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  • 2019 PGA Championship: Best bets at Bethpage Black 🤑

    2019 PGA Championship: Best bets at Bethpage Black

    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)



    It's hard to look past some of the obvious names to win the PGA Championship this week at Bethpage. Since Keegan Bradley won in 2011 when he was ranked 108th in the world, each of the past seven winners has been ranked in the top 50, six of the seven were ranked in the top 21 and four of the seven were ranked in the top five in the world. If you take it back over the past 15 events, nine of the 15 winners were in the top five and 12 were in the top 21. So despite the instinct to look deep for a winner, evidence suggests focusing on players in the top 20 is the way to go.


    Also consider that seven of the past 10 PGA winners were first-time major winners and the average age of the past nine winners is 28 years old.

    I'll also give an extra bump to players who have shown they can play well on the Poa surfaces that Bethpage possesses.

    I'd expect a winning score somewhere around the teens, as the weather in the Northeast has likely left the course "gettable."

    With that in mind, here are four players I'm focusing on this week.

    Betting odds courtesy of Caesars.
    Golfers to keep an eye on

    Tony Finau (30-1): Coming off top-10s in each of the first three majors last year, Finau was a super-popular -- make that too popular -- pick to win the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive. After shooting himself out of the tournament with an opening-round 74, Finau strung together three rounds in the 60s. Finau again played well in the Masters -- entering the final round tied for second with Tiger Woods -- only to struggle on Sunday with a 72. With a resurgent Woods and so many other big names playing well and seemingly in the mix, Finau might be forgotten about a bit in the wagering. Expect a winning score in the teens, and few people have the length off the tee and can string together par-breakers in a flurry like this guy. I would suspect the Bethpage gallery would get behind Finau on Sunday if he were in contention, and that would be another positive toward him capturing his first career major. I've also seen him at +175 at Caesars to finish in the top 20, which wouldn't be a bad ticket to be holding.


    Jon Rahm (18-1): Rahm was right there again at Augusta but just couldn't make enough birdie putts during a long stretch over the second and most of the third rounds, which ultimately cost him. He still managed another top-10 in a major, coming on the heels of a T-4 finish last year at Bellerive. In nine stroke play events (including the team event in New Orleans) since the calendar turned to 2019, Rahm has been outside the top 12 once. He's a threat to win every time he tees it up, and this week is no exception. It just seems like the PGA setup or the Masters will yield his first major title. You can also get him at +105 to finish in the top 20.

    Brooks Koepka (10-1): He has won "only" three of the past seven majors he's played, with a second- and sixth-place finish mixed in there. And if you go back to his fourth-place finish in the 2016 PGA, Koepka is 55-under par in his past nine majors. Yet, it still seems his game doesn't get its due. That perceived slight is a major motivator. There isn't a course this guy steps foot on where he can't win. His game is elevated every time a major championship is on the line, and that should be the case again at Bethpage. The odds may seem short at 10-1, but if he opens with a 66 like he did at Augusta or with a 69 like he did last year at the PGA, you might never see 10-1 again this week.
    Jason Day (20-1): The 2015 PGA Championship winner is coming off his best major finish in three years after a fifth-place finish at the Masters. Sure, his back could flare up at any point, but this is a guy who went T-8, T-15, 1, 2, T-9 over a five-year period in this event, so clearly there is something to be said for Day's liking to the PGA course selection and setup. The last time Day finished in the top five at the Masters, he then backed it up with a T-2 finish in the years' next major at Merion.
    Others to watch

    If playing one of the big names at shorter prices isn't your thing and you're looking to play someone at more tempting odds, I would suggest looking at Thomas Pieters (150-1), who has a pair of top-six finishes in majors, including a T-6 at Bellerive last year. He played well at the Byron Nelson last week and has a runner-up on Riviera's Poa greens. You might also consider Matt Wallace(150-1), who is coming off a hard-luck second-place finish at the British Masters, finished sixth at Bay Hill and was runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic. Wallace also posted a top-20 finish in last year's PGA Championship.

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