RSM Classic 2021 picks: Adam Scott’s crazy odds make him an attractive bet
If you’re reading this, you’re one of the true, diehard golf gamblers. We’re now deep into football season, and you’re still checking in on the golf picks ahead of the 2021 RSM Classic. For that, we salute you, and we look forward to having you back and winning you more money in 2022, which is the next time we’ll have an official, full field PGA Tour event. What a Super Season it was.
There is still one more order of business in 2021, though, and that’s finding you one last golf winner before we turn the page to Kapalua. Yes, the Hero World Challenge and Bryson vs. Brooks will take place between then and now, but the RSM serves as the true final event of the year.
Because of that, our experts are giving it everything they’ve got for Sea Island Mafia week. While our outright selections are a mixed bag, a few of our handicappers are in lockstep on a longshot who nearly took down this tournament in 2019. Read on to see who we are talking about, and who else we like, in the 2021 RSM Classic.
Scroll down for our full analysis for the 2021 RSM Classic.
RSM Classic 2021 picks: Our experts' outright predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Russell Henley (28-1, BetMGM) — The former Georgia Bulldog is coming off a seventh-place finish last week in Houston. He's shown his consistency early this season—not missing a cut–and last week proved he's ready to win again. This is a great course to showcase his elite iron play and flash that putting stroke that can get scorching hot.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Adam Scott (35-1, DraftKings) — Far too high class of a player to have such long odds in this weak field. He had a win all but locked up at Sedgefield (a comp course) in August before a few short misses had him lose in the playoff. He's also won at short, Bermuda courses like PGA National and Sawgrass. It’s a gamble on his long-term talent over his most recent form.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Louis Oosthuizen (25-1, FanDuel) — Surprisingly, Oosthuizen lengthened from 22-1 to 25-1 at the FanDuel Sportsbook. That’s welcomed, though, because my win simulation model sees Oosthuizen as the favorite at 16-1. He’s got the right game to win at Sea Island Resort.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Corey Conners (22-1, DraftKings) — Conners hasn’t teed it up in over a month, finishing T-40 at the Shriners Children’s Open in his last PGA Tour start. In his last eight events, he’s earned six top-25 finishes. This will be his fourth start at the RSM Classic, finishing T-10 last year and he’s never missed a cut. If that wasn’t enticing enough, Conners is a notoriously poor putter, but Bermudagrass has been his best surface.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Joel Dahmen (66-1, BetMGM) — A short course requiring stellar wedge play and accuracy is perfect for Dahmen. He was T-3 in strokes gained/tee to green last week in Houston, gaining 5.5 strokes on approach en route to a final-round 65. Plus, he won in Puntacana this year at a seaside venue. I’ll bet that Dahmen keeps his hot streak rolling.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Chris Kirk (65-1, FanDuel) — Considering his Georgia ties and the fact he has excellent course history at Sea Island (win in 2013, four top 18s), Kirk feels like a square play this week. But I’ve spent too much money on Kirk over the last year to miss out on possibly cashing in on him at a tournament he loves. It was a solid comeback season in 2020-’21 for Kirk, but the only thing missing was a win. It would be almost too fitting for that win to come in the final event of the fall at Sea Island.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Webb Simpson (16-1, BetMGM) — Barring the one withdrawal, Simpson has finished top 41 every time he has played this event. In those eight attempts here at Sea Island he has recorded three top-three finishes. He comes into this event ranked first in the field for SG/total over the past two years and 15th for Opportunities Gained over the past two months.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. We’re already off to a hot start in the new season, too, with Rick Gehman hitting Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship and Viktor Hovland (19-1) at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Brandon Gdula also hit on Hovland at Mayakoba, and Stephen Hennessey cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "Be Right," (above) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "Be Right" wherever you get your podcasts!
RSM Classic 2021 picks: Sleepers/Dark horses who could win
Caddie: Joel Dahmen (66-1, BetMGM) — Like Henley, Dahmen has been solid all fall—then he got scorching hot on Sunday in Houston. Joel is a guy who rolls with confidence ... if he's got some momentum, watch out this week.
Mayo: Scott Piercy (90-1, DraftKings) — Last week’s approach leader would prefer conditions get as windy as possible for the entire tournament. It all hinges on his putter, which is rarely a good bet, but like some others on tour, Piercy is horrendous on the greens overall, yet he has spike weeks every few months. In his past 15 starts, he’s dropped strokes putting to the field in 12 of them. In the three where he gained, it was an average of +3.8 SG/putting. That’s enough to win if he can pair with a quality irons week.
Gdula: Max Homa (70-1, FanDuel) — I don’t even love the course fit for Homa, but in a field that’s only moderately strong and at 70-1 odds, there’s enough to want to go to Homa, who has gotten over the hump with the winning aspect of things. There’s more to it: My win simulation model views Homa, at these odds, as a betting value even after penalizing the course fit.
