October 19, 2020

Sports are coming back, and so is sports betting!

To quote the great Emerson, Lake, and Palmer:
“Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside!”

OK… The show did end for a little while, but it was only a temporary break. We’ve already seen the return of many sports; Russian table tennis, NASCAR, and the Korean baseball league KBO to name a few. As time goes on, we will (hopefully) see the return of more sports, and that means it’s time to look into a segment that many people only fairly recently gained access to. Gambling on those sports.

This week will see the return of real, live golf. Not just a group of 4 guys on the course alone, but a whole tournament! I’m pretty new to the betting scene, but some other members of TGS have years of experience and together, we will try to help you make some money. I want to take a second and say thanks to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, whose odds I will be using for this piece. If you haven’t signed up, you should do yourself a favor and get set up ASAP. The app is clean, easy to use, and they pay out almost immediately. I’ll also be mentioning a special feature of theirs that I’m taking advantage of this week…

This week we will start with the Charles Schwab Challenge, hosted by Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, TX. This will be a very strange week, after over 3 months off it’s extremely difficult to gauge the state of everyone’s game. We can look back before the hiatus and use tournament history to help, but it’s still even more of a minefield than usual when trying to find good picks. Obviously lines can vary from place to place and it’s in your best interest to “shop around” and find the best deal for you. I personally only have experience with DraftKings, but there are plenty of options out there to choose from. I typically tend to stay away from the heavy favorites, but some quick research shows that books are excited to get back into action, and lines are set pretty aggressively to get you to play. And if I were a betting man (see what I did there?), people are going to Eat. It. Up.

Even top guys can get you good-to-great returns. World #1 Rory McIlroy, for example, is the lead dog on DraftKings coming in at +750. If you’re unsure what that means, a $5 bet will win you $42.50, assuming Rory actually comes in first. Like I said, I usually shy away from big favorites, but even for me, that’s a hard to ignore number. I’m going to, but it was definitely an internal discussion.

For me, I’m looking a little further down the board to some guys that well-known, but better value. Colonial is not a course that’s built for bombers, it puts more emphasis on iron play, and a lot comes down to chipping and putting. It’s also a place that values experience around the grounds more than some other stops on Tour. Guys like Webb Simpson (22/1 on DK), Sunjae Im (35/1), Byeong Hun An (70/1) are probably going to be popular picks this week.

At last, I’ll let you know who I’m really picking. It’s a good week to sprinkle a little on several guys and see what hits, rather than bet big on just one or two. Each of the bets below are 1 “unit” unless otherwise described. Everyone’s comfort level with betting is different, and therefore everyone’s typical bet (unit) is different, so go with what you feel is best.

Side bets

These are guys I’m not picking to win, but who I think play well and finish near the top of the leaderboard.
Kevin Na to finish Top-10 (5/1): Not the biggest odds you’ll see me bet on this week, but sometimes you just have to make money. Na has played very well several times at Colonial, including winning this tournament last year and a 4th place finish at the 2018 Ft Worth Invitational.
Max Homa to finish Top-10 (9/1): He’s only played here twice before, missing the cut in 2015, but finishing 27th last year. He broke through for his first Tour win last year, and he’s got three top-10s so far in 2020. A bit of an unknown to the casual fan, but he’s an up-and-comer with a ton of upside.
Tony Finau to finish Top-5 (9/1): Finished 2nd here last year, behind Na. Even though he’s only got one other top-20 finish here (2017 Crowne Plaza), he’s made the cut all 4 times he’s played here. To finish in the top-5, you first have to be able to make the cut. Something Tony has never failed to do at Colonial.

Winners

Onto the (maybe) big money round. I’m taking some big swings here, in terms of odds. But sometimes you have to be a little bold.
Jordan Speith (46/1): Yeah, that’s a high number, and his recent form has been less than stellar. However, I am a believer in the former world #1. He’s going to turn it around sometime, and maybe the hiatus was just the thing he needed? A native Texan, looking to bounce back from a rough streak, at a course he knows and consistently plays well? I’ll take a shot.
Kevin Na (55/1, half unit bet): That’s not a misprint, I bet on the same guy twice on purpose. I’m not confident enough that he goes back-to-back to put a whole unit on it, but if someone a long way down the odds board is going to sneak this thing out, why not the guy who’s the defending champ?
Justin Thomas (+1650 DK ODDS BOOST to +1750): You thought I forgot about the “special feature” didn’t you? Well here it is! Every so often, DraftKings will throw out boosted odds on some picks. It’s not just golf, there are options for just about everything, and it’s maybe my favorite thing DK does. It’s been pretty good to me in other sports, and I hope it carries over to here. This week JT is the lucky recipient. It’s his first trip around Colonial, but with 5 top-10s (including 2 wins and a 3rd place finish) already in 2020, I’ll happily take the opportunity to maybe win even more money.

If all else fails, it will be fan-freakin-tastic to have even more live sports on television. Even if golf isn’t your thing, you can surely find something to scratch the sports itch this weekend. Stay tuned to TGS as the summer progresses, we will try to keep you all entertained, and maybe get rich at the same time.

Chaplin
Levi Larson
Levi Larson 8 Articles
Staff Writer

Levi was born and raised in West Liberty, Iowa. An attender of Iowa State University, and also dabbler at Kirkwood Community College. He's an animal lover, except for cats, and beer fanatic. When Levi isn't watching Iowa State or the Green Bay Packers, you can probably find him either watching or (preferably) playing golf. He also spends a lot of time watching movies and playing video games, but adult life continues to get in the way of both.

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