2022 RSM Classic Expert Picks & Preview: 8 Best Bets for Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar, Tom Hoge & More
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Kisner.
- The PGA TOUR heads to St. Simons Island for The RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club.
- Our analysts have eight best bets in a variety of markets, including four outright picks.
- Check out their best bets and analysis below.
The PGA TOUR’s Fall Swing continues with the final full-field event of the calendar year with The RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club.
Every player in the field will play one round at the Seaside course and another at the Plantation course on Thursday and Friday before the cut and then play the final two rounds at Seaside. The multiple courses are necessary to account for less sunlight available during the days in November.
Players with short odds have won frequently on the Fall Swing recently, including last week with Tony Finau’s victory at the Cadence Bank Houston Open.
However, Finau, the favorite to win this week, withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday, leaving this field without a clear favorite this week.
Our analysts are pouncing on the betting value without him in the field and have eight best bets, four outright picks and one potential arbitrage play (if you have access to certain books). Check out their analysis and best bets below.
Denny McCarthy and Matthew NeSmith To Finish in the Top 10 – +330 for each (DraftKings)
Jason Sobel: We’re eight events into the fall portion of the PGA Tour schedule, and Longshot SZN hasn’t really happened, with seven of the winners coming from +3500 or shorter so far. There’s reason to believe that could change this week, with each of the last six RSM champions starting from +4000 or longer, including three who were at least +15000.
I’ll sprinkle my card with some outrights on a few of these bigger prices, like Davis Riley (+5000), Scott Stallings (+5000), Will Gordon (+6000) and Patton Kizzire (+15000), though I’ll admit that none of them is a gotta-play-it bet.
Instead, I’ll counterbalance the lottery tickets with a few more conservative props, and my two favorite plays in this space are McCarthy and NeSmith, a pair of guys who should be strong fits for the Seaside and Plantation tracks.
We all know McCarthy is one of the game’s best putters, but what really intrigues me is that he’s now improved upon his Strokes Gained Tee to Green in each of the last four seasons. He’s never going to be Justin Thomas or Collin Morikawa with an iron in his hand, but going from 162nd in this category during the 2019-20 campaign to 95th currently makes a big difference.
With top 10s in two of his last three starts at Sea Island, I like him to at least replicate those performances once again.
If we could combine the best aspects of McCarthy’s game with those of NeSmith, we’d really be onto something. They’re essentially opposite types of players, as NeSmith does most of his damage with the irons, and yet they each fit this venue for separate reasons. Currently 27th in Strokes Gained on Approach shots after ranking 30th last season, NeSmith is running hot, with three top-10s in his last four starts.
He’s yet to break the top-10 barrier here, but in three previous appearances owns a record of 29th-15th-14th, which should give us optimism that his improved play can move him up a few notches on the board.
Trey Mullinax +9000 (BetRivers)
Chris Murphy: I looked hard at the number on Trey Mullinax last week as he was a player trending up to close out last season and was a popular name whom we had high expectations for this fall. Unfortunately, his play didn’t carry over to the new season at the start of the Fall Swing as he missed the cut in his first two events and finished near dead last at THE CJ CUP.
The Alabama alum turned things back around last week in Houston where he finished T4 with six Strokes Gained Tee to Green and 3.4 Strokes Gained on Approach. He has shown to be a bit of a streaky player, often pairing top finishes together, and that’s what I’ll look for this week at nearly triple-digit odds.
Tom Hoge +2800 (BetRivers)
Matt Vincenzi: Tom Hoge missed the cut in his most recent start at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, but I believe looking too closely at the final result would be a mistake. He opened with a four-under 66 and had a poor second round where he shot 73 to miss the cut.
One bad round in golf can most definitely be an outlier, and looking at his recent body of work would indicate that may be the case. In his previous five starts, Hoge had finished no worse than 13th and had three top-10 finishes.
Almost as impressive as his recent finishes is the manner in which the 32-year-old has been getting it done. In his past three measured events, Hoge has gained an average of 5.7 strokes on the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. He ranks first in the field in his past 24 rounds in that category, as well as seventh in Birdie or Better Gained and 12th in Good Drives Gained.
Hoge finished fourth here last season and gained 6.3 strokes from tee to green. If he can get hot with the putter this week on his favorite putting surface (Bermudagrass), he can earn his second PGA TOUR victory.
Ryan Armour Top 40 +230 (FanDuel)
Spencer Aguiar: With this being an event that I want limited exposure to in any capacity, let’s go for a longshot top-40 wager that is off by about 80 points.