Gehman: Patrick Rodgers (80-1, DraftKings) — When I’m looking for longshots, I want to embrace risk so that I can maximize reward. The volatility of Rodgers is very appealing, if you can stomach it. Rodgers has teed it up four times this season, earning a pair of top-six finishes with two MCs. In his six trips to the RSM Classic, he’s failed to make the weekend half the time, but has two top-10 finishes to boast. He’s not a safe option but he offers plenty of upside.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Luke List (90-1, DraftKings) — One of the sharpest experts in the golf Twitter gambling community, Geoff Fienberg, tweeted earlier this week that he placed a big bet on Luke List after List threatened to win in Houston. Fienberg has cashed three outright tickets in the past four weeks. I’m following Geoff here with List, who plays some of his best golf on seaside tracks like Sea Island
Powers, Golf Digest: Patrick Rodgers (80-1, DraftKings) — The good news for us Patrick Rodgers truthers is that the great Rick Gehman is on him this week. The bad news is it’s still Patrick Rodgers, and winning professional golf tournaments has proven to be a difficult task for the former Stanford stud. Perhaps he can get it done at RSM, where he nearly did get it done in 2019 with a remarkable 61-62 weekend, only to lose in a playoff to Charles Howell III.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Tom Hoge (130-1, DraftKings) — Hoge comes into this event ranked first for Opportunities Gained over the last two months. He just needs to find a place he can putt at. He certainly putted well here in 2015 when finishing ninth after shooting rounds of 64 and 66.
RSM Classic 2021 picks: Players to fade this week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Harris English (25-1, DraftKings) — Harris' last two appearances? A MC in Vegas and a WD after three rounds at the CJ Cup. He might be hosting a nice party at his Sea Island house on Saturday afternoon after another MC.
Mayo: Cameron Smith (14-1, DraftKings) — I get the field is weak, but there are similar options in terms of win equity for over double the price.
Gdula: Joaquin Niemann (31-1, FanDuel) — Sea Island’s setup rewards driving accuracy, and that’s not really the strength of Niemann’s game. A lot of the other favorites are better suited for success here—he just doesn't jump out even at 31-1.
Gehman: Seamus Power (60-1, DraftKings) — It pains every fiber of my body to list Power here, but there is certainly a level of concern this week. Power missed the cut in Houston, losing 1.04 strokes on approach, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Now he travels to the RSM Classic where he’s failed to make the cut in three of his four career starts.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Cameron Smith (14-1, DraftKings) — Smith’s driving accuracy is the only thing stopping him from being a great course fit—but at Sea Island, that’ll be tough to get past. I’d bet on him finishing outside the top 20.
Powers, Golf Digest: Scottie Scheffler (10-1, DraftKings) — Scheffler has exerted a ton of energy in serious contention his last two starts. That may catch up with him here, and even if it doesn’t I’m not willing to bet on the Scheff breakthrough at 10-1.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Louis Oosthuizen (25-1, FanDuel) — Oosthuizen ranks very low in FanShare's course-suitability ranking this week (101st). He missed the cut here last year and has not had a top-10 finish in his past five events.
RSM Classic 2021 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Austin Cook (+110) over Patrick Rodgers (DraftKings) — Cook is playing some better golf lately and returns to the site of his lone PGA Tour win. Rodgers, on the other hand, could struggle on Friday in the winds with his higher ball flight.
Mayo: Matt Kuchar (-110) over Max Homa (DraftKings) — Kuch only has so many courses where he’s going to be competitive. This is one of them. Plus, if Homa isn’t going to finish top five this week, he’s likely to miss the cut. That’s been his MO in 2021.
Gdula: Russell Henley (-108) over Joaquin Niemann (FanDuel) — Henley is the better course fit than Niemann, and he actually rates out better in my adjusted tee-to-green data than Niemann as well.
Gehman: Max Homa (-110) over Matt Kuchar (DraftKings) — This is a borderline disrespectful line toward Max Homa. He’s two starts removed from his victory in Napa, and he’s gained strokes on approach in six of his past seven measured events. Kuchar has had mild success in Sea Island but doesn’t have a top-20 finish over his last dozen starts.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Brendon Todd (-126) over Justin Rose (FanDuel) — Rose played the RSM last year and trunk-slammed on Friday. Todd nearly won in 2019 in his epic stretch of golf, and he’s starting to regain his form with an 11th-place finish at Mayakoba. I’d bet against J-Rose any chance I get.
