The PGA Championship: Predictions and Best Bets for the First Major of 2020

The SI Gambling Team breaks down their top wagers for the PGA Championship. Plus, our SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo shares the sharp action from Vegas & England.
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With eight events in the books since the COVID-19 shutdown, the PGA now heads to San Francisco for the PGA Championship.

95 of the top 100 players in the World Golf Rankings will be in action: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau will headline this week’s PGA Championship.

Koepka could be worth a strong look at odds of +1219 (odds courtesy of Circa Sports) as he looks to become the first golfer to win the PGA Championship three consecutive times (Walter Hagen: won the event four consecutive times from 1924-1927). 

Coming off his strong performance in the FedEx St. Jude last week Koepka is among the favorites, in the eyes of the oddsmakers, to successfully pull off the three-peat.

Justin Thomas, who won the event in 2017, Jason Day in 2015, as well as Rory McIIroy in 2014 and 2012, spotlight an impressive field of previous winners.

Many sports fans and bettors were ecstatic when Tiger Woods made his return to the PGA Tour at the Memorial, only to be disappointed with a T40 finish. Woods admitted to experiencing difficulties in his return to the PGA restart, including back problems.

The former No. 1 player in the world, who has won the event four times (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) and just missed with a runner-up finish in 2018, arrived early to TPC Harding Park and appears determined to win it for the fifth time in his career. Woods arrives at sure to be very attractive odds of 37/1 among public bettors.

The PGA Championship Details

Dates: August 6-9, 2020

Course: TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California

TV: ESPN; CBS

Purse: $11,000,000

Koepka sits atop the Circa Sportsbook odds board as the favorite to win the event this week. Following the No. 6 ranked player in the world are: Justin Thomas (+1321), Jon Rahm (+1321), Rory McIIroy (+1321), and Bryson DeChambeau (+1524).

Our team of gambling experts, which have been red-hot, have compiled their approach to the PGA Championship from a betting perspective. In our Best Bets & Predictions feature released last week on SI Gambling, both Alex White and Roy Larking nailed Justin Thomas to win the Fedex St. Jude Invitational at odds of 12/1!

In addition, located below is sharp wagering information from both Vegas and London, England.

Let’s take a look at the odds as well as the team’s best bets and more!

Odds courtesy of Circa Sports

Odds courtesy of Circa Sports

2020 PGA Championship Predictions and Best Bets

Frankie Taddeo, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Vegas Insider (@Frankie_Fantasy)

PGA Championship Sharp Action Breakdown

Metric Gaming’s Golf Desk located in London, England has continued to provide outstanding sharp picks since the PGA’s return. 

At the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, they just missed out on a top spot score as Colin Morikawa (40/1) lost in a heart-breaker to Daniel Berger in a sudden-death playoff. They followed it up with a superb value play of Tyrell Hatton (56/1) who finished T3 in the RBC Heritage, coupled with a roll-back on Hatton (18/1) who turned in a solid T4 finish in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The sharps in the UK continued their outstanding run as Victor Hovland (30/1) turned in a solid third-place finish in the Workday Charity Open shooting 15-under par. The boys across the pond returned with more fire in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational cashing in on two players, Xander Schauffele (24/1) and Jason Day (45/1), who finished T6 bringing home solid returns once again in top 10 and top 20 wagering.

According to Daniel Banham, Director of Trading, the Metric Gaming team is enthusiastically looking forward to the PGA Championship this week.

There are four players the UK sharps have their sights set on this week in San Francisco.

Long and straight of course is always a key contributing factor to winning, but particularly accentuated this week at TPC Harding Park,” said Banham. 

Lots of talk that a right to left ball flight will be an advantage this week —and even though that may have some merit, we think it’s a red herring. The one that ends up holding the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday will have outperformed his peers by playing solid golf all around, you really can’t have a weakness this week, with a course that is set up more like a US Open than a traditional PGA Championship.”

Accordingly, Metric Gaming’s model points to Jon Rahm at odds of +1321. 

“He was expected to have a letdown last week, after the truly magnificent performance at The Memorial. Jack’s course played ridiculously difficult, and Rahm crushed the field in ‘Tigeresque’ fashion. It’s a really strong play for us this week.

Secondly, we really like Xander Schauffele at odds of +2340, who apart from one mishap (quadrupled Hole 12 last Friday) essentially played on a level to win. Schauffele always performs well in the majors and has the fortitude and psyche to deliver under pressure. This will be a sizable wager for us in the PGA Championship.

