2022 RBC Canadian Open: Updated Odds & Picks for Justin Rose, Tony Finau, More
Buda Mendes/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Rose.
Click arrow to expand 2022 RBC Canadian Open odds via BetMGM
2022 RBC Canadian Open Odds
|Harold Varner III||+3300|
|Bo Van Pelt||+50000|
|Dawie van der Walt||+50000|
|Jared du Toit||+75000|
|Richard S. Johnson||+100000|
This is already a strange week, for a lot of reasons.
First off, the RBC Canadian Open is back after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that Rory McIlroy is the defending champion of a tournament that last occurred so long ago, it was one week before Gary Woodland won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Not that the pandemic is far from mind, as a few bigger-name players were forced to withdraw late last week due to “travel restrictions” to Canada, leaving us to draw our own conclusions as to why so many of their fellow competitors weren’t similarly restricted.
This week’s edition of the event is being played at St. George’s Golf & Country Club, just outside of Toronto, for the first time since 2010. That alone isn’t too different, as we’ve witnessed other tournaments rotate venues, but good luck trying to get a read on a course which yielded a Carl Pettersson victory over Dean Wilson the last time we saw it.
Then there’s the field, which is the most top-heavy in recent memory. It includes five of the current top-10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking: Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Sam Burns. That’s a strong lineup to start any list, but upon further inspection, the event features just nine of the top-25 and 12 of the top-50.
The residual effect is that the priority list extends to the likes of Ben Crane and Richard S. Johnson, while a gaggle of sponsor’s exemptions are also involved, many being given to some of the 21 Canadian players in the field.
OK, if that isn’t Stranger Things enough for you, there happens to be a rival league starting up this week, as the LIV Golf Invitational Series will finally get underway at Centurion Club in London, with Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen in the field — and maybe Phil Mickelson, who as of this Monday morning writing still hasn’t played his hand. Ultimately, the 48-player field will pale in comparison to its PGA TOUR counterpart, but the three-round, shotgun start, individual and team competition will undoubtedly draw some interest from the masses, just to see what it’s all about.
Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I do wonder if some of those star players heading to St. George’s this week were especially persuaded by the powers-that-be in hopes of negating the impact of the LIV Golf event. Nothing like dangling a few bright, shiny objects in front of the public to offer a proper distraction.
Even so, we have to wonder exactly how motivated and determined these players will be, just days before the start of next week’s U.S. Open.
With that in mind, I’ll largely eschew the top of this week’s board with some wincingly short prices in favor of hoping to catch lightning with some bigger odds down the list.
One player to win the tournament.
Justin Rose (+8000)
My favorite outright play is usually a matter of form over function.
I’ll often simply pick the player I believe has the best chance of winning. Sure, value is an important factor, but there are times when it gets superseded. Last week is a good example: I’ll only take a pre-tourney favorite once in a long while, but I believed Jon Rahm was too enticing to pass up. While he didn’t win, Rahm still finished top-10 and I think he shoulda/woulda/coulda been there at the end, if not for a few early-week blunders.
Anyway, this week’s play is more about function over form. The top-four players on the board each opened at 10-1 or shorter. Prices will shift as the week progresses, of course, but when Harold Varner III is listed at +2200, you know we’ve gotta dig to find some decent odds.
All of which got me to Rose, which I admittedly don’t love, but I’m trying to pick off a guy at a bigger number, as I think it could continue to be a strange week. This play could’ve just as easily been Patrick Reed (+6500) or C.T. Pan (+8000) or Brendon Todd (+10000) or Dylan Frittelli (+13000), but I went for the proven winner in Rose, despite him ghosting us for much of the year.
Really, when was the last time you heard his name? Rose has competed in only nine events this year and just twice since the Masters (T13 at the PGA Championship; MC at the Charles Schwab Challenge), but it had me thinking back to a story from early summer of eight years ago.
The reigning U.S. Open champion, he injured his shoulder and missed the first two months of the year, but Rose later told me that he believed the time away would leave him sufficiently gassed up for the dog days — and he proved himself right, as he finished T12 in his U.S. Open title defense, then won two in a row and added four more top-five finishes in the second half of that year, without a single missed cut.
Granted, Rose isn’t the same player he was in his prime, but I do think this could be a calm-before-the-storm situation. He’s worth a play at this inflated price, as are a handful of others.
Potential selections for one-and-done options.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+1600)
It’s not very often that a player ranks second in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and doesn’t make it past Friday, but that was exactly the case for Fitzpatrick at last week’s Memorial Tournament.
Obviously, that means some other parts of his game weren’t quite in the same form, so I should note that he somewhat predictably ranked dead last in SG: Putting. As we’ve learned over and over again in recent years, ball-striking stats are more sustainable than putting, which suggests it’s more likely we see Fitz swing it similarly and improve his putting than lose his swing and continue putting poorly.
I really like Fitzpatrick for next week’s U.S. Open at Brookline, where he won his U.S. Amateur title, but I don’t dislike the idea of chasing a player after an MC, which worked if you doubled down on Scottie Scheffler after the PGA Championship or Billy Horschel after the Charles Schwab.
