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 Wells Fargo 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
It’s been a quiet two weeks on the PGA TOUR with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and Mexico Open occupying the schedule. But now the post-Masters lull is over and the schedule will ramp up again starting with the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
This is the traditional course for this event after it was contested last year at TPC Potomac in Maryland because Quail Hollow hosted the Presidents Cup last September. If you are looking for recent course history from the Wells Fargo Championship make sure to look at 2018, ’19 and ’21 (2020 was canceled because of COVID-19).
The Wells Fargo Championship is another one of the PGA TOUR’s designated events that has a purse of $20 million. While this tournament usually draws a strong field because it’s a ramp-up event for players as they prepare for the PGA Championship, the increase in money makes this field even stronger this year.
Top of the Board
Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are both skipping this event, which leaves Rory McIlroy (+750) by himself at the top of the board. We haven’t seen McIlroy since he missed the cut at the Masters, and he’s a short price because of his past success at Quail Hollow. He won at this course in 2010, 2015 and 2021 and also comes in well rested, which makes him the justified favorite.
McIlroy is an easy pass for me in outright betting because Viktor Hovland (20/1) is a standout selection for this week. Quail Hollow is a long course that favors players who can hit the ball far off the tee — and Hovland fits that criteria. He finished tied for third in his first appearance at this event in 2021. He also has two top-five Genesis Invitational finishes at Riviera Country Club, and numerous players have had success there and then at Quail Hollow. The Norwegian has played well over the last two months, which is why it’s the perfect time for Hovland to break through in Charlotte.
Cameron Young (20/1) and Sungjae Im (25/1) are the other intriguing names. Young’s had several close calls in recent months, as he was the runner-up at WGC Match Play and in the mix at Augusta before finishing tied for seventh along with Hovland. Young is long off the tee, but I’m going to pass on him for now at this price.
Im is a player I’ve bet multiple times this year and just recently placed a future on him to win the PGA Championship later this month. He could be a live-betting add after the tournament begins.
If I stick with just Hovland at the top of the board, I’ll be able to bet quite a few players at longer odds to win and finish in the top five. Keith Mitchell (66/1) and Gary Woodland (66/1) both have the length to compete at Quail Hollow as we saw in 2021 when Mitchell finished tied for third with Hovland and Woodland placed fifth.
I bet on Mitchell at the Masters due to his success earlier in the year at the Genesis Invitational when he played in the final group on Sunday and finished fifth. His Masters performance was disappointing, but I don’t mind going back to him at a course where he played well at the last time it hosted a PGA TOUR event.
Woodland has had a number of strong ball-striking weeks and that continued last week at the Mexico Open. He ranked third in the field in strokes gained tee to green, but lost over seven strokes in putting to only finish in 39th place. I was hoping to find a reason to get away from Woodland after betting him several times this year in hopes that he’d eventually have an above-average putting performance, but I’ll give him another chance after seeing his strong course history at Quail Hollow.
Cam Davis (90/1) and Emiliano Grillo (90/1) are two of the longshots I’ll bet to win and finish in the top five.
Davis is a big hitter that struggled greatly in the early part of the year, but he had a pair of top-seven finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship and RBC Heritage to get back on the radar — and his game should suit this course.
Grillo followed up a seventh-place finish at the RBC Heritage with a tied-for-fifth finish last week at the Mexico Open. Grillo’s irons and putter are trending in the right direction, and he has ninth- and 14th-place finishes in his last two visits to Quail Hollow in 2018 and 2021, respectively.