Updated 2022 Wyndham Championship Odds & Picks for Russell Henley, Webb Simpson, More
Warren Little/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Henley.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Wyndham Championship odds via BetMGM
2022 Wyndham Championship Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+2500|
|Harold Varner III||+4000|
|Bo Van Pelt||+50000|
|Dawie van der Walt||+50000|
|Davis Love III||+100000|
When we’re not examining predictive analytics for players at specific tournaments, we’re often searching for narratives to suggest who might have a strong performance. There are few narratives more relevant than the catch-all “motivation” – and this week should offer plenty of motivated competitors.
Believe it or not, we’ve finally reached the 46th and final regular-season event of the current PGA TOUR schedule, which means one last chance at the Wyndham Championship for those trying to keep their playing privileges and squeeze into a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin next week.
Playing one tournament to potentially keep your job certainly seems like the greatest motivational factor we’ll see all year. And yet, looking back over the last three seasons, the so-called bubble boys usually parlay this motivation into results.
Let’s take a look at those players who were between 120th and 130th entering the last event in each of those three seasons, starting with 2019:
|Player||FedEx Cup Place||Wyndham Finish|
Only Garnett and Kizzire finished inside the top-30 from this group, but it should be noted that they each had something in common: They’d won in the previous campaign. That means they were only playing for playoff berths, not their TOUR cards.
|Player||FedEx Cup Place||Wyndham Finish|
|Si Woo Kim||121||T3|
Once again, only two players anywhere close, this time inside the top-40; once again, each of those two, Kim and Johnson, were already exempt based on past victories.
|Player||FedEx Cup Place||Wyndham Finish|
There were a couple of stronger results last year, but only one better than 15th – and that was Scott, who was obviously already exempt.
All told, of the 33 players on either side of the bubble over the past three years, there were only four top-10 finishes, each from a player who’d already clinched his card. There were 25 results outside the top-30, including 14 missed cuts, more than 40% of all players on the borderline.
Now, perhaps this can all be easily explained away using this logic: The players ranked 120-130 were ranked that low because they hadn’t played their best golf, so we shouldn’t have expected a whole lot.
Or maybe we can peruse these numbers and come to the conclusion that motivation alone isn’t enough to make investments on those trying to keep their cards and/or make the playoffs.
This week’s group, from 120 to 130 on the eligibility list (which doesn’t include suspended LIV players), consists of the following players: Nick Taylor, Chesson Hadley, Kramer Hickok, Rickie Fowler, Matt Wallace, Austin Smotherman, Max McGreevy, Danny Willett, Justin Lower, Nick Hardy and Cameron Champ.
None of the above findings mean we should completely fade these guys – especially those who are previously exempt – but there’s certainly a trend here, one which tells us that players need a little more than motivational fuel in order to climb a leaderboard.
Let’s get to this week’s picks, with a focus on those who aren’t worried about such an important bubble.
One player to win the tournament.
Russell Henley (+3000)
At last year’s edition of the Wyndham, Henley became the first player since Emanuele Canonica at the 2001 Nissan Open to finish one stroke back and still not cash top-five tickets. Back then, Robert Allenby beat five other players in a playoff at Riviera, including golf broadcasting king Dennis Paulson and some guy named Brandel Chamblee.
A year ago, Henley parlayed a three-stroke 54-hole lead into a final-round 71, missing a short par attempt on the final hole and finishing one shot out of a six-man playoff. His putting isn’t exactly on fire right now, as he owned the worst Strokes Gained number on the greens of anyone inside the top-25 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic last week. Even so, he still finished T-10, thanks to a tee-to-green performance which ranked behind only winner Tony Finau.
Besides that, what I really like about Henley is that he presumably has some gas in the tank. At a time in the season when most players are worn down, Henley just played his first non-major event in 12 weeks. His schedule last year included three non-major starts during that time. Clearly, he’s gearing up for the stretch run, perhaps believing that he needs to be a little fresher to avoid a repeat of that final round of this event. I like the idea behind it – here’s hoping it pays off.
Potential selections for one-and-done options.
Webb Simpson (+2000)
Come on, like you didn’t expect to see this name prominently listed in the preview this week?
