Perry’s 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic Betting Guide: Will Dustin Johnson Run Away in Detroit?
Ray Carlin, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kevin Kisner
- The 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic is a new event that takes place at Detroit Golf Club, which has never hosted a PGA Tour event before.
- Dustin Johnson is the clear favorite at 6-1, but on a new course Josh Perry's strategy is to consider backing longshots who are in decent form.
Chez Reavie was able to parlay his U.S. Open form into his first win in 11 years at the Travelers. It was Reavie’s first win in 11 years.
I had a light card at the Travelers and was nowhere near Chez, so let’s move on to the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. Not only is this a new event for 2019, but it will be played on a course we’ve never seen before on the PGA Tour.
That being the case, I will put more weight into recent form and ball-striking numbers. My strategy will also be to pepper a lot more longshots, because we just don’t know how a new course will fit someone’s eye.
Detroit Golf Club will play at just over 7,300 yards for a par 72. It should provide ample scoring opportunities with a lot of short par 4s and reachable par 5s giving players a lot of chances to rack up birdies.
The course is also a Donald Ross design. Ross has also designed East Lake, home of the Tour Championship, as well has Pinehurst No. 2, Aronimink and Oak Hill.
Usually you don’t need to be a bomber to contend on Donald Ross’ courses. We’ve seen Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Martin Kaymer win on his tracks in recent years. Basically you want a player who is solid off the tee and can do damage with his approach game.
Dustin Johnson is the clear headliner here at +600. Johnson is in a minor slump, which for him means he hasn’t finished inside the top five in his last two tournaments. DJ has struggled with his putter for a couple of weeks, so if that turns around, he’ll be fine. But I don’t bet favorites most weeks and definitely won’t back him on a course we’ve never seen.
After DJ there are only three other players below 20-1 in this field. Rickie Fowler (12-1) is the second choice with Hideki Matsuyama and U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland right behind at 14-1.
I don’t think Fowler and Matsuyama aren’t worth backing below 20-1 and the value is gone with Woodland after his victory at Pebble Beach.
I’ll start my card with a couple plays in this range.
First up is Kevin Kisner at 35-1. Kisner was in a slump about a month ago, but he seems to have played his way out of it. He finished 15th at the Travelers and is coming off his best ball-striking week since the Valspar three months ago.
The other play in this range is Kevin Streelman at 45-1. He’s finished inside the top 15 in four of his last six tournaments. Streelman has gained strokes ball-striking every week since the Valspar. If the putter clicks on these greens, he’ll be in contention again.
Since there’s not much to work off of this week, I’ll take a chance on a few longshots who have shown some signs of life in recent weeks.
First up is Hank Lebioda at 200-1. Lebioda has gained strokes tee-to-green in 10 of his last 11 events, so he’s been having a pretty solid rookie year. The high-end finish hasn’t happened yet, but he’s only missed one cut in the last four months and has a couple top-20 finishes in that span.
Next, we’ll back Sepp Straka at 200-1 for pretty much the same reasons. He’s another rookie who has been solid from tee-to-green. He’s gained strokes in every event for three months now. For Straka, it’s been some bad performances on the greens holding him back.
I’m also going with Jonas Blixt at 200-1 as well. Blixt’s game hasn’t been consistent, but he has gained strokes tee-to-green in five of the last six events. The trouble for him has been getting all aspects of his game to click at once. The one week he gained strokes in each area, he was fifth at Colonial.
If you’d prefer to back these guys in a way that’s more realistic to cash, top-20 bets are always an option, as are first-round leader wagers, if they get the better side of the tee time draw. Their top-20 odds are: Lebioda +550, Straka +600 and Blixt +500.
- Kevin Kisner +3500 (.94 units)
- Kevin Streelman +4500 (.73 units)
- Hank Lebioda +20000 (.165 units)
- Sepp Straka +20000 (.165 units)
- Jonas Blixt +20000 (.165 units)
Total Stake: 2.164 units
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story had Jim Knous as a play at 300-1 odds. Knous has withdrawn from the tournament.