I want to make it clear that the +150 price tag that I have as accurate on Ryan Armour means the wager will only hit about 40% of the time, but sports betting is all about finding long-term value, and I am going to take my shot on a golfer who is trending in the right direction with back-to-back top-30 finishes over the last two weeks.
Armour’s profile isn’t perfect, which we would anticipate by his price tag suggesting you would need just over a 30% implied win equity percentage to break even if you placed the bet a thousand times, but a 10-percent disparity can be massive in this space.
My model is willing to ignore the back-to-back missed cuts he has provided at the track since questionable form has usually accounted for trouble at Sea Island when he has entered the week off of a bad stretch.
We see that historically with Armour missing the cut three of four times when posting a 67th or worse the week before this event. However, the three times he has landed inside the top 55 the week before, he has produced a top 40 on the leaderboard each time.
I’m not someone who believes in your prototypical trends, but I am willing to back this example since it shows Armour likes this venue when his game is trending in the right direction, something we can say is accurate after his recent run of quality finishes.
Kevin Kisner +5000 (BetMGM)
Derek Farnsworth: By his own admission, there are a handful of events that Kisner has circled on his calendar that he knows he can contend in. He essentially rules himself out of all majors with the potential exception of the Open Championship. The point is that he knows his game extremely well, and he knows the courses that he needs to take advantage of each season.
The RSM Classic is one of the events that Kisner loves and that he contends at regularly. In his last 10 appearances here, he’s posted five top 10s, including a win and a second. He’s trained on Sea Island before and is from Georgia, so he knows the course and area as well as any golfer in the field.
His form is suspect, but his wins tend to come out of nowhere. He didn’t have a top-50 finish in either of his two starts before his last two wins. Ultimately, this is as simple as betting on Kisner with good odds at a Kisner course.
Matt Kuchar +4000 (DraftKings)
Landon Silinsky: Matt Kuchar has quietly had a nice Fall Swing thus far, posting three top-30 finishes with a T12 at the Fortinet. During this stretch, the veteran ranks second in this field in GIR%, fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green, sixth in SG: Approach and eighth in SG: Ball-Striking.
It’s been his putter that’s held him back from truly contending lately, as he’s averaging -0.73 SG: Putting per round in this stretch.
The good news, however, is that among golfers who have played Sea Island at least three times, Kuchar ranks ninth in SG: Putting per round (Seaside Course). We know putting is extremely variant, and that it can flip on a dime, so as long as Kuchar keeps striping the ball the way he has, his game sets up well this week.
He’s played the RSM eight times since 2013, making the cut in six of those, and finishing no worse than T37 (including three top 25s) each time he’s made the weekend.
With Tony Finau withdrawing, this event is now completely wide open, and I will take my chances on Kuchar, who has a ton of course experience, and who’s made a career out of dominating at wedge fests/putting contests.
Seamus Power Top 10 +300 (DraftKings)
Rob Bolton: This is a rare market for me, but this is such a no-brainer that it just might be my best bet of ‘em all.
Try this exercise…
Consider the likelihood of your smattering of favorite outrights and compare them against your favorites to land inside the top 10. For me, that process sifted Power as the clear-cut selection for this bet much easier than a runaway winner.
The Irishman is No. 2 in my Power Rankings at PGATOUR.com, but like a first runner-up in a beauty contest, he defaulted into top spot when Tony Finau withdrew on Tuesday.
Power chased his win in Bermuda with a T3 in Mexico the following week. He also connected for a T4 here last year. In case you’re curious, DraftKings has him at +600 for a top five.
Roberto Arguello: Pendrith was on fire to end last year in the late summer, but he hasn’t finished any better than T44 in three starts this fall. He closed last season with strong play on approach, but he has lost strokes to the field on approach in his three Fall events.
This tournament doesn’t reward his biggest strength, his driving distance, and his driving accuracy, which is emphasized this week, is slightly below average overall.
Pendrith finished T26 in his only other RSM Classic appearance last year, when he had his best Strokes Gained Putting week ever. In a week that could turn into a putting contest, he could be passed by lesser players from tee to green on the putting greens as he is a below average putter and has lost strokes with the putter and around the green in all three of his Fall events. .
While I don’t love his form or course fit and expect him to finish outside of the top 20 more often than not, there is free money to be made via arbitrage by playing him to finish 20th or worse at bet365 along with him to finish in the top 20 at +250 on FanDuel. If you have access to bet365, you can find other arbitrage opportunities at other books as well if you don’t have access to FanDuel at around +220 for a Pendrith Top 20 across the market.