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 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
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 PGA TOUR heads to Michigan for the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. This will be the fifth year that a PGA TOUR event is held at this course.
Top of the Board
Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are not in Detroit this week, which leads to a different-looking oddsboard at the top. No player is shorter than 12/1 and there’s a group of eight players between 12/1 and 20/1. The most interesting name at the top is Rickie Fowler (12/1), who has been drastically upgraded in the pecking order.
Fowler has played well all season — especially in the last two weeks at the U.S. Open and Travelers Championship. A win for Fowler feels imminent, but I’m not interested at the price when he was 50/1 at the U.S. Open and 40/1 last week at the Travelers. A player with the popularity of Fowler is going to often be overpriced when they flash some form, so I can’t imagine betting on him anytime soon.
The player at the top that I did bet on is Hideki Matsuyama (18/1). I bet on Matsuyama the last two weeks, and I’m going to bet on him again in hopes that his putter can match the strong iron play he’s displayed over the last few months. Matsuyama started slowly at the Travelers last week, but put together rounds of 64, 65 and 66 in the last three days to finished tied for 13th in his debut at TPC River Highlands.
Matsuyama struggled with his putter in the last two majors, but he consistently ranks field average on the greens in regular events. I’m giving him another shot this week in hopes that his all-around game takes shape. He played this event in 2019 and 2020 and finished 13th and 21st, respectively.
Alex Smalley (50/1) was one of my first bets of the week on Monday morning. Smalley is coming off a great performance at the Travelers Championship where he finished tied for ninth. He gained three strokes off the tee and nearly six strokes on approach while putting field average. Smalley shot even par in the first round in Connecticut and shot -17 over the last three rounds.
I’m going to take a shot on Taylor Moore (55/1) based on his performance at this course last year. He finished in sixth place that week while ranking third in strokes gained approach. While the recent form hasn’t been good for Moore since his first career PGA TOUR win at the Valspar Championship earlier this year, his play in Detroit last year is enough for me to bet him.
J.J. Spaun (66/1) has been one of the best players in the four-year history at this course. He’s made the cut each year with his best finish coming last year when he ended up in eighth place. Spaun has recently had shaky form and struggled with his putter, but the greens at this course have treated him well, and I’m hoping he can find that comfort with his putter this week.
Doug Ghim (66/1) has put together three straight top-20 finishes on the PGA TOUR. He led the Travelers Championship field in strokes gained off the tee en route to finishing 15th last week. Ghim’s only made the cut once in three attempts in Detroit, but the recent uptick in his game is worth a flier.
Callum Tarren (150/1) was one of the other players who statistically popped at the Travelers Championship. He gained four strokes off the tee and over three on approach. Tarren finished 20th in his debut at this event last year.