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 RBC Heritage.
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 Masters is in the rearview mirror and the PGA TOUR stays in the southeast region of the country with the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina. Harbour Town is a par-71 course that measures 7,121 yards. It’s a shorter course, which gives a lot of players in the field a chance to win.
When handicapping this tournament, or any tournament after a major, I want to avoid players that may have exerted a lot of their energy at the Masters. Taking players who didn’t play at Augusta, missed the cut or never were in contention is a plus for me because they didn’t have to play four high-leverage rounds at a tough golf course.
Top of the board
A week after a major, I’m usually going to bypass the very top of the board. Justin Thomas (12/1) is the consensus favorite — and he’s a player I bet last week to win the Masters at a similar number. But I’m not going to bet Thomas this week even though this is a weaker field than the Masters. Thomas was just one of a couple dozen players I thought had the game to win at Augusta, but this week probably half of the 132-player field has a shot to win. Also, Thomas’ biggest advantage is his driver, which is negated at a course like this.
The first player I have interest in to bet outright is Daniel Berger (28/1). He made the weekend at the Masters after a tidy 71 on Thursday, but a 77 on Saturday and 80 on Sunday led to him tied for 50th place in a field where only 52 players made the cut. The strengths of Berger’s game are his approach play and his putter, which is the recipe for success around Harbour Town. Berger finished tied for third at this event in 2020 when it was played in June and was tied for 13th last year. This price is very reasonable for a player of his caliber.
Webb Simpson (33/1) is another player to consider this week because of his course history and a dip in his price from when he was the second favorite at 12/1 in this tournament 12 months ago. Simpson won the event in June 2020, which was the second tournament after the COVID-19 hiatus. He also lost in a playoff in 2013 and has finished no worse than 16th place in his last five appearances at the event.
I’m likely going to pass on betting Simpson because his form hasn’t been good since he returned from injury and opt for the more in-form Russell Henley (35/1). He was a non-factor at the Masters, but did have a strong early round on Sunday when the conditions eased up. Henley flashed at this event last year when he led the field in strokes gained approach and finished tied for ninth.
There’s a lot of attractive names and prices in this range, and it’s hard to parse through the best betting options. The four I have zeroed in on are Jordan Spieth (40/1), Tyrrell Hatton (40/1), Kevin Na (50/1) and Kevin Kisner (50/1).
Spieth is a player I don’t bet on normally because he’s usually overpriced, in my opinion. He’s coming off his first-career missed cut at the Masters and his putter has abandoned him, so his number has drifted. Two weeks ago, Spieth put on a ball-striking clinic at the Valero Texas Open but was one of the worst putters in the final round. This makes Spieth a buy-low candidate because the putting could flip at any point.
Spieth’s lack of recent course history will probably lead me to betting Hatton instead at the same number. The Englishman had a wild four days at Augusta. He led the field in strokes gained tee to green in the first round, but was last in the field in putting. Hatton went on to struggle on the greens Friday, which resulted in an entertaining quote after the round. Hatton made the cut and went into full ejection mode by shooting 79 and 80, respectively, on Saturday and Sunday, and had an interesting reaction to one of his poor shots. I believe there’s a price discount on Hatton at a course he finished tied for third at in 2020.
The case for Na and Kisner is they both play well at shorter courses. Na led the Masters in strokes gained approach over four rounds. Kisner recently finished fourth at THE PLAYERS and made the Match Play final before losing to Scottie Scheffler last month. He also won the Wyndham Championship this past August, which is at a course that is similar to Harbour Town.
A longshot definitely has the ability to win this event and it happened last year when 47-year-old Stewart Cink reached the winner’s circle at 125/1. The players I’m looking at are four names I wrote about two weeks ago for the Valero Texas Open.
Russell Knox (80/1) was the first-round leader at the Valero Texas Open before tumbling to a 61st-place finish. This course should be a better fit for his game, and although he’s missed the cut at RBC Heritage in his last three appearances, he has played well here in the past.
Luke List (100/1) seems underpriced in this field. He missed the cut at the Masters, but he finished tied for third at this event in 2018.
Patton Kizzire (100/1) was a trendy name going into the Valero Texas Open and he disappointed his backers by missing the cut. Kizzire’s approach play has been strong this season and he’s played well in the past on shorter courses.
Luke Donald (200/1) made my betting card as a longshot two weeks ago and fits the course history narrative this week. He has amazingly finished second in this event five times and has a pair of third-place finishes. He’s missed the cut in three of the last four years, but he’s playing better after back-to-back made cuts at the Valspar and Valero.