Rocket Mortgage betting preview: Lack of stars opens door for long shots
Back-to-back! After hitting Webb Simpson at +3000 for the RBC Heritage and following it up with Dustin Johnson at +3000 to win the Travelers Championship, can we complete the three-peat? Let's hope so.
The difference between the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the events of the last three weeks is the noticeable lack of talent at the top of this week's oddsboard. Many of the best players in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Justin Thomas, are skipping the event at Detroit Golf Club, opening the door a little wider for a potential long-shot winner.
- 7,340 yards, par 72
- Donald Ross design
- Predominately bentgrass greens
- Four par 4s under 400 yards
- Three par 5s under 580 yards
- Tree-lined fairways with thick, 4-inch rough
- Comparable venues: Sedgefield Country Club (Wyndham Championship), East Lake Golf Club (Tour Championship)
Nate Lashley won last year's inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic by six shots over Doc Redman. The top of the leaderboard also included names such as Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Joaquin Niemann, and Rory Sabbatini, proving distance isn't a prerequisite for success.
Bryson DeChambeau is the heavy favorite at +600. The 26-year-old has posted six straight top-10 results - three since the restart - thanks to his incredible distance off the tee. He could easily put it all together for a win this week, but his price is far too short in a 156-man field.
Simpson and Tyrrell Hatton are the next two up after finishing first and tying for third, respectively, in their last outings at the RBC Heritage. Both suit Detroit Golf Club to a tee and are playing very well. But their prices are simply too short.
Reed stands out at +1800. He's the second-highest-ranked player in the field with a win under his belt this season. He shot 64 to close last week's Travelers Championship and tied for fifth at last year's Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Viktor Hovland should also be considered, but a number in the +2000 range would be more tempting. The young Norwegian led last week's field in strokes gained: tee to green and he tied for 13th at this event in 2019.
Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, and Sungjae Im are all talented enough to flick a switch and contend, but something currently appears off in each of their games. They should be avoided at this point in time.
The next tier
There's a considerable talent drop-off in this week's field. But that doesn't mean the winner won't be someone in this range.
Kevin Na is the first player who stands out. He's won three times on the PGA Tour since the start of 2018, and two of those victories came at courses with layouts similar to Detroit Golf Club's: The Old White TPC for the Greenbrier, and Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Snedeker and Adam Hadwin fall into the same bucket as Na; they can dial in with their irons and get scorching hot on the greens to go low. Lashley gained 9.3 strokes putting in his win last year, while everyone else inside the top 20 ended the week gaining shots on the greens. The bottom line: You better be able to putt if you hope to contend.
Redman has recently been priced in the +15000 range, but his odds have drastically shortened after last week's top-10 result and his second-place finish at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The long shots
With limited elite-level talent at the top and little separating the players priced at +5000 from those at +10000, the door is open for a long shot to steal the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Here are a few to consider:
Si Woo Kim (+7000): The former Players Championship winner was fourth in strokes gained: tee to green last week and tends to play well at shorter courses. He's won and tied for fifth at the Wyndham Championship at a venue comparable to Detroit Golf Club.
Kyle Stanley (+7500): You might be able to find longer odds than +7500, but it's a reasonable number for Stanley, who was ninth in strokes gained: tee to green at the Travelers. Though he's not a great putter, he's slightly better on bentgrass than he is on other surfaces.
Patton Kizzire (+12500): The two-time PGA Tour winner showed signs of life last week. He went 66-66-66-67 for a stellar top-six result, doing so with a wicked approach game. Historically, Kizzire is a great putter. If the flatstick shows up in Detroit along with his iron play from the Travelers, he has a real chance to contend.
Wesley Bryan (+17500): The 30-year-old led the field in strokes gained: approach last week in just his second start on the PGA Tour since 2018. He's an extremely volatile player, so a missed cut is definitely in the cards. But he's worth a flier at nearly +20000 if he can continue his strong play and make a few more putts.
Picks to win
Kevin Na (+3500)
Na has admitted his best chances to win on the PGA Tour come at a select few courses. He's gotten it done at Colonial, Silverado Country Club, and The Old White TPC since 2018, and he has an opportunity to capitalize again this week.
Coming off a solo-fifth effort at the Travelers, where he gained strokes across the board, Na is in a great spot to strike while the iron is hot. He won't bomb it off the tee like DeChambeau, but if he can gain strokes through approach shots and continue to putt well, he should be in the hunt Sunday.
Brandt Snedeker (+5000)
Snedeker battled hard to make last week's cut at the Travelers. In doing so, he gave himself another two rounds to find some form. Though his approach game wasn't sharp all week, it did improve with each round, a trend that will hopefully continue in Detroit.
The 39-year-old has dominated Donald Ross layouts in the past. He's won at Sedgefield twice and at East Lake in 2012. He also owns a number of other quality finishes at shorter courses where events can become putting contests, including a tie for fifth at last year's Rocket Mortgage Classic. Expect the nine-time PGA Tour winner to have a late final-round tee time.
Adam Hadwin (+5000)
Hadwin has gained strokes through approach shots and on the greens in each of his last four events. He's a fantastic putter with the ability to go extremely low and reach the 20-under number likely needed to win this week. Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes were in contention over the last two weeks, which will hopefully motivate Hadwin to match his fellow Canadians' recent success.