Corey Conners (+2200)
Welcome to Corey Conners Chalk Week, as we’ll collectively take a drive up north via Narrative Street with hopes that Conners can lead the contingent of 21 natives of Canada in this field.
Sounds smart enough to play a guy with motivation to win his country’s national championship, but it’s worth noting that no Canadian has won this event since Pat Fletcher in 1954. That’s a lot of players saying “sorrey” to their adoring fans, while perhaps drowning their sorrows in a Molson Ice or two.
I won’t be as heavily invested in Conners’ narrative week as I imagine many others will, but I certainly think he can — and should — play well here, making him a nice OAD pick, if not also a popular one.
Patrick Reed (+6500)
I’m fresh off an annual buddies trip to Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, S.C., one of my favorite spots in the world. Among the usual revelry, we actually played some golf, too, taking caddies for each of the rounds.
It prompted a discussion at one point as to what makes a great looper and for me, speaking as a very non-professional golfer, I offered, “I just want someone who cares.” Pull for my team in the money game, help me read a few putts, give me a fist-bump when we make one.
What does any of this have to do with Reed? I often feel the same way about my OAD picks. Give me someone who cares. Give me someone who’s going to grind. Give me someone who can turn a 73 into a 71. Give me someone who can turn what looks like a 31st-place finish into a 19th-place finish.
I’m still not completely convinced that Reed’s game is completely back to where he needs it to be, but he’s trending in the right direction. And more importantly, if you pick him, you know you’re getting the A-plus effort every time.
Sahith Theegala (+6500)
It’s coming, folks. I’ve been screaming it from the proverbial mountaintops for a while now, but Theegala is a superstar-in-waiting. Cameron Young, Mito Pereira and Davis Riley are the rookies who have gotten the most attention this year — and rightly so — but I wouldn’t be surprised if Theegala someday winds up being the most productive of the freshmen players.
Coming off a T5 last week, I’m very intrigued to see whether Theegala can step on the gas pedal and keep it going here.
Jhonattan Vegas (+7000)
There hasn’t been a PGA TOUR event at St. George’s in a dozen years, so while course history is relatively impractical, I’d expect that tournament history will play a factor in the decision-making process, rightly or not.
It’s difficult to not at least consider Vegas, whose three career PGA TOUR victories include back-to-back titles in Canada in 2016 and ’17. He’s also, as I’ve detailed here in the past, a momentum-type player; essentially, once he gets hot, we can ride him for a few weeks.
While his final-round 81 at Muirfield Village doesn’t suggest much momentum, he was in a share of fourth place through 54 holes, so Sunday might’ve just been an outlier.
C.T. Pan (+8000)
He doesn’t receive much acclaim, but Pan is a very good iron player who’s gained strokes on approach shots in each of his last eight starts, a period which includes seven made cuts. For DFS purposes, I like the high floor as a low-end value play, but there’s certainly some top-10 equity here, as well.
One player to finish top-five.
Tony Finau (+550 for top-five)
Following his second career PGA TOUR victory at The Northern Trust last summer, Finau played 16 worldwide events without cashing a top-five ticket, but the man (somewhat) affectionately referred to as Top-Five Tony now owns a pair of top-five results in his last four starts.
That’s not the only reason to like him for a similar finish this week. Over the years, the big-hitting Finau has often shown a propensity for playing some of his best golf on shorter courses. Whether it frees him up to employ shorter clubs off the tee or he simply likes more claustrophobic confines, there’s a trend here, which includes his T4 result at Colonial just a few weeks ago.
On a St. George’s venue which plays just a notch over 7,000 yards, this could be right up his alley.
One player to finish top-10.
Brendon Todd (+700 for top-10)
Since we’re on the subject of momentum plays, Todd is like the Halley’s Comet of the PGA TOUR, which isn’t to suggest he only comes around every 76 years, but when he does show up, you don’t want to miss it.
Back in late 2019, he turned into the best player in the world for a month-long stretch, with two wins and a fourth-place finish, rising from outside the top-500 to 72nd before Thanksgiving dinner was served. Since then, he didn’t have a single top-five finish … until two weeks ago, when he showed up on the Charles Schwab leaderboard to the tune of a third-place result.
There aren’t too many options where we can focus on a short-course specialist these days, but Todd fits this role perfectly, ranking 201st in driving distance and fifth in driving accuracy this season.
One player to finish top-20.
Sebastian Munoz (+150 for top-20)
Last month, I listed Munoz as my favorite outright for the AT&T Byron Nelson, then watched him race to an opening-round 60. For certain reasons, I had a little more rationale for watching him in that final round than I usually do, and I didn’t like the body language. He never seemed confident, never quite looked like a player who believed he could win that day.
Based on his recent numbers, I considered going back to the well and naming Munoz as my favorite outright at this one too, but I recalled that body language, which almost appeared like he was resigned to his fate and wasn’t going to win. That said, I still like his game, but I’d rather invest in him with a top-20 prop like this one instead of an outright ticket.
