Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, April 11 at 2:00 PM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is April 12 at 7:20 AM EST.
RBC Heritage Classic
This Week's Course Preview
There are two features of Harbour Town Golf Links that makes this layout a cracking test: the tiny Bermuda greens, which really are tough to find in regulation, and the wind; a feature that sweeps in hard into the south east coast of North America off the Atlantic Ocean. Measuring 7,100 yards for its Par 71, this Pete Dye track has just three Par 5s to work with and tree-lined fairways that, while not narrow, certainly reward those who can land their drives in prime location. This is one of those ‘position’ golf courses where strong approach players tend to thrive – it was the key ingredient for Wes Bryan 12 months ago, certainly, and the sense is that even the tidiest of players will miss greens this week, so scrambling is key.
What we’re looking for this week:
It’s all about the approach play. The RBC Heritage is an event where Strokes Gained: Approach and SG: Around-the-Green yield a higher percentage of importance than the Tour average, and so that will act as the basic foundation for us. Typically, this is a place for accurate driving, but last year Wes Bryan served up a rather anomalous championship result. He hit just 31/56 fairways, proving that you can miss but you have to do so in the right places. But generally speaking, finding these smaller-than-average greens is much easier from the short grass, so place a premium on accuracy over power off the tee and let’s not forget we’re back on Bermuda this week after a brief foray onto Bentgrass at Augusta National.
We can debate the worth of course form over current form until we are blue in the face, but the fact remains that course form at Harbour Town does count for something. How else can we account for the fact that the likes of Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, William McGirt and Rory Sabbatini regularly feature here despite their barren runs almost everywhere else on Tour. One thing we mustn’t forget is the psychology of a post-major week: who will be dialed in and giving it their all, and who is in town simply to pick up an easy paycheck given South Carolina’s proximity to Augusta?
As for correlating courses, Sea Island (RSM Classic) and Waialae (Sony Open) are the two most obvious ones given their coastal and wind-affected location, and in Waialae’s case the tree-lined fairways. Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Kisner and Brian Gay have all featured prominently at Sea Island and Harbour Town in the past few years.
Last week's results:
While we did not have the straight up winner last week, we went 3-0 in our head-to-head matchups and went 2-0-1 the week before so we are on a current 5-0-1 run in the H2H matchups. To win outright is gravy and we absolutely try our best but again, the money in PGA events is in the H2H matchups and hopefully we’ll continue our run here. Here are our longshots choices to win followed by H2H matchups and hopefully one or more will be in the mix come Sunday:
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at BET365 because of their cash-out option during the event:
To win outright:
Patton Kizzire 80-1
This week we’ve got a high-quality field to comb through but not one containing a huge number of ‘natural’ tournament winners; towards the head of the market we could hardly call the likes of Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton prolific. So, the fact that Patton Kizzire has won twice this term certainly makes him an intriguing proposition, especially at a lofty price such as this. Both of those victories came at layouts we might consider correlating to Harbour Town – the OHL Classic and Sony Open – and a respectable T12 at the WGC Mexico shows he doesn’t mind wind combined with tree-lined fairways. There’s enough form from him here (32-14) to suggest a date with the business end of the tournament is viable and we’re happy to get this quality player at such decent odds (Risking 0.2 units to win 16).
Austin Cook 90-1
Austin Cook made his debut at Augusta National, and while a final score of +10 saw him miss the cut, he actually played some decent golf on Thursday. As we know, a disappointing week at The Masters does not dictate performance at Harbour Town, and so we shouldn’t be too hasty in writing off the 27-year-old. His exceptional chipping-and-putting game took him to the RSM Classic title earlier this year, and top-20s at the Sony Open and the Pete Dye hosted CareerBuilder Challenge are no coincidence. Cook ranks 25th ON TOUR in Driving Accuracy, 40th in Scrambling and 45th in SG: Around-the-Green. We actually like that he missed the cut this week, as he’s had time to take it all in get a bit of a head start in preparation for this event (Risking 0.2 units to win 18).
Tom Hoge 250-1
We always like to take a shot with a bomb and Hoge is our guy this week. North Carolinan Hoge will be dropping south of the border this week, and we can only hope that the inspiration that gave Wes Bryan the title last year will repeat itself. Hoge has really impressed this season with his iron play, ranking 30th for SG: Approach, and that as a basic building block gives him an excellent chance of replicating his solo third place finish at the Sony Open earlier in the term. His stats on Par 4s this term are equally impressive, and that naturally gives Hoge some kind of edge at Par 71 layouts. This is a guy with plenty of round in the 60’s lately. He also has a 7th 3rd, 12th and 26th place finish in four of his last 12 events. He’s never played this event before but sometimes that’s a good and that aforementioned third place finish at the comparable Sony Open really sticks out (Risking 0.2 units to win 50).