Powers, Golf Digest: Mackenzie Hughes (+105) over Kevin Kisner (DraftKings) — Hughes has made 11 straight cuts and had his best tee-to-green performance since he was in contention at the U.S. Open last week in Houston. Kisner, while a great fit for this course, has been downright awful in his two best areas (approach and putting) since his Wyndham win.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Mito Pereira (-125) over Adam Long (Betfair) — Adam Long comes in ranked just 124th in FanShare's course-suitability ranking this week and just 140th for Opportunities Gained over the past two months. Pereira on the other hand ranks 18th for SG/total over the past two months and third for Opportunities Gained.
Matchup Results from the Houston Open: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Reed (-110) over Bezuidenhout); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Streelman (-112) over Pan); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Wolff (-130) over Leishman); Powers: 1 for 1 (Gooch (-110) over Finau); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (S.J. Im (-122) over Finau); Caddie: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 7-1-0 (up 5.43 units); Powers: 5-2-1 (up 2.73 units); Caddie: 5-3-0 (up 1.66 units); Gehman: 3-4-1 (down 1.49 units); Alldrick: 3-4-1 (down 1.5 units); Gdula: 2-6-0 (down 4.18 units); Hennessey: 2-6-0 (down 4.2 units)
RSM Classic 2021 picks: Top 10s
Caddie: Kevin Kisner (+470, FanDuel) — Death, taxes and Kevin Kisner contending on shorter courses in the lowcountry.
Mayo: Aaron Rai (+700, DraftKings) — Fresh off back-to-back top 20s at distinctly diffirent courses, the Brit was electric with the ball striking a week ago in Houston but just couldn’t get his short game working. The putter has always been an issue, but even when looking overseas, Rai’s best performances have come at shorter potentially gusty tracks.
Gdula: Joel Dahmen (+600, FanDuel) — Dahmen is one of the best tee-to-green players in the field (he’s in the 79th percentile over the past years after my field strength and recency adjustments) while also being an accurate driver. Back-to-back top-10 finishes seem very plausible this week.
Gehman: Webb Simpson (+320, FanDuel) — Simpson can seemingly roll out of bed and earn a top 10 at the RSM Classic. In his eight trips to the event, he’s earned four such finishes and has finished inside the top 40 all but once. That exception was a WD in 2017 after two rounds, to be with his ailing father. Simpson finished T-14 at the CJ Cup in his last start and seems primed for a great season.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Webb Simpson (+320, FanDuel) — FanDuel has Webb and Scottie Scheffler as co-favorites at 14-1, yet they have Webb over a 3-to-1 shot as a top-10? That doesn't add up, chief! Webb has top-10 finishes in three of six appearances here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Talor Gooch (+350, DraftKings) — Feels like people are hopping off the Gooch train after his poor weekend in Houston. The thing is, everybody not named Jason Kokrak had a poor weekend in Houston, and prior to that Gooch was on an absolute heater with four straight top 11s. Don’t get off the bandwagon just yet.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Denny McCarthy (+1000, DraftKings) — McCarthy was very close to getting a top 10 last week and comes into this event ranked ninth in this field for SG/total over the last two months. He also ranks 13th in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking this week.
Top-10 results from the Houston Open: Gehman: 1 for 1 (Kokrak +350); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Burns +150); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Powers: 2 for 8 (up 11 units); Mayo: 1 for 8 (up 7 units); Hennessey: 1 for 8 (down 2.5 units); Caddie: 2 for 8 (down 2.8 units); Gehman: 1 for 8 (down 3.5 units); Gdula: 0 for 8 (down 8 units); Alldrick: 0 for 8 (down 8 units)
RSM Classic 2021 picks: One and Done
Gehman: Scottie Scheffler — Scheffler appears like he’s on the verge of victory, finishing fourth and second the last two weeks. His great play goes back further than that -- he’s the third-ranked player in the field over the last 100 rounds, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He’s played at the RSM Classic once, finishing T-5, a result that he will look to improve on this week.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns.
Hennessey: Brendon Todd — This is getting borderline too cute, but a top 10 from Todd and it’s a successful week.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns.
Powers: Corey Conners — We haven’t seen Conners since Shriners, where he was horrific on approach. Have to imagine he’s fixed that in the month since, plus he has good course history with back-to-back top 25s in this event.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas.
By The Numbers
3 - The RSM Classic has gone to a playoff for three consecutive years and in four of the last five editions.
2.08 - The average strokes gained per round for Webb Simpson in his 30 rounds at the RSM Classic. This is the most of anyone on tour with at least nine rounds.
23 - The combined holes, between both courses, with water in play. There are 13 holes on the Seaside Course and 10 holes on the Plantation Course.
2 - The number of career PGA Tour wins, in 242 starts, for Robert Streb. Both wins have come at the RSM Classic (2014 & 2020).
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.