RSM Classic picks 2022: Can Joel Dahmen prove the Golf Digest cover bump is real?
As nice as it is to get a little offseason after this week, our experts wish the season was just getting started. Last week we cashed our second winner of the Fall Swing, with Brandon Gdula and Stephen Hennessey hitting on Tony Finau at the Houston Open. Just as we were about to get hot, the PGA Tour is about to go into hibernation. What a shame.
But we do still have one last event to cash another winner: the RSM Classic, which will be without Finau after he withdrew on Tuesday. That caused a small shift in the odds, but there's still plenty of value to be found, especially in the countless members of the Sea Island mafia who are playing a home game this week.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 RSM Classic.
RSM Classic picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Sahith Theegala (45-1, BetRivers) — I doubt many people noticed that 7-under Sahith shot on Sunday at Houston—the lowest round by three shots. Any time a player does something like that? He often enters the next week incredibly confident. With the windy conditions we’re expecting most of the week here at the RSM, I fully expect him to have a great chance to win.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Joel Dahmen (35-1, DraftKings) — The trusted bucket hat has been about as consistent as anyone during the fall in the ball-striking department, piling up four top 20s in his past five starts, including consecutive top 10s. And he’s done it all losing to the field with his putter. Obviously, that’s not super encouraging, however, Bermuda is his preferred putting surface, and he has gained on the greens at the RSM in his past two starts and in three of six starts here.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Matt Kuchar (33-1, FanDuel) — Kuchar can still play at courses that don’t demand distance, and that’s the case this week at Sea Island. Kuchar actually holds some of the best long-term form in the field despite being imperfect at this point in his career. Signs point to him being able to get it done this week.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Seamus Power (22-1, DraftKings) — With Tony Finau’s withdrawal, Power should be considered as the hottest player teeing it up this week. He won in Bermuda and immediately followed it up with a T-3 in Mayakoba. When he’s at his best, he’s one of the more accomplished total drivers (distance + accuracy) in the field. Combine that with being an excellent Bermudagrass putter, and Power becomes a really dangerous option this week.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Joel Dahmen (35-1, DraftKings) — If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past two years, it’s that our Golf Digest cover bump is the anti-Madden curse. There’ve been a number of examples … Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy come to mind … where our cover subject goes on to win a week or so after the cover drops. Last week, Dahmen had his best measured ball-striking week since March 2020 … and in a week where it’s a wedge-fest/putting contest, I love Dahmen’s chances.
This is what happens when a tour player hits all of your drives
An experiment with our 11-handicap editor and PGA Tour veteran Joel Dahmen began with a simple question: How much easier would golf be if a tour player hit all your drives for you? We played 18 holes at Scottsdale National Golf Club to find out.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Sahith Theegala (45-1, BetRivers) — Considering he’s only played here once, I’m not too concerned about Sea Island being a “bad course fit” for Theegala. I’m simply betting on his upside at a really good number in this weak field, and it certainly helps that he’s coming off a red-hot Sunday in Houston, where he finished 22nd, and that he’s had a pair of top-sixes in his past five starts.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Brian Harman (16-1, DraftKings) — Harman comes into this event ranked third in the field for SG/total over the past two years and fourth for SG/total over the last two months so has both excellent long and short-term form. Being an excellent putter on Bermuda greens is a big reason why Harman ranks sixth in FanShareSports’ course-suitability ranking this week.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel caught fire at the end of the summer, correctly predicting the winner in five of the final six events of the season. We picked our first winner of the new season at the CJ Cup, with Lee Alldrick correctly predicting Rory McIlroy’s victory at Congaree at 7-1. Winner No. 2 came last week at the Houston Open, with both Stephen Hennessey and Brandon Gdula hitting on Tony Finau at 16-1.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "The Loop," (below) 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 "The Loop" wherever you get your podcasts!
RSM Classic picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Trey Mullinax (90-1, BetRivers) — Trey had a sneaky consistent week in Houston. He seemed to make some sloppy mistakes, yet finished fourth. He has shown the ability to win, and that consistent play has seemed to become a trademark over the past few months.
Mayo: Ben Griffin (90-1, DraftKings) — If the scores start going low, Griffin’s putter can get hot enough to start contending. He sniffed winning in Bermuda before fading Sunday, and although he’s a newcomer to the scene, he churned out a top-five finish at a comp course at the Wyndham. The driving is usually the issue, but he actually managed to gain strokes on the field in Houston, so maybe it’s turning upwards for him.
