By: Field Level Media
The PGA Tour Travelers Championship Odds
For the first time since the PGA Tour returned from its hiatus earlier this month, Rory McIlroy is not the clear favorite.
The world’s top-ranked player hasn’t finished inside the top 30 in the first two events back but may be poised for a better result at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., beginning Thursday.
TPC River Highlands is known for giving up low scores – including a PGA Tour-record 58 by Jim Furyk – and is the shortest in the TPC network at 6,841 yards. A shot-maker’s stomping grounds, the layout also sets up well to be dominated by big hitters.
Bubba Watson is a three-time winner, and there is no coincidence that Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas are co-moneyline favorites being offered at +1200 by PointsBet and William Hill. While PointsBet also lists McIlroy at +1200, William Hill is offering the Northern Irishman at an enticing +1400.
It’s also the third consecutive loaded field for the Tour’s return.
Spain’s Jon Rahm remains second in the world rankings and is being offered at +1800 by both books. Former No. 1 Brooks Koepka has seen his odds shorten to +2000 following his T7 at last week’s RBC Heritage, a much tighter golf course than TPC River Highlands.
“Length is a big advantage here, Koepka acknowledged. “I’m not a big fan of those shootouts like the last few weeks. Just feels like you birdied two out of three holes and you really haven’t gone anywhere, feels like you almost have gone backwards. So, I’m excited for this week to see what it’s like.”
How Low Can You Go? Travelers Championship Odds
Five players posted four rounds in the 60s last year, when the field wasn’t nearly as chock full of marquee names as it is this week.
“You can really go low on the back nine, lots of risk-reward,” said Jordan Spieth, who hit the event’s most iconic shot with a hole-out from the sand to win on the first playoff hole in 2017. “It’s a really fun golf course to play because if you’re on, you’ve got a lot of looks at birdie and even could have a couple looks at eagle.”
Spieth knows the course well, which could be a distinct advantage for the handful of players who regularly play the event.
Spieth (+4000 by PointsBet, +4500 by William Hill) struggled around the greens last week, but has shown strides with his overall game in posting a T10 and T68 the past few weeks.
Daniel Berger was the player Spieth beat with that bunker shot three years ago, but withdrew from this year’s event on Monday. That won’t disappoint anyone in the field after he followed up a win with a T3 last week.
Patrick Cantlay, another player intimately familiar with TPC River Highlands, enters as somewhat of a dark horse despite being ranked No. 7 in the world.
Cantlay hasn’t competed since February, watching the first two events back to see how the coronavirus protocols unfolded. He was also targeting the Travelers, where he has posted top-15 the past few years on a course that he has also carded a 60 on as an amateur.
“I’ve got a lot of good memories here, and I like the golf course,” said Cantlay, who is +2500 at both books. “I can’t help but get good vibes whenever I’m around this place.”
Dustin Johnson is another big hitter looking to find his form after dropping out of the top five. He is +2800 at PointsBet along with Watson, fellow former No. 1 Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele. William Hill was offering longer odds midweek on Schauffele (+3000) and Watson (+3300), and each of the four veterans present interesting options.
“I’ve been saying this is like my second home,” Watson said Tuesday. “No matter what your skill set is, this golf course doesn’t limit itself to one winner. It’s all kind of different golf games.”
Some Young Guns and Longshots to Think About at the Travelers Championship
That could play well to someone striping their irons of late such as Chile’s 21-year-old Juaquin Niemann. A first-time Tour winner last fall, he finished T5 last week with stellar iron play. Niemann finished two shots back of Abraham Ancer, another pure ball-striker who was in contention until the 72nd hole.
Ancer (+3000 at PointsBet) and Niemann (+3300) are among a group of rising stars hovering around the same odds. That includes Collin Morikawa (+3300) and reigning Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im (+4000).
Niemann tied for fifth last year in an event that traditionally invites several rookies. Morikawa posted three rounds in the 60s while finishing T36 last year, ahead of fellow rookies Vicktor Hovland (T54) and Matthew Wolf (T80). Hovland is listed at +5000 while Wolff has long odds at +15000 at both books.
Webb Simpson jumped four spots to No. 5 in the official world golf rankings with his victory at the RBC Heritage. That followed a missed cut the previous week, and Simpson missed the cut in his last Travelers appearance in 2018.
Simpson has won two of his past four starts including the Phoenix Open, to go along with four runner-up finishes in his past 16 events. The books aren’t sleeping on him as Simpson is +2000 at PointsBet and +2200 at William Hill.
“I love the fact when par is a difficult score to make on a hole,” Koepka said. “And I think out here, yes, you can shoot quite a few under, but everywhere you turn there’s water here, so there’s an obstacle you’ve got in front of you, there’s a big number looking you in the face on almost every hole.”
–Field Level Media