PGA Tour Picks: Travelers Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
If you had told me entering last week's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach that Brooks Koepka was going to shoot in the 60s each day and finish double digits under par, I would have bet my entire bank account that Koepka would have become just the second player ever to threepeat at the U.S. Open.
And I would have been broke.
Koepka shot 69-69-68-68 to finish at 10-under 274 but that was only good for runner-up behind first-time major champion Gary Woodland, who finished at 13-under 271. Woodland took a one-shot lead into Sunday -- each of the previous three 54-hole leaders at the U.S. Open who led by just one stroke had failed to win the tournament. Woodland's score of 271 was the lowest in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, beating Tiger Woods in 2000 by one stroke.
Woodland, who is up to a career-high No. 12 in the world rankings, became the fourth player to claim the U.S. Open title with four sub-70 rounds. Koepka became the first player to shoot in the 60s for all four rounds in the event and not win. In addition, going back to a closing 68 at Shinnecock Hills in 2018, Koepka became the first player ever to shoot five consecutive rounds in the 60s at the U.S. Open.
Justin Rose started Sunday one stroke behind Woodland, and I thought Rose was going to win, but he faded over the final 11 holes in carding a 74. I was rooting for Phil Mickelson to finally win a U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam, but he was a non-factor at +4. Tiger Woods finished T21 at 6-under. Oklahoma State star Viktor Hovland was the low amateur, and his score of score of 280 broke Jack Nicklaus' U.S. Open record for the lowest such score by an amateur. Nicklaus was the low amateur and runner-up to Arnold Palmer at the 1960 U.S. Open in Cherry Hills, Colorado, with a score 282.
My winning pick was Brandt Snedeker, and he lost any chance of that with a first-round 75. He finished 77th at 11-over.
This week, the PGA Tour heads back to the East Coast for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands outside Hartford. It's small track at just 6,840 yards and a par 70. The signature holes are Nos. 15-17, and Jim Furyk shot a PGA Tour record 58 here in 2016. He didn't even win. Furyk made the turn that day at 8-under 27, one shy of Corey Pavin's Tour-record 26 at the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship.
It's a shockingly good field considering it's the week after the U.S. Open and with all the travel involved. Five of the world's Top 10, including No. 1 Koepka, and 16 of the Top 30, are set to play. Woodland isn't and he's probably still partying. Tiger likely won't play again until the British Open. Mickelson is here for the first time in 15 years. He was the last player to repeat at this event, winning in 2000 & '01. There are nine former winners in the field.
The defending champion is Bubba Watson, whose three wins here are one shy of Billy Casper's record. Watson was six behind leader Paul Casey when Watson teed off Sunday last year but shot a 7-under 63 to finish at 17-under 263 and three ahead of Casey, Stewart Cink, J.B. Holmes and Beau Hossler. Bubba also won in 2015 in a playoff and in 2010 in a playoff. Each of the past five Travelers champions has won after playing the U.S. Open. Watson isn't playing great right now and is +3000 at Bovada . Hovland makes his pro debut this week and is +6600.
Golf Odds: Travelers Championship Favorites
To no surprise, Koepka is the +700 favorite at Bovada. I don't really expect much from him as I would imagine his focus is a bit off after all he put into making history at Pebble Beach. Koepka's best result here is ninth in 2016.
Patrick Cantlay is +1100 and Jordan Spieth +1400. Cantlay was 21 st last week and has a best finish of 15th in this event. Spieth won here in memorable fashion in 2017 by holing out from the bunker on the first playoff hole against Daniel Berger. He was 42 nd last year.
Francesco Molinari is +1800 with Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Paul Casey each +2000. Casey blew a nice lead last year to finish runner-up in the tournament for a second time, also losing in a playoff to Bubba in 2015. Day was 12th last year. Thomas was third here in 2016. Molinari was 45th in his last visit three years ago.
Golf Odds: Travelers Championship Picks
For Top 10s, I like Casey (+175), Watson (+300) and Charley Hoffman (+500). Hoffman has never missed a cut in eight tries here and has four top 15s this decade. Head-to-head go Cantlay (+110) over Koepka (-140) and Spieth (-115) over Thomas (-115). There have been a lot of playoffs here so I would take yes on that props at +225 (no is -310).
We'll take a shot on Berger to win at +6600. Not having a good year with just one Top 10, but had that runner-up here in 2017 and was fifth the year before.
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