Thirdly, Jason (Day) is in great form, is still very long, and loves courses with similar setups. At odds of +4570 he’s a tremendous value."

Finally, Metric’s longshot play this week is Shane Lowry at odds of +12700. 

“Having already won a major is so big if he is in contention come Sunday. Shane could’ve/should’ve won the US Open at Oakmont (DJs only major). He won the 2015 WGC at Firestone in spectacular fashion, and plays tough setups incredibly well.”

In addition, Banham highlighted three 72-hole matchup plays that are worthy of garnering attention from sports bettors: 

 Jim Furyk (-128) over Cameron Smith, Tommy Fleetwood (+100) over Matt Fitzpatrick and Gary Woodland (-125) over Jordan Spieth.

Metric Gaming’s Value Plays

Jon Rahm (+1321)

Rahm, who checks in at No. 2 in World Rankings, struggled in his first event since taking over the top spot in the world rankings with a T52 finish last week in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Rahm has simply been on fire this season with five top-10 finishes in events, highlighted by his win a few weeks ago at the Memorial.

Xander Schauffele (+2370)

Schauffele is in great form of late finishing inside the Top-20 in his last four tournaments, including five of the past six since the PGA restart overall. The sharps from across the pond are backing the World No. 11 for the second consecutive week, after his T6 finish, to possibly break through for the first time in 2020.

Jason Day (+4570)

Day, who was solid last week finishing T6 in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, comes in at healthy odds of +4570. He has four top-10 finishes this season and is coming off three of those top efforts in each of his last three tournaments: Workday Charity Open (T7), the Memorial (T4) and the FedEx St. Jude (T6). The Metric Gaming predictive model is once again pointing to the Australian stand out for the second week in a row after cashing in top 10 and top 20 wagering.

Shane Lowry (+12700)

Lowry at No. 26 in the world, is at long odds after missing the cut in three of the six events he has taken part in since the PGA restart. However, he checks in as a longshot target of the sharps this week thanks to his superb effort last week with a T6 finish in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Vegas Whispers & Beyond

PointsBet Sportsbook

According to Patrick Eichner, Director of Communications at PointsBet Sportsbook the action on the PGA Championship this week is as follows:

“Our most bet golfers to win the FedEx St. Jude Invitational this weekend are Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Roroy McIIroy, Bryson DeCambeau and Xander Schauffele,” said Eichner.

“Our top liabilities for the event include, Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson and Brooks Koepka.”

Some of PointsBet's sharper clients like to focus on Top 20/30/40 markets rather than outright winners. They have seen a decent amount of sharp action come in on the following golfers:

Lucas Glover (Top 30; +260)

Ryan Palmer (Top 30; +260)

Sepp Straka (Top 30; +333) 

Mark Hubbard (Top 40; +450) 

Harold Varner (Top 40; +350)

Doc Redman (Top 40; +275)

Jason Kokrak (Top 40; +240)

BetMGM Sportsbook

According to Matt Cosgriff, Sports Trading Manager at BetMGM the biggest price move in the outright winner market “belongs to Xander Schauffle who saw his odds drop from +2300 to +1800.” Several larger wagers that were placed at BetMGM sportsbooks are as follows:

$1,200 on Patrick Cantlay for a potential payout of $34,800 

$1,000 on Webb Simpson for a potential payout of $26,000 

$1,000 Xander Schauffele for a potential payout of $26,000 

“The top 5 players represent 43% of handle thus far in the outright market, with Tiger Woods standing at 3.52%,” added Cosgiff. 

Courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook

Courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook

Ben Heisler, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Editor (@bennyheis)

Best Bets to Win

Brooks Koepka (+1219)

It feels like a cop-out to take Koepka as the top favorite on the board, but there's something about this dude when Majors come along. 

His recent form is excellent, despite losing to Justin Thomas in comeback fashion at the FedEx St. Jude last week. He has the ability to flip a switch, find motivation and get himself fired up. 

Bettors may also find value in taking Brooks as the Day 1 leader, which he was able to accomplish in Memphis last week.

Collin Morikawa (+3050)

Over his last 50 rounds, Morikawa is tops on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: ball striking, and second in SG: approach. He's also third in SG: tee-to-green, which pretty much checks all the boxes you need to win on a windy San Francisco course likely to have very thick rough all week.

