During the 2023 golf season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will share his betting targets each week. Here are his thoughts on this week’s 3M Open.
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
Majors for 2023 are in the rearview mirror and the PGA TOUR hits the home stretch of the season in Minnesota this week. TPC Twin Cities is the course for the 3M Open, and it’s the second-to-last event before the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
There are several motivational angles to consider when handicapping this week as players try to put themselves in position to make the playoffs. The top 70 in the standings will get an invite to play in the first event of the playoffs two weeks from now in Memphis.
Another motivational factor is that players from the United States and Europe are trying to improve their case to be picked to the Ryder Cup teams (which will take place in late September in Italy). The tricky part about this tournament is that it’s played the week after The Open, so many of the players just had to go through a long international trip just to get to Minnesota.
Top of the Board
Defending champion Tony Finau (14/1) opened as a 12/1 favorite for this week before his price drifted. He is coming from Hoylake off a missed cut, so he had the opportunity to take an early flight home to get prepared for this week. Outside of a Mexico Open win in late April, Finau has struggled in 2023 and might have some work to do to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Cameron Young (14/1) is now a co-favorite with Finau in the odds. Young is another American Ryder Cup hopeful that could be rounding into form after two months of poor play. Young finished tied for sixth at the John Deere Classic earlier this month and was in the final pairing of The Open on Sunday before finishing tied for eighth.
Young ranked first in strokes gained tee to green at Royal Liverpool, and there’s renewed hope that his first PGA TOUR win of his career will come soon. It certainly could happen this week in Minnesota, but having to trust him to put together another strong week at this price is a reason I’ll stay away.
Justin Thomas (25/1), who hasn’t taken part in the 3M Open since it started in 2019, was originally not planning to play this event. But Thomas put his name into the field Friday after missing the cut at The Open. Thomas’ Ryder Cup chances are looking questionable at best, and he has work to do just to get inside the top 70 of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Thomas currently sits 75th in the standings and he might be required to play next week’s Wyndham Championship if he doesn’t get enough points this week to securely be inside the top 70.
Just a year removed from winning a PGA Championship, Thomas’ stumble this year has truly been shocking. He shot a first-round 82 at The Open on Thursday and then a respectable 71 the next day before departing Hoylake. Don’t forget that last month he shot an 81 in the second round of the U.S. Open. While Thomas’ lows in majors have been alarming during this stretch, I don’t think his woes are as bad as people are making them out to be as Rory McIlroy pointed out on Friday.
I’m going to bet on Thomas this week because he would’ve been the favorite in a field like this during the beginning of the year. Now he basically has the same odds as Emiliano Grillo and Sepp Straka, so it’s worth a shot to bet on Thomas’ ceiling and hope he starts well enough to give him a much-needed confidence boost.
A Ryder Cup hopeful on the European side is Nicolai Hojgaard (40/1). The Dane finished 21st earlier this month at the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit before placing tied for sixth at the Scottish Open and tied for 23rd at The Open. Hojgaard ranked first in strokes gained approach in Scotland, and he could be peaking at the right time to get Ryder Cup consideration.
I’m going to take a shot on Sahith Theegala (40/1) to rebound after a poor run of form that included back-to-back missed cuts in the United Kingdom. Theegala is a popular player for bettors to take a chance on as he continues to seek his first PGA TOUR win. I like the number on Theegala in this field and he’s played TPC courses well in the past at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Travelers Championship.
Another player who isn’t in good form, but could find success in Minnesota is Keith Mitchell (45/1). He made the trip across the pond this month to play in the Scottish Open, where he missed the cut despite having stellar ball-striking numbers. Mitchell didn’t qualify for The Open field, and he traveled to California to play the Barracuda Championship — where he also missed the cut. I’ll give Mitchell a pass due to the long trip between tournaments and hope that he’s refreshed for this week. Mitchell sits at 66th in the FedEx Cup standings, so he’ll be aiming for a solid showing to stay in the top 70.
I bet on Doug Ghim (80/1) last year at the 3M Open where he was in contention before a disastrous final-round 77 had him plummet down the leaderboard. Ghim was trending in the right direction with six straight made cuts before he missed the weekend at the Scottish Open in his last start. I like his recent form in the United States, specifically the Midwest, and I’ll give him an opportunity to redeem himself.
Lee Hodges (80/1) finished tied for 16th alongside Ghim last year at the 3M Open. He ranked second in that event in strokes gained approach and is worth a flier at this number.