One player to finish top-30.
If this is officially Corey Conners Chalk Week, then it must also be Adam Hadwin Longshot Week, as I’m sure bettors are going to play the narrative card with both Canadians.
Again, not that I mind it, as Hadwin has finished top-30 in eight of his 12 starts this year. Coming off a T18 at the Memorial that included his first career hole-in-one on the PGA TOUR, this should be another strong week for him.
One player to finish top-40.
The recent Haskins Award winner from Oklahoma, Gotterup concluded his collegiate career with four straight top-10 finishes, including a T5 at NCAAs, and six top-10s in his final seven starts.
As you might recall, he previously played one PGA TOUR event earlier this season, finishing in a share of seventh place at the Puerto Rico Open, so this stage shouldn’t be too big for him.
I’ll make a conservative call on a top-40 here, but don’t mind being more aggressive with a play, including as a nice low-cost piece to a DFS lineup.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS.
If you are starting your lineups by plugging in JT this week, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
First, the good: On each of the last four occasions that Thomas played an event the week before a major championship, he finished in the top-10. That includes a T5 at this year’s AT&T Byron Nelson, T8 at last year’s Scottish Open, a victory at the 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and a T9 at the Scottish in 2019.
The bad news? The last time he failed to finish top-10 the week prior to a major was the last time an RBC Canadian Open was held, though a T20 there should hardly be cause for concern.
If anything, it all proves that JT prefers to prep for a major not by cruising through a tourney and trying to save some fuel in the tank, but by playing his best golf and forging some momentum. It’s difficult to separate the superstars for this one, as diversification might be a more palatable strategy than piling on a single player, but if I can only use one of the high-end guys in DFS this week, JT is the pick by a hair.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Harold Varner III (+3500 for FRL)
Two weeks ago, as HV3 was mounting a final-round charge on the front nine at Colonial, I tweeted that one of these Sundays is going to be his Sunday, suggesting that a long-awaited PGA TOUR victory is coming, then added: “Could be this one.” I didn’t say, “Bet all of your money on him right now,” or, “No doubt about it, he’s got this locked up,” or even the comparably boisterous, “I think he’s going to win.” Nope, just a simple, “Could be this one.”
And whoa, believe me, when he posted a back-nine 45 to finish outside the top-20, you would’ve thought I’d somehow Joe Namath’d the man, making a guarantee. The replies made some of those “mean tweets” segments seem like love notes.
Anyway, it’s all good. I had a big ol’ fashioned block party that night and Dikembe Mutombo’d a bunch of people. Moral of the story? I’ll back off that assertion for now and instead say that one of these Thursdays is going to be his Thursday, which it often is for one of our FRL faves.
One player who should beat comparable players.
Keith Mitchell (+5000)
Come on, you didn’t really think you’d get through an entire preview without seeing Mitchell’s name, did you?
As I often write, there’s a reason to keep betting the players you like long-term. For me, Aaron Wise is a great example. As with Mitchell, I’ve been on him in some form nearly every time he’s played this year, because I think his talent outweighs his price each time.
Last week, that paid off in many forms, as Wise finished runner-up to Billy Horschel at the Memorial. I’m not sure this is my favorite course fit for Mitchell, but I damn sure don’t want to miss out on him when he finally wins, so I like having at least some investment here, knowing that it’s going to pay off, if not this week than at some point very soon.
Also Receiving Votes
Other players who should provide value.
Shane Lowry (+1600), Tyrrell Hatton (+2000), Chris Kirk (+5000), Aaron Rai (+14000), David Lipsky (+13000), Dylan Frittelli (+13000), Alex Smalley (+15000), Chase Seiffert (+25000)
My favorite non-PGA Tour play of the week.
Bernd Wiesberger to win LIV Golf event (+2500)
When I first started writing this preview on Monday morning, odds had been released for the RBC Canadian Open already, but there weren’t prices for the LIV Golf event in the mainstream books. With the PGA TOUR attempting to quash any mentions of the rival league, I wondered whether any of its four official betting operators would be influenced to remain on the sidelines for this one.
By the time I’d gotten down to the bottom here, though, they’d already started trickling in. In any case, I probably won’t offer much detailed analysis for this or any of the seven other tournaments on the schedule this year, but it’s worth suggesting a play.
Of the names which were released for this initial event, Wiesberger was sort of a sneaky, in-his-prime player who undoubtedly has plenty of good golf left in him. The 36-year-old has missed just a single cut in his last 21 starts and finished T30 just a few weeks ago at the PGA Championship.
There are still plenty of long-term variables on the table here. Is Wiesberger just testing the waters, or is he done playing PGA/DP World events? Will LIV ever garner OWGR ranking points so its players might qualify for majors?
It’d be a shame if we’re done seeing Wiesberger compete against the world’s best, but I’ve always liked his game and the ball-striking has been solid lately, so if you’re inclined to bet this one, much like the RBC Canadian, I’m inclined to peruse past the short prices at the top of the board and find some value.