Golf Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic and More
Joaquin Niemann could end up on the radar at the 2020 Open Championship. Credit: John David Mercer, USA Today Sports.
- 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 +550 with Rickie Fowler (10-1), Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) and Gary Woodland (16-1) behind him.
- Our golf experts share their favorite bets for this weekend's golf action.
The PGA Tour makes its maiden voyage to the Detroit Golf Club this weekend for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The field for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic is weak so it is no surprise that Dustin Johnson is the clear favorite at +550. Behind him are Rickie Fowler (10-1), Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland (16-1). Chez Reavie, who is coming off his first victory in 11 years at the Travelers, rounds out the top five at 20-1.
Detroit Golf Club will play at just over 7,300 yards for a par 72. It should provide ample scoring opportunities, so expect to see a bunch of low scores over the weekend.
Here are our staff’s favorite bets for this weekend’s golf action, including a play overseas at the 2019 Andalucia Masters in Spain.
The Bet: Joaquin Niemann Top-10 Finish (+450)
Here’s the problem with anointing young guys as the Next Big Something: When it doesn’t happen immediately, we tend to forget about the guy, perhaps even unfairly labeling him as a bust.
Cameron Champ is a great example. Just because he’s struggled this year doesn’t mean we should write off his chances to become a top-10 player in the world.
I feel the same way about Niemann, the No. 1-ranked amateur before he turned pro, who appeared ready for prime-time last year.
It’s taken him a while to get back to this status, but he’s shown flashes of that promise in recent starts, including a T-5 this past weekend. Previous results show he’s the type of guy who gets hot and stays hot, so that result might only be the beginning of what could be a nice little run for him soon. Jump on this one before it’s too late.
Dr. Lou Riccio*
The Bet: Sam Ryder Top-20 Finish (+450)
Sam Ryder had a run of four top-10 finishes starting around this time last season before quieting down in 2019. It looks like he’s starting to find that form from last year. Ryder has made his last three cuts and gained strokes on his approach shots in six of his past eight starts. That should bode well for this Donald Ross track, and at almost 5-to-1 odds, it’s worth taking a chance on a strong finish for Ryder.
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: Joost Luiten Top-20 Finish at Andalucia Masters
With the PGA Tour heading to a new course, I’m going to head to Europe and a place I’m more familiar with. Valderrama is probably the most well-known course in Spain and we know exactly what we’re getting each year there. It’s a short, tight track where you can’t stray too far off line or you’ll get stuck in the trees.
And it fits Luiten perfectly.
Joost is one of the shorter hitters in Europe but is second on their tour from tee to green because of his accuracy and iron play. He’s finished in the top 11 here in four of his last five starts with a pair of second-place finishes.
It’s also a pretty weak field outside of Jon Rahm and Sergio García, so we’re getting one of the better guys in the field on a course he’s great without a whole lot of big names to worry about.
The Bet: Hideki Matsuyama (+100) over Rickie Fowler
Hideki Matsuyama has made neighboring Ohio his personal stomping grounds, with his performances at Muirfield Village and Firestone Country Club, and is my pick to rack up another win in the Midwest this week.
Fowler, on the other hand, is likely only playing in this event because he is sponsored by Rocket Mortgage, and we have seen the negative effect that sponsorship obligations have had on golfers over the years. If you need further proof just look at how poorly Fowler plays at Torrey Pines (State Farm) and how Jordan Spieth struggles at the Byron Nelson (AT&T) year after year.
Matsuyama also is in better form, overall, than Fowler. He’s gained 11 total strokes over Rickie during the last three events that they both played in. Here’s how they finished in those three events:
I grabbed this line at even money but would still take the -110 that seems to be the consensus line.