- Mar 6, 2018
Best bets for the Travelers Championship
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Coming off a thrilling U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that saw Jon Rahm capture his first major title, the PGA Tour now heads to Cromwell, Conn. for the Travelers Championship.
Sports betting deputy editor David Bearman and betting analyst Chris "The Bear" Fallica both correctly hit on Rahm last week.
Which players are the favorites this time around, who offers good odds and what props are worthwhile this week at TPC River Highlands?
Betting analyst Fallica, Bearman and fantasy analyst Anita Marks offer their best bets.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill unless otherwise noted.
Bets to win
Bryson DeChambeau 14-1Marks: DeChambeau is looking to rebound from his final-round 77 at the US Open. Why not do it on a course he can eat alive? Twelve of the last 21 Travelers champions have ranked in the top 13 in driving distance on this track, and DeChambeau ranks first. He has finished in the top 10 each of the last three years and has never missed a cut in five appearances. In his last 24 rounds, he leads the tour in strokes gained putting on poa annua and performs extremely well on Pete Dye courses. There are only two par-5s, which golfers have to take advantage of; DeChambeau ranks third in par-5 eagles. He checks all the boxes, and this is his tournament to lose.
I'm also taking DeChambeau (-120 at DraftKings) over Dustin Johnson in tourney matchups and DeChambeau with Patrick Cantlay (180-1 at DK) and Paul Casey (205-1 at DK) in straight forecasts (exact 1-2 finish).
Cantlay 16-1; top-10 finish (+175)
Bearman: Many know Cantlay has the guy who won the Memorial a few weeks ago in a playoff over Collin Morikawa after Rahm was forced to withdraw. Others might remember the star was born a decade ago, when he was low amateur at the U.S. Open and followed that up by shooting 60 at TPC River Highlands to hold a 36-hole lead. The 19-year old freshman shot the lowest PGA Tour round ever by an amateur, eventually went back to school and is currently at the top of the FedEx Cup standings after notching his second win of the year at Jack's course. After skipping the event for a few years, Cantlay has gone T-15, T-15, T-11 the last three years in Connecticut. He is fourth in shots gained tee to green, sixth in shots gained total and is in the upper half of the field in driving distance, an important stat at the long TPC course. He has struggled at times with driving accuracy (106th), but the River Highlands course is more forgiving than most (I hit 11 of 14 fairways there last month!). There are 12 par-4s on the par-70 course, and Cantlay is third on tour in par-4 average at 3.96. The last two winners here led the field in par-4 scoring.
Casey 16-1; top-10 finish (+175)Bearman: Casey is a true grinder who bounces back and forth between the PGA and European Tours and contends everywhere. His last three results were T-4 at the PGA Championship, sixth at the Porsche European Open and T-7 this past week at the U.S. Open after a weekend 67-70. Add a T-5 at The Players and T-10 at Arnie's event as part of eight worldwide top 10s this year. Casey is seventh in the all-important tee to green metric, 13th in shots gained total and a respectable 33rd in distance for the long course. His track record here is solid, with two runner-up finishes (2015, 2018) and two additional top 5s (2017 and 2019). According to FantasyNational.com, in the last 24 rounds at the Travelers, Casey leads the field in shots gained total, tee to green and ball-striking and is second off the tee and third in approach. He won the Dubai Desert Classic back in January but is overdue for a PGA Tour win.
Kevin Streelman 28-1; top-10 finish (+300)
Bearman: Only three-time winner Bubba Watson has a better track record than Streelman at TPC River Highlands. Streelman won here in 2014, was runner up to Dustin Johnson last year and has three other top-10 finishes in 13 appearances that has netted north of $2.5 million. He's also second in shots gained total (to Casey) over the last 24 rounds here. Outside of his great course history, Streelman very quietly has put up some good performances lately. He has four consecutive top-20 finishes, including a T-8 at the PGA Championship and T-15 last week at Torrey Pines. He's only 119th in driving distance, which gives me some pause here, but he has moved up to 32nd in shots gained tee to green, which has been a key stat for winners here.
