Mayakoba Golf Classic Betting Preview

Justin Thomas was left as the clear pre-tournament favorite for the Mayakoba Golf Classic when world No. 1 Dustin Johnson decided to withdraw late last week.

At No. 3, Thomas is the only top-10 player in the field. He’s also the +650 favorite by BetMGM, ahead of four-time major champion Brooks Koepka (+1200).

With No. 13 Daniel Berger, No. 19 Tony Finau and No. 22 Abraham Ancer of Mexico the only other top-25 players in the field, the Mayakoba Golf Classic is prime for a player with longer odds to cash in.

Thomas is the heavy favorite for good reason and is a solid bet as well. He has already won twice this year and squandered a third title when he lost a three-shot lead with three holes to play at the Workday Charity Open.

Despite that, he’s known as a strong closer and enters in strong form with five consecutive top-15 finishes, including a solo fourth at the Masters in his most recent start.

Koepka has consecutive top-10 finishes but hasn’t won since 2019 as he continues to work his way back from his latest injury layoff.

Harris English is definitely one to watch.

The second of his two PGA Tour victories came at Mayakoba in 2013, and he finished fifth in the event last year. English has risen to a career-best 33rd in the world on the strength of five top-10s and seven more top-20s in his past 17 starts.

English needs to prove that he can close on Sunday, but his form throughout 2020 combined with his past success at Mayakoba has him as the third betting favorite at +1600 by BetMGM.

That’s slightly ahead of Ancer (+1800), who is trying to become just the fourth Mexico native to win on the PGA Tour. The third was Carlos Ortiz (+5000), who joined the list with his victory at the Houston Open last month.

Ancer has been knocking on the door for the past few years, posting a trio of runner-up results and holding a share of the 54-hole lead at the Masters before closing with a 76 on Sunday.

Berger (+2000) is another intriguing name.

One of the most consistent players throughout 2020, Berger had seven top-10s over nine-event stretch, including a win at the Charles Schwab Challenge in the Tour’s re-start in June. However, that did not qualify him for the rescheduled Masters, and his latest start was a tie for 17th at the Zozo Championship.

Also being offered at +2000 is 26th-ranked Viktor Hovland. The rising young star from Norway would typically have shorter odds, but he has missed the Mayakoba cut each of the past two years.

A winner in Puerto Rico earlier this year, Hovland has four top-15 finishes in his past five starts.

Another excellent young player to watch this week is Chile’s Joaquin Niemann (+3500). He had four consecutive top-20s before being knocked out of the Masters following a positive COVID-19 test. Niemann, who finished tied for 44th at the RSM Classic two weeks ago in his return, missed the Mayakoba cut last year.

While the Mayakoba Golf Classic is missing many of the game’s marquee names, the field does not lack for accomplished players.

Brendon Todd (+4500) offers long odds for a defending champion who reached the Tour Championship. That said, Todd doesn’t have a top-20 finish since August.

Adam Long (+5500) was one of three players to finish a shot behind Todd last year. He also finished runner-up at the 3M Open in July and fifth at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in September after holding the 54-hole lead.

Another player enjoying a strong start to the 2020-21 PGA Tour season is Peter Malnati. He enters this week as a +10000 longshot despite a pair of top-10s this fall along with a tie for 21st in Bermuda after opening with a 63.

Also being offered at +10000 are Vaughn Taylor, who tied for second last year, and Pat Perez, the leading career money winner at Mayakoba with $1,898,929.

Mayakoba Golf Classic Best Bet

Will Zalatoris, a Korn Ferry Tour grad, has earned special PGA Tour status through the end of the year on the strength of an excellent fall swing.

After a streak of 11 consecutive top-20s on the KFT, Zalatoris served notice with his tie for sixth at the U.S. Open that included an aces and another tee shot the same day that hit the flagstick. He was even among the betting favorites in his next start at Corales, where he went on to tie for eighth.

Zalatoris missed his next cut but rebounded with a tie for fifth at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and a tie for 16th in Bermuda.

Zalatoris offers short outright winner odds at +3300 for a player making his sixth Tour start. But the 24-year-old does have 13 top-10s in 21 starts in 2020 across the KFT and PGA Tours, with 11 of them coming in his past 16 events.

Mayakoba Golf Classic Best Bet: Will Zalatoris +320 by BetMGM to finish in the top 10.

PGA Odds: The RSM Classic Betting Preview

Five of the 10 previous winners of The RSM Classic have made the event their first career victory on the PGA Tour.

That includes Tyler Duncan, who sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole last year to beat Webb Simpson.

Simpson returns to Sea Island, Ga. as the pre-tournament favorite with +900 odds at multiple sportsbooks, including William Hill. The event has attracted more marquee names in 2020, as it was just a three-hour drive from Augusta National.

That drew the likes of 10th-ranked Tyrrell Hatton (+1600), Sunjae Im (+2000) and England’s Tommy Fleetwood (+2500).

Each are solid bets this week. 

Hatton surprisingly missed the cut at Augusta National but still has a win and three other top-10s in his past seven starts. 

Im played in the final group with Dustin Johnson at the Masters. One of the PGA Tour’s noted grinders, he won’t be phased by the emotional toll of a Masters Sunday and has risen to 18th in the world rankings.

Fleetwood is still seeking his first victory on U.S. soil, and when it comes the floodgates could open for the Englishman. He’s coming off a T19 at Augusta.

The Best Value Plays on the PGA Odds for the RSM Classic

A par 70 track that plays right around 7,000 yards, Sea Island is not a bomber’s paradise and there are several intriguing value plays in the field.

Chile’s rising star Joaquin Niemann (+3500) received an unwanted week off following a positive COVID-19 test that knocked him out of The Masters. He has three consecutive top-20 finishes along with a T3 at the BMW Championship in August.

