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3 Free Bets for the PGA Championship

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As the sun rises over the rolling hills of Kentucky, anticipation mounts for the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. With its rich history and a few notable course changes, we should be in for a great tournament this week in Louisville. 

Let’s dive into the course fit details and then see if any names pop off the page when looking at the odds sheet.

Course Fit

The host course this week is Valhalla Golf Club. We’ve seen it host plenty of big events over the years including the 2000 and 2014 PGA Championship as well as the 2008 Ryder Cup. 

This Jack Nicklaus design will play as a par 71 that stretches all the way to 7,609 yards from the tips. That’s a 151-yard increase since the 2014 PGA Championship. 

There are seven par 4s that play over 460 yards, so you better bring your driver and get ready to use it often. As Justin Thomas put it this morning, “For the most part you know if it’s a par-4 or -5 you’re just grabbing a driver when you get to the tee and you’re just hoping you hit the fairway, and then you’re probably going to hit somewhere between a 5- and an 8-iron into the green.” Tiger also had similar comments in his Tuesday presser, “Now it’s everything is drivers. Just because they moved it back, it’s longer.” 

In addition to the added length, they’ve also redone all of the fairway grass. It’s now Zeon Zoysia and according to the grounds crew, that will have it playing firmer and faster than the previous bentgrass fairways. Of course, Mother Nature may have other plans with plenty of rain hitting the area recently and some chances for some more precipitation this week. 

The bentgrass isn’t entirely gone, though as the greens are still bentgrass, so anyone with comfort on the cool-season turf may like the putting surfaces here which have been prepped to run anywhere from 12 to 13 feet on the stimp. 

Lastly, we know this is a PGA Championship so we can look at the history of course setups and get a general idea of course difficulty. Based on the last five years, we would expect the scoring averages to sit around 73 this week (+2 relative to par), plus or minus a stroke in either direction. 

If we factor in all of those split stats (driver heavy, long courses, hard courses, bentgrass greens) then here are the names that show the biggest increase in performance over their baseline. 

Patrick Reed
Tony Finau
Sungjae Im
Aaron Rai
Kurt Kitayama
Will Zalatoris
Emiliano Grillo
Keegan Bradley
Brendon Todd
Cameron Young

Talk about a loaded list of steady strikers. Reed and Todd lean more on their short games but otherwise this list is all elite ball-striking stars and most of them keep it steady off the tee. 

Head over to the Split Stats page to see who the top performers are in these split stat categories.

Outright Odds

Here’s what the top of the board looks like on DraftKings Sportsbook:

Rory and Scottie are both riding high with nothing but wins in recent starts. It’s no surprise then to see them both atop the odds board this week. McIlroy also gets a bump due to the fact that his most recent major championship title came at Valhalla back in 2014.

PGA Championship Free Bets

Scheffler and McIlroy present a tough test at the top of the board this week but still make up a small percentage of the total win equity for the week. We can also visit the finish-position markets to find bets that will hit as a higher rate than traditional outrights. I like to mix and match some higher probability bets with some of the longer shot outrights. 

Cameron Young Top 10 Finish +450

Over the long haul, this type of course setup suits him well, as evidenced by his appearance on the split stat list above. 

He’s also flashed more hints at a return to form with top 10s in five of his last 11 worldwide starts. That includes recent top 10s at Innisbrook and Augusta National, two other venues that force you to hit a long of mid- and long-iron approaches. 

Will Zalatoris to Win (70-1 each-way, 7 places)

His baseline stats aren’t popping off the page at the moment, but his range of outcomes paints a better story. 

Zalatoris ranks 10th in the field in top-five-worthy weeks over the last six months. He’s piled up those stats at a 9% clip and that is even with me including the first start back (disaster) at the Hero. 

Over the last two years, he’s accomplished that top 5 feat at a 15% level when playing similar courses which would set his top-five odds closer to +600 but with this each-way we are getting 14-1 for a top-seven finish. 

If he overachieves and pulls off the win that’s extra icing on the cake but this is really a top-seven play for me. 

Tony Finau to Win (80-1 each-way, 5 places)

This price would have been unfathomable a year or two ago. In fact, he was just 20/1 last year at Oak Hill. 

We saw him on the splits list above and looking into those split stat starts over the last two years, he’s pieced together win worthy weeks in a whopping 8% of those starts. 

His best two finishes this season have come at Torrey Pines and Memorial Park, two venues where you can grip it and rip it with the driver. 

I found this one quarter each way for five places the most appealing (Bet365), but you could also fire at 70-1 for 8 places, 55-1 for 10 places or do a straight outright at 90-1. 

Keep an eye on the PGA bet tracker for more plays. Hop in the Discord to get those bet alerts. 

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