Abraham Ancer 30-1; top-10 finish (+250)Fallica: Ancer has finished T-11 and T-8 the last two years here with a scoring average of 67.1. Prior to the U.S. Open, he posted five straight top 20s. While he is looking for that first PGA Tour win, I'll back him here as, although he is not super long, he's very accurate. Expect him to pick his best distance for his approach and throw some darts into the green.
Joaquin Niemann 35-1; top-10 finish (+400)Fallica: Niemann had a couple of runner-up finishes early this year but has been scuffling since. But his underlying stats suggest he's better than some of the recent finishes. He's ninth in strokes gained off the tee and top 40 in strokes gained on approach. He was fifth here in 2019, so he could find his game and play very well this week.
Stewart Cink 80-1Bearman: If possible, I like to give out one long shot to sprinkle some pizza money on and/or use in DFS for a lower salary. The 2009 Open champion has eight career PGA Tour wins, and two have come here, including his first career win back in 1997. He also finished runner-up three years ago. I wouldn't just pick him because of wins in 1997 and 2008. It's because he is also playing well of late, earning his first two wins since the 2009 Open Championship earlier this year to climb up to 11th in the FedEx Cup standings. He's in the top 30 in driving distance and seventh in hitting greens. It's a long shot, but who doesn't want to see it?
Cantlay top-5 finish (+350 at DK)Marks: Cantlay's game is dialed in at the moment. He finished in the top 15 last week at Torrey Pines and has had a lot of success at TPC River Highlands (T-11 last year). He posted a 60 on this track a few years back, ranks third in par-4 scoring and second in scrambling this season.
Dustin Johnson top-10 finish (+164)Fallica: This is where DJ's dominant run last year really began. And he just might be coming out of his current slump with a top 10 at Congaree and a top 20 at Torrey. Like last year, expect him to hit that hybrid and post a low number.
Casey top-10 finish (+175)Fallica: Casey has four top-5 finishes here and a scoring average of 67.2. He's third on tour in strokes gained on approach. Horse for the course at River Highlands.
Marks: Casey is another golfer who is really dialed in, finishing in the top 10 in each of his last three starts. His ball-striking is one of the best on tour right now, and he just needs his putter to make an appearance this week to possibly win this event. He is 33rd in driving distance and T-21 in proximity to the hole this season. I'm also playing Casey as the top English player at -110.
Ancer top-10 finish (+250)
Bearman: Ancer bookended 2019's event with a 64 to start and 63 to finish, but 73-70 in the middle cost him a chance, as he finished T-8. He followed that up last year with four rounds in the 60s for a T-11 finish. Heading into the U.S. Open, Ancer had four consecutive top-15 finishes, with a runner-up at Wells Fargo, T-5 at Valspar and T-8 at the PGA Championship. He shot poorly Friday at Torrey Pines to miss the cut but, like Cantlay, is great on the par-4s (fourth on Tour), which should put him in good shape to score us a top 10 this week. Our Stats & Info's David Gordon points out that Ancer is 27th in first-round scoring. Add the fact he has some extra rest from missing the cut out west, has been under par in all four first rounds here and was first-round leader two years ago, I'll take the 40-1 that he does it again.
Scottie Scheffler top-10 finish (+250)Marks: Scheffler is having a sneaky great season, sporting three top-10 finishes in his last dour appearances. e is 36th in driving distance, fourth in par-4 scoring and second in par-4 birdies or better this season.
Bubba Watson top-10 finish (+500); top-20 finish (+175)Bearman: You can't handicap a Travelers Championship and not include three-time winner Bubba Watson somewhere. I am not totally confident Bubba has four great rounds in him, but I do know he will stick around. He showed some old Bubba flash last week at Torrey Pines with a second-round 67 to finish near the top of the leaderboard, but a terrible weekend left him T-50. He still has the length to be in the mix (44th), but having one top 15 since November and sitting outside the top 40 in almost every metric doesn't give us a lot of confidence outside of the props. But 5-to-1 on a top 10 is worth it for a guy who owns these grounds.
Brian Harman top-20 finish (+100 at DK)
Marks: Harman finished in the top 20 last week at Torrey Pines, has finished in the top 20 in six of his last seven tournaments and has a great track record on Pete Dye courses. He is fifth in scrambling, 17th in putting and 25th in par-5 eagles this season.