Justin Rose was in contention at The Masters before fading with a 76 on Saturday. The former world No. 1 is continuing to work on his game since parting with his swing coach earlier this year, but enters with lengthy +4000 odds for a player with his pedigree.

There are also numerous players in the field who live and/or train in Sea Island and have an edge with their knowledge of the Seaside course.

That includes Harris English (+2800), who has enjoyed a solid restart to the PGA Tour that has included eight top-20s in his past 12 starts. English hasn’t won since 2013 but did finish runner-up to Johnson’s record-setting win at The Northern Trust and followed it up with a solo fourth at the U.S. Open.

Brian Harman (+4500) and Zach Johnson (+5000) are multiple-time winners on Tour and Sea Island residents. 

J.T. Poston (+8000) trains at Sea Island. He’s coming off a missed cut at The Masters but won last year’s Wyndham Championship and finished third at the Sanderson Farms Championship to kick off the 2020-21 PGA Tour season.

Hudson Swafford offers long odds at +30000 for someone who trains at Sea Island and won six weeks ago at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. Granted, that was against a modest field and he has missed three of four cuts since then with the other being a T63 in Bermuda.

The RSM Classic Best Bet

Simpson is the top-ranked player in the field and already has a pair of victories in 2020. However, The RSM Classic benefitted from The Masters being played just three hours away last week, leading to several marquee players adding Sea Island to their schedules.

Simpson continues to rack up quality finishes even when he’s not winning.

That includes a T10 at The Masters to extend his streak of top-20s to seven starts. He also has six top-10s in his past 12 starts, a streak that began with a win at the RBC Heritage.

The RSM Classic Best Bet: Webb Simpson +200 to finish in the Top 10 by William Hill.

Best Bets for the 2020 RSM Classic: Will a Shorty Stand Tall?

In what will be the second last PGA event of 2020, the Tour heads south from Augusta to St. Simons Island, Georgia. 156 players will compete for the RSM Classic this weekend at the two Sea Island Resort Courses. The players will play one of their two opening rounds at The Plantation Course while the remaining three rounds will be played at The Seaside Course.

The Seaside plays as a par 70 totalling just over 7000 yards with many holes off the coast. The Plantation course is more inland and plays as a 7,060 yard par 72. Both courses feature Bermuda putting greens.

Like many resort courses, Sea Island will play easier for the PGA professionals than what they are used to. The Seaside Course averages 71% fairways in regulation and 74% greens in regulation, both numbers that are much higher than the tour average.

Another thing that stuck out to me was how much success shorter hitting players have had at Seaside. The likes of Tyler Duncan, Charles Howell III, Austin Cook, Mackenzie Hughes and Kevin Kisner have all won here, and they are not known for pounding the ball off the tee. Webb Simpson, Ryan Armour and Jim Furyk are some more examples of short hitters that have also had success at Seaside.

Along with being an accurate driver, I will be targeting players that have a strong around the green game. Plus players who can score highly as this event has seen winning scores below 20 under par. Par 4 scoring between 350-450 yards will also be targeted as 11 of the 12 par 4s fall under that distance.

One other stat I found interesting is: six of the last 10 RSM Classic winners were first time winners. Don’t shy away from picking someone that has never won before.

Outright Winner at RSM Classic: Why a Missed Cut Might Be a Good Thing?

Tyrell Hatton – Outright Winner +1800

I wasn’t planning on playing anyone coming off the Masters but Tyrell didn’t play a full weekend at Augusta. Hatton missed the cut last week but I’m going to look passed that as he’s never performed well at The Masters. In four starts he’s missed two cuts and lost strokes in all appearances.

Other than that Hatton has been one of the most consistent players this year and I expect him to bounce back this weekend at Sea Island. He’s never played here but I think the course will suit him nicely. He’s a shorter, accurate hitter, but also familiar with playing a Links style course on the coast. The Englishman will have an advantage on the field if the winds pick up.

In Hatton’s last six events he’s finished in the top-7 three times. The only poor performances lately from Hatton have been missed cuts at the last two majors. Fortunately for him, the RSM Classic doesn’t come with that type of pressure and I expect he’ll be contending come Sunday.

RSM Classic Top 10 and Top 20 Bets: Why an Amateur Will Shine

Davis Thompson Top 10 +1800 and Top 20 +900

Thompson was recently ranked as the No. 1 amateur and will be making his third PGA Tour appearance this year. He missed both cuts (US Open and Puerto Rico Open) but had a decent showing at the US Open, gaining strokes in approach and around the green. He’s playing well right now as well. After the US Open he’s finished 5th and 4th in his two starts back on the collegiate circuit.

Thompson will know the Seaside course well as he lives on Saint Simons Island. He also made his PGA debut at this course last year where he put together some impressive rounds. At that tournament, he led the field in strokes gained tee to green for the first three rounds and it led to a 23rd place finish.

This is a home game for Thompson and this is the type of event that I believe an amateur can compete in. It’s one of the easier courses on tour and he’s familiar with the venue. So, I also have a small bet on his outright win at +22500.

Hank Lebioda Top 10 +2100 and Top 20 +1000

I think Lebioda’s odds are fantastic considering his current form and course history. The second year Tour pro will be making his third start at the RSM Classic, finishing 30th and 32nd in his first two appearances. He hasn’t played that often (only six starts since July) but the finishes have been encouraging, only missing one cut and finishing inside the top-26 three times.

He’s popped twice at resort style courses in his last three starts, gaining 5.3 strokes at Corales Puntacana and another 7.4 strokes at the Bermuda Championship earlier this month. His best ever finish is a 3rd at the 2019 Corales Puntacana. I’m taking a shot on Lebioda here at another resort course. And yes, for those wondering, his outright win odds are currently sitting at +25000.