Longtime readers know that I really only have one hard and fast rule when it comes to betting on golf: When a player has named one of his children after the tournament sponsor, you play him – no questions asked. Until the day we see a young AT&T Spieth or Waste Management Scheffler or even Genesis Schauffele (or, uh, LIV Golf Bedminster Stenson), I’m not sure anyone qualifies for this rule besides Simpson.
It’s been a weird year for Webb, who’s dealt with some injuries and hasn’t posted a single top-10 in 14 starts. He seemed primed for one last week, opening with a 66, but three closing scores in the 70s when everyone was going low ended in a T-69 finish.
So, why should we believe that will change this week? Because it always changes for him here.
In 13 career starts, Simpson owns an incredible nine top-10s. He’s 180-under par in 50 rounds. He’s the leading money winner, with $3.7 million in earnings, which is $800,000 more than the next closest player.
Simpson might not replicate his past success this week, but if you’re playing an OAD and didn’t have Simpson saved for this week, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Shane Lowry (+1200) & Adam Scott (+2500)
This is the point in the season where you start to look at the players you haven’t yet used for OAD picks and think to yourself, “How did I go this many events without playing this guy?”
I’m not necessarily advocating for either Lowry or Scott this week – there are other players listed here whom I like better – but I can certainly understand the conundrum if you’ve got one of them sitting there amongst your available players and don’t want to let the entire season pass without penciling him in.
They’ve each had a few duds mixed in with a title contention at the Wyndham, as Lowry finished T7 five years ago and Scott disappointingly lost in that playoff last year.
Aaron Wise (+4000) & Keith Mitchell (+4000)
There are few players I’ve bet more or played in more DFS lineups than Wise and Mitchell, each of whom I still believe owns value in relation to their respective talent level. Wise is currently 40th in the OWGR and Mitchell is 55th, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they each ascend into the top 20 before too long.
My point here is twofold:
- If you agree with this assessment on these two players, then it might be worth using one of ‘em before it’s too late.
- Even if it’s not these guys, we all have a few players whom we bet too frequently and perhaps like too much.
If you’ve still got ‘em available for OADs and they’re playing this week, there’s not much point in saving them any longer.
Davis Riley (+5000)
I’m listing the rookie here under OAD plays, but the reality is that I just wanted to squeeze him into the preview somewhere to note that his opening 50-1 price – the same as Jason Day! – feels like the oddsmakers are begging us to take it. Maybe that’s just another dirty trick, but even after a pair of MCs, he’s probably worth a play at this number, against this type of field.
One player to finish top-five.
Will Zalatoris (+275 for top-five)
It was just sort of a slow start for Zalatoris last week – and no, I’m not bitter, says the guy who listed him as an outright play in the preview.
That said, he improved by multiple strokes in each of the final two rounds, culminating with a 65 on Sunday. That should certainly have him heading to a familiar environment with some momentum.
“It’s kind of a home game in some respects, considering I went to Wake Forest and obviously this is kind of the stretch of the season you prepare for, playing five in a row to end the season,” he said after that final round. “I’m young, I can handle it.”
As I wrote last week, it won’t be much longer until he wins at this level. It didn’t happen in Detroit, but much like it was for Simpson and Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Reed, this tourney could serve as a first title for Zalatoris, as well.
One player to finish top-10.
Brian Harman (+350 for top-10)
At 35 years old and ranked 172nd in driving distance, Harman remains a sneaky good player whose overall record might surprise those who haven’t been paying full attention. He owns five top-10s in 18 starts this year, including two of his last three.
At this event, he’s admittedly been all-or-nothing, with a little too much nothing outweighing the all, but I’ll look past the six MCs in nine starts and instead focus on the pair of top-10s which at least prove he can find success here when his game is on.
One player to finish top-20.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+140)
In his lone Wyndham start two years ago, Bez opened with a 71, but followed with scores of 64-69-68 to finish in a share of 37th place.
The South African seems like not just an improved player these days, but one who’s more comfortable competing on the PGA TOUR each week. In fact, he’s cashed top-20 tickets in four of his last seven starts, gaining strokes in each major category over that span, other than around the greens, which is his usual bread and butter. It’s true: He would’ve ranked third in this category with enough starts last year but is mired at 117th this season.
That doesn’t dissuade me too much on him, though; this is hardly a Viktor Hovland situation when he misses with an iron. With all of the other clubs in the bag doing their jobs lately, I like him for yet another top-20, if not well inside that number.