He also has a win on his belt this season since the restart and should probably have a second if not for a terrible putter in the Charles Schwab back in June. I'd shop around to find better odds, but the hometown California kid knows this course from his time at UC-Berkeley and I expect a terrific performance once again.

Best Value Plays

Viktor Hovland (+4060)

Hovland started off the restart on fire with back-to-back top 12 finishes at the Travelers and Rocket Mortgage Classic, before a third place finish at the Workday. The last two events? He’s been more human with a T48 at the Memorial and a T59 at the FedEx St. Jude.

I’m not much of a Star Wars fan, but I assume one can make an analogy for Hovland learning how to use the force when it comes to controlling his short game. For as terrific as he is strokes gained: tee-to-green (second) and SG: ball striking (first) since the restart, his putter has let him down time and time again. If just for a weekend, Hovland can become “Putting Yoda,” then "walk away with a Major Championship, he will!"

Gary Woodland (+5600)

I messed around with the models over at Fantasy National to try and mimic conditions we may see at Harding Park in San Francisco. After turning the rough length to “long” set the course length to 7200-7400 yards, and putting wind conditions to, “Windy AF,” Gary Woodland popped right to the top of the list in a wide variety of categories.

If weather is a condition, and it always is in play in San Francisco, Woodland has shown he can hang with the best of them and perform at an elite level.

Best Longshots

Scottie Scheffler (+12700)

Yep. We're going back to the Scottie Scheffler well again, but I promise, this time it's different!

We played him ahead of the Rocket Mortgage and Workday Charity Open when he was way undervalued due to bad recent performance. Now, he's undervalued and his recent play has been terrific with back-to-back contending finishes: T22 at the Memorial, and T15 at the FedEx St. Jude.

Scheffler has left his awful play from the beginning of the restart in the rearview mirror. Plus, I may sprinkle a few bucks on him to win the first round outright at 70/1 as he gets the first tee of the day when nobody else will have trounced around on the course.

Time to hop aboard at great longshot odds due to all the big names participating this week.

Corey Conners (+15600)

Conners crushes it in two of my favorite metrics for this week. Since the restart, he's top 17 in SG: off-the-tee and top 15 in SG en route to three consecutive finishes ranging from T22-T39.

Even more impressive? He's done it without any touch either on or around-the-green, ranking 118th in SG: around-the-green and 102nd in SG: putting.

If he gets off to a decent start Thursday, I expect Conners to hang around and cause some commotion up on the leaderboard.

For all of Ben's PGA Championship value bets and longshots, click HERE.

For all of Ben's PGA Championship DFS plays, click HERE.

Shawn Childs, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst (@Shawn__Childs)

Best Bets

Patrick Cantlay (+2540)

Last week Cantlay chased the leaders all week after a bad second hole (triple bogey on a par 3 over water). Over his first 36 holes, he was five over par. Cantlay played at a competitive level over his final two rounds (65 and 67), which should be a good building block for this week’s event. His play at the PGA Championship improved over the previous three years (33th, 27th, and 3rd). His best three stats over his last 36 rounds come from ball striking (17th), approach (19th), and birdies (5th). Cantlay shot 68, 65, 65, and 67 over four of his last five events on Sunday. He just needs to get in a better position heading into the last day of the event.

Daniel Berger (+4060)

When reviewing Berger’s 2020 season on the PGA Tour, he shot under 70 in 25 of his 36 rounds with 15 of those scores coming on Saturday and Sunday. He also has five rounds of 70 over this stretch. Berger extended his fine play on Sunday to eight weeks (69, 68, 67, 69, 69, 66, 65, and 65). In my custom model at FantasyNational.com, Berger ranked as the number one player thanks to his scrambling (1st), bogey avoidance (6th), and fairways gained (20th) over his last 36 rounds. In great form while continuing to maintain his winning thought process.

Best Value Play

Tommy Fleetwood (+5100)

Fleetwood showed rust over his first two events back on the PGA Tour, which led to a missed cut at the 3M Open and 35th at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational. He closed out last week’s tournament with a 65 on Sunday. His resume isn’t great over the past three seasons (61st, 35th, and 48th) at this event, but Fleetwood is ranked 13th in the world heading into this event while his odds sit 23rd at the PGA Championship. Over the past three years over 45 events on the PGA Tour, he doesn’t have a win with 13 top 10s and 31 top 25s.

Best Longshot

Jordan Spieth (+5600)

I’m sticking with my theory that Spieth is on an upward trajectory. His last week came over three years ago, and he doesn’t have a top five finish since May of 2019. At the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Spieth played well over the first three rounds (68, 69, and 68). A pair of double bogeys over his final 12 holes cost him a chance at top 10 finish. 

