Memorial Tournament betting preview: Reed will rise to challenge at Muirfield
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The Memorial Tournament is next up on the PGA TOUR calendar. The event hosted by Jack Nicklaus is one of the marquee tournaments of the year and always attracts a strong crop of players.
Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, and defending champion Jon Rahm headline the 121-man field for the invitational event. Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland are also among the favorites this week.
From a betting perspective, this event has plenty of history to make the research process a little simpler. Recently, Muirfield Village has provided a number of stars with the biggest wins of their careers at the time. Will that trend continue?
- 7,543 yards, par 72
- Designed by Jack Nicklaus
- Six par 4s over 450 yards
- Considered a second-shot course that rewards elite iron play
- Bentgrass greens are smaller than average and well-protected by bunkers
- Strong design similarities with Augusta National
There's also a strange correlation between winners of the Memorial and The American Express, which also features a Nicklaus-designed course.
Rahm, Jason Dufner, and Kenny Perry have won both events. David Lingmerth won at Muirfield Village and is a two-time runner-up at The American Express. Cantlay has a win at the Memorial and was a runner-up at The American Express early in 2021. Finally, while not a winner, Ryan Palmer has come second at both events in his career.
2020: Jon Rahm (-9) over Ryan Palmer
2019: Patrick Cantlay (-19) over Adam Scott
2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-15) in a playoff over two others
2017: Jason Dufner (-13) over Rickie Fowler, Anirban Lahiri
2016: William McGirt (-15) in a playoff over Jon Curran
2015: Justin Rose (-15) in a playoff over Rickie Fowler
2014: Hideki Matsuyama (-13) in a playoff over Kevin Na
2013: Matt Kuchar (-12) over Kevin Chappell
2012: Tiger Woods (-9) over Andres Romero, Rory Sabbatini
Rahm is the obvious favorite after he handily won last year's edition but +1200 is too short in a field of this strength. The rest of the congested betting board suggests oddsmakers aren't too comfortable taking a stand on any of the top players in the field.
Spieth is arguably the best player in the world at the moment, so the value is there at +1800. He also has four top-15 finishes - including a third in 2015 - in his last six starts at the Memorial.
Patrick Cantlay returned to form at the PGA Championship and is a former winner at Muirfield Village. If his elite ball-striking ability is really back, there's no question he can win for a second time at Jack's place.
However, the name that jumps off the page among this group is DeChambeau at +1900. He's a former Memorial winner and tends to be priced within the top five on the betting board any given week. You are getting a discount on the big-hitting American for no real reason.
The next tier
Due to the abundance of favorites - whose odds could drift as the first round approaches (so be on the lookout!) - the next tier is rather bare.
On the other hand, Patrick Reed is extremely tempting at +3300. The Memorial is a tournament right in Captain America's wheelhouse as it boasts a strong field at a difficult course. Reed won a similar event earlier this year at Torrey Pines and has the Masters, two WGCs, and two playoff victories on his resume.
With a loaded field, there are some talented golfers with juicy odds. Here are a few to consider, especially when targeting the top-five, or top-10 markets.
- Sungjae Im (+6600): This is a big number for one of the most gifted players in the world. Im tends to play well at more difficult courses and has succeeded at Augusta, which helped inspire Nicklaus' design in Ohio.
- Si Woo Kim (+8800): The South Korean won The American Express earlier this year and came T18 at the Memorial last year. He's extremely streaky, but when Kim's on he's very dangerous.
- Max Homa (+12500): He has won on some of the toughest courses on the PGA TOUR - Quail Hollow and Riviera - and, despite being in a bit of a slump, should be able to compete at Muirfield Village if his ball-striking returns.
- Cameron Davis (+16500): The long-hitting Australian has made three straight cuts and gained strokes both through approach shots and putting during that stretch. He came third at The American Express in January.
Patrick Reed (+3300)
Reed thrives against stiff competition and that's exactly what's on deck this week. The 30-year-old is playing well as of late with a T8 at the Masters, T6 at the Wells Fargo Championship, and T17 at the PGA Championship within his last five starts. He's coming off a missed cut but his most recent victory at Torrey Pines was also following a missed cut, so there's really nothing to worry about in terms of form.
Additionally, Reed is an American Express winner and a green jacket holder, so Muirfield Village is right up his alley. In fact, Reed has two top-10 results in five career starts at the Memorial, including a T10 last year - a result that was derailed by one bad round.
Cameron Smith (+5500)
Cameron Smith had shorter odds to win both the Masters and PGA Championship, so right away you are getting him at a discount in a non-major field.
He doesn't have a great history at Muirfield Village but Smith has never played as well as he is right now. The Aussie recorded four top-11 finishes in his last six starts, and that doesn't include his victory at the Zurich Classic team event. And if you are worried about course history, know that Smith plays well at Augusta, so there's no reason to believe he can't find success at Jack's place.
Gary Woodland (+6500)
Gary Woodland is back in form after three consecutive strong outings. The 2019 U.S. Open champ came fifth at Quail Hollow, was in contention for most of the week at Kiawah Island, and came T14 last week at Colonial. He gained at least four strokes tee to green in each of those events.
He also owns a nice track record at Muirfield Village. He's made five straight cuts at the event and came fourth in 2016. He also placed fifth at the Workday Charity Open last season.
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