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Patrick Cantlay
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Travelers: Backing Cantlay where it started

by Brad Thomas
Updated On: June 21, 2022, 3:32 pm ET

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Matt Fitzpatrick is your 2022 US Open champion. He was able to hold off a strong push from Will Zalatoris to win the US Open at the same place he won the 2013 US Amateur. While watching last week’s tournament, it’s clear that The Country Club should be in regular US Open tournament schedule rotation. The course was challenging yet fair. The conditions set the stage for a great Sunday finish. After a fantastic stay at TCC in Brookline, we make the short trip to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Defending champion Harris English is back in the field, and his odds are set at +12500. With four golfers successfully defending their championships this season, it begs the question of if there’s any value on English this week. His game fits this course, but with his best finish being a 30th at Sentry, he’s not a golfer I’m adding to my card this week.

There are a few golfers this week I am interested in. I generally don’t like going this deep in a tournament the week after a major, but these five golfers have value and a solid chance to win this week. I found these odds on PointsBet Sportsbook.

Scottie Scheffler to win +1100

The World No. 1 Scheffler is the second betting favorite this week behind Rory McIlroy. After a close call at the US Open, he’s hoping to rebound from a disappointing finish and win the Travelers. Scheffler has been a good bet and an excellent daily fantasy option all season. Scheffler is accurate off the tee and hitting GIR at a 71.7% rate. He flowed up his missed cut at the PGA Championship with two second-place finishes and an 18th at the Canadian Open.

Scheffler is accurate off the tee and great on approach. He’s shown that when he misses greens, his craft around the greens is second to none. He has all the tools; the question is how much his second-place finish at US Open will impact his play. If I were to guess, he would take the major disappointment better golfers like Sam Burns.

Patrick Cantlay to win +1400

The battle for “best golfer without a major” has thickened with Will Zalatoris’ second-place finish at the US Open. It had been Cantlay at the top of that list for a while. I’m backing Cantlay this week after watching his 4th round at the US Open, where he finished with a 1-under-69 in tough conditions. Cantlay has one win and six top-5 finishes, including two runner-up finishes at the Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage.

TPC River Highlands is a short course. Measuring just 6,841 yards, it’s the shortest par-70 course the PGA Tour will play this season. There’s a mutual benefit to both longer and shorter hitters. The shorter hitters don’t have to worry about overly long holes and can attack the par-5s, while the bombers who tend to spray off the tee can club down and keep their ball out of the rough.

When pulling the data for golfers who succeed on the smaller courses, Cantlay’s name rises to the top of the list. It’s hard to ignore a guy who is accurate off the tee and hits a ton of greens in regulation.

Joaquin Niemann to win +3000

Niemann was a name that continuously appeared when building my models. He’s one of those golfers who has the tools to compete anywhere but should always be competitive at courses that could be seen as ball-strikers paradise. The tools necessary to succeed at TPC River Highlands include, great ball striking, driving accuracy, and GIR. The reason Niemann appears high on every model I make is because he’s a great ball-striker who is strong off the tee. His great ball-striking was on display when he won the Genesis. He gained +7.1 strokes on approach. His putting is definitely his weakness. However, he’s gained strokes putting in his last four measured events. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Niemann at the US Open, I will trust the data this week and back him as one of my outright favorites this week.

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Sungjae Im to win +3300

I am back on Sungjae Im again this week. I wouldn’t go as far as saying Im disappointed me last week after he failed to make the cut. Watching him last week didn’t change my opinion of him. He’s a great ball striker who seemed not to put it all together last week. After two promising events, he laid an egg at the US Open. I can’t turn away on Im this week, not when he projects well here. He’s dynamite off the tee and a great ball-striker who can back up his strong iron play with solid showings on the putting surface.

Aaron Wise to win +5000

Wise is so close to that major breakthrough. His lone PGA Tour win was back in 2018 at the Byron Nelson. I’m sure Wise would agree that he’s a better golfer today than in 2018. So far this season, he’s shown serious promise. He has a handful of top-10s, including a second-place finish at the Memorial. He’s relatively accurate off the tee and a great ball striker. Over his last five tournaments, he’s gained +3.8 strokes off the tee and another +1 strokes off the tee. There was a point last week where it seemed as if he had a legitimate chance to win. This week could be the perfect time for him to pick up his second Tour win.

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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.