2022 PGA Championship Betting Picks

During the 2022 golf season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will share his betting targets each week using odds as of Tuesday morning. Here are his thoughts on this week’s PGA Championship.

Note: Nate will tweet out his official bets when they are placed before the event. He also discusses his bets in all sports on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

About the tournament

The second major of the season is upon us with the PGA Championship this week at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. The tournament used to be the last major of the season and was played in August. In 2019, it was moved up to May so the golf season would end before the start of the NFL regular season. The 2020 version of the event was played in August because of COVID, but it returned to May last year where Phil Mickelson miraculously won at Kiawah Island.

Southern Hills is a par 70 course that measures 7,556 yards. It was the course for the 2007 PGA Championship where Tiger Woods won his fourth-career Wanamaker Trophy. Since then, there’s been a renovation to the course, so there’s some uncertainty of what to expect this week in Oklahoma.

One of the big storylines this week is Tiger Woods making his second start since his car accident in February of 2021. Woods returned in last month’s Masters and made the cut. The other big storyline this week is that Phil Mickelson won’t defend his title, which was announced here. However, neither player is a part of my betting plans, so on to the actionable information:

Top of the board

Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are the justified co-favorites for this event at 12/1. Rahm has been a mainstay at the top of betting boards for almost every event he’s played in the last 12 months. Scheffler is having a breakout season with four wins, including the Masters. He has spoken highly about Southern Hills and has experience playing there from his days at the University of Texas.

A few players I circled in my research, but likely won’t bet on before the tournament, are 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (20/1), Patrick Cantlay (22/1), Dustin Johnson (25/1) and Viktor Hovland (25/1). Cantlay is coming into this event off a playoff loss at RBC Heritage and a win with Xander Schauffele at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but has struggled in majors recently. Johnson seems underpriced at 25/1 with his pedigree of playing well at long and challenging golf courses. Hovland is a player I bet on at the Masters and he has a local connection of playing his college golf at Oklahoma State. But the persistent issues with his around-the-green game have held him back from winning a marquee tournament.

The first player I have enough conviction to bet will be Hideki Matsuyama (28/1). The 2021 Masters champion has seemingly shaken off a neck injury that plagued him earlier this spring. He finished tied for 14th at this year’s Masters and shot a final-round 62 to finish tied for third at the Byron Nelson. Matsuyama led the field in strokes gained approach this past week in the Dallas area and his game is an ideal course fit for Southern Hills.

After I bet on him last week at Byron Nelson, I’m going to go back to Will Zalatoris (35/1) off the missed cut in his hometown event. Zalatoris shot four-under-par over two rounds, which wasn’t good enough for the scoring fest at TPC Craig Ranch. Despite the missed cut, Zalatoris still had good numbers with his irons and you could make the argument that missing out on the weekend is a positive because it allows him time to rest and focus on this week. His record in major championships is stellar with four top-eight finishes in only seven appearances, including a tied for eighth at 2021 PGA Championship and tied for sixth at last month’s Masters.

Mid-range targets

In last week’s Byron Nelson preview article I mentioned that Sam Burns (40/1) and Joaquin Niemann (40/1) were players to keep an eye on for the PGA Championship.

Burns missed the cut last week on the number like Zalatoris did at -4. I’ll also give him a pass and hope his number drifts throughout the week. Burns has plenty of missed cuts this season, but also has a win at the Valspar Championship. I like his upside to win a tournament of this caliber.

Niemann also has a win this year at the Genesis Invitational, which is a tournament that plays traditionally tough and requires length off the tee. Niemann was in the last group on Sunday at the Byron Nelson, but a final-round 74 dropped him down the leaderboard and hopefully keeps him under the radar for this week.

The other player worth mentioning as a potential outright bet is Brooks Koepka (40/1). I bet him at last year’s PGA Championship when his number cratered at 50/1 and he finished two shots behind Mickelson and tied for second place. My reason for betting Koepka last year was because his success in majors and his odds were discounted because he was coming off an injury. Whenever I see Koepka priced in this range at a major I have to consider him.

Longshots

I’ve identified three longshot bets this week of players with a high ceiling that I believe have the style of game to potentially contend.

The first is Cameron Young (80/1), who has had an impressive rookie season on the PGA TOUR. He finished tied for second at the Genesis that Niemann won. Then the week after missing the cut at his Masters debut, he bounced back with a tied for third finish at the RBC Heritage. In his most recent start he led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green and finished tied for second at the Wells Fargo. I’m not sure if his breakout win will be at a major, but his form and course fit are enough to bet him at this number.

Cameron Champ (150/1) was a player I bet on at the Mexico Open three weeks ago where he finished tied for sixth and led the field in strokes gained off the tee. Champ wasn’t entering that event in strong form, but his tenth-place finish at the Masters and his upside of winning three PGA TOUR events in his young career was enough to get me on him. At another course that requires length, I’ll take a shot on Champ.

My last bet is one that could easily blow up after a few holes on Thursday. I’m going to take a shot on former Oklahoma State golfer Matthew Wolff (150/1) playing at a course he is familiar with from his college days. Wolff broke onto the scene in 2019 and won the 3M Open a month after becoming a professional. He contended at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open in 2020 with two top-four finishes and was tied for 15th at last year’s U.S. Open. But Wolff has struggled on the course for most of 2021 and 2022, and has become an afterthought in terms of betting. He did make a cut at the Wells Fargo two weeks ago, but missed another cut last week at the Byron Nelson. Maybe playing at a course that has hosted Big 12 Championships will get him back on track to contending at majors like he did two years ago.