Charles Schwab Open Odds and the Return of Gold
The PGA Tour returns to competition with a prime opportunity to capture the attention of casual fans with team sports still on hiatus for at least another month.
Sportsbooks also expect to draw potential record action for a non-major ahead of Thursday’s start to the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
The 148-player field lacks Tiger Woods but features plenty of marquee firepower. That includes the top three players in the world in Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Sensing an opportunity to seize the spotlight, the PGA Tour has paired the trio together for the opening two rounds.
The official world golf rankings also returns from hiatus this week, which helped lure the top five players and 101 previous Tour winners to create a historically loaded field for the event.
Why the Charles Schwab Open Odds Favor Rory in a Packed Field
McIlroy will tee it up for the first time at Colonial Country Club but is still the favorite for understandable reasons. Before the sport’s shutdown, the Northern Irishman had posted seven consecutive top-five finishes, 10 in his past 11 events dating back to his victory in last season’s Tour Championship.
McIlroy is being offered at +750 by PointsBet and +800 by William Hill. That’s ahead of Rahm (+1100, +1200), who has a pair of top-five finishes in three previous starts in the event.
No one knows what to expect out of Koepka, perhaps not even himself. The former top-ranked player and four-time major winner notoriously gears up for marquee events. Does the Charles Schwab fit the bill given the three-month layoff?
Koepka underwent knee surgery last fall and struggled mightily after his return, failing to finish in the top four in his past three starts. But he also finished second in 2018, posting a pair of sub-65 rounds for the only time in his PGA Tour career. Koepka is +2500 at PointsBet and +2800 by William Hill.
The third betting favorite is fourth-ranked Justin Thomas, and for good reason. Thomas is second in the FedEx Cup standings and has a pair of wins this season. He’s listed at +1400 and +1600 by the two books.
Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau are being offered at +2200 by both books, with William Hill offering DeChambeau at +2400 midweek.
Simpson finished T61 in his last event at the WGC-Mexico Championship before taking the Florida swing off. Before that, he had five consecutive top-10s, punctuated by a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
DeChambeau enters ranked No. 13 in the world and has posted three consecutive top-5s. He hasn’t won since the Dubai Desert Classic 17 months ago but was playing as consistently as anyone in the world before the shutdown.
Paired with DeChambeau is former No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who has dipped to No. 5 in the world amid a winless streak dating back to February 2019 in Mexico. His results have been mixed since his own surgery last fall, with a second-place showing in Saudi Arabia in February an outlier to the zero top-fives he has posted in his other 12 worldwide starts since last year’s runner-up at the PGA Championship. Johnson, who won a charity event paired with McIlroy last month, is +2500 at PointsBet and +2800 at William Hill.
What Other Former No. 1s Can Grab Victory at the Charles Schwab Open?
Another former No. 1 seeking to regain his wayward form is Justin Rose. While several marquee European players have opted to skip the opening events upon golf’s return, like McIlroy and Rahm, Rose (+4000, +5000) plays the majority of his events on the PGA Tour. Rose has dropped all the way to No. 14 on the heels of three missed cuts in four events. He also posted a T58 at Colonial last week but has also admitted to burnout over the past year, so perhaps the lengthy layoff will reignite the Englishman.
Books are also beginning to pay due respect to Sungjae Im, the reigning rookie of the year who also just happens to lead the FedEx Cup standings. The South Korean broke through for his maiden Tour victory at The Honda Classic and backed it up with a third-place finish at the Arnold Palmer a week later. Im is +3000 at PointsBet and +3300 at William Hill despite missing the cut last year.
Kevin Na claimed his third career PGA Tour title at Colonial last year and was runner-up in the event in 2018. The field wasn’t nearly as strong in May 2019, and the Las Vegas resident is seen as a +5000 underdog by PointsBet and +5500 by William Hill.
Last year’s runner up, Tony Finau, can be had for +3300 and +4000, respectfully. Finau’s lone win on Tour came at the 2018 Puerto Rico Open, so he’s still in search of his first title in the U.S. He has been unable to finish on Sunday’s but did finish second to Simpson in Phoenix following a T6 at Torrey Pines.
Looking for some potential longshots? Ryan Palmer (+7000 at both books) and C.T. Pan (+20000 at both) were the only players to post four consecutive rounds in the 60s at Colonial last year. Pan has missed five of his past six cuts while Palmer’s best finish since that T6 a year ago was a T4 at this year’s Sony Open.
Some Interesting Prop Bets for the Charles Schwab Open
As is typical, DraftKings and FanDuel are offering the most diverse prop bets for a golf event.
Among some of the most interesting are whether there will be an albatross during the tournament (Yes +1600, No -10000 at DraftKings) and whether the event will be decided by a playoff (Yes +400, No -670).
FanDuel is offering two “odds boosts” with max bets of $50: +375 (was +300) that McIlroy, Rahm or Thomas will win the Charles Schwab Challenge; and +350 (was +300) that Koepka will finish among the top 10 plus ties. Both books are also offering numerous match betting, round leader and finishing position props.
As of midweek, DraftKings reported that McIlroy (+750) was responsible for 10 percent of the handle and eight percent of the event bets at its sportsbook. Bettors were also flocking to the favorable odds on Koepka (+2500), who was responsible for eight percent of the handle and seven percent of the total bets.
In a similar fashion, the +4600 odds being offered on 2016 event champion Jordan Spieth was drawing six percent of the handle and five percent of the bets. The Texas native hasn’t won an event in three years and doesn’t have a top five in his past 18 worldwide starts while dropping to 56th in the world rankings.