Odds and Ends

Charles Schwab: Backing Horses for Course

by Brad Thomas
Updated On: May 24, 2023, 11:02 am ET

Michael Block is all the buzz in golf media despite LIV member and former major champion Brooks Koepka winning the PGA Championship and hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy. Block did the unthinkable. He finished inside the top 15 at the PGA Championship as a PGA teaching professional. Not only earning himself nearly $300,000 but an invitation to next year's PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. Luckily for everyone who was rooting for Block to succeed, he's been given a special sponsor exemption into this week's Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Much like Oak Hill, Colonial Country Club will be another tough task for the golfers in the field. At 7,209 yards, the par 70 course doesn't demand the same length off the tee as Oak Hill, but the tree-lined fairways will still require the same pinpoint accuracy off the tee. This week will be tough for many in the field. Not only are they playing the week after a major, but they are also playing their second tough course for a second straight week. Mental exhaustion could be a thing. However, if the RBC Heritage was any example, good golfers always want to win, even the week after a major.

Key Metrics Correlated to Success:

  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • SG: Approach
  • Driving Accuracy
  • SG: Around the Green
  • SG: Off-the-Tee
  • Bogey Avoidance

2023 Charles Schwab Challenge Outright Bets

Jordan Spieth +1400

Jordan Spieth has been battling injury over the past few weeks, but after his performance at the PGA Championship, I'm comfortable backing him to win this week. He finished T29 last week, but his swing didn't give him issues. He gained +6 strokes tee-to-green but lost -2.4 strokes around the green and another -1.2 strokes putting, two areas where Spieth is generally electric. This makes me believe that if he continues to gain strokes off-the-tee and on approach, he's up for a big bounce back this week.

Spieth is also a past champion, having won this event in 2016 as a +700 favorite. He fits the course profile to a tee. He's solid off the tee, great on approach, and around the greens. He's also top five in bogey avoidance. Before his injury, Spieth was consistently in contention this season. If his injuries are healed, there's no reason to think he won't be in contention this week.

Tony Finau +1540

I went back and forth on betting on Tony Finau this week. He's ranked fourth in my primary model but was absolutely dreadful at the PGA Championship. He finished 15-over and T72 in the field. His best round at Oak Hill was a 2-over 72. He lost a total of -5.2 strokes and lost strokes in just about every category. However, I'm forgiving Finau for his performance last week. Oak Hill is challenging and demanding. He also hasn't lost strokes in 12 straight tournaments before his blunder at the PGA Championship.

Finau is a solid fit this week. He's great off the tee and top 10 in Bogey Avoidance, SG: App, and SG: T2G. His putter has been up and down, but there is no denying how elite of a ball striker he is. Finau also has course history on his side. He finished T4 here last season and solo 2nd in 2019. We can say Finau is a proven winner, and his +1540 odds are justified.

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Justin Rose +3000 0.5 units

Let's take a moment to celebrate the comeback of Justin Rose. Rose has already picked up a win so far this season and contended at both majors. He's been great on approach, and his putter has been dialed in. At the PGA Championship, he finished inside the top 10 despite losing -0.8 strokes off the tee. Gaining +4.6 strokes on approach certainly helped, and from what we've seen so far this season, that can be replicated weekly. Rose is also a past winner of this event. He won in 2018 and finished T3 in 2020. I'm backing him to win, and depending on the price, I'll likely bet on him to finish in the top 20.

Brad Thomas

Brad is a sports handicapper who is lucky enough to write about his true love; sports. "We may all root for different teams, but our objective remains the same… Beat the books! Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint." Follow Brad on Twitter @MrBradThomas.