PGA Championship Betting Picks and Guide (2021)

Ninety-nine of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) are at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina this week for the 2021 PGA Championship. Collin Morikawa will try to defend his 2020 PGA Championship win at TPC Harding Park, while Rory McIlroy returns to Kiawah Island as the betting favorite after winning the 2012 PGA Championship here by eight strokes at 13-under par. The resurgent Jordan Spieth will try once again to complete the career grand slam. Below, we provide our top PGA Championship betting picks.

Matthew Wolff, No. 27 in the OWGR, is the top-ranked golfer not in attendance. He withdrew early last week. K.H. Lee gained a late entry thanks to his victory at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

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Previous Winners of the PGA Championship

2020: Collin Morikawa (TPC Harding Park)
2019: Brooks Koepka (Bethpage Black Course)
2018: Brooks Koepka (Bellerive Country Club)
2017: Justin Thomas (Quail Hollow Club)
2016: Jimmy Walker (Baltusrol Golf Club)
*2012: Rory McIlroy (the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island)

Course Preview (The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island)

True to its name, the Ocean Course runs alongside the island’s Atlantic coastline. Designed by Pete and Alice Dye, the course was elevated to provide a look at the ocean from every hole. As a result, golfers are exposed to harsh, swirling winds that can make the course feel much longer than its 7,876-yard listed distance. It will still play to a par of 72, all the same.

Other than the length, winds, and occasional rain, the greatest tests of the Ocean Course are the sand bunkers and dunes tightly guarding nearly every green. The putting surfaces themselves are composed of Paspalum grass; they’re exceptionally firm, large, long and narrow. If approach shots aren’t hit to the right part of the green, balls are likely to be kicked off and forced into a difficult up and down.

Relevant Betting Stats

Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
SG: Approach
SG: Off-the-Tee (distance over accuracy)
Par 4 Efficiency: 450-500 Yards
Bogey Avoidance
Sand Save Percentage

Outright PGA Betting Picks

Daniel Berger (+3000 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
Berger can struggle in the short game, but he averages 0.59 SG: Off-the-Tee and 0.73 SG: Approach per round, according to Data Golf. He ranks sixth in bogey avoidance and 35th in Par-4 efficiency from our key distance. Berger is coming off a T3 finish at the Byron Nelson in which he surged up the leaderboard with a Sunday round of minus-8, 64. He ranked fourth for the week in SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Tee-to-Green.

The four-time PGA Tour winner is +2500 to win by the odds at BetMGM Sportsbook, and he offers strong value at FanDuel with the 10th-best odds to win.

Brooks Koepka (+5000 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
This price is ridiculous for Koepka. He is a four-time major champ and two-time PGA Championship winner. He returned to the winner’s circle at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February but underwent knee surgery in March and missed the cut at April’s Masters Tournament. Koepka returned to play at the Byron Nelson last week; while he missed the cut, he ranked third in the field in SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Around-the-Green over his 36 holes.

Koepka still ranks 13th in the OWGR, but he is just 18th by the odds at DraftKings. He sits at +3700 to win at FanDuel and +3300 at BetMGM.

Long-shot Betting Picks

Shane Lowry (+10000 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Lowry is set to finally defend his 2019 Open Championship win in roughly two months. The Ocean Course should bring back fond memories for him, as it shares similarities with Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland — the strong winds and rain will play in his favor. He has fallen to No. 48 in the OWGR entering this week, but he has made five straight cuts, starting with an eighth-place showing at The Players Championship and including a T21 at the Masters.

Justin Rose (+10000 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
While McIlroy is being lauded this week for his eight-stroke victory at the Ocean Course in 2012, Rose tied for third with three others at minus-4. It was the 2013 US Open champ’s best career finish in the PGA Championship, but he finished ninth at TPC Harding Park last summer and seventh at the Masters in April. His iron play and approach to the green have anchored his game this year, and that’ll help him here.

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Esten McLaren is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Esten, check out his archive and follow him @EstenMclaren.

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