Wilson’s Travelers Championship Matchup Bets & Picks: DeChambeau Domination & a Bonus Top 20 Longshot
Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau
Golf has been a major part of the lockdown routine in the Wilson household. As MLB struggles to get its season going, my attention this spring has been solely on handicapping golf while working on my own personal game.
As an Oklahoma resident the past 15 years, I have had the joy of watching some incredible golf. Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in 2007 just a block from my house. He was challenged by local Oklahoma State golfer Scott Verplank.
While I could go on about the dominance of my Lady Razorback golf team, my resurgence in golf comes from a crop of local Oklahoma State golfers. Rickie Fowler has long been one of my favorites, but following Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland has become a weekend priority.
I’ve traded in MLB umpire rotations for ball striking. This new gambling world is about mastering which strokes gained category matters most at which course.
Travelers Championship Promos!
- Win $100 if Bryson DeChambeau makes just ONE birdie all week
- Get a FREE $25 bet on Justin Thomas to win the Travelers
Golf is an analytical gambler’s dream, as the PGA Tour offers as much in-depth statistical coverage as any sport.
Move along Mike Leake road starts — the new sheriff in town is Hovland outright and top 20 weekly wagers… including +250 to finish Top 20 at the Travelers.
Here are some of my favorite matchups I’m betting this week.
Tour pros, they're just like us. 😂
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) April 13, 2020
Bryson DeChambeau vs. Rory McIlroy/Justin Thomas
Typically when a player changes their body in any sport, so do his statistical strengths and weaknesses.
Mike Trout, long regarded as the top player in baseball, showed up to Angels camp with noticeably more beef in 2015. Fantasy owners knew the days of swiping bags was over. Coming off stealing a combined 82 bags and being caught just 12 times over the previous two years, Trout has been in steady decline, posting just 11 steals last year.
There are similarities between that Trout story and DeChambeau, but also some differences. With the added muscle, the SMU product has increased swing speed and has added incredible distance off the tee.
That category has not applied the past two weeks at Colonial and the Heritage. At the TPC River Highlands, it absolutely matters.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 17, 2020
While the previous two courses had layouts for the precision golfer, the Travelers correlates to recent and long term driving distance. Expect DeChambeau to reach plenty of greens off the tee box.
Ranking No. 5 overall in ball striking for 2020, DeChambeau has yet to show a weakness like Trout and stealing bags. In 34 rounds this calendar year, he ranks 30th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 32nd in Strokes Gained: Putting. We have yet to find a negative in Bryson’s game due to the added weight.
McIlroy continued inconsistent play at the RBC Heritage, posting another finish outside the top 30. He is still the best golfer in the world, so it may take Rory’s form a bit longer to return. But there are questions around strokes gained in every category. Driving distance, putting and approach have all been in decline since the WGC-Mexico on Feb. 23.
We know course birdies are a strong metric at the Travelers, a stat category DeChambeau has mastered on this track. While Justin Thomas did finish third in 2016, there are two missed cuts and three finishes 30th or worse since 2013. Thomas has finished top 25 in course birdies at TPC River Highlands just once the last decade.
- DeChambeau -105 vs. McIlroy
- DeChambeau -110 vs. Thomas
Brooks Koepka (+112) vs. Webb Simpson
Taking Koepka in a non-major hasn’t been historically profitable, but this version of Brooks is dialed in. Koepka is racing up the board in numerous strokes gained categories through two weeks of return play.
He finished seventh overall in strokes gained, posting a 16th in tee to green and first in off the tee at Harbour Town.
His tee shot off the ninth hole at the Heritage should have gamblers salivating over potential hole in one’s at the Travelers.
Koepka has never missed a cut on this course, a different outcome than that of Webb Simpson’s last trip to TPC River Highlands. Simpson shot a disastrous 77 during the second round in 2018.
Simpson has had three top 10 finishes over the past decade here, but there is price inflation just off a victory at Harbour Town. Distance off the tee box is important here, as Webb has a negative strokes gained number off the tee for the 2020 calendar year.
Similar to Justin Thomas, Simpson has not finished top 25 in Travelers course birdies since 2013.
Chris Stroud Top 20 (+800)
Looking for a long shot to roster in DFS and Top 20 tickets? Look no farther than Chris Stroud, the journeyman who had missed seven consecutive cuts.
That streak came to an end at the RBC Heritage, where Stroud posted a top 30 in a loaded field. The Lamar University alum has been on TOUR since 2004 and waited more than a decade for his first win.
Eleven years and 290 starts in the making.
Welcome to the winner's circle, Chris Stroud. pic.twitter.com/ZhHZK2glem
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 7, 2017
Stroud found his form during the COVID-19 quarantine, posting a top 30 rank in strokes gained total at Harbour Town.
There is history on this course, as Stroud finished top 20 three consecutive times starting in 2013. A cheap longshot who’s in form that has results on this track is certainly getting a small investment from me.