Canadian Open betting preview: Third time's the charm for Rory McIlroy?
Another Canadian Open win would be a heckuva three-peat for Rory McIlroy. With Canada's national PGA event descending on Oakdale Golf & Country Club for the first time, McIlroy is looking to go back-to-back-to-back on three different courses over five seasons.
McIlroy comes in as the heavy favorite at +500, having won in Hamilton in 2019 and at St. George's last year. (The Canadian Open wasn't played in 2020 and 2021.) The field also isn't as strong at the top, with next week's U.S. Open being played in Los Angeles. Those factors make it prohibitive to back McIlroy, especially after he's handed strokes back to the field on wedge shots and on the greens recently.
Three draws (odds to win/top 20)
Golfers more valuable than their odds suggest this week
Shane Lowry (+2000/-110)
Of course, there are no course history metrics for Oakdale for the TOUR's stars. However, just a stone's throw away from St. George's, this year's host site has a very similar setup. Shane Lowry was third in strokes gained: tee to green last year, but his struggles on the green pushed him back to T10, backing up a T2 and T12 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. He's clearly comfortable with the event north of the border, but he's also coming off a quiet top 20 at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, another classic-style course. At -110 for a top-20 result, Lowry is better than a 50/50 shot to finish high up the leaderboard.
Ludvig Aberg (+6600/+200)
Beyond being a potential tune-up for the U.S. Open, the Canadian Open comes at an interesting time on the golf calendar. With NCAA golf ending last week, a new crop of stellar talents hits pro golf. We saw it with Rose Zhang becoming a household name overnight in the LPGA.
Ludvig Aberg was the world's No. 1 amateur golfer - having won back-to-back Ben Hogan Awards - and he earned PGA TOUR membership by finishing atop the PGA University rankings this past season. This isn't just a tune-up for Aberg, who might be one of the 10 most talented players in the field. Asking for a Zhang-like win might be too much, but a top-20 result at 2-to-1 odds is worth a bet, especially since he finished T24 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Sam Bennett (+20000/+650)
After getting bailed out last week by a long-shot top-20 bet thanks to Adam Schenk (+450), why not take another flier on a college competitor of Aberg's? Sam Bennett had his own moment at the Masters this season when he was in contention until the final round, but that was no fluke.
The SEC Player of the Year (over eventual national champion Fred Biondi), Bennett reached the Masters after winning the U.S. Amateur title in 2022. Bennett made his pro debut last week and was even-par through 61 holes before things got away from him on the tough setup at Muirfield Village. At +650, that's well worth a swing on Bennett playing well this weekend.
The scary fade
A golfer with high expectations who's worth betting to miss the cut at a big price
Harry Hall (+170 to miss the cut)
This may not be as scary as fading a defending champion like Billy Horschel last week, but plus-money is plus-money, and that's what we're getting with Harry Hall. While Hall scored a T3 at the Charles Schwab Classic, Colonial is a far different track from Oakdale, and his putting helped him gain almost seven strokes on the field in Rounds 1 and 2. He was over par the rest of the weekend. Hall's next-best result in a main TOUR event was a T-83, and he's recorded a trio of missed cuts since the beginning of March.
The favorite club in the bag
We've picked two golfers to win each week: Max Homa and Tom Kim. Assuming they play 20-to-25 events, we're expecting our second-tier oddsboard duo will be profitable. It took one week for that approach to pay dividends: Homa won at Torrey Pines at 20-1 and almost added a second win at Riviera.
Are Max and Tom playing this week?
Nope. Both are resting before the U.S. Open, with Homa being a popular pick looking ahead to next week at LACC.
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.
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