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PGA 2020 Memorial Tournament Preview

PGA 2020 Memorial Tournament Preview 2 months 1 week ago #521744

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Betting news, trends, odds and predictions for from various handicappers and websites for Wednesday 7/15/20
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PGA 2020 Memorial Tournament Preview 2 months 1 week ago #521745

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By Matt Blunt

PGA Tour Betting Resources
2020 Memorial Tournament

Tour: PGA
Date: Thursday, July, 16 2020 to Sunday, July 19, 2020
Venue: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Location: Dublin, Ohio
Par-Yardage: 72, 7,392 yards
TV: Golf Channel, CBS
Vegas Expert Picks
Betting Odds

The Memorial Prop Picks and Predictions

It was another thrilling finish to a PGA event this past weekend, even though it wasn't broadcast live to golf fans everywhere. Justin Thomas coughed up a three-shot lead with three to go which just can't happen if you are a consensus top golfer in the world, and how he reacts to that disappointment this week will be interesting.

Being that it is at the exact same course, Thomas could end up going the redemption route where he tries to blitz the track and run over the field, or, he could end up being too emotionally spent from that defeat and ultimately become a non-factor. I'd lean more to the latter, which means that as one of the pre-tournament favorites, Justin Thomas (+950) just won't be making the card.

Collin Morikawa was the one who took down JT in that playoff, and for a guy that averaged around +3000 last week, to see his number at +2200 this week in a much tougher field is another guy where next to nothing in value is to be had.

That's the interesting thing about consecutive events at the same track, because chances are plenty of the market will heavily weigh what they saw last, and prices have already been slightly skewed on those guys that were in the mix on Sunday. That's not to say guys like Thomas, Hovland, or Morikawa can't have good weeks again this week, but just remember that all three of their prices were points higher in a weaker field a week ago.

Hopefully this ends up being the first time we do get consecutive events at the same track on the PGA Tour, because the conundrums it brings about in the typical handicapping process is a little tougher to deal with.
Memorial Tournament
Recent Winners (Odds to Win)
2019 Patrick Cantlay
2018 Bryson DeChambeau
2017 Jason Dufner
2016 William McGirt
2015 David Lingmerth

Yet, the benefit of this week being at Muirfield Village again is this course preview section was already covered in last week's piece. It's still a course that's heavily weighed towards strong approach games and avoiding that thick rough, something that will be even longer this week as the grounds crew lets it grow.

What wasn't touched on last week that is specific to the Memorial Tournament is that unless you are a current or future World Golf Hall of Fame member, chances are you aren't going to have multiple Memorial Tournament wins on your career resume. Since

Jack Nicklaus
started hosting this event in 1976, only six players – Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, and Kenny Perry – have multiple Memorial wins to their credit, and all but Perry are (or will be) Hall of Fame members.

That history was a small part of the reason behind backing Cantlay last week rather than this week, although who knows how the rest of his career plays out regarding HOF status. Other recent winners like Bryson Dechambeau (2018), Hideki Matsuyama (2014), Matt Kuchar (2013), and Justin Rose (2010) are somewhere in those HOF conversations – present or future – as well, but you won't find those names making the card this week.
Memorial Tournament
Betting Odds

Bryson DeChambeau: +1000
Justin Thomas: +1200
Rory McIlroy: +1400
Patrick Cantlay: +1500
Dustin Johnson: +1700
Collin Morikawa: +2200
Jon Rahm: +2200
Hideki Matsuyama: +2500
Tiger Woods: +2500
Viktor Hovland: +2500
More Golfers
(Odds Subject to Change)

Dechambeau (+950) and Thomas (+1050) are the consensus top two golfers on the board, followed by Rory McIlroy (+1300) and Patrick Cantlay (+1650).

Beyond that are the names of Dustin Johnson (+1850), Jon Rahm (+2000), Collin Morikawa (+2200), Xander Schauffele (+2200), Webb Simpson (+2200), Viktor Hovland (+2500), Tiger Woods (+2600), Brooks Koepka (+2800), and Hideki Matsuyama (+2800) all below the +3000 threshold.

That list goes to show you just how deep this field is this week.
Handicapping Tiger Woods

Tiger returning to action this week is one of the more popular story lines for the event, and as a five-time winner of the Memorial, he's sure going to get plenty of love from the course history buffs in the market. But outside of that charity match, this is his first competitive event in months, and who knows what kind of form he brings into Ohio this week.

There is no denying he knows this course very well, but if he physically isn't hitting the shots where they need to be, all that course knowledge isn't going to help bettors cash those outright tickets. Yet another name that it's probably better to bypass this week, at least for a few days to see what shape his swing is in.

But with plenty of talented names not even mentioned yet, this week's piece is going to take a few liberties with the notion of guys being “mid-range” or “long shots”. Hopefully these three names end up performing well enough where we can at least get a bit of a sweat going on Sunday, something that hasn't really been the case the past couple of weeks.

