Golf Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for the 2019 RBC Heritage
Soobum Im, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jim Furyk
Talk about a tough act to follow.
The 2019 Masters lived up to the hype thanks to Tiger Woods and you could forgive golf bettors for wanting to take a few days off to revel in the moment. But those few days are over. It’s time to get back to business.
The 2019 RBC Heritage takes place this weekend at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Harbour Town is a 7,100 yard par 71 with the smallest greens on tour.
Usually this tournament features a weaker field thanks to its spot on the schedule, but this year’s event is different.
Dustin Johnson (+800) is the betting favorite this weekend with Francesco Molinari (+1400), Bryson DeChambeau (+1800) and Xander Schauffele (+1800) all shorter than 20-1. All four of those players were near the top of the leaderboard at Augusta at one time or another last weekend.
Who will be able to put Augusta behind them and focus on the 2019 Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links?
Bet: Matt Fitzpatrick: Top European Player (+1000)
In my tournament preview I wrote about why I like Fitzpatrick so much this week.
The favorite here is Francesco Molinari (+325) and while it’s tough to bet against him these days, I just think he’s gotta be running on fumes after the Masters. Tommy Fleetwood (+450) is next, but he’s never played this event. Then comes Ian Poulter (+800), who I don’t mind, but feel could be on empty, like Molinari.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Fitz’s toughest competition in this category comes from Donald (+1600), but I still like the more consistent and battle-tested Fitz a lot better.
At 10-1, there’s some solid value here that could pay off nicely.
Bet: Jim Furyk Top-20 Finish (+120)
These are the bets that have been the most successful for me in this spot and this one looks good as Furyk has finished inside the top 20 at Harbour Town in four of his last eight trips here and in four of his seven starts in 2019.
This is essentially a coin flip, so I’m happy to take the plus money.
Bet: Kevin Kisner over Jordan Spieth (-105)
In some of the metrics I am weighing this week, Kisner is entering this tournament in better recent form than Spieth, per our Models:
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: 68.1 vs. 69.1
- Greens in Regulation: 69.1% vs. 60.6%
- Birdies per tournament: 16.8 vs. 15.3
- Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -0.5 vs. +2.3
Additionally, over Kisner’s past 24 rounds, he ranks 26th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 24th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 14th in Total Strokes Gained. Spieth ranks 74th, 111th and 61st over that same span.
It’s also worth noting that this course has five par 4s that are between 400 and 450 yards, and Kisner ranks second in par-4 efficiency from that range compared to 78th for Spieth over their past 24 rounds (per Fantasy National).
Considering this course doesn’t require a strong off-the-tee game, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Spieth potentially rebound here, but iron play is also important and Spieth has lost strokes on approach in four of his six events in which Shotlink data is available.
I prefer the consistency Kisner has shown this season with seven top-28 finishes in his past seven events.
Bet: Branden Grace over Charles Howell III (+125)
Howell is hot right now, but Grace has far superior history at Harbour Town. In fact, among all players, Grace has the lowest bogey or worse percentage since 2010 at 8.8%. He has the fourth-best cumulative score to par since 2014 (per 15th Club).
Howell, meanwhile, hasn’t historically done well at this course, missing the cut or finishing worse than 50th in five of his last six visits. This is a unique course, so I’m weighting history a little more than usual. Given that fact, I don’t think Grace should be an underdog, so +125 odds are very intriguing.
For what it’s worth, Si Woo Kim (-105) over Marc Leishman and Sungjae Im (-105) over Jason Kokrak are my other two favorite matchup props. No clue how they’re the dogs in those.
Bet: Sungjae Im over Jason Kokrak (-105)
Sungjae Im has had a phenomenal start to 2019, with five top-10 finishes already. Kokrak is also in good form, making 12 of 12 cuts and finishing in the top 10 four times.
However, Kokrak’s biggest weapon is his length off the tee and Harbour Town is one of the few courses on the PGA Tour that completely erases that advantage.
Kokrak will likely only hit a couple drivers per round this week, and Im should have a very decided advantage with his iron and wedge play in this matchup.
This is one of the only weeks on tour to fade the long hitters, as they become mere mortals and are forced to play from the same positions as everyone else.