If you’re into sports, the Phoenix-Scottsdale region in Arizona is the place to be this week.
Of course, Super Bowl LVII will be played Sunday night at State Farm Stadium, but the WM Phoenix Open (Feb. 9-12) is just a few miles away, and the stakes are bigger than usual.
It’s the second designated event of the season, meaning virtually all of the top players on the PGA Tour are teeing it up, competing for a $20 million purse.
The red-hot Jon Rahm and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy headline the field, and both players are a tier above the rest regarding golf odds to win. Rahm has the shortest odds at +750, and McIlroy is right behind at +800.
When it comes to betting at the BetMGM online sportsbook, bettors are staying away from those players and targeting a few other top players slightly down the odds board – Xander Schauffele (+1600), Collin Morikawa (+1800) and Justin Thomas (+2000).
Schauffele is drawing the most handle (11.9%) on the most tickets (7.2%). Morikawa is right behind him with 10.7% of the handle on 7% of the tickets.
It’s no surprise Schauffele is getting plenty of love.
He’s finished inside the top 20 each of the last five times he’s played in the event, including T-3 last year and T-2 in 2021. It’s quite clear he loves TPC Scottsdale.
And although he withdrew from the Sentry Tournament of Champions with a back injury, he finished T-3 at The American Express and T-13 at the Farmers Insurance Open, so the back does not appear to be a concern.
Meanwhile, this will be Morikawa’s second appearance at the event, having finished T-25 in 2020, but he does enter in terrific form.
In his last three PGA Tour events, Morikawa hasn’t finished worse than sixth. He lost a six-shot lead in the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions and finished second but rebounded nicely with a third-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.
While some top players haven’t typically played TPC Scottsdale, that isn’t true for Thomas. Since 2018, he’s made all five cuts at the event, including two top-10 finishes.
This week, he’s third in handle (8.7%) and tickets (6.6%).
The 29-year-old finished 25th in both 2023 calendar events he’s played (Sentry Tournament of Champions and Farmers Insurance Open). He also hasn’t won since the PGA Championship last May.
Given his past success at this tournament and being due by his standards, this could shape up to be a solid week for Thomas.
Current Handle & Tickets
- Xander Schauffele – 11.9%
- Collin Morikawa – 10.7%
- Justin Thomas – 8.7%
- Tom Kim – 7.3%
- Jon Rahm – 7%
- Xander Schauffele – 7.2%
- Collin Morikawa – 7%
- Justin Thomas – 6.6%
- Tom Kim – 6.3%
- Jon Rahm – 6%
Meanwhile, McIlroy is drawing 5.2% of tickets on 5% of the handle. He played in the 2021 event, where he finished T-13. Contrary to McIlroy, Rahm has plenty of experience here, finishing inside the top 16 each of the last six years.
In his tournament debut, Kim has the fourth-most tickets and handle.
The winner will take home $3.6 million.