Head-to-head Matchups for the RBC Heritage Classic
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS for the RBC Heritage Classic
The quality of talent at this level is getting better every year and there are literally between 45 and 50 golfers every event that have a truly legit chance to win but we can’t bet them all. To pick a winner outright is a big time challenge but the real money in these events is in the head-to-head challenges and that’s where our bread and butter will be earned. We may post daily head-to-heads as well so keep your eye out for those. In the meantime, the H2H wagers below are for 72 holes:
Russel Knox +110 over Matthew Fitzpatrick BET 365
Matthew Fitzpatrick played in the Masters last week and finished tied for 38th. We cannot overstate how mentally draining playing in the Masters is and how dialed in these pros get to play in it. Naturally, there is a letdown and Matthews isn’t likely to let us down here. You see, Harbour Town is a stone’s throw away from Augusta so a lot of pros stick around to play in this event, although they are not mentally prepared for it. Fitzpatrick played in the Masters in 2016 and 2017 and each year, including this one, he signed up to play in the RBC Heritage. Fitzpatrick missed the cut in both years here and we would not be a bit surprised if he missed it again. Even if he makes the cut, we can live with a bet on Knox to beat him because we trust he will.
You can look at Russell Knox’s form-line at any given point of the season and think that he is a truly inconsistent and frustrating performer and you’d be right and that’s because he has a very particular skill set. The Scot has a neat and tidy game with high GIR numbers and a nice chipping action around the dancefloor. On layouts where his lack of length isn’t penalized, he has a habit of going well. Traditionally his best form has come here (11-2-18-9) and at the Sony Open, another short and wind-affected test, with decent efforts at the OHL Classic and Pebble Beach; confirming the fact that Knox is a coastal, resort style golfer you can trust. He’s another who had a watching brief for The Masters, and will be desperate to get his world ranking up in the coming months. Knox will be ready to go here while we cannot say the same about Fitz (Risking 2 units to win 2.2).
The scientifically-minded Bryce DeChambeau has finished inside the top-10 in three of his 10 PGA TOUR starts this term, including an eye-catching second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his penultimate start where he mixed it with Rory, Tiger and co and did not look out of place. DeChambeau was T4 for here in 2016 and that’s not surprising, as his game is perfect for finding these tiny greens. That sounds like an endorsement but Bryce missed the cut here last year after NOT playing in the Masters. He played the Masters and Arnold Palmer Invitational this year and went four full rounds at Augusta last week. Aside from that, we have a sneaky feeling that Ollie has targeted this event.
We’re not seeing great form by Ollie right now, as he’s finished with just one round under 70 in his last 12 rounds but that’s fine. You see, he made the cut in all three rounds and finished third at the Phoenix Open back in early February. Aside from that, Ollie was brilliant on this course last season, as he finished 3rd here with four rounds all at 69 or better. That was his first time at Harbour Town and you can be damn sure that the three-week break leading up to this event is not a coincidence. Ollie is 45-1 to win this event and you may want to throw a few bucks on that too because he was right at home here last year and could easily go gate to wire this year (Risking 2 units to win 2.1).
Others to consider to win outright or for DFS (Daily Fantasy):
Horse for the Course is
His top-five finish at The Masters will finally have identified Cameron Smith as a ‘proper player’ to a wider audience, but anybody who saw his T4 return from the US Open in 2015 will have been watching the Australian closely ever since. Since then, he secured victory alongside Jonas Blixt at the Zurich Classic – played at another Pete Dye layout at TPC Louisiana, and Smith also triumphed in his home Australian PGA Championship; a quality event which would have heaped so much pressure on his young shoulders. His closing 66 at Augusta confirmed what many knew already: Smith is the real deal, and a maiden PGA TOUR singles victory is surely on the horizon. Smith ranks 11th ON TOUR in Par 4 Scoring Average –11th in Scrambling – 24th in SG: Around-the-Green and he is our HORSE for the COURSE this week.
TOTAL RISK FOR THIS tournament is 4.8 units and we'll update it when the event is official.
We got swept at this event so the total loss is 4.8 units.
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RBC Heritage Classic (Risking 4.8 units - To Win: 0.00)