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Charles Schwab Challenge Picks and Predictions

 

May 26, 2021

Golf Expert
VegasInsider.com

I would like to think I played a small part in motivating Phil Mickelson to pull off the phenomenal feat of winning the PGA Championship last week with my comments on why I wanted no part of him as the Top Lefty.

Hats off to the guy, and maybe we will get to see if he can become the first to win a Major tournament on both the PGA and Champions Tour in the same season. That would be a tough accomplishment for anyone to duplicate going forward.

Lefty is scheduled to tee it up at the Charles Schwab this week as the PGA Tour heads to Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.

It's a shorter Par 70 course that a lot of guys on Tour are very familiar with, and one where a lot of the top names this week have found success. There hasn't been a winner here priced in triple digits (100-1) for years, as it's premier iron/approach play and some strong putting that typically has to be a part of a successful recipe here.

PGA Tour Betting Resources

  • Tour: PGA
  • Date: Thursday, May 27, 2021 to Sunday, May 30, 2021
  • Venue: Colonial Country Club
  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Par-Yardage: 70; 7,209 yards
  • TV: Golf Channel, CBS

The combination of current form and course form will get Jordan Spieth's (+1050) name mentioned a fair bit and rightfully so. He comes into the week as the favorite having played this event every season since 2013 and posting three Top 2 finishes (one win) six Top 10's, and seven Top 20's in those eight starts.

What that tells you about this course is players who can profile in a similar manner will be involved in the result, as the list of names as other past champions here include Adam Scott, Chris Kirk (+5500), Kevin Kisner (+11000), Justin Rose (+3500), Kevin Na (+7000), and defending champion Daniel Berger (+1900).

Can't forget that Zach Johnson (+10000) is a two-time winner here as well.

That's a big list of guys who have always been strong iron players, because precision at Colonial is going to pay off more when length isn't an issue for anyone.

Guys had better be on with their irons as the greens at Colonial are small targets, and hitting them is a must if you want to be around the -14.36 average score guys have needed to win here since it's last makeover back in 2010.

Wind issues and playing in Texas has always had to be mentioned, but it's something that can be better left as adjusted to come the weekend.

Sticking with guys that are strong in the approach game is never a bad strategy, but it's one that almost has to be followed this week.

PGA Tour Colonial Country Club
Daniel Berger won the Charles Schwab Challenge in 2020, cashing generous tickets at an 80/1 betting price. (AP)

PGA Tour Odds to Win
Charles Schwab Challenge

Spieth (+1050) as the favorite was mentioned earlier, as he's slightly ahead of good buddy Justin Thomas (+1300) and last year's runner-up Collin Morikawa (+1500).

Those three guys aren't the only ones under the +2000 threshold though, as Abraham Ancer (+1700), Tony Finau (+1700), Patrick Reed (+1700), Daniel Berger (+1900) and Corey Conners (+1900) are priced in that group as well.

It shouldn't be a surprise that there isn't a bad iron player in that group, as everybody but Abraham Ancer in that list has at least one Top 10 finish on their resume from this event. And Thomas and Morikawa made their debuts here last year.

  • Jordan Spieth +1000
  • Collin Morikawa +1200
  • Justin Thomas +1300
  • Daniel Berger +1900
  • Abraham Ancer +2100
  • Corey Conners +2300
  • Patrick Reed +2300
  • Scottie Scheffler +2300
  • Tony Finau +2300
  • Will Zalatoris +2300
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Will Zalatoris (+2500) is making his Colonial debut this week and he's the next name on the board, with other budding stars like Joaquin Niemann (+2650) and Scottie Scheffler (+3000) right behind him. But it's right back to a name from last week's six selections, a card that couldn't bring home a win, but saw four Top 30 finishes (two Top 10's) and two missed cuts.

Golfers to Watch - Colonial
Top Picks and Predictions

Contender to Back
Charles Schwab Challenge

Collin Morikawa +2500

Hard not to like a guy who came second at this event in his first crack at it last year, and someone who continues to light up Strokes Gained: Approach statistics. It was a T8 for Collin Morikawa at the PGA Championship last week, as he averaged +1.96 SG: Approach per round for the event. Take that stat back further through Morikawa's recent resume and you get other numbers like +2.00, +0.94, +2.59, and +2.09 dating back to the Genesis Invitational. The guy is just a machine with his irons – ranks 1st on Tour in SG: Approach - and that's not something I can pass up this week.

