2020 Charles Schwab Challenge: Round 1 Odds & Betting Picks for PGA TOUR Live Featured Groups Including Rahm, Rory and Koepka
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Rahm
I have an admission to make: I don’t love first-round matchup bets.
Yeah, I know. As a guy who writes and talks about golf wagering for a living, I’m supposed to love all golf wagers equally, each of them God’s special creatures who deserve our adoration and attention.
Sorry, but to me, first-round matchup bets are the mosquitos of the golf betting kingdom. They pester me for a while and I try to ignore ‘em, but I ultimately wind up getting so flustered that I just leave and go somewhere else.
I’d much prefer second- and third- and final-round matchup bets, after we’ve gotten a chance to see how everyone is playing and analyze some of the data.
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This week, though – just this week! — there might be some value in these first-round wagers.
I’ve already written that the Charles Schwab Challenge might be one of the toughest prognostication weeks in recent memory, considering we’re fresh off a 98-day hiatus and players don’t have any recent form of which to speak.
It’s for that very reason, however, that we might be able to discern which players could fair better than others on Thursday alone.
Let’s take a look at the PGA TOUR’s featured groups and make some opening-round picks based on some tangible and intangible information.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jon Rahm over Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka (+150)
When last we saw the world’s No. 1-ranked player, McIlroy was celebrating his win (with Dustin Johnson) in the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins game, though in reality, he didn’t play great golf that day.
In fact, he said he was just starting to get his game back into tournament shape at that point, only a few weeks ago. As for Koepka, it’s hard to believe he’s motivated with the year’s first major still more than three months away. That leaves Rahm, who owns a pair of top-five finishes in three previous starts at Colonial and often enjoys showing off his stuff against some of his bigger-name peers.
Jordan Spieth over Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler (+225)
And we’re the three best friends that anybody could have! The guys from “The Hangover” had nothing on Spieth, JT and Fowler, who should feel like they’re playing a practice round without any fans for the first two rounds.
This one feels fairly even, so I’m locking in the bigger price on Spieth, who’s secretly always fancied his chances at this event more than the crosstown Byron Nelson, where he first got a PGA TOUR start.
In seven career appearances here, he’s never missed a cut, owns six finishes of 14th or better and has a win and two runners-up. He’s also never posted an over-par opening round in this tourney, with a Thursday scoring average of 66.71 that includes three scores of 65 or better.
Bryson DeChambeau over Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose (+160)
Prior to the suspension of the PGA TOUR schedule three months ago, DeChambeau was on the verge of big things, having finished top-five in three consecutive starts.
I think he’ll pick up where he left off, based on the fact that he works as hard as anyone else and should be properly prepared for this one. I can’t see the same happening for DJ, who looked apathetic during that TaylorMade match.
Meanwhile, Rose is being offered as a big number in books this week, but I’m not calling the bluff; I need to see some proof from the 2018 champion before I jump in.
Kevin Na over Gary Woodland and Phil Mickelson (+160)
If you didn’t know anything about these three players and simply watched them warm up on the driving range, you’d likely never take Na in this type of matchup.
And that might still be the case on many other PGA TOUR courses. At this one, though, this week, the defending champion should be a smart pick to keep it going. Woodland hasn’t played here since 2012, while Mickelson, a two-time champion of this event, has played just once in the past decade. I like sticking with the guy who would’ve shown up even if this wasn’t the first event in three months.