PGA Championship: Oddsmakers like Rory McIlroy Again At Kiawah, But Should You?

Written By Drew Ellis on May 18, 2021

The second major championship of the 2021 golf season takes place this week. The PGA Championship tees off Thursday, with betting odds set as the best male golfers in the world competing for the Wanamaker Trophy at oceanside Kiawah Island.

Which golfers are set to contend for the title? Which ones can give Michigan sports bettors a big payout?

PGA Championship rundown

The PGA Championship is the second of the four annual major championships in golf. It’s a four-day tournament that includes nearly all of the top 100 golfers in the world.

This tournament was originally the fourth of four majors in terms of calendar order, but it was moved from August to May starting in 2019. That being said, the 2020 edition was still played in August. It was rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Dates: May 20-23, 2021
  • Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
  • Course: Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Ocean Course
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 7,876 yards
  • TV and streaming: CBS, ESPN, and ESPN+ (times vary by date)
  • Prize pool: $11 million
  • First place share: $1.98 million
  • Defending champion: Collin Morikawa (at TPC Harding Park in 2020)

Rory McIlroy the established favorite

Heading into the event, Rory McIlroy finds himself as the PGA Championship betting odds favorite.

DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet Sportsbooks all list McIlroy as a +1100 favorite this weekend.

This decision seems to be based on recent momentum, as McIlroy is coming off a win in the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago.

However, that was his first win since November 2019.

Prior to that event, McIlroy had missed the cut in two of his previous three tournaments. He had fallen out of the top 10 in the world rankings. He currently sits seventh after the win in Charlotte, N.C.

McIlroy also won the PGA Championship in 2012. At this very course. By eight strokes.

Although an impressive feat, that’s a long time ago. McIlroy did win the 2014 PGA Championship as well, but he has just one top-10 finish in this event since then.

Jon Rahm, DJ among other top contenders

Other top contenders for this weekend based on the odds include Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth.

Rahm is established as the second favorite behind McIlroy. DraftKings and PointsBet each list him at +1400, while FanDuel has him at +1500.

The Spaniard is third in the world rankings. He has six top-10 finishes in 10 tournaments this year, but he doesn’t have a win. The 26-year-old Rahm is seeking his first major championship.

Thomas (+1400-1600) sits second in the world rankings, but he has finished outside the top 10 in four straight events. He is the 2017 PGA Championship winner and finished sixth in 2018.

DeChambeau (+1600-1700) is fifth in the world rankings. He has one win and four top-10s in 10 tournaments this year. He finished fourth in the 2020 PGA Championship and recently won the 2020 U.S. Open on another tough layout at Winged Foot in New York.

Johnson (+1600-1800) is still No. 1 in the world rankings, but he’s struggled since winning the 2020 Masters in November. DJ has finished outside the top 10 in six straight events. However, he has finished second in this event the past two years.

Spieth (+1400-1800) is only 26th in the world rankings, but is having a bit of a renaissance year. He started 2021 82nd in the rankings, but he has one win and seven top-10 finishes in 10 tournaments this year. The PGA Championship is the only major Spieth has yet to win in his career.

PGA Championship bets to consider

Picking a tournament winner certainly provides the biggest payout, but having a successful weekend can come in many ways.

Some bets to consider for the PGA Championship to fatten your pocket:

  • Jordan Spieth Top-10 Finish at +150 (FD): As we noted, Spieth is having a resurgent year. He has finished in the top 10 in four straight events and seven of his past nine. Spieth also placed third in the Masters, showing he’s ready to contend in majors again.
  • Hideki Matsuyama to miss the cut at +200 (DK): The Masters champion will have all the eyes on him as he seeks a second straight major. However, Augusta was his only top-10 finish in 12 events this year. He has missed more cuts (two) than he has top-10 placements. Matsuyama just hasn’t been playing well in 2021 as a whole.
  • Winner to par the 72nd Hole at -150 (DK): Typically, a major winner has a lead coming down to the final hole. The last four PGA Championships have been decided by multiple strokes. That means the winner is likely to play it safe on the final hole and just avoid a mistake to make par. Plus, the 18th is a 500-yard par-4. A closing 3 into the wind would be most impressive.

Playing a handful of safe bets that you feel confident in can lead to a nice payout, as opposed to throwing a dart at the tournament winner in a 156-man field.

Photo by John Raoux/AP file
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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