Golf Betting Systems: Travelers Championship Picks and Expert Analysis
What an absolute disaster this year's U.S. Open turned out to be. The USGA completely butchered the course, and it wasn't even remotely enjoyable for players -- unless your Brooks Koepka -- or fans that spent their weekend watching and listening to Joe Buck try his hardest (and fail) at commentating on golf. Buck is already an annoying on Sundays during NFL season, the last thing I want to do while watching a relaxing sport like golf is listen to Buck get excited or pissed off about literally nothing. But I digress.
Brooks Koepka has now won back-to-back U.S. Open titles. If you thought he was toast after firing an opening-round 75 on extremely tough conditions then I don't blame you. Koepka managed to right the ship and fired a final three rounds of 66, 72 and 68 to take home golf's biggest payday ($2.16 million). Koepka's win should come as no surprise when you take a look at some of the stats after the tournament concludes. He ranked first in total stroked gained and first in strokes gained: approach, while ranking second in driving distance (no surprise), third in stroked gained putting, and fourth in Greens in Reg. It's safe to say that he was able to put all aspects of his game to use and come up with a solution on how to handle the almost unplayable set up that the USGA made the players face. Koepka has now won two majors and has nine Top-13 finishes in his last 10 major starts. The only time he placed outside of that was a 21st-place finish at the 2016 Masters. Koepka won't have much time to celebrate his Shinnecock win as he is in this week's field at the Travelers along with some other very elite names.
This year's field is composed of 156 total players, and the Top 70 and ties will make the cut to play on the weekend. As of writing this, Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are the co-favorites at +1200, with Patrick Reed right behind them at +1600. Jason Day and Paul Casey are +1800 while Bryson DeChambeau +2500, Webb Simpson +2500 and Bubba Watson +2800 round out the Top-10.
TPC River Highlands - Course Layout
In order to completely break down the field and use the process of elimination to build out the golf card, we must understand what kind of course we are dealing with. The Travelers Championship is being contested this year at TPC River Highlands, which is a Par-70 that plays 6,841 yards. The field will have to contend with Bentgrass on above-average sized greens and a rough that shouldn't have too much effect on scoring. I expect birdies to be come fast and furious over the four days as most of the Par-4s are relatively short, which will leave players with several scoring opportunities if they can get dialed in with their short-iron game.
If you look at the last batch of winners, you will notice two trends that stick out. The first being the high-scores, and the second being the potential for a playoff. Five of the last 11 tournaments were decided in a playoff, including last year when Spieth won at 12-under par. There has also been a playoff in three of the last five years. Russell Knox won the event in 2016 at 14-under, Bubba won in 2015 at 16-under, and Streelman won the event in 2014 at 15-under par.
Travelers Championship - Key Stats
Birdies Gained Par-4's + Stroked Gained: Total Ball Striking
Normally I would be able to find a few ways to build out a card for the upcoming tournament, but this week's event at TPC River Highland is a bit of a crap shoot. The course is set up in a way where both long and short players can have success, and so it really is a matter of who gets hot at the right time. Bubba Watson has won this event twice, including two years ago when he was considering retiring from golf all together. Bubba can almost be blindly bet at +2800 this year since he loves this course and Pete Dye designs in particular. Watson has been performing admirably this year so far, and his creativity and length will only help him on a course where those two aspects can trump just about any other skillset.
Another guy I am looking at backing is Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay has three Top 10s in his last six events, and that should come as no surprise as he ranks 14th in Stroked Gained: Off-the-Tee, 11th in Stroked Gained: Tee-to-Green and 10th in Stroked Gained: Total. This just goes to show you how dialed in Cantlay is with his game right now. If he gets hot with his putter for just one tournament (currently ranks 133rd in SG: Putting) then he could find himself in the winner's circle sooner than later.
Another player that I haven't mentioned yet that could be worth a look at a hefty price is Kyle Stanley. Stanley has four Top-10 finishes so far this year and will be eager to add to his already-impressive resume. Stanley ranks in the upper half of the field (top-50) in SG: OTT, APP, T2G and Total Ball Striking. Much like Cantlay, if Stanley can find any sort of rhythm with his putter on the green then we could be talking about Stanley as a three-time PGA Tour winner.
And lastly, I'd be silly to not mention the top of the odds board when a field is as talented as this one. Justin Thomas is lights out in almost every statistical category on Tour. The problem I have with him is that watching him play the last few times, he just doesn't seem interested. Not sure if that's his demeanor all the time, but it's concerning for me as a bettor, especially with JT being one of the favorites at a price of 12/1. McIlroy has looked defeated ever since the final round of The Masters, and last week's blow up did him no favors. It's hard to back McIlroy at such a short price when the confidence seems shot. The same can be said for Spieth. He has been awful all year long with his putter, and now his iron game is starting to let him down. Until he shows me that he's figured it out, or at least corrected some of the putting woes, it's tough to back him.
Let's do something different this week. Instead of picking the winner, let's take Stanley (+1200) and Cantlay (+800) to finish Top-5. These two guys have the skill set to dominate a short course like TPC River Highland, and it won't be long before one of these two guys breakthrough for another win on tour. Both guys are hitting the ball well, and both guys have decent enough track records on Pete Dye courses to thrive under conditions that are prime for scoring.
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