the greens, as he ranks 186th in SG: Putting after gaining strokes in the category in each of his first three seasons on Tour.

Charles Howell III (9-1)

Howell, on a per-round basis, gained 2.06 strokes from tee to green over his last two tournaments and posted his first top-10 of the season two weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open. He has played well this season, gaining strokes in every category save for putting, an area of his game he's typically solid in. If he can roll it well at Harbour Town, he should find himself in contention, as the rest of his game is in great shape.

Head-to-Head Matchups

Shane Lowry (-110) over Dustin Johnson

Lowry held the 36-hole lead in this event in 2019 and also finished top-10 here last year, so he certainly has an affinity for the course. He has regularly found himself near the top of the leaderboard since the calendar flipped to 2022, finishing top-15 in all four of his PGA Tour starts. Johnson does not have as much upside as he usually does, as his driving prowess is mostly negated at Harbour Town 

Brian Harman (-110) over Denny McCarthy

Harman is a pretty safe play in a head-to-head matchup, having posted four top-30 finishes in this event over the last five years. It's no surprise that he plays well on this course considering he's a shorter hitter and his game is predicated on hitting fairways and greens. McCarthy finished top-15 here last year but was lucky to gain over five shots with his short game. Plus, he is below average on approach.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Pohle
Ryan Pohle breaks down golf bets and covers college basketball for RotoWire.
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