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3M Open Picks and Predictions

Jul. 22, 2021

Golf Expert

For the second straight year Collin Morikawa takes down a Major championship in his first ever crack at it, as his machine-like irons in the approach game give him a shot every week if the putter co-operates. Morikawa went into the Open Championship as the Tour leader in SG: Approach, leaves England to return state-side with the same ranking and a well deserved week off.

Guys that are able to mimic Morikawa's game this week by leaning on strong tee-to-green games, especially with the irons, are going to find success this week too, as the players are in Minnesota for the third edition of the 3M Open.

It's a course that has seen the two past winners – Matthew Wolff and Michael Thompson – post very strong Strokes Gained: Approach numbers during their winning week here, and even Morikawa's lone appearance at the 3M Open back in 2019 saw him start to show that phenomenal iron game to the world in finishing T2.

Guys are going to need a -20 type score by Sunday afternoon to have a chance here, so you'd better have guys that can give themselves plenty of birdie opportunities even if they don't always drop. At an event where everyone in the Top 10 is likely going to be -15 or better, all you can ask for are plenty of opportunities to hope your guy(s) is one of the ones knocking the majority of them down.

Golf Betting Resources
2021 3M Open

It's the third go around at TPC Twin Cities for the PGA Tour, and if guys want to have a shot at being there at the end, they'd better have their approach game working on all cylinders and have the putter staying lukewarm at worst.

When Matthew Wolff won the inaugural 3M Open in 2019, he finished the week +2.29 in SG: Approach, while he was +3.36 SG: Total in the end. Last year's champion Michael Thompson was +2.87 SG: Total, doing it with his approach game (+1.67) and a streaking (+1.73) putter. Winning scores of -20 and -19 respectively will force that hand in terms of how to play a course though, as guys just want to give themselves as many birdie opportunities as possible and see what happens.

The concern there, at least for the guys coming back from The Open Championship, is that these greens are going to initially feel quite a bit faster than what they saw in England, and how quickly they can adjust back to their normal “gear” of putting on greens back at home is something to consider. It's not like the travel spot for those guys coming back from England is the best to begin with.

Considering a past champion like Matthew Wolff withdrew from The Open and is now coming into this event off of two weeks off, rest advantages are always something to at least be aware of after an Open Championship. That's one of the more extreme advantages you could find this week, but if the decision is between two players that are similar in approach, recent form, etc etc, shying away from the guy who's coming back from England isn't the worst option.

TPC Twin Cities doesn't have much more bite unless it's guys putting themselves in bad positions, and there is enough water out there where big numbers can pop up. But the 2019 edition saw 12 guys finish -16 or better, and 11 guys accomplished the feat in 2020. You'll need someone that can go low and continually being able to give themselves birdie opportunities with a strong approach game is always going to be a solid way to come at this event (as it is most weeks).

Matthew Wolff won the first ever 3M Open back in 2019 by beating out both Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa by 1-stroke. (AP)

3M Open
Betting Odds

Of the first six names on the odds board this week, only Patrick Reed didn't have a finish of 26th or better over in England. Reed returned home early after failing to make it to the weekend, and at (+1600), he trails Dustin Johnson (+700), Louie Oosthuizen (+1100), and Tony Finau (+1400) this week at the 3M Open. Finau, and Cameron Tringale (+2500) are sandwiched around Reed, and they are the only two players that have been mentioned that have already experienced success in the brief life of this tournament. Finau and Tringale were both T3 here last year, two names as part of a huge nine-man group of players that all finished T3 with a -16 score.

Fresh off a T8 in English is Robert MacIntyre (+2800) as the only other name with a price below +3000 this week, as he tied with 3M favorite Dustin Johnson at Royal St George's. With my concerns about getting the putter warm enough from the start on US greens again is going to be tough for a lot of these players coming back from England, and in an event where you need to be going -4 or better every day on average, a slow start could mean everything.

Reed is the only name there I wouldn't be concerned about, and from top to bottom statistically there is a lot to like about Reed's possibilities this week. But I'm still a bit of a believer in post-Major events being won by guys further on down the betting board as a letdown spot so to speak, making Reed's price a tough one to completely get behind.

Instead it's the name right at the +3000 price point that begins the list as he and TPC Twin Cities joined the PGA Tour in 2019 and both have loved to be in each other's company ever since.

3M Open Contenders

  • Dustin Johnson +750
  • Louis Oosthuizen +1500
  • Tony Finau +1600
  • Patrick Reed +1900
  • Sergio Garcia +2900
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Golfers to Watch - 3M Open
Top Picks and Predictions

Contender to Back
Matthew Wolff +3000

With a 33rd ranking on Tour this year in SG: Approach, Wolff is actually the worst of the three selections on the card in that category this week. Still has to be considered much higher than that in the field this week, and with the generosity of the fairways at TPC Twin Cities helping a guy who can spray it off the tee (Wolff as a 49.6% Driving Accuracy number) get to his strength (irons) more often.

Having not played in England there is no putting adjustment concerns for Wolff this week, and sometimes a guy just likes a golf course from the outset, and a win and a 12th place finish here in two seasons suggests Wolff likes the sight lines he gets here.

If he keeps the ball dry and can improve upon his 65.63% GIR% for the year, he's actually the best putter of the selections this week (SG: Putting ranking 77th), and I'll always take that when he's a past champion as well.

Mid-Range Value
Keegan Bradley +4000

Coming in ranked in the Top 5 in Strokes Gained: Approach on Tour and best in that category in this field, it's all about hoping Bradley's putter gets going and I think there is enough there to back that happens this week.

To start, a missed cut at the Open Championship last week was his third in his last four starts, but if you take it back to eight outings, he's still got those same three missed cuts on his resume, but adds five Top 20 finishes (two Top-5's) as well. He's someone that should ball-strike the crap out of this place and if guys at this level give themselves enough opportunities to make birdie putts, they should eventually start to go down. Even for a guy like Bradley who's 190th (-.532) in SG: Putting this year.

Not worried about any potential speed adjustment issues for Bradley after playing two rounds in England, as I'm not even sure how you'd notice it in someone who who already struggles with the putter to begin with. But it's a course that's generous with the fairways and greens and the better ball strikers should be the ones who can take full advantage of that.

If putting is the only issue (a big one) for the best approach guy in the field during a week where can be tricky for some after playing The Open Championship, I'll live with whatever Bradley ends up doing on the greens this week. From tee-to-green he's going to be one of the best guys out there this week.

Long Shot Pick
Kyle Stanley +7000

Sticking with the theme of quality ball strikers and questionable putters like Keegan Bradley, Stanley's just another version of that player in the next tier down. But a 24th ranking in SG: Approach this year and 37th in SG: Tee-to-green on Tour this year do resemble Bradley's 4th and 6th rankings on the PGA Tour in those categories respectively.

Bradley's 190th SG: Putting ranking is another thing that Stanley trails in slightly, as he ranks 200th in SG: Putting (-.698) as it can really be hard to follow at times. But Stanley has also made the cut in eight straight starts dating back to late April, and did finish 32nd here in his first crack at TPC Twin Cities last year.

Getting as big of a cushion as you are comfortable with in terms of Top 10/20/30 etc plays is probably the best way to use Stanley in the portfolio this week because of how shaky the putter can be, as Stanley's also a guy trying to collect as many FedEx Cup points as he can right now. He's sitting around 100th currently and for a guy who's full exemption runs out this year after his FedEx Cup finish inside the Top 125 in 2018-19, an event with a weaker field that favors ball strikers is set up for Stanley to find success.

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2021 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.

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