2021 Wells Fargo Championship Betting Picks: Our Favorite Outright Bets at Quail Hollow
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Sungjae Im
The PGA TOUR will head north to Charlotte, N.C. this week for the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. If last week’s field at the Valspar was light on depth, this one certainly makes up for it as 10 of the top 15 players in the world will be in the field with the PGA Championship on the horizon.
Justin Thomas is the betting favorite once again, but there are plenty of players who could challenge JT this week. Below you’ll find our favorite outright bets for the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship.
Harold Varner III (+9000)
I could’ve simply gone with my first thought here: After a monster ball-striking week, just play the favorite in Justin Thomas, who won his lone major here in 2017. I could’ve pushed Varner to my favorite FRL bet, writing something to the effect of: With a history of fading on Sunday afternoon when in contention, he owns more Thursday value than anything on the weekend. Instead, I’m going with a (sort of) longshot as my favorite play here, sort of an ode to a combination of Sam Burns and Max Homa vibes.
Following his first victory on Sunday, Burns said, “Those moments in the past, they test you and you learn a lot from them.” I’ve often preached over the years that while the public largely sees close calls as disappointments, players almost universally view them through a prism of promise; they understand exactly what Burns articulated about learning from those moments. Here’s to the belief that HV3, fresh off a T-2 in his most recent start at the RBC Heritage that was admittedly hardly a heartbreaker, is ready for similar validation of this belief.
As for the correlation to Homa, who happens to be the defending champion of this event, which was canceled last year, Varner is a North Carolina native and Quail Hollow member, which in a way mirrors Homa’s allegiance to his hometown Genesis Invitational, which he won earlier this year.
We’ve long known that Varner has the game to compete with the world’s best players. While he doesn’t own a great record at this tourney, he has finished 21st-or-better in four of his last eight starts, which suggests he might finally be ready for that long-awaited first victory this week.
Sungjae Im (+4500)
I am going with a bit of a gut play this week as I believe Sungjae is close to breaking through for another win, and Quail Hollow is a course that could be a great fit.
Ideally I wish he was a bit longer off the tee, but the way he gains strokes in that department despite not being one of the longest in the field, eases that concern for me. The part that really has me excited is that Im has gained more than a stroke on the field with his irons in each of his past two events, and seems to be getting back his ball-striking prowess from tee to green.
He will also benefit from his preferred bermudagrass throughout the course, all of which adds up to a great value on the South Korean heading into the Wells Fargo Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau (+1400)
I rarely go to the top of the board for outright picks, but DeChambeau feels like the right play this week. He ranks first in my model and does everything I am looking for in a golfer to win at Quail Hollow.
With many of the approach shots coming from further than 200 yards, it cannot be overstated how much of an advantage that gives DeChambeau. He ranks first in this field in proximity from 200-plus yards because he is coming into the green with a long iron, which can be said about very few other players. DeChambeau also ranks 13th in Strokes Gained: Par-4 450-500, and plays those long holes very well.
The last time we saw DeChambeau, he really struggled at Augusta National, but it seems like that is just a course that has his number and is an outlier considering how well he was playing going into Masters week. With a fourth-place finish here in 2018, we already know Bryson has an eye for Quail Hollow.
When betting the top of the board, the first thing I look for is win equity; which is something DeChambeau has plenty of. He has six wins since August 2018 and being such a historian of the game, you can be sure he has his sights set on a victory at Quail Hollow.
Xander Schauffele (+1900)
After a very brief stretch of subpar play, the X man turned back into his usual dominant self over his past two starts. He turned in a T-3 at the Masters before he and Patrick Cantlay shot up the leaderboard on Sunday of the Zurich Classic to finish in a tie for 11th.
Schauffele has only made one start at Quail Hollow, finishing 72nd in 2018. However, he’s shown and even discussed himself how he feels more comfortable on tougher tracks where par is a good score. He had poor history at Torrey Pines before finishing in tie for second this past January. Torrey is one of the comp courses I’m using for this week, as is Riviera where he tied for 15th in February.
It feels like Schauffele’s going somewhat under the radar with Jon Rahm, JT and DeChambeau all in the field this week. Being that we don’t have strokes gained data for both the Master’s and Zurich, Schauffele’s recent rolling numbers won’t look great. That should not deter us however, and getting close to 20/1 on the No. 4 player in the world at a major-style course is a pretty good deal to me.
Will Zalatoris (+2900)
Quail Hollow has hosted the coronations of Anthony Kim (2008), Rory McIlroy (2010), Rickie Fowler (2012) and Max Homa (2019), as well as Justin Thomas’ lone major victory at the 2017 PGA Championship. It’s an equal-opportunity stage with a knack for pushing the brightest stars out front.
Zalatoris is playing the role of Polaris these days, and his strengths from tee to green are ideal to join the club.
Patrick Cantlay (+3000)
All week my gut has been pointing me to Patrick Cantlay. Many may scoff at this pick considering he has missed his last three cuts, but I choose to see this as an excellent opportunity to buy low.
Seeing Cantlay’s name next to odds that begin with a three is rare, and for good reason. Cantlay is one of the most consistent and complete players on TOUR. In the last 100 tracked rounds, Cantlay ranks top-15 in this field in the following strokes gained categories: Approach, Around the Green, Off the Tee, Birdie or Better, and Bogey Avoidance. No other player in this field carries that kind of resume in those statistics over that big of a sample size.
Quail Hollow demands players to be sharp in every aspect of their game to compete. Playing over 7,500 yards, the winner will need to be long off the tee, accurate into greens, and display touch around the greens that they miss. Cantlay is the complete player that can win here, and we are getting an inflated price due to the recent struggles.
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