Remember, playing well at Muirfield Village last week is great, and should be incorporated into the handicapping process, but it shouldn't be the be all, end all either. Trying to find that balance has been quite the challenge in preparation of this article for this week's tournament, but let's try to cash another winner in 2020.
Golfers to Watch - Muirfield Village
Top Picks and Predictions
Contender to Back
Memorial Tournament
Webb Simpson +2200

Simpson has already been kind to the bankroll this year with his win at the Phoenix Open in the pre-shutdown days, and on a course where the approach game should be weighed the heaviest, Simpson is right there among the best of the best in that regard. He ranks 5th on Tour in SG: Approach this season, as he gained better than a stroke per event in that category in his last two starts – one of which was a victory.

Simpson's course history is likely going to make him one of the forgotten players among those sub-+3000 guys, as he hasn't played here since 2017 when he finished 67th. Prior to that, there were finishes of 8th and 11th and three missed cuts in five starts going back to 2010.

None of that should be all that deterring though given he's a much different player these days than he was much earlier in his career, and two Top 10's in three starts since the restart isn't anything to smirk at. Simpson might not be the flashiest name among those at the top, but as long as he does what he does – be ultra consistent and accurate with his irons – he should find a way to be in the conversation on Sunday.
Mid-Range Value
Memorial Tournament
Gary Woodland+ 4500

Woodland is a name that played here last week and his T5 finish will have some arguing that he could fall into that “overvalued” range based on that result. Obviously that's possible, but when he finished the tournament with rounds of 68-66-69 from Friday on, it's hard to ignore that form for a guy who's overall strength is in the approach game.

The reigning US Open champ is a guy that could have been right in the mix last week had a poor first round not put him in too deep of a hole, and with the way he's been putting since the restart – gained at least 0.60 strokes putting in all four starts – a hot putter could be what separates him from the pack this week.

Woodland had little issue with these greens last week with a +1.84 SG: Putting number, and if that continues to hold steady and some more consistency is found in the long game – which is per usual for Woodland – a near 50/1 price tag should be giving off some Sunday perspiration.
Long Shot Pick
Memorial Tournament
Jason Day +5500

Day lives in Ohio and is a member at Muirfield Village, so if you want someone who knows the course well regardless of course history he is your man. All of that comfort has seen Day's results at the Memorial be not up to par for his standards - only one Top 20 in nine starts since 2010 – and a lot of that may have to do with all the distractions that can come in a typical week playing at home throughout the course of a season. But spending two straight weeks at home and playing golf here should eliminate all of those worries and free him up to go pin seeking when he can this week.

Statistically, Day's approach game hasn't been what it was at the height of his playing powers a few years ago, but there are just too many tiny advantages built into this week for Day not to like his chances. He knows the course extremely well, is sleeping in his own bed still, and he played well here last week -T7 – knowing he left quite a few shots on the golf course as well.

For a guy that's openly stated that getting back to that #1 world ranking is one of his main goals, beating a field as deep as this one would go a long way in doing so, and the home field advantage he's got here is something that I believe plays much better with consecutive weeks at the venue.
72 Hole Matchup to Take
Memorial Tournament
Rory McIlroy (+110) over Justin Thomas

Identical price to last week's play of Cantlay over Thomas, and while that didn't end up getting there, I'm now getting the #1 player in the world at the same price. That in itself suggests to me how much recency bias there is floating around on JT right now, and as I mentioned in the opening, I do lean towards him being emotionally drained after coughing up the victory on those final three holes last week.

Conversely, Rory hasn't really done a whole lot of “Rory things” since golf returned, as he's been solid -finishes of 32nd, 41st, and 11th – but not great. McIlroy went with two weeks off to regroup/rest up for this event and the FedEx Cup stretch run to come, and that's probably going to end up being a good thing for his results going forward.

I do wish that it didn't look like I was picking on Thomas these past two weeks because his game is spectacular as one of the best in the world, but the price seemingly being heavily influenced by what just happened has me having no problem with having a McIlroy ticket at plus-money here. That's a rarity in itself, and win or lose this week, this is a bet that should likely have positive expected value if it was offered each week. Here's hoping that it's the right side this week.
How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2020 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.
Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.
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PGA 2020 Memorial Tournament Preview 2 months 1 week ago #521746

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By Matt Blunt

The second straight week at Muirfield Village for the PGA Tour means I get a shot at redemption after last week's prop plays stunk out the joint.

If you get involved in golf betting for long enough, there will be weeks where your read is just completely off and there isn't a whole lot to do but eat the losses.

There is always next week though, and for a sport that typically tees it up for 10-11 months out of the year, “next week” tends to come up awfully fast.

Tour: PGA
Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020 to Sunday, July 19, 2020
Venue: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Location: Dublin, Ohio
Par-Yardage: 72, 7,392 yards
TV: Golf Channel, CBS

Top PGA Tour
Prop Picks and Predictions
Odds per DraftKings
Subject to Change

A much better field this time around does enable us to put some coin behind more consistent (and better) players at solid prices, and hopefully better results follow.

