PGA Tour golf best bets: RBC Heritage

Golf

After Hideki Matsuyama‘s historic win at the Masters, the PGA Tour now heads to Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage.

Webb Simpson, who tied for 12th last week at Augusta, is the defending champion.

Which players are the favorites this time around, who offers good odds and what props are worthwhile?

Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Chris “The Bear” Fallica, Joe Fortenbaugh, Tyler Fulghum, sports betting deputy editor David Bearman and fantasy analyst Anita Marks offer their best bets.

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill unless otherwise noted.


Bets to win

Webb Simpson 12-1; Top-5 finish (+225), top-10 finish (+110)

Bearman: In this very column last year, I picked Simpson to win the RBC a week after he missed the cut in the PGA Tour’s return at Colonial, focusing on his outstanding shot-making ability and solid approaches, both of which are needed at Harbour Town. The pick paid off at a nice 25-1 return, as he took him his seventh tour win. You can’t get 25-1 on him this week, as the field is noticeably weaker and the secret is out on how good he is. Now up to ninth in the Official World Golf Rankings, Simpson ranks fifth in driving accuracy, 23rd in greens in regulation, eighth in strokes gained around the green and 13th in strokes gained putting.

Harbour Town takes good shot-making and excellence around the very small greens, and Simpson is tops on tour in scrambling as well. Outside of his win last year, he also finished second in 2013 as part of three top 10s and 10 cuts made in 11 appearances here. He played well last week, with three of his four rounds at the Masters under par, good enough for a T-12 finish. A second-round 76 cost him a chance at contentdng. I’m betting on a repeat of his 2020 RBC win, but also playing him in top 5/10/20s.

Marks: Simpson comes in as the defending champion, and he has four straight top 20-finishes at the Heritage. This course fits his game to a tee, and he has called it one of his favorite courses on tour. In researching the metrics needed to win, his name ranks near the top in most: fifth in driving accuracy, first in scrambling, ninth in sand play, 13th in putting, T-22 in ball-striking, eighth in strokes gained around the greens and T-23 in greens in regulation this season. I’m also taking Simpson over Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay in straight forecasts.

Tyrrell Hatton 25-1; Top-10 finish (+250), top-20 finish (+125)

Bearman: I was wrong on Hatton last week. There, I said it. I picked him to miss the cut due to his poor prior performances at the biggest golf events, and he turned in a top-20 finish after a final-round 68. Well, we are now back at a lower profile event, so there’s no reason to pick against him. Hatton is 10th in strokes gained on approach and 21st overall, and he is coming off his sixth top 20 in his last eight events played across the globe. He put up a 64-63 on Friday-Saturday last year and was one of the leaders after 54 holes en route to a T-3 finish. I like the way he finished at Augusta on Sunday and hope he can parlay that into another strong finish in South Carolina.

Will Zalatoris 25-1; Top-10 finish (+250)

Bearman: No course history to speak of would normally chase me away, but did anyone see how awesome Zalatoris was last week in his Masters debut? A massively underrated storyline to Hideki Matsuyama’s big win was how the 24-year old ignored the pressure of playing in the final pairing on Saturday and third-to-last pairing on Sunday and claim runner-up status, his top career finish in his brief PGA Tour career. So what does he do for an encore? He is a legit contender to win his first tour event this week. He enters the RBC 16th in greens in regulation, fifth in strokes gained on approach, fourth in tee-to-green and 12th overall — all perfect for this course. In 14 stroke play events this year, Zalatoris has 11 top 25s, including six top 10s, two of which were at majors. Nothing seems to faze this kid, who Anita has coined a “human ATM.” I’m hopping on board.

Corey Conners 28-1; Top-20 finish (+140)

Bearman: When the golfing gods give you a present like Conners, you just keep riding it. He has become a staple pick of mine in these columns, and he delivered another top 10 last week at Augusta. That’s three top 10s in his last four stroke play events and six of 12 going back to last October. He is seventh in driving accuracy, 10th in greens in regulation and in the top 15 in strokes gained off the tee, on approach, tee to green and total. If Zalatoris is Anita’s “human ATM,” then Conners is mine.

