This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
Sanderson Farms Championship Betting Preview
Following an exciting weekend at the Presidents Cup, the PGA Tour switches back to stroke play for this week's Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.
The field is headlined by tournament favorite Sam Burns, who checks in with 11-1 odds and is one of just two top-50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings teeing it up this week. Last year, Burns won as the co-favorite at 16-1 odds, defeating Nick Watney and Cameron Young by one stroke for his second PGA Tour victory.
The Country Club of Jackson is the host venue for the ninth consecutive year. The course plays as a par-72 at just under 7,500 yards and features four par-3s and four par-5s. Driving distance takes precedence over accuracy this week, with the winner ranking top-4 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee each of the last four years.
At a place with playable rough, I'm targeting longer hitters that can take advantage of the par-5s. I'm also looking at birdie-makers, as the short game should be mitigated with golfers able to hit a high percentage of greens in regulation.
The following players, with a minimum of eight rounds played, have averaged the most birdies or better per round at the Country Club of Jackson since 2017.
Norlander has been a birdie machine at this event, posting at least 22 in each of the last two years here. The Swede had to go back to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to retain his PGA Tour card for the first time after a year in which he really struggled with the putter, but if there's a place for him to get his season off on a good note, this is as good of a candidate as any. Looking to follow in Max Homa's footsteps of going back-to-back, Burns has used dominant driving play for his success in Jackson, gaining 0.86 shots off the tee per round over five tournament appearances. The main question will be how fresh he'll be after his first Presidents Cup appearance in which he failed to win a match. Nevertheless, Burns is the worthy tournament favorite and a great player to start your DFS lineup with.
On Fire Off the Tee
These five golfers, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes off the tee over their last 20 rounds.
Statistically, Steele was the best driver in the field over the last 20 rounds, and the 39-year-old was the oldest player to rank top-10 in SG: Off-the-Tee last season. He posted four rounds of 70 or better at the event last year en route a top-20 result and comes in very much under the radar at 65-1 to win this week. Meanwhile, Buckley is the lone player to appear on both lists as he's coming off a T4 finish here last year while also establishing himself as one of the better drivers on Tour in his rookie season. While that only translated to a pair of top-10 finishes last season, he's a candidate to take a strong step forward in his sophomore season and should be a sneaky low-cost DFS option this week.
Sanderson Farms Championship Bets: Outright Picks
Scott Stallings (30-1)
Stallings has made four of his last five cuts at the Sanderson with a best finish of T6 in 2020 and is now playing some of the best golf of his career having made the Tour Championship last month. He's a great pivot off the top choices on the board, and I think has a strong chance of breaking his winless drought this season.
Emiliano Grillo (40-1)
Grillo has been an inconsistent golfer throughout his career but is now starting to look like a top-50 golfer in the world once again, making five of his last six cuts with a pair of T2 finishes during that stretch. He's finished in the top-40 in each of his three appearances at the event.
Adam Hadwin (50-1)
Hadwin comes in well-rested having last played at the second playoff event. He has had a nice 2022, notching four top-10s, two of which came at THE PLAYERS and U.S. Open. He's not particularly long but makes up for it by being above average everywhere else. He's 3-for-3 in cuts made at the Sanderson.
Sanderson Farms Championship Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Aaron Rai (6-1)
Rai is coming off a top-5 against a strong field at the Italian Open two weeks ago in which he ranked 10th in SG: Approach. That should give him some needed confidence after a respectable rookie season on Tour that was highlighted by a T6 finish at Torrey Pines, a long course that grades similarly to the track being used this week.
Luke List (7-1)
List is one of the first names that comes to mind at a place where length off the tee is a big factor, as he ranked 12th in driving distance last season. Burns lost strokes putting en route to his win last year, which bodes well for List, as that's the only thing that holds him back. He should be able to take advantage of the par-5s and work his way into contention.
Matthew NeSmith (10-1)
NeSmith is coming off his best season on Tour, making over 70 percent of his cuts. He can become a factor more often if his short game gets better. He improved his driving each of the last couple years and has never finished worse than 30th in SG: Approach in his three seasons.
Sanderson Farms Championship Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
English is coming off a top-10 at the Fortinet but that's a course that emphasizes the short game more than this week. He's still working his way back from a hip injury and had mostly poor results since, making him a risky proposition for a matchup bet. Clark is also one of the best course fits in the field with his superb length.
I'll take the better golfer in this matchup at even money, with Taylor's price being boosted too much due to be being a former champion. He's missed the cut here three years in a row and has been a shaky option for matchups with just one top-50 finish in his last eight starts. Neither player is long with driver, while Knox is much more accurate and the superior iron player.