Morikawa is riding a streak of four straight events with Top 20 finishes, and six starts ago he found a way to gain strokes on the field with his putter and he turned that into a victory (WGC Workday). He didn't shoot worse than 67 in any of his four rounds here last year, possibly helping to mitigate those putting concerns.

Unless a post-Major hangover pops up in Morikawa's game, I like his chances of being one of the names involved late on Sunday.

Mid-Range Value
Charles Schwab Challenge

Jason Kokrak +3500

Jason Kokrak doesn't have the prettiest stat line across the board, but he's 7th on Tour in SG: Putting meaning there are only a couple better than him that are at Colonial this week too (Patrick Reed, Brendon Todd, JT Poston, Zach Johnson).

It's his poor play around-the-greens that drags down a SG: Total rank that's still 24th right now (+1.272) with him being a little streaky with his irons on both sides of the ledger. Even the worst variance for Kokrak there still sees him making the cut every week, and while his most recent three finishes are T49, T13, T49, after three straight Top 10's, those two T49's came in the two Majors.

But it's the four straight events (with tracked data) that Kokrak has gained strokes in the approach game that puts him on the card this week. Most of the weeks that dragged down Kokrak's 69th ranking in SG: Approach came back in the fall. A T3 at Colonial last year thanks to going 65-64 on the weekend is enough of a reason to believe Kokrak will continue on making another cut this week at a minimum, and if he can put together three rounds like that, who knows.

Long Shot Pick
Charles Schwab Challenge

Chris Kirk +5500

Hoping that the last two outings that have been tough for Chris Kirk in the approach game is more a blip on the radar than a consistent downturn, as he's still ranked 42nd on Tour in SG: Approach for the season. But two missed cuts after two Top 7 finishes does bring up questions about what form Kirk shows up in, but as a past winner here (2015) and someone who's got six Top 20's here in nine starts at Colonial since 2011, I'm willing to believe we get a better version of him this week.

This entire year has pretty much gone how the irons have for Kirk, as being on the negative side of SG: Approach during these last two starts that ended in missed cuts was the first time he was a negative there since his last missed cut at the Phoenix Open.

Without a huge group of big names to get by in this post-Major field for Kirk, and plenty of good memories at Colonial for Kirk to fall back on, I'll grab a piece of him now and hope to have him in the mix on the weekend to possibly work off of.

Charles Schwab Challenge Matchups & Props

72 Hole Matchup Best Bet

Matt Wallace -120 over Talor Gooch -110

#10 (Wallace) vs #55 (Gooch) in SG: Approach on Tour this year should be valued a bit more in Wallace's favor in my view, especially when you've got #1 (Morikawa) vs #33 (Ancer) with the former laying about -135 and the latter catching a plus price.

A missed cut for Wallace at Colonial last year in his first start here may be behind the cheaper price, but he was solid last week at the PGA before tailing off on the weekend. With the slight edge in SG: Putting on Wallace's side as well (57th vs 64th), and another big edge in the SG: Tee-to-Green game (14th vs 54th), laying the extra 10 cents on a guy that should grade out far better more often than not here isn't an issue.

Top 30 Finish

Zach Johnson +188

Zach Johnson has already been mentioned a few times here, once as a past champion (twice), and the other as one of the few names in this week's field that grades out better with the putter than Kokrak does.

A short track plays right into Johnson's hands with his wedge/short game, and you just can't ignore the career success he's had here or in Texas in general. Getting nearly a 2-1 price on him just to hang around for four days isn't a hard prop to add.

Missing the cut at the longest course in Major history is hardly a knock on Johnson coming into the week, and while a stretch of three straight missed cuts a few months back isn't great for the confidence, the lack of distance Johnson plays with off the tee does price him out of some venues. That's not the case at Colonial and that's a nice price for that big of a placement cushion.

Charles Schwab Challenge
Recent Winners (Odds to Win)

  • 2020 - Daniel Berger (80/1)
  • 2019 - Kevin Na (50/1)
  • 2018 - Justin Rose (18/1)
  • 2017 - Kevin Kisner (30/1)
  • 2016 - Jordan Spieth (6/1)
  • 2015- Chris Kirk (30/1)

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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