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On Tap Bets: Rocket Mortgage Classic – Outright Favorites, Value Picks, and Long Shot Picks

The PGA heads to the Motor City this week where some of the world’s best golfers will compete in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and for the $7.5M purse that comes with it.

Photo: Detroit Golf Club/Facebook

Detroit Golf Club’s North Course is a 7,370-yard par-72 course nestled in the heart of the Motor City. It’s reportedly one of the flattest courses on Tour and primed for birdies, especially on the back nine. This beautiful and legendary course is the site of the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Challenge.

Two golfers finished more than 20 strokes under par here in 2020, with Bryson DeChambeau beating out Matthew Wolff by three strokes with a -23.

Will Bryson turn his recent performance around and return to Detroit with a vengeance, or will an underdog step up and take the crown? Here is a look at my bet slip for the week.

Favorites to Win Outright

Defending Rocket Mortgage winner and betting favorite Bryson DeChambeau
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau (+700)

The defending Rocket Mortgage champion is coming into this tournament as a heavy favorite, and there’s nothing to indicate that he doesn’t deserve to be in that position. With four par-fours under 400 yards, DeChambeau will have a fair amount of chances to put himself in easy chip-and-putt situations off the tee with his tour-best 322.4 yards per drive.

To be fair, DeChambeau does not thrive on approach shots inside 100 yards. However, if he can at least get close he’s shown a keen ability to recover from mistakes, scrambling at a 73% clip inside 20 yards.

DeChambeau is due for a win. He’s finished no higher than 18th in his last five tournaments. He also said a win at Detroit a year ago was a major confidence builder that propelled him to a U.S. Open win later that year. You can bet that he’ll be returning this year with that same confidence.

Webb Simpson (+1800)

The 35-year-old Simpson finished 8th at Detroit in 2020. He has five top-ten finishes so far in 2021 but is coming off an extremely disappointing missed-cut his last time out at the U.S. Open.

Simpson’s 293 yards per drive is not going to blow anyone away, but he is top-15 in driving accuracy which will help him this week. He’s also top-20 on approach shots inside 75 yards which is where he’ll be playing from quite a bit.

Overall, Simpson has been stepping his game up recently, ranked 2nd on Tour over the past three months in Total True Strokes-Gained. I like his game, and just as importantly his confidence, on a course he’s had success on in the past.

Value Picks

22-year-old Chilean Joaquin Niemann
Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Joaquin Niemann (+2000)

I’ve written plenty about the 22-year-old from Chile, Joaquin Niemann, and I’m putting him back on my bet slip this week.

Niemann is one of only two golfers on Tour ranked in the top-ten off the tee and top-20 on approach over the last three months. He has four top-ten finishes so far on the season and has been at or around the top of leaderboards after 36 holes on multiple occasions, jumping into the top-ten in average score per round. Niemann’s problem is that he just hasn’t been able to put four steller rounds together in one tournament.

Niemann will drive the ball right along with DeChambeau this week, and I’m betting on the rest of his game coming together on this less challenging course.

Jason Kokrak (+2500)

Remember above when I said Niemann was one of two golfers with top-ten driving and top-20 approach to the green? Well, the other is none other than two-time 2021 winner Jason Kokrak.

Kokrak has had overall success off the tee this year, currently sitting 5th in the Total Driving metric which accounts for both distance and accuracy.

What Kokrak has that some of the other golfers on my bet slip don’t is the second-best putting game in the PGA. And while putting may not be the top indicator of success at Detroit, it certainly can make or break any tournament and could end up being the differentiator this week.

This is also where I start keeping an eye on top-five finishes, and Kokrak’s +550 odds to do so are very enticing.

Will Zalatoris (+2500)

2021 Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris is coming off a disappointing last outing when he missed the cut at the U.S. Open. However, the 24-year-old is back this week and playing a course that fits his skill set.

Zalatoris’ 307 yards per drive and nearly 69% greens in regulation make for an excellent combination on any course, and especially at Detroit. He has never played here but did finish 6th in his last round at Winged Foot, one of Data Golf’s highest-ranked courses in their similarity index.

Zalatoris is currently 5/1 for a top-five finish as well.

Long Shots (Win/Top 5/Top 10)

Long shot hopeful Keegan Bradley
Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Keegan Bradley (+4000/+800/+400)

Although just 75th in the current Official World Golf Rankings, Keegan Bradley has quietly played good golf this season. With serviceable driving and top-ten on approach shots, Bradley is currently 8th-best on Tour tee-to-green.

The 35-year-old has missed two cuts in a row, but in the same breath has two top-five finishes in his last six outings. If Bradley can keep his mistakes on the green to a minimum (he is currently losing almost 0.5 strokes on the green), the rest of his game should play well in Detroit.

I like the prospects of an 8/1 top-five finish for Bradley.

Kyle Stanley (+8000/+1200/+650)

33-year-old Clemson alum Kyle Stanley hasn’t been lighting the world on fire by any means, but he is statistically one of the better tee-to-green golfers on tour as of late, and his game should play well in Detroit.

Ranked 12th off the tee and 4th on approach over the last three months, Stanley, much like Bradley, just needs to make sure he doesn’t shoot himself in the foot with his putting.

Stanley has played Detroit Golf Club twice, finishing 21st in 2019 but missing the cut in 2020. The third time could be a charm, and a +1200 top-five or even +650 top-ten would be a nice addition to any bet slip.


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