Gdula: Scott Stallings (50-1, FanDuel) — Stallings’ irons are cold right now, but over the more trustworthy, longer-term sample, he’s a plus in all four strokes-gained categories. He’s a pretty substantial value at 50-1 in my simulation model.
Gehman: Justin Lower (100-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — It was a disappointing missed cut in Houston for Lower, but I’m willing to forgive. He lost 1.74 strokes putting, his worst performance since the Travelers Championship, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He’s unlikely to putt that poorly again, and he’s one of the better wedge players in the field. His lack of distance and struggles around the greens won’t be punished here, giving Lower a solid path to the top of the board.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Brendon Todd (60-1, BetMGM) — Todd is actually first in my FantasyNational.com model this week: He ranks eighth in fairways gained (over past 36), eighth in birdies or better gained, ninth in SG/approach and sixth in SG/putting on Bermuda surfaces. You might forget Todd nearly won in 2020 when he was going for three Ws in a row. It’s a perfect course fit—and a really attractive number.
Powers, Golf Digest: Robert Streb (200-1, DraftKings) — Robert Streb has two PGA Tour victories and they’ve both come at Sea Island and the guy still can’t get any respect here. He burned me badly in 2020 beating Kiz in that playoff, no chance I’m letting that happen again. The recent results aren’t great but with a guy like Streb at a course he likes, he’s either going to miss the cut violently or randomly cook and contend. Happy to make that gamble at these astronomical odds.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Andrew Putnam (40-1, BetMGM) — Putnam has a 12th-place finish at Sea Island, and with his solid current form should be confident building on that this week. Putnam ranks 15th in the field this week for SG/total over the past two years and seventh for SG/total over the past two months.
RSM Classic picks 2022: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Jason Day (20-1, DraftKings) — Surprisingly, Day’s been struggling with what’s usually the best club in his bag: his putter. If you’re struggling with your putting and you’re facing gusty conditions, that will only exacerbate the issue.
Mayo: Brian Harman (16-1, DraftKings) — Good for him if he wins, but Harman as the favorite? No thanks.
Gdula: Matthew NeSmith (29-1, FanDuel) — NeSmith has a nice game for this setup this week, but there are short-game issues, and I can find very similar profiles at much longer odds—such as Davis Thompson (60-1) or Hayden Buckley (70-1).
Gehman: Justin Rose (40-1, DraftKings) — Rose snapped a three-week stretch of missed cuts with a T-9 last week in Houston, but this looks like a trap. Rose was scorching hot with his putter, gaining 6.04 strokes with the flat stick—his second-best putting performance since the start of last season. This looks unsustainable, and regression is in his near future.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Sahith Theegala (45-1, BetRivers) — Our caddie and CP need to take a closer look at the stats. Theegala ranks 110th in this field for me in the important stats. He’s one of the least accurate drivers of the golf ball on tour, and the predicted wind could make those misses way more penalizing. I’m bullish on Theegala and love betting him, but save your bullets this week.
Powers, Golf Digest: Brian Harman (16-1, DraftKings) — Like Pat said, if Brian Harman wins at these odds then you simply have to tip your cap. Impossible to swallow actually betting it though.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Seamus Power (22-1, DraftKings) — Sure, Power finished fourth here last year, but before that he missed the cut the other four times he has played Sea Island. The Irishman is also not the greatest putter on Bermuda greens, meaning his price this week is far lower than it should be.
RSM Classic picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Webb Simpson (-120) over Stephan Jaeger (DraftKings) — Yes, Webb has been struggling over the past 18 months, but the RSM has always been good to him. A new coach, some solid rest and some familiar confines might be just the medicine he needs.
Mayo: Joel Dahmen (-130) over Will Gordon (DraftKings) — Gordon has been on a nice run, but the upside and consistency favors Dahmen in this matchup.
Gdula: Taylor Montgomery (-126) over Joel Dahmen (FanDuel) — Dahmen is finishing well despite bad putting, but he’s also gaining a lot of strokes around the green, which is even less stable than putting. Montgomery, not the best iron player, should benefit from the large greens at the Seaside course.
Gehman: Mackenzie Hughes (-110) over Matthew NeSmith (DraftKings) — I’m a big fan of NeSmith, but Hughes is being criminally overlooked by the markets this week. All four of his finishes this fall have resulted in top 25s, including the win in Jackson. Now he goes back to Sea Island where he won in 2016 and finished runner-up last year.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Davis Riley (-125) over Taylor Pendrith (Bet365) — Riley holds a big edge over Pendrith in the key stats for me this week: Pendrith is 101st in Fairways Gained, per Fantasy National; 117th in SG/putting on Bermuda and 131st in Scrambling Gained, over the last 36 rounds. Riley is in the top half of the field in the first two stats, and though he loses strokes scrambling, he’s still ranked higher than Pendrith. And Riley’s approach game has been best on tour over the past 24 rounds, so he should be scrambling less than everyone.
