Most of the eyes in the golf community have already turned to Whistling Straits, where the American and European Teams will square off for the Ryder Cup next weekend. Before they do so, however, the PGA TOUR will begin its 2022 season in Napa Valley.
Jon Rahm tees off Thursday with the shortest odds of any favorite on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods in 2013. He opened at just +300 to win this weekend and is the only player in the field this week who will subsequently head to the Ryder Cup next weekend.
If bettors dig a little deeper into the betting markets at the Fortinet Championship, there’s value to be found. The North Course at Silverado Country Club will host plenty of players looking to position themselves as the chase for next year’s FedEx Cup gets underway.
Max Homa +330 as group winner (vs. Leishman, Pereira, Gooch, Perez) (DraftKings)
Silverado is going to set up well for players who can convert birdie chances with a wedge in hand. Max Homa has proven himself to be one of the best players on TOUR when hitting an approach shot with less than a full club into the green, as chronicled by Action Network contributor Justin Ray:
Notable scoring leaders (best to par per attempt) from 50-125 yards last season on Tour who are in the field this week:
14. Howell III
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) September 13, 2021
Homa’s play has been very up-and-down this year. In 2021, he’s notched seven top 20 finishes and six missed cuts in his 21 worldwide starts. For the most part, when Homa plays well, he gets very hot and finds himself near the top of the leaderboard. On a course that suits him this week, he’s a good bet to eek out the other four members of this group.
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Higgs +350 as group winner (vs. Herbert, Howell, Mickelson, Rai) (Parx)
In another group pairing, Harry Higgs looks like the correct pick, with even longer odds. According to DataGolf’s Course History tool, no player in this week’s field as gained more strokes per round at Silverado than Higgs.
He’s played well of late, with a T16 at the Northern Trust and a T15 the week prior at the Wyndham Championship. That’s encouraging after a string of four straight missed cuts late in the season.
Over the last three months, Higgs has been the third best player in the would around the greens, according to DataGolf’s metrics. His soft hands and deft wedge play will come in handy this weekend at Silverado.
If you’re intrigued by Higgs but scared off by one of the other members of this group, there’s similar value elsewhere. DraftKings has Higgs at +350 to finish in the top 20. That would likely win him this group, but can also offer a safe hedge of your bet.
Ryan Moore +9000 to be the Top American player (Parx)
At this stage of his career, Moore is a tough player to wager on. His 2021 did not inspire confidence in his ability to re-gain his form as a former top 30 player in the world. He missed eight cuts in 2021, including his last three starts.
He’s still the kind of veteran who can climb a leaderboard on the right course on the right weekend. His T2 at the John Deere Classic proved that.
Now he tees it up at Silverado, where he has always played well. Of the players in the field with 10 or more rounds at this course, only Kevin Na has accrued more True Strokes Gained per round than Moore, per DataGolf.
With that level of comfort, these odds are simply too long. We aren’t looking for Moore to even walk away with the trophy on Sunday, just to defeat all his fellow Americans. That’s reassuring in a tournament where the favorite and four of the top ten players with the shortest odds to win are international.