Scottie Scheffler Continues Catch-22 in Golf Betting

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Scottie Scheffler celebrates after a birdie on the 12th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Louisville, Ky.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelGolf May 21, 2024, 10:09 AM

Look, I’m just going to come right out and say it: I wish Scottie Scheffler wasn’t in the field at the Charles Schwab Challenge this week.

This has nothing to do with any presumed guilt after last week’s arrest before the second round of the PGA Championship. I thought Scheffler handled the entire situation admirably and believe him when he says it was all simply a matter of miscommunication.

It also has nothing to do with a growing concern from the masses that Scheffler is too vanilla. I suppose it makes sense – if you believe that hitting long drives into every fairway, then sticking approach shots close, making putts and winning tournaments is “boring golf,” then I guess I could understand this sentiment, even if I vehemently disagree with it.

And I’m not making some partisan judgment that he should be spending time at home with his wife and new baby. After all, this one is a sleep-in-his-own-bed kind of week in his hometown, even if the newborn keeps him from sleeping very much.

No, I don’t wish the No. 1 player was skipping the festivities at venerable Colonial Country Club for any of these reasons.

My take is much more selfish: It’s because golf betting isn’t nearly as much fun with Scheffler in the field.

As we’ve witnessed in other recent non-majors/PGA Tour signature events – WM Phoenix Open and Texas Children’s Houston Open among them – Scheffler is going to be a massive favorite when the field is devoid of all the other big-name stars.

He’s won four of his last six starts, the two outliers being when he missed a short putt to force a playoff on the 72nd hole and when he was derailed a day after getting arrested. Other than that, his performance has been flawless for the past few months.

This week, Scheffler opened at +275 in the BetMGM outright market, more than four times shorter than the next player on the board.

That’s akin to playing an NFL team that is a touchdown underdog on the money line.

It also gets back to my initial take: He’s singlehandedly taking some of the luster out of outright betting, the Catch-22 being that it’s difficult to swallow the short number and back him, but equally difficult to believe others have a great chance of beating him.

So, what should we do with him on a venue where he’s finished second and third the past two years?

My initial instinct is the same one I’ve employed for much of his brilliant stretch recently, which is to play him for a top-five in the finishing position market and hope an outright selection can stay slightly ahead in the end, much as Stephan Jaeger did in Houston.

(In fact, it should be noted that he’s finished top-five without winning in each of his last two starts at non-majors/signature events, as if he’s simply giving others a chance to win.)

In the majors and signature events, Scheffler can usually be found right around even-money for these top-five wagers, which serve as bankroll plays based on his rate of return. That isn’t the case this week, though, as he owns a -175 price in this market.

If you love the play and hate the price, perhaps this one is best served as a parlay piece with another short-numbered futures play, whether it’s the Boston Celtics to win the NBA title or the Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup.

Or even with Scottie Scheffler himself to win the U.S. Open in a few weeks.

He’s finished seventh, second and third at the year’s third major championship over the past three years and Pinehurst should suit his game, because, well, every course suits his game. At +400 for that one, a parlay of top-five this week and outright there at least boosts the odds to a more palatable +685.

Considering the recent Catch-22 that follows whenever Scheffler is in the field, it helps to get a little creative in our investments.

The BetMGM online sportsbook is the premier destination for weekly PGA Tour odds and more golf betting opportunities throughout the season.

From futures odds for The Masters or U.S. Open to parlays and prop bets, there’s non-stop excitement for everyone. And with BetMGM promos for existing users, sometimes you can lock in a bigger potential payout with an Odds Boost or Multi-Sport Parlay Boost.

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About the Author

Jason Sobel

Read More @JasonSobelGolf

Jason Sobel is a Brand Ambassador for BetMGM. He joins after six years with Action Network. Prior to Action, Jason spent a total of 17 years in two stints at ESPN (1997-2011; 2015-18) and four years at Golf Channel (2011-15). He also currently works as a host for "Hitting the Green" on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and contributes to the channel's on-site coverage during major championships. He's won four Sports Emmy awards, more than a dozen Golf Writers Association of America accolades and has earned an honorable mention in the Best of American Sportswriting series.

Jason Sobel is a Brand Ambassador for BetMGM. He joins after six years with Action Network. Prior to Action, Jason spent a total of 17 years in two stints at ESPN (1997-2011; 2015-18) and four years at Golf Channel (2011-15). He also currently works as a host for "Hitting the Green" on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and contributes to the channel's on-site coverage during major championships. He's won four Sports Emmy awards, more than a dozen Golf Writers Association of America accolades and has earned an honorable mention in the Best of American Sportswriting series.