All three guys I touched on in this piece previewing the week are well worth Top 20 wagers at worst given that they are all plus money to do so – Webb Simpson +125, Gary Woodland +163, and Jason Day +225 for Top 20 finishes – but it will be a few other names that hit this week's prop plays.

Let's get right to it.
The Memorial
Top 40 Finish – Yes
Tony Finau -120
Kevin Kisner +138
Finau and Kisner were two of the last names on the chopping block for the outright piece this week, and part of the thinking behind those late cuts was that this 40-place cushion for both feels like the better option. Both guys skipped on playing here last week which may end up being good or bad in the end, but ultimately their market value is probably a little lower than where it probably should be.

Kisner took a week off after finishing 3rd in Detroit two weeks ago, and it was in that event that he really had his approach game dialed in. Kisner gained just over a stroke on the field in the approach game for that week, and while Muirfield Village is undoubtedly a tougher venue, Kisner's tee-to-green game has been quite solid for a couple of years now.

Kisner's history at this event over the past six years of playing here is a bit of a mixed bag with two missed cuts, two Top 10's, and finishes of 41st and 46th. Obviously only a third of those results would cash this play this week, but I'm willing to take that chance and back him to sneak inside that Top 40 placing.

Finau is a guy that's got better course history here ver the past five years, even with him missing the cut at the 2019 Memorial event. But for the four years prior to that, Finau never finished outside of 40th, and three of those four finishes were 13th or better.

Those years that saw him finish in those Top 13 spots had Finau finding ways to be in the positives in the majority of Strokes Gained categories that matter, and maybe this is the tournament where he does finally break through with a huge win against a quality field. The Memorial Tournament has done similar things for the past two champions – Cantlay and Dechambeau, and Finau's long been thought of as one of those “next” guys that just needs another win or two under his belt to take that next step.

His inability to win in these spots in the past makes backing him outright a little tougher to do, but with the cushions that these placement props give you, Finau tends to be a much better play in that regard.
The Memorial
To Make Cut – No
Tiger Woods +185
Cameron Champ +110
I have held off on some of these Miss Cut props in previous weeks because nobody wants to really hear about “bad” things happening, let alone bet on them occurring. All we have to do is look around at what 2020 has brought the world in general though to know that bad things happen all the time. Heck, the general investment strategy of the two younger guys in the movie “The Big Short” was to back bad things happening so that when they were wrong they lost a little, but when they were right they hit big. Tiger's missed cut odds this week are far from hitting it big, but it's still a play that does make sense to me on multiple levels. But I'll start with the arguments against this play as I know they'll be the first defense bettors will bring up.

Tiger Woods has never missed a 36-hole cut at the Memorial in his career – 17 tries – and the only time he didn't have a Sunday tee time in all those years was the first time he placed the event in 1997 when he was cut after 54 holes. For course history guys, backing Tiger to miss the cut this week seems ludicrous from that perspective.

However, Tiger's far from the same dominant golfer he was back in his prime, and cut lines are also tighter with no more 54-hole cuts and just the Top 65 and ties advancing to the weekend. He's not played a “real” competitive round of golf since The Genesis Invitational back in mid-February, and that outing had quite an ugly end to it with weekend scores of 76-77 to finish dead last of those who did make the cut.

That's nearly five full months of not being on Tour though, and I don't care who you are, there is going to be some rust to shake off with that sort of layoff. Even with Muirfield Village being a course he knows very well and one he's had more success at than anyone else, I'm not sure how you can trust him to be near his best after that layoff, especially since his last two competitive rounds were as ugly as they were. All it takes is for a few shots to find the rough for a stretch of holes to get that bogey train fired up and going full steam ahead.

So in his 18th time at Jack's event, I'll be the party pooper that hopes to see Woods' return to the Tour be a short, two-day excursion. I can't imagine there is all the internal motivation for him at an event he's won more than anyone, especially with his likely next start being a Major, and he himself could be looking at this week as one where he does shake the rust off before heading out for the PGA Championship in a few weeks.

With how deep this field is overall, and all of those other great players being active on Tour for multiple weeks, I'll take the near 2-1 price that Tiger ends up being one of the odd men out of weekend play.

Concerning Cameron Champ, he did play at Muirfield Village last week and finished like Tiger did in his last start at the Genesis – last place of those to make the cut. More importantly though, Champ lost strokes to the field in approach in every single round last week, and had it not been for a hot putter those first two days – especially on Friday – a missed cut would have been the end result (he made the cut on the number).

With the course likely to play tougher this week, and again, the depth of the field being what it is, Champ has no shot at making the weekend if he puts up similar numbers in the approach game again. Statistically, Champ looks more and more like nothing more than the prototypical 'bomber' in the game, and when he can't go out and overpower a golf course, he ends up struggling. That's not how guys succeed here, and given that in his two career appearances at Muirfield Village he's had a missed cut (last year at Memorial) and made the cut on the number, plus money on him falling short of a weekend tee time is a relatively easy wager to get behind.
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