2023 RBC Heritage Round 3 Odds and Picks: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm have Value

2023 RBC Heritage Round 3 Odds and Picks: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm have Value article feature image

Pictured: Justin Thomas. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The weather was once again a story to start the week on the PGA Tour, but everything got caught up on Friday as the players took apart a typically difficult track at Harbour Town. The cut came in at 2-under par, but the bigger shock is 44 year-old Jimmy Walker being the 36-hole leader at 12-under. Walker still has status based on career earnings, however that only still stands due to the player defections to LIV, making for a quite a story as we head into the weekend on Hilton Head Island.

Walker will have a tall task to stay in front of the big names chasing him as Scottie Scheffler, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele are all within three shots of his lead. They are each a few shots ahead of World No. 1 and recent Masters Champion Jon Rahm, but he posted the round of the day with a 7-under 64 to get back in the mix after an understandably lackluster opening round.

This is a tournament where players can make up ground over the weekend as only two of the past 13 champions held a lead going into the final round, much less at the start of the weekend. Many of those eventual winners went into Saturday four or five shots back, and with a player like Walker at the top, we have a big pool of players to choose from at the RBC Heritage.

Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy for Round 3

I really was looking for better options, but the +1600 number on Rahm is just staring at me as I evaluate my picks before Round 3. The way I look at situations like this where we have a leader — even with a multi-shot lead — who I simply don't think has a chance to win (sorry Jimmy and family), is to view second place as the true leader. That puts Scheffler at the top of the board and while that is certainly daunting, Rahm is one of the players who could go toe-to-toe with Scheffler.

Rahm is the type of competitor that will put last week's major win behind him in a hurry, as he showed Friday at Harbour Town. His 7-under day took him from outside of the cutline to in the mix and we are now getting nearly double the odds with 36 holes still to play. If he continues to tap into the play that made him an easy winner at the Masters, +1600 will be looked at as a steal after Saturday's round.

The data says Patton Kizzire has staying power this weekend. He ranks at the top of the remaining field on approach (Troy Merritt is first, but missed the cut) and has gained nearly eight shots with his irons after the first two days. While I would love to tell you he has a shot to win at +10000, it's just hard for me to believe he can win in this elite field. The good news is the strength of the field gives us a nice number for a top 10 as BetRivers still has him at +500.

Since the start of the year, we have been looking for signs of life from Justin Thomas and he seems to be showing it a bit heading into the weekend at Harbour Town. This is a course that should suit his game as it takes his driver out of his hands on many holes and rewards shot-shaping creativity. Thomas is still one of the best iron players in the game and that wasn't quite there for him, despite a solid 3-under Friday. I'm going to take my shot on Thomas' talent and ability to go low at any given moment and grab the +6000 at BetRivers. If we can get one of those patented rounds of 65 or better from Thomas on Saturday, he can put himself in the mix with some confidence heading into Sunday at the RBC Heritage.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players After Round 2

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