One player to finish top-30.
Greyson Sigg, Michael Gligic, Alex Smalley, Mark Hubbard
Why am I listing all of these guys for a top-30 play? Because of the commonalities.
Prior to last week, Sigg had finished top-30 in four straight starts; Gligic just missed that mark, finishing top-30 in three and T-31 in the other; and Smalley and Hubbard were top-30 in three of their last four. They all failed to make the cut last week, but none of them is far from playing solid golf.
While I realize that top-30 markets are fairly limited, I don’t mind splitting these plays between top-20s and top-40s, if you have to, as well as each one for a lower-priced DFS play.
One player to finish top-40.
Matthew NeSmith (+170)
The only people happier than NeSmith for the PGA TOUR to return to a Southeast-based course are those wagering on NeSmith, who tends to play his best golf in familiar surroundings.
Granted, that hasn’t meant much at this one, as he has only posted a T42 and two MCs in three career starts, but he’s an improved player over those previous seasons, as evidenced by eight top-40 finishes in 18 starts. That’s a success rate of 44.4%, which belies the implied probability of these odds.
I similarly don’t mind him as a low-cost DFS play with potentially low ownership based on those past results here.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS.
Si Woo Kim
Let’s not overthink this thing. I already wrote about Simpson, perhaps the only player who owns a better record at Sedgefield than Si Woo, but I actually like Kim better this week, especially for DFS purposes.
In his last five starts here, Kim owns a win, a second, a third and a fifth – and he happens to be fresh off a T14 in Detroit this past weekend. His love for Pete Dye courses has long been chronicled, to the point where he now likely has them circled on his calendar, but we might need to start considering him a Donald Ross specialist, as well. He’s always been a high-ceiling play, dating to his PLAYERS Championship victory that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Recently, though, he’s become a high-floor type of guy, too. A run of three straight MCs notwithstanding, Si Woo’s consistency has seen a marked improvement in the past year, making him an enticing lineup anchor for his price this week.
Justin Lower/Bo Hoag
If you’re spending down for a low-priced player who will allow you to play some bigger names, expectations should remain fairly low. In other words, you’ll essentially take a made cut and take your chances on the weekend.
Lower and Hoag have each done exactly that recently, cashing checks in four of their last five starts. For those building lineups with 2-3 studs this week, you’ll need some salary relief and these guys have done a nice job of providing that lately.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Harold Varner III (+3500)
In his last five starts at this event, HV3 owns a first-round scoring average of 64.8, including a 62 two years ago, which shared FRL honors with Tom Hoge and Roger Sloan. On two of those occasions, his hot start has led to a top-10 finish; on the other three, he’s closed outside the top-50.
As is often the case, I see Varner as more of a single-round investment than a full-tournament play. For a guy who so regularly seems like he’s on the opening-round leaderboard, it’s a bit surprising that he ranks just 100th in Round One scoring average this season, but a 65 and 66 among his last five starts once again proves he can go low on any given day.
One player who should beat comparable players.
Tom Kim (+4500)
According to my Twitter Spaces (and real-life) buddy Rob Bolton of PGATOUR.com, the man named Joohyung has requested that we formally refer to him as Tom. Now that we’re, ahem, all-aboard, let’s also buy some tickets for matchup plays.
When a young player such as Kim bursts onto the scene, one of two things can happen: Either the books instantly recognize the talent and price him too short or they fail to realize it and keep him too long. We’re seeing the latter right now, as the world’s 37th-ranked player owns bigger odds this week than some players whose ranking numbers are twice as much.
Now that Kim has turned his Special Temporary Membership into a full-time card for next season, thanks to last week’s seventh-place finish, he’s playing with the proverbial house money that we love to see. I don’t mind sprinkling a little for outrights and props, but I think the best plan of attack is to play him at plus-money against those who clearly aren’t on as much of a heater.
Also Receiving Votes
Billy Horschel (+1400), Corey Conners (+2500), Kevin Kisner (+4000), Sebastian Munoz (+4500), Adam Svensson (+8000), Callum Tarren (+13000), David Lipsky (+15000), Brandon Wu (+18000), Hayden Buckley (+18000), Doc Redman (+30000)