Golf Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for the 2019 RBC Canadian Open
- Even though it takes place the week before a major, the 2019 Canadian Open features a star-studded field, with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka as the pre-tournament favorites.
- Here is how our golf experts are betting the tournament.
Most of the golf world has their eyes on Pebble Beach but there’s still a tournament between now and the 2019 U.S. Open.
The RBC Canadian Open features a pretty deep field as the top players try to get their game in order for Pebble Beach. This weekend also marks the return of Brooks Koepka.
Koepka, who hasn’t played since winning the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage, is the second choice in the betting market behind only Dustin Johnson, the defending champion and tournament favorite at 5-1.
Hamilton Golf & Country Club will host the Canadian Open for the fourth time since 2003 but the first time since 2012. It measures a little over 6,900 yards for a par 70 and really doesn’t offer too much trouble by PGA standards for a course of this length.
Most of the par 4s are simply a 3-wood and a wedge for the longer hitters and there’s some rain in the forecast, so the fairways will play wider and the greens will likely be pretty soft, so it players could go really low here.
The only real trouble will be be on the long par 3s. The players just need to avoid giving strokes back on those holes and take advantage of the rest of the course.
Here are our staff’s favorite bets for the 2019 Canadian Open:
The Bet: Webb Simpson (+100) Over Justin Thomas
With Hamilton Country Club setting up like an accuracy and ball-strikers course, Simpson is one of the golfers I’m highest on this week. In the FantasyLabs Player Models, Simpson’s long-term metrics are slightly worse than Thomas’ (Simpson listed first):
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: 68.3 vs. 67.8
- Greens in regulation: 66.5% vs. 69.4%
- Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -1.4 vs. -1.8
However, Simpson’s LT Adj Rd Score and par-4 scoring isn’t that far off from Thomas’ marks. Additionally, while Thomas has been working his way back from his wrist injury, he seemingly struggled last week. He shot an opening-round 71 but then proceeded to shoot an 80 on Friday.
Overall, he lost -2.5 strokes on approach -3.7 strokes tee-to-green last week.
Meanwhile, Simpson is in terrific form over his past 50 rounds, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 12th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. In fact, Webb has gained strokes on approach in seven of his nine tournaments in which Shotlink data is available.
Also working in his favor, Simpson ranks first in par-4 efficiency on par 4s that are between 400-450, and there are eight par 4s at Hamilton from those yardages.
Hamilton also features narrow fairways with thick rough that could punish any errant tee shots. Webb has the advantage here as well on this short, narrow track, ranking 19th in fairways gained, compared to 106th for Thomas, respectively.
Dr. Lou Riccio*
The Bet: Corey Conners Top-10 Finish (+800)
The pressure for a Canadian to win his country’s national tournament is hard to quantify. To finish in the top 10, though, is quite doable. Conners is striking the ball on an elite level—ranking fifth in strokes gained/off the tee and 11th in strokes gained/approach in his past 50 rounds, per Fantasy National. It’s just his short game that has held him back. While other players might have one eye toward Pebble this week, we’re sure Conners will be all-in on a good finish in front of his home crowd.
*Dr. Lou Riccio, a PhD senior lecturer, teaches rational decision making at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and has served on the USGA’s handicap research team for three decades. More of his predictive analysis can be found over at Golf Digest.
The Bet: Henrik Stenson (-105) over Scott Piercy
Piercy is getting a lot of respect this week from the books. He’s the last guy to win a PGA event on this course, but being a small favorite over Stenson is a little much I think. Piercy has two great results this year but outside of those tournaments, he’s lost strokes on approach in every other event in the last four months.
Going back over the past 31 tournaments they’ve played together, Piercy has finished ahead of Stenson just six times. Stenson is the far more dependable player and Piercy is just not at that level to be favored over him. Even if he won here seven years ago.
The Bet: Jim Furyk to Finish 29th or Better
I’m looking to stay hot (which is rare) after cruising to an easy win last week with the Adam Scott prop. This week, the Canadian Open heads to Hamilton, a course that will be one of the shorter venues on tour.
On paper, this course correlates with other tour venues like Harbour Town, Colonial and TPC Sawgrass. At Colonial and Sawgrass, Furyk finished 13th and 2nd, respectively.
Furyk is coming off two solid starts in a row and any course that minimizes the length advantage of the long hitters, is a place that I like Furyk. A top-30 showing is not much to ask from one of the most accurate drivers and iron players on Tour, and I think Furyk continues his good play with a top 25 this week.
The Bet: Austin Cook (+115) over Sungjae Im
I am all over Cook, who has the higher DraftKings salary ($8,100 vs. $7,900) and long-term adjusted round score (69.8 vs. 69.9).
Cook also has the better odds to win (+6600 vs. +8000), and although Im has the slightly superior odds to finish in the top 20 (+330 vs. +350), they have identical odds to finish in the top five (+1400) and top 10 (+700).
Given how similar they statistically are, I’d bet on Cook down to +100.