Golf Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge
Jim Dedmon, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Joel Dahmen
- Justin Rose is the betting favorite to win the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Golf Course in Fort Worth, Texas.
- The week after a major often presents good opportunity for longshot bettors to find value.
- Here are our staff's favorite bets for this weekend's tournament at Colonial.
While the rest of the golf world may take it easy the weekend after a major, bettors know that there’s big value out there when the top guys are less than motivated.
If the big dogs aren’t operating at their best, that means the door will be open for some longshots to hit the board. That is especially true at the Charles Schwab Challenge since Colonial Golf Course doesn’t favor the big bombers.
Colonial isn’t a long course, checking in at around at 7,200 yards for a par 70. It tends to take the driver out of play and forces pinpoint accuracy with the irons.
Justin Rose, the defending champion at this event, is the betting favorite at 10-1. Behind Rose are Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth at 12-1.
Here are our staff’s favorite bets for the Charles Schwab:
The bet: Joel Dahmen (+115) over Zach Johnson
ZJ will likely get some buzz as a former two-time winner at Colonial who theoretically fits the course well. But his last win was back in 2012, and in the last two years he’s missed the cut (2018) and finished 63rd (2017). The FantasyLabs Trends tool actually shows that course history is not very predictive at this track, so I’ll be looking to try and fade some guys who are overvalued for that reason.
Further, Johnson has been in poor form of late, finishing just 54th at the PGA last week and missing the cut at Wells Fargo the week before. At Heritage the week before that — which hosts a similar course to this one — he hit just 54.2% of his greens.
He finished fine, but that was entirely due to a smoking hot putter. I haven’t been particularly impressed with the ball-striking of late, and that’ll be crucial at Colonial.
Dahmen, meanwhile, is the opposite. He’s been striking the ball well and has been very accurate of late, but his putter has been dragging him down. Still, he has four top 20s over his last seven tournaments, including a runner-up finish at Wells Fargo. I think this matchup is closer than the odds indicate, so I’ll grab it at plus money.
The bet: Carlos Ortiz Top 20 +800
This article calls for our favorite bet and I can’t turn down these odds for Carlos to T20.
The 2014 Web.com Player of the Year has previously stated his affinity for parkland golf, having grown up on a classical course in Guadalajara, Mexico. Three of his best results on the PGA Tour have all taken place at a classical course (Riviera) and he had a 9th-place finish there earlier this year.
Nobody noticed Ortiz’s T-12 finish down the road at the Byron Nelson two weeks ago, and that form carried over to the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier this past weekend where he was third on the podium, booking his trip to Pebble Beach.
Let’s hope the former University of North Texas standout enjoys his third straight week of home cooking in the Metroplex.
Dr. Lou Riccio*
The bet: Joaquin Niemann to Win 150-1
The stats have pointed to Joaquin Niemann all season, and the 20-year-old hasn’t quite put it all together. But he has excelled at ball-striking, a requirement at Hogan’s Alley. Niemann has gained strokes off the tee in six of his past seven events. It’s just a matter of time for him to get a win. While the results don’t necessarily indicate he’s close, it could all click any week for Niemann. My model has him in the top-10 most likely players to win this week. At 150-1 odds, we don’t want to miss out.
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: Byeong Hun An (-115) over Kiradech Aphibarnrat
An hasn’t had the best form of late, but his long-term form is superior to Aphibarnrat, sporting a 69.1 Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) compared to Aphibarnrat’s 70.0, per the FantasyLabs Player Models.
Additionally, Colonial Country Club requires a strong approach game with the small size of their greens. This is the biggest edge An has on Aphibarnrat as An is one of the best ball strikers in the field, ranking seventh in Strokes Gained: Approach and 10th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds.
Meanwhile, Kiradech ranks 106th and 74th, respectively. In fact, Kiradech has only gained strokes on approach twice this year. During his fifth-place finish at the Byron Nelson, he lost -0.6 strokes on approach and gained 14 (!!) strokes putting — which is hardly sustainable.
However, putting is by far An’s biggest weakness, ranking 117th in Strokes Gained: Putting. If he doesn’t come out on top in this matchup, I’m willing to bet that’s where his downfall comes from. But I’ll side with An’s ball striking and approach game.
The bet: Emiliano Grillo Top 20 (+170)
It doesn’t seem like much of an educated bet to take a guy to top-20 who hasn’t finished top-20 all year, but let’s just say Grillo is due and play the law of averages here.
He’s been trending in the right direction recently and should have good vibes coming at Colonial, where he posted a final-round 64 to finish solo third last year.
If there’s ever a spot for a strong ball-striker to kick his season into high gear, this is the one.