Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Sportsbooks favor Scheffler, Rory at stacked PGA

By admin May17,2024

  • Doug Greenberg, ESPNMay 15, 2024, 01:39 PM ET

Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy find themselves in familiar territory atop the betting odds list heading into the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club: first and second, respectively.

That’s the same order for five of the past six tournaments in which they’ve both played.

As of Wednesday afternoon on ESPN BET, Scheffler shows +425 odds to win his third career major championship, up from the +350 he showed in the week prior. Some sportsbooks have Scheffler, 27, as short as +300, while others are as long as +450.

McIlroy, meanwhile, is +700 on ESPN BET, with odds ranging from +600 to +750 at other major sportsbooks. The next closest players on ESPN BET are Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele at +1400.

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The 1-2 betting punch of Scheffler and McIlroy is fitting given the pair are, respectively, first and second in the Official World Golf Ranking and in PGA Tour wins this season.

Despite taking almost a month off for the birth of his first child, Scheffler’s status atop the odds board should be no surprise considering he has won four of his past five starts, including the Masters in April and the RBC Heritage the week after. He has not finished outside the top 10 in any tournament since mid-January.

At their lowest point at +300, Scheffler’s odds to win at Valhalla are the shortest for any major since 2010, and the shortest at the PGA Championship since favorite Tiger Woods won in 2007. Scheffler consistently draws comparisons to the all-time great, but what makes his short odds all the more impressive in the eyes of oddsmakers is the strength of the other players currently in professional golf.

“Some tournaments that Tiger was in when he was really on a roll winning everything, he was like 8-5 to win a tournament,” DraftKings director of race and sportsbook operations Johnny Avello told ESPN. “Now, Scottie hasn’t gotten down to those levels yet, but Scottie hasn’t played against a field where, although he dominates, everybody else has no shot. And that’s [what it was like] when Tiger [had] those really short odds.

“I think this field that you’re seeing is probably the best field that we’ve ever had before in the game of golf. And what makes Scottie so impressive is that he can beat the McIlroys, the Schauffeles, the Rahms and DeChambeaus, and he beats them consistently.”

The betting public recognizes Scheffler’s greatness, as he is the most-bet golfer in this week’s field by tickets at every major sportsbook and also leads in handle at most. That said, sportsbooks are largely not worried, as his short odds dictate that they will be OK from a profit perspective even if he wins.

On the other hand, McIlroy has been no slouch himself, winning his past two starts, including the Wells Fargo Championship last weekend.

While McIlroy, 35, has not won a major in almost a decade, the scenario entering this week’s tournament is eerily similar to the last time he did: In 2014, McIlroy won the WGC-Bridgestone and proceeded to win the PGA Championship at Valhalla the following week, making him the last player to win on tour the week before winning a major, per ESPN Stats & Information.

The public might be leaning into the hype.

“Everybody knows he has the potential to win a major, even though it’s been some time now since he’s won,” Caesars golf trader Anthony Salleroli told ESPN. “He’s won at Valhalla. Leading up to the previous tournament at Valhalla, he won that tournament. It’s like the story is rewriting itself.”

Salleroli notes that the book wrote “a ton of tickets” on McIlroy after his win at Wells Fargo on Sunday. McIlroy slightly trails Scheffler in ticket count at ESPN BET, showing 12.9% of tickets to the latter’s 13.5%.

Of course, as Avello noted, the field at this year’s PGA Championship is about as strong as any men’s pro golf has ever seen. In turn, there are golfers attracting action all down the list.

The most prominent is Koepka, who, like Scheffler and McIlroy, is also coming off a win, with his coming at the LIV Golf League’s recent Singapore event.

The reigning PGA Championship winner is the most popular pick to make the top 10 (+162) at ESPN BET. He’s also attracted the second-largest percentage of handle at BetMGM (14.3%) and is tied with Scheffler for the largest handle percentage at DraftKings (19%).

“Koepka will always be a favorite when it comes to the majors, as he is one of the best in the field at raising his game for big tournaments and is a three-time PGA Championship winner,” ESPN BET head of sportsbook Patrick Jay said.

In general, LIV golfers have proven to be popular options for bettors at this tournament, as Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau are also seeing elevated action after promising recent form.

“The great thing about the majors is that we include the top guys from the LIV tour, and I’m happy that they give certain people special invitations to play in these majors,” Salleroli said. “I think that really emphasizes how strong the PGA Championship field is.”

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