Alex White, SI Fantasy & Gambling Contributor / Full Time Fantasy (@coachwhiteDFS)

Best Bets

Justin Thomas (+1321)

JT has taken back his number one spot in the OWGR. What better way to defend that title than having a Major the following week? With so many golfers in contention for that position you need to keep your “A” game rolling for at least 3 weeks in a row to separate yourself from golfers like Rahm, and McIlroy. Don’t let the win last week detour you from firing him up again. JT has won back to back events before so it’s definitely in the cards this week.

Webb Simpson (+2540)

Webb took himself out of contention on Saturday with a double bogey on 18. That hole sucked all his momentum rolling into Sunday’s round. Without that hole he still managed a 12th place finish and a very respectable week of golf. He is ELITE. Believe it, or he will continue to let his results speak for themselves. The only worry I have is Paul Tesori his caddy is out again with a back injury. Paul helps Webb read a lot of his greens and last week that was the difference maker in my opinion. I'm still confident in Webb’s overall talent but Paul being out does hinder him in my eyes. 

Best Value Play

Jason Day (+4570)

In his last three events something has changed in his game, maybe it is his health but he has managed no worse than a 7th place finish in his last three tournaments. The price is perfect for a boom or bust option and a past Major winner. Ranking 3rd overall in my model his stats are lining up perfectly. The great long irons mixed with his world-class ability to scramble makes for a perfect combination on a course with this many challenges. The odds don’t match the long-term talent; this is a great bet.

Best Longshot 

Abraham Ancer (+5100)

The price seems like a slap in the face to Ancer. He is so talented off the tee and with his elite iron game he should give himself plenty of scoring chances. I really think Ancer can win this tournament. He’s super accurate off the tee ranking 4th overall in this field, and he ranks 5th in bogey avoidance. The only concern I have is the colder weather. He seems to do his damage in the heat of the summer. That is not enough to get me off him. Ancer is the Answer.

Best Moonshot

Kevin Na (+17800)

The odds on Na are insane at +17800. Na has won 3x in the last two years and has multiple top 5 and top 10 finishes in that time frame. With his exceptional long irons and elite putting on any surface, he should be in consideration for all your betting platforms. Whether you play DFS or outright bets he is definitely worth this risk. 

Roy Larking, SI Gambling & Fantasy Contributor (@SIGambling)

Best Bet

Webb Simpson (+2540)

With seven top 10 finishes this year, including two victories, Webb Simpson enters the PGA Championship with a fairly rich first place price. Simpson shot four rounds in the 60s and finished five strokes off the pace in a 12th place tie at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational last week. Simpson ranks first in birdie average, with 174 birdies over 36 rounds, and his scoring average is fourth overall on tour this season. He is currently fourth in the World Golf Rankings.

Best Longshot Play

Daniel Berger (+4060)

Rebounding from a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, Daniel Berger finished in a second place tie with Phil Mickelson, Tom Lewis and Brooks Koepka at the St. Jude Invitational last week. After an opening round 71, Berger was dialed in as he closed with two 67s and a 65 in Memphis. Prior to that, Berger tied for third with Tyrrell Hatton at the RBC Heritage and won the Charles Schwab Challenge. Berger has shot 67 or lower during ten of his last 14 rounds.

Best Top 10 Finish Candidate

Jason Day (+450)

Consistently in the hunt recently, Jason Day has been a contender during his last three starts. Day finished with a T6 at the St Jude Invitational, a T4 at the Memorial Tournament and a T7 at the Workday Charity Open. After playing his way out of the Memorial, with scores of 72 and 73 on the weekend, Day closed strong with 69 and 67 rounds last week. Day won the 2015 PGA Championship, was second in 2016 and finished in a ninth place tie in the 2017 tournament.

Favorite Matchup Play

Brendon Todd (-118) over J.T. Poston (-106)

In contention after three rounds, Brendon Todd shot a 75 on Sunday and finished in a 15th place tie at the St. Jude Invitational. Todd also played well at the Memorial (T22) and Travelers Championship (T11) and has made four straight cuts. After top ten finishes at the Charles Schwab Challenge (T10) and RBC Heritage (T8) J.T. Poston missed three straight cuts prior to a 30th place finish last week. Todd is a slight favorite over Poston at the DraftKings sportsbook.