Powers, Golf Digest: Harris English (-120) over Lee Hodges (DraftKings) — English has now made three straight cuts (not counting CJ Cup) and has finished inside the top 40 in four straight events. It’s nothing special, but it’s a good sign he’s finally getting fully healthy and potentially rounding back into the form that earned him a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Hodges, meanwhile, is coming off a missed cut in Houston where he lost strokes in four of the major six strokes-gained categories.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Brian Harman (-110) over Seamus Power (Bet365) — As you can see above, Harman is my pick to win this week due to his excellent form and course fit. Power on the other hand is my fade due to four missed cuts here previously and pedestrian putting on Bermuda greens.
Matchup Results from the Houston Open: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Long (-110) over Steele); Powers: 1 for 1 (Hughes (-110) over Munoz); Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Gehman 0 for 1; Alldrick: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 6-2-0 (up 3.71 units); Gehman: 5-3-0 (up 1.48 units); Alldrick: 4-4-0 (down 0.62 units); Powers: 3-5-0 (down 1.94 units); Caddie: 3-5-0 (down 2.1 units); Mayo: 1-6-0 (down 5.1 units); Gdula: 0-7-1 (down 7 units)
RSM Classic picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Mackenzie Hughes (+700, Bet365) — The former winner also finished runner-up here last year, but to me, I really like this bet because of his recent win on Bermuda greens.
Mayo: Andrew Putnam (+350, DraftKings) — Irons and putting: The Putnam Method. His driving issues may ultimately end up costing him, but we’ve seen a few poor stickmen triumph on Sea Island in the past. Driving is lessened in the three rounds at the Seaside course, so as long as he’s not tooooooo bad off the tee, Putnam should be in contention again.
Gdula: Andrew Putnam (+490, FanDuel) — There’s a lot of overlap in the statistical profile for Putnam and Kuchar, guys I like this week. After the Tony Finau withdrawal, Putnam actually leads the field in SG/approach through putting over the past 50 rounds.
Gehman: Joel Dahmen (+700, Bet365) — The advanced metrics from Dahmen are electric, especially from tee-to-green. He’s gained over 24 strokes to the field in that category over his past 12 rounds, which doesn’t even include a T-3 finish in Mayakoba where ShotLink data isn’t available. He has four top-16 finishes in his last five starts and seems ready for a big week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Matt Kuchar (+850, Bet365) — I can’t quite get there with an outright on Kuch, but these odds on a top-10 bet are lovely.
Powers, Golf Digest: Davis Riley (+450, DraftKings) — One more ride on the Davis Riley train before we shut it down for the fall. Iron play has been real strong of late and had he not lost three strokes with the putter last week his result would have looked a lot better given how well he struck it.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Matt Kuchar (+850, Bet365) — Kuchar comes into this event ranked top 20 for both short-term and long-term form. He also ranks top 20 for Opportunities Gained over the last two months. Whilst not tearing up any trees here at Sea Island, Kuchar has finished top 40 six of the eight times he’s played here which does include a seventh-place finish.
Top-10 results from the Houston Open: Everybody: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Gdula: 2 for 8 (up 3 units); Hennessey: 1 for 8 (even units); Mayo: 1 for 7 (down 2 units); Caddie: 1 for 8 (down 2.5 units); ; Alldrick: 1 for 8 (down 3 units); Gehman: 1 for 8 (down 4.75 units); Powers: 0 for 8 (down 8 units)
RSM Classic picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Brian Harman — Few golfers have elite course history, but Harman can certainly boast positive results. In his last five trips to Sea Island, he’s made the cuts in four of them with a T-4 and T-14 as the highlights. Harman plays out of the fairway more frequently than just about all his peers and he’s in the midst of a stellar stretch of golf – six top 25s in his last eight starts with a runner-up in Mayakoba most recently.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Aaron Wise.
Hennessey: Brendon Todd — Odds are the rest of your contest will go higher up the odds board, so you’ll gain some leverage here with Todd, who should be pretty safe.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Jason Day.
Powers: Davis Riley — This might come back to bite me during the Florida swing but the tee-to-green and iron play have been so good recently that it’d be nice to strike on the week he puts it all together.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry. Houston Open: Sepp Straka.
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) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA 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 in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). 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 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. 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