Matt Kuchar 50-1; Top-20 finish (+200)

Bearman: I was torn during the Masters on if I wanted Kuchar to finish well or not. I knew he was going to show up in this column due to his great success at Harbour Town, so part of me was rooting for a missed cut to get a better price. However, I also wanted him playing well for this pick. We got a little of both. After a horrible 78 to open at Augusta, Kuchar fired a strong 70 on Friday but missed the weekend. Now we can get him at 50-1 to win and +200 for a top 20 at a course he has owned. And I mean owned. Kuchar, who won here in 2014, has made the cut in each of his last 16 appearances and finished runner-up in 2019 and fifth in 2015 as part of six top 10s here. He has also been playing decent of late, finishing third in the match play and 12th in Texas before the Masters. It’s a strong turnaround, considering he hadn’t finished in the top 20 since August of last year prior to the match play. His metrics are predictably bad for someone who struggled until three weeks ago, so this is more of a play on course history and a weaker field than anything.


Props

Morikawa top-5 finish 5-1; Top-10 finish (+250), top-20 finish (+110)

Marks: This course is a good fit for Morikawa, who finished T-18 at the Masters. He is sixth in driving accuracy, eighth in ball striking, first in strokes gained on approach and fifth in greens in regulation this season. You don’t necessarily have to be a great putter to win on this track; it’s more about proximity to the hole on your second shot, and Morikawa ranks 16th.

Cantlay top-10 finish (+200)

Bearman: This should be a no-brainer to pick him to win this week after T-3, T-7, T-3 here from 2017-19, but his play last week at Augusta was worse than bad, which followed his bad missed cut at Sawgrass two weeks earlier. Cantlay finished 72nd out of 88 players last week in total strokes gained and was +11 before finishing well with three birdies. There isn’t much value at 16-1 to win in this weaker field, putting him up there with Simpson and Dustin Johnson, so I am not playing that. However, his results here and his metrics (sixth in total strokes gained and seventh in approach) make him a likely contender, so I am going to hope he figures out what is wrong and gets a top 10 at 2-to-1 on your money.

Cantlay top-10 finish (+200); Top-20 finish (+100)

Marks: Nine of the last 10 winners at the Heritage either did not play or missed the cut at the Masters the previous week, so don’t worry that Cantlay missed the cut at Augusta. Cantlay has finished inside the top 10 in his last three appearances on this track. He is 19th in ball-striking, seventh in strokes gained around the greens and third in scrambling this season. The golf gods know you have to be able to scramble to win on the Ocean Course. I also like Cantlay (-120) over Daniel Berger.

Conners top-10 finish (+275); Top-20 finish (+138)

Marks: Conners finished T-21 here last year and is playing great golf at the moment. He is seventh in driving accuracy, sixth in ball-striking, 13th in strokes gained on approach and 10th in greens in regulation this season. Plus money for Corey to finish in the top 20 seems like easy money. I also like Conners (-120) over Paul Casey in matchups.

Abraham Ancer top-10 finish (3-1); Top-20 finish (+150)

Marks: Ancer was the bridesmaid last year at Heritage, so we know he can master this course. Coming off a T-26 finish at the Masters, a top-20 finish isn’t asking for too much. He is second in riving accuracy, 24th in ball-striking,and 14th in greens in regulation this season.

Will Zalatoris top-20 finish (+110)

Marks: Our secret is out! The human ATM for top-20 finishes has now become a household name after his runner-up finish at the Masters this past week. I’m thrilled we are still getting plus money for a top-20 finish. He is fifth in strokes gained on approach and 16th in greens in regulation this season.

Matt Kuchar top-40 finish ()

Marks: Kuchar loves Pete Dye courses and always plays well here after the Masters, not missing a cut the last five years. He has won here and has five top-10s, making the cut 16 of 17 appearances. Kuchar is another golfer who missed the cut last week, giving him more time to prepare for a tournament he has always had a lot of success at. I also have Kuchar (-109) over Billy Horschel in matchups.

Tyrell Hatton over Matthew Fitzpatrick (-105)

Marks: Hatton finished tied for third here last year, shooting 20-under over his final three rounds, and finished T-18 at the Masters. He is 21st in sand shots, 10th in strokes gained on approach and T-14 in proximity to the hole this season.

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