PGA Picks: Travelers Championship Predictions and Odds
It was quite a week of golf for the US Open, with a crazy Sunday of lead changes and Matthew Fitzpatrick barely surviving a putt by Will Zalatoris to take the crown.
This week, the Tour heads 110 miles over to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT, for the next tourney. Because of the proximity to Boston, the field is stronger at the top than normal with less travel for many players, who will pass on playing the next week, then gear up for the final major, The (British) Open Championship.
A full 156-player field is expected, with the typical 65 players and ties rewarded for making the Friday cutline.
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A Look at the Field of the Travelers Championship
Here is a look at the Top 12 favorites and ties for golf odds this week.
Rory McIlroy +1000 - Scottie Scheffler +1000 - Justin Thomas +1200 - Patrick Cantlay +1400
Sam Burns +1800 - Xander Schauffele +2000 - Jordan Spieth +2200 -Joaquin Niemann +2800
Sung-Jae Im +2800 - Keegan Bradley +3300 - Tony Finau +3300 - Aaron Wise +4000
Brian Harman +4000 - Seamus Power +4000 - Davis Riley +4000
There is little doubt that McIlroy should be among the favorites with six straight Top 18s and five of those in the Top 10, including a win at the Canadian Open. But what is the motivation this week after two emotional weeks? Seems like a simple call, but is it?
Scheffler is in a similar place but not playing a fourth consecutive time like Rory. Check out his odds for a Top 10 finish.
Between Thomas and Cantlay, a little more love for the latter. Thomas was done in by his putter at Brookline and has missed the cut in Connecticut twice in four recent tries. Cantlay has four Top 15s at the Travelers and ranks in the Top 10 in tee to green on short courses.
Burns stumbled on Sunday with a 76, yet he remains in the Top 7 in scoring this season; that shouldn’t be an impediment for a good week. Schauffele’s off round came on Saturday, and this is turning into a “thing” for Xander, with one below-average round a start. This forces bettors to think Top 20, not Top 10 or Top 5, with him.
Spieth won here five years ago. However, his best finish since is 42nd. Which player shows up? He is coming off an illness at Brookline that stole his fire.
The wagering public appears to like Niemann and Bradley at the next level down. Niemann’s length should lead to several wedge shots, and he is 13th in birdie average and 15th in scoring. Bradley was steady again and finished T-7 at the Open. He’s known for loving the conditions in the Northeast, and he’s from Vermont.
After coming on, Finau was a massive disappointment last week, missing the cut. He’s well regarded by golf bettors for being a factor on short tracks. Was last week a blip, or “here we go again” with Finau?
For contenders with somewhat longer betting odds, there seems to be something for everyone concerning Wise, Harmon, Power and Davis. Wise is 2nd in shots gained on approach in shorter courses. Harman has landed in the Top 10 three of the last four years at River Highlands. Power is another short course specialist who ranks in the Top 10 for par 4s 400-450 yards. Riley had five straight Top 15s before T-31 at the Open.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
TPC Highlands was originally known as TPC of Connecticut and has hosted this tournament since 1984. Like almost all TPC-designed layouts, Pete Dye played a large role in putting this project together.
One aspect that Dye could have never imagined back then was how the equipment would change. The course was built in a relatively land-locked area. And even with adding distance, TPC River Highlands is still a touch below 6,900 yards, making it one of the shortest tracks on Tour.
The par is 70, and only two of the 18 holes measure beyond 460 yards. With today’s modern layouts, most courses have par 4s that measure longer than that yardage.
That makes it advantageous for longer hitters, and this turns into a second shot wedge course for the bombers. Nonetheless, it's just not about the distance when reviewing the list of champions, and hitting an eight or nine iron doesn’t mean less control than a wedge.
Because the fairways have generous landing areas, you don't need a college degree in deductive reasoning to understand you have to finish -15 to -20 to have a shot at winning.
The course has only two defenses to prevent ridiculously low scores, and both involve the greens. River Highlands was designed to allow for tricky pin placements, which are more effective against normal golfers but can prevent a barrage of makeable birdie putts. The other is the swiftness of the greens, which now annually come at over 12 on the stimp meter.
Those pros that come here often will say TPC is a “fair” test, which is a code word for – Easy. After the stress of the U.S. Open, nobody is looking at back-to-back treacherous courses, which in the real world makes no sense, but these are pampered pro golfers.
The keys to success are long drives that give players the proper angles to throw darts at the greens. Once on the putting surface, they want to have makeable birdies and hope the putter heats up.
The goal for three days is 3 or 4 under par and having one heater round of a 62 or 63 (and you will see enough of these) that gets you at or close to the upper teens below par.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
One has to look strongly at Rory McIlroy, Scott Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay for a Top 10, all having reasonable odds from the sportsbooks. If you are feeling a little frisky, Keegan Bradley might not be a bad pick for a Top 10, and a Top 20 for certain.
Sam Burns and Jordan Spieth have value for Top 20 wagering. We also like longer odds on Aaron Wise and Brian Harmon for the same wagers. Also, take a look at Harmon for a head-to-head, he seems to have edges for those in his class.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports was in the golf business for over 20+ years and understands the ins and outs of what it takes to find winners on the Tour. Doug has won two of the past three weeks and is after more.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 23 Documented No. 1 Titles - 97 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 28 Handicapper of the Month Awards. (Latest: NBA March 2022) Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.