Betting on Golf: Wells Fargo Championship

Betting on Golf: Wells Fargo Championship

This article is part of our Golf Picks series.

Wells Fargo Championship Betting Preview

The PGA Tour returns to the States for this week's Wells Fargo Championship. 

With the Presidents Cup being played later this year at the traditional host course, Quail Hollow Club, the tournament will move from Charlotte to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm just outside Washington D.C. Although the strength of field isn't at quite the usual level for this event, Rory McIlroy – the favorite at 17-2 odds – headlines a group of players that includes five of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. McIlroy is the defending champion, having beaten Abraham Ancer by one stroke last year at 18-1.

Previous results at the Wells Fargo Championship can be tossed aside this week, as Quail Hollow is one of the longest courses on Tour at around 7,600 yards. That track prioritizes elite driving play, so it's no surprise McIlroy has feasted there over the years. The host of the Quicken Loans National in 2017 and 2018, TPC Potomac plays much differently as a traditional par-70 at approximately 7,100 yards. Only a pair of par-4s check in longer than 475 yards. Shorter hitters Francesco Molinari and Kyle Stanley came out victorious in the two Quicken Loans tournaments, and both ranked top-5 in Strokes Gained: Approach in their wins. 

I'm leaning toward accurate drivers and strong iron players, especially those that excel from 150-200 yards, as a lot of approaches will come in that range this week.

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 11:00 AM ET Wednesday.

Current Form

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

Finau comes in as hot as he has been all season, shooting 13-under over the weekend at last week's Mexico Open en route to a T2 finish. He might have been able to come away with the win had he not lost strokes on the putting surface. That's been a common theme for the long-hitting Finau, who ranks eighth in SG: Approach but a measly 195th in putting this season. He comes in at 25-1 odds, although his length off the tee will be somewhat negated this week. Coming in with slightly lower odds at 20-1 is Henley, who is now going on over five years without a win. The statistics show that he's close, as he leads the tour in SG: Approach and is only losing shots off the tee. His lack of distance shouldn't be a detriment at TPC Potomac, so his game fits in nicely, and this could be the place where he snaps his winless drought.

Outright Picks

Seamus Power (25-1)

Power comes into the week rested, as his last appearance came at the Masters. He started the year with four straight top-15s and made the quarterfinals of the Match Play event. Power boasts a strong all-around game and made the cut in both his starts at TPC Potomac – and that was when he was outside the top 300 in the world. Power's lone Tour win came on bentgrass, which will be the surface used this week.

Abraham Ancer (35-1)

Ancer recently withdrew from a couple tournaments before they even started, but he returned to action last week in Mexico and finished T42. He would have been much more of a factor had he not lost a whopping 7.3 strokes around the green. Ancer held a share of the 54-hole lead at TPC Potomac back in 2018 before ultimately settling for a share of fourth.

Kevin Streelman (80-1)

If you're looking for a long shot, Streelman is a strong candidate. He has recorded finishes of T32 and T17 at TPC Potomac, and he ranked third when you combine the SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach numbers from 2018. He posted three top-25s over his past five starts, and he is a good fit on a course where avoiding bogeys is crucial.

Top-10 Wagers

Brian Harman (5-1)

These are reasonable odds for Harman, who recorded a couple top-10s over his last eight starts. He will be making his first trip to this course, but as a short hitter and accurate driver, the track should suit his game. Harman has one of the better short games in the field, and at a place where scoring isn't too low, play on and around the greens should have an extra emphasis.

Martin Laird (9-1)

Laird makes for a sneaky target considering his best finish in 2017 was his T3 at this course. He's still in search of his first top-10 since his win at the Shriners event in the fall of 2020, but it looks like one should be right around the corner, as he ranks 25th in SG: Tee-to-Green this season.

Brian Stuard (11-1)

Sticking with the fit angle, a short course with narrow fairways should be right up Stuard's alley, as he's one of the shortest hitters on Tour but ranks second in driving accuracy this season. He is far from a flashy pick but did post two top-10s in his last eight starts, including at another course with similar tendencies in PGA National.

Head-to-Head Matchups

Sergio Garcia (-120) over Troy Merritt

After going 2-0 in matchups last week, I'll look to keep the momentum going with Garcia, who surprisingly is only a slight favorite over Merritt despite being the far superior player. He's a great target in this format, with only one missed cut this season and four top-30 finishes in seven starts. Merritt is coming off consecutive top-12 finishes, but over those two tournaments, he gained an unattainable 1.86 strokes with the flat stick on a per-round basis.

Doug Ghim (-115) over Aaron Rai

In a matchup featuring a couple up-and-comers with similar games, I like Ghim, who has been trending in the right direction with made cuts in three of his last four starts and a T6 finish at THE PLAYERS. He ranked top-15 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and Approach in Mexico but was again held back by his putter. Rai is not nearly as good of an iron player and has struggled to capitalize on the momentum he generated last fall.

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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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