2024 PGA Championship Sleeper Picks & Long Shots: Bets for Nicolai Højgaard & More

2024 PGA Championship Sleeper Picks & Long Shots: Bets for Nicolai Højgaard & More article feature image

Warren Little/Getty Images. Pictured: Nicolai Højgaard.

It’s finally time for another major championship!

The best golfers in the world head to Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky for a chance to win the PGA Championship and hoist the biggest trophy in golf, the Wanamaker Trophy.

The biggest headline is the trio at the top — Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlory and Brooks Koepka — as all three enter this tournament coming off a win in their most recent appearance and are priced appropriately.

While Valhalla offers a significant challenge, betting the favorites often is not the most profitable way to approach them. With a premium set on long hitters off the tee and accurate approach shots, there are a handful of longshot golfers who are worth betting before the tournament begins.

Let's take a look at my 2024 PGA Championship Sleeper Picks & Long Shots below who have a chance to shock the golf world in Louisville.

2024 PGA Championship Sleeper Picks & Long Shots

Akshay Bhatia 175-1 (bet365)

Akshay Bhatia has been a pleasant surprise on Tour this season. With seven top-20 finishes under his belt, he has proven he can compete in a variety of environments on the biggest stage.

Bhatia picked up his first win this season a few weeks back at the Valero Texas Open, but he has been in great form for the better part of two months. He has four top-20 finishes in his last six starts.

One big question with Bhatia is his performance in major championships. He did make the cut at the Masters earlier this spring, before finishing in a tie for 35th overall.

The reasons to love Bhatia this year are focused on his strengths and his all-around game. He is seventh overall on the entire PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Total this season. He has consistently been undervalued, and at 175-1, that is the case again this week.

He grades out well both off the tee and with approach shots, which sets him up for success at Valhalla. Bhatia ranks 28th in Total Driving and 27th in Driving Accuracy. Valhalla is a 7,609-yard par-71 beast of a course, so length and approach play from distance will be imperative this week.

He pairs his success off the tee with quality approach shots on a consistent basis. He ranks 15th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 46th in Approach from over 200 yards. On a long course like Valhalla, precision with the first two shots on each hole will be key, and he is worth an outright bet to win.

Keith Mitchell 225-1 (bet365)

Next we move to Keith Mitchell, who has been remarkably consistent as of late. Mitchell has made the cut in nine of his last 10 events and has finished within the top 20 in six of those 10 appearances.

Mitchell placed in the top 10 at the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches and at The American Express, and he has shown capable of remaining in contention on a very regular basis this season.

Like Bhatia, Mitchell has been phenomenal off the tee and a sniper from the fairways.

The Georgia Bulldog is one of the longest hitters on Tour, averaging 307 yards per drive, which is good for 28th in Driving Distance. He ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee this season, and at a course as long as Valhalla, Mitchell’s distance could make a huge difference.

He has also been stellar at setting himself up for birdie opportunities. He ranks 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach. He has been great from long distances as well, ranking ninth in Proximity and 11th on approach shots from outside of 200 yards.

Mitchell’s strengths set up perfectly for this weekend in Louisville and he has a chance to play meaningful golf late into the weekend.

Nicolai Højgaard 175-1 (bet365)

Our final long shot for the PGA Championship this weekend is the 23-year-old Nicolai Højgaard. Højgaard is from Denmark and has exploded onto the scene over the last year on the PGA Tour.

He is still seeking his first win this season but finished in solo second at the Farmers Insurance Open. Torrey Pines (South) is the longest course on the PGA Tour this season and also features thick rough, which means that his skill set should translate to Valhalla this week, which is the third-longest course on Tour this year.

He also played very well in the prior major this year, when he tied for 16th at the Masters. Højgaard shot an opening-round 67 and was atop the leaderboard early before faltering late at Augusta.

Højgaard has missed the cut in back-to-back events, but that just makes his price more appealing for bettors as the birdie-fest Corales Puntacana Championship and two-man Zurich Classic of New Orleans don't carry much weight this week.

There aren’t many bets in the long shot tier with higher upside week to week than Højgaard as he is phenomenal off the tee, which is the biggest key to success at Valhalla. He ranks fifth in Total Driving and 21st in Driving Distance this season.

Approach shots will be key for Højgaard, and he grades out slightly above average in a few key spots. He ranks 66th in Strokes Gained: Approach this season and 48th in Proximity.

At 175-1, Højgaard has better upside than many of the options in his odds range.

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