This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
The RSM Classic Betting Preview
The final full-field event in 2021 is upon us, as the PGA Tour heads to St. Simons Island, Georgia for the annual RSM Classic.
The event brings out a contingent of Tour pros that live in Sea Island and is played on two separate courses, with golfers rotating between the Seaside and Plantation courses Thursday and Friday before playing the weekend at the Seaside Course. Scottie Scheffler headlines the field as the favorite at 10-1 in a tournament that includes six top-30 players in the world. Last year, Robert Streb, at staggering 300-1 odds, pulled off a massive upset, defeating Kevin Kisner with a birdie on the second playoff hole for his second RSM Classic win.
After a tough week in Houston, we'll see more birdies in Georgia, with the Seaside Course playing short at 7,000 yards and the Plantation Course giving players an extra pair of par-5s to score on. We'll want to key in on iron play this week, with two of the last four winners ranking top-5 in Strokes Gained: Approach. The elite ball strikers tend to lose some of their advantage on a shorter track that puts more of a premium on precision and layups off the tee, with the elite putters and golfers with experience at the course getting more of an added benefit than they would at your typical Tour venue.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 3:00 PM ET Tuesday.
The following five golfers, with a minimum of 10 rounds played, have averaged the most birdies per round at The RSM Classic since 2016:
2018 champion Howell knows how to go low at the event, having recorded four top-10s since the tournament's inception in 2010. A fixture in the top 100 for most of his career, Howell enters the week outside the top 200 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time. Although the results haven't been there this year with just a lone top-10, his strokes-gained numbers showed improvement last season from the year prior, and he's a good target this week for DFS lineups. Another golfer who is no slouch in Sea Island and more of a threat to win this week is former University of Georgia golfer and in-state resident Brendon Todd. He's made six starts at the event with a best finish of fourth, and he comes in off a solid T11 finish from two weeks ago in Mayakoba. He's a dark horse to take home the trophy at 60-1.
These golfers, on a per-round basis, have gained the most strokes on approach over their last five tournaments:
Hoge has turned the corner since the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, with only one missed cut during a nine-event stretch in which he has been dialed in on approach and has recorded three top-20s. That's quite the run for someone that had missed 9-of-12 cuts prior, and surprisingly the oddsmakers haven't taken notice, as he's priced at 130-1 to win. Much higher up the betting board is Smith, who will be making his first appearance at The RSM Classic. It's difficult to find a course that doesn't fit the Australian's eye, as he has missed only three cuts this year. He is now going to a place where approach play and putting are key, which should be right up his alley. While there have been plenty of long-shot winners here in the past, Smith is a prime choice to buck the trend at 14-1.
Harris English (25-1)
English had to withdraw from the last tournament he was set to play in, but his back should be healed up after four weeks off. He should have good memories of the Seaside Course after closing with a 62 on Sunday last year to finish T6. English has two wins this year and at times has looked like one of the best players in the world over the past 15 months.
Alex Noren (35-1)
It's seemingly only a matter of time before the 10-time European Tour winner breaks through and wins in the States. It's not like the Swede hasn't been close, with a runner-up at prestigious Torrey Pines and a pair of top-5s this summer. Noren has shot under par in all eight rounds he has played at The RSM Classic.
Brian Harman (80-1)
We will go with the hometown angle in Harman, a Sea Island resident who also played at Georgia. He has one of the best short games on Tour and is an accurate driver, which is needed here. He hasn't been in the best form as of late, but that has created some nice value, and we saw last week with Jason Kokrak that golfers with multiple Tour titles can break out of a slump at any time.
Seamus Power (5-1)
Power has turned into one of the steadiest golfers on Tour, going through a 13-event stretch with eight top-20s. Using last season's numbers for a bigger sample size, Power ranks seventh among in this week's field in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Matt Kuchar (11-2)
Kuchar has the style of game that makes him a great fit for this event, with his biggest weakness being his lack of driving distance. That's not going to be much of a disadvantage on a 7,000-yard course. After struggling this summer, Kuchar played better over his last five starts. I don't view him as much of a threat to win, but a top-10 should be within reach.
Rory Sabbatini (12-1)
Sabbatini epitomizes the boom-or-bust golfer – his last 12 starts netted six missed cuts but also three top-10s. It's hard to know what you're going to get out of him in a given week, but that appears to be more than priced into his odds. Considering he's closed with rounds of 66-65 here last year, this may very well be a boom.
Coming off a 2-0 head-to-head week last week, I will look to keep that going with Conners. I like the value on Conners at even money against Oosthuizen, who missed the cut here last year. As good as Oosthuizen has been, he does not seem to play his best at these regular Tour stops that turn into birdie-fests. Meanwhile, Conners is a perfect 3-for-3 in made cuts at The RSM Classic, and he finished T10 last year.
Niemann is one of my favorite targets in one-on-one matchups due to his consistency. He has missed only two cuts all year, and he's also 2-for-2 in this event. Gooch has certainly looked great to start the fall season, but he cooled off last week and has only made the cut once in four trips to Sea Island. The value is on Niemann as a slight underdog.