The best betting props for the RSM Classic
Seven days after teeing off for the Masters, we are brought down a peg or two with the RSM Classic. While we are just a stone’s throw away from Augusta at the Sea Island Resort in Georgia, the RSM Classic doesn’t have the history, legacy, or bravado as the Masters. However, it still offers up plenty of opportunity to make some cash. A lot like rolling out of the nightclub to find all the local pizza joints are closed but getting home to find a sneaky one in freezer. It’s not as good, but it’s going to hit the spot anyway.
Driving accuracy is a far more important stat than driving distance when picking winners this weekend. The last five winners have all been in the Top 17 for driving accuracy, whereas four of them were outside the Top 40 for driving distance.
An excellent short game is going to be important on a course that can get windy, and it may turn into a putting contest on the Bermuda greens. Four of the last five winners were ranked in the Top 12 for putting average.
Finally, you may notice I’m avoiding any golfer that played well in the Masters and stuck around in Georgia for this. Looking at the RBC Heritage which traditionally followed the Masters, 10 of the last 13 winners of that event either didn’t play at Augusta or missed the cut – Matt Kuchar was the exception as he won this event in 2014 after finishing fifth at the Masters. It goes to show just how much the event can take out of a player over four days.
The RSM Classic 2020 - Winner
Thu, November 19 2020, 2:30 PM
Top 10 finish: Zach Johnson (+550)
Zach Johnson made the cut at Augusta, but the former green jacket winner was never in contention so I’m hopeful the weekend wasn’t too taxing. It was no surprise he didn’t feature in the Masters due to his lack of distance off the tee, but that won’t hinder him here and his top-class iron play can help propel him into the mix at the top of the leaderboard.
Johnson ranked first for greens in regulation in the Sanderson Farms Championship, where he finished 23rd last month, and second in the same statistic a week later as he finished 19th in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Finding the dance floor here is key, and if he can warm the putter up he should be in the mix.
He had a Top 10 finish in the RSM in both 2018 and 2018, although last year’s effort was a write-off. Johnson lives in Sea Island, and RSM are his sponsors, so this event is close to his heart and hopefully that can be the extra lift he needs to contend.
Tournament winning margin: Play off (+300)
This is not usually a prop bet I play in, but backing the RSM Classic to go to a play off might be a good shot, with three of the last four renewals of this going down to the wire. Tyler Duncan beat Webb Simpson in a play off last year, and Charles Howell III beat Patrick Rodgers in a play off the year before that. In 2016 we had a monster five-way play off that was eventually won by Canadian Mackenzie Hughes.
This is a good tournament historically for players looking to shed their maiden tag or new players on tour. Tyler Duncan in 2019 was playing in just his second season while MacKenzie Hughes (2016) and Austin Cook (2017) were both rookies. That tends to lead to a few nerves on Sunday, and even if someone does have a few shots advantage they tend to fall back to the pack with the clubhouse in sight.
It would be no surprise to see this go to a decider again.
Top 20 finish: Patton Kizzire (+450)
Kizzire missed out on the Masters, which is not really a bad trend for this competition, and the American has slowly been creeping into form as he looks to add to his two PGA Tour wins. Again, he’s a Sea Island resident, which I hope gives his form a little boost. Eating a hearty meal and sleeping in your own bed is surely preferable to the hotel treatment.
He followed up a finish of 24th in the Shriners with an 11th place finish in the Houston Open, a tournament where he ranked seventh in strokes gained tee to green. That is a bonus to his game which is mainly built on strong putting – he ranks 28th this season in putting average and this is a weaker field than usual.
He closed with a 75 shocker in the final round of this competition last year, but six of his seven rounds before that were all sub-70. He has the game to put in a good showing this weekend.
Top GB & Ireland player: Russell Knox (+1600)
The leaderboard tends to be dominated by players from the U.S. in the RSM Classic, so this bet might sneak under the radar, particularly in a prop category dominated by big names like Tyrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, and Tommy Fleetwood.
But I’m happy to take a flyer on Russell Knox at these odds. The Scot didn’t play Augusta, so he comes in fresh, and before that had posted Top 16 finishes in the Bermuda Classic and the Houston Open. He ranks fifth on Tour this season for greens in regulation, and his putter is hot – he was 11th in shots gained putting in Houston.
He finished 20th in this tournament last year, and 37th in 2017. That doesn't look spectacular on paper, but when you dig a little deeper and take out American players he would’ve finished fifth and eighth respectively, and was the top GB and Ireland performer on both occasions.