Travelers Championship picks 2022: The 100-1 U.S. Open contender our experts love
As diehard, weekly golf gamblers, we’re all trying to avoid the obvious play, or, as gamblers like to say, the “square” play. Sometimes, though, the obvious play ends up being the right one.
That turned out to be the case at The Country Club, where Matt Fitzpatrick claimed the U.S. Open just nine years after winning the U.S. Amateur on those same hallowed grounds. It seems obvious in hindsight, but our experts didn't fall into that U.S. Am narrative. Our Brandon Gdula came very close to cashing Will Zalatoris, as did these two authors. Thankfully, the Travelers Championship provides a ton of value to get back into the winner's circle.
The obvious play this week might be Jordan Spieth, a former winner of the Travelers who, despite a “meh” T-37 finish at Brookline, is still one of the hotter players in the world as of late. Three of our experts are back aboard the Spieth train at TPC River Highlands, because sometimes square plays pay the bills as we learned last week.
We've also got a bit of a sharper pick down the odds board that a few members of our panel are quite high on at 100-1.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the Travelers Championship.
Travelers Championship picks 2022: Our Experts' Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Jordan Spieth (20-1, DraftKings) — You can find a number closer to 28-1, which is truly a gift. He’ll arrive at the Travelers refreshed after a weekend off, heading to a course he knows really suits him. It’s Open prep right now for him, but there’s no better preparation than playing great golf and contending, which I fully expect Spieth to do.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Jordan Spieth (20-1, DraftKings) — The driving is massively improved, and even at the US Open, despite the poor overall showing, the irons were not an issue for him. It’s been his work on the putting surface. And, as we know with Jordan, that can flip at any moment. Already this season at short courses with small greens, Spieth’s won a gold and silver. Keep up the tee-to-green play, find a solid putter, grab a second win of the season. Easy work.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Patrick Cantlay (14-1, FanDuel) — Cantlay wasn’t the ideal fit for me last week at the U.S. Open but wound up T-14 anyway with a strong showing. This week, the winning score should be in the 15-under range, where Cantlay is generally better anyway. He’s got four straight top-15 finishes at this event and is primed for another strong showing.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Aaron Wise (50-1, DraftKings) — It’s time – Wise has been building towards a breakout win for nearly nine months. He’s always been a great tee-to-green player, ranking inside the top 25 this season in that category. His downfall has often come with the flat-stick but now that he's back to using the broomstick, he’s found plenty of successful weeks. In fact, he’s gained strokes putting in five of his last six starts. With a runner-up finish at the Memorial and a T-27 finish last week, Wise is on the cusp of snapping through the finish line.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Joaquin Niemann (35-1, PointsBet) — I love Niemann this week. He’s third in Birdies or Better gained and fourth in Opportunities Gained over the past 36 rounds, per Fantasy National. He’s also sixth in SG/tee to green and fifth in SG/around the green … all of which is to say, he will give himself plenty of opportunities to eat around this Pete Dye course. Plus, he’s top 10 in SG/total on Dye courses—giving me reason to be optimistic that his balky putter from last week can turn into a positive like it was at Riv.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Davis Riley (40-1, DraftKings) — Riley had his worst showing in six starts last week at the U.S. Open, and he still managed to tie for 31st. The guy is running so hot right now, particularly with his irons, that it will feel foolish to miss out on his maiden victory. His course history is non-existent at TPC River Highlands (this is his first start), but you have to figure it sets up perfect for him. Hit fairways and feast on approach, just like he did at Valspar (runner-up) and Colonial (T-4). A win is coming.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (20-1, DraftKings) — Spieth’s solid off-the-tee and around-the-green game means he ranks second in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking this week. It’s not surprising then to see that he is a past winner here at TPC River Highlands. The World No. 11 also ranks 10th in the field this week for SG/total over the last two months and has a victory and runner up finish within his last six events.
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. The 2021-’22 season has been kind to us so far, too. Just two weeks ago, two of our experts (Pat Mayo and Lee Aldrick) selected Rory McIlroy at 8-1 to win the RBC Canadian Open. Previously this season, Christopher Powers nailed Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at 29-1 and then backed it up with Joaquin Niemann at 60-1 to win at Riviera. A few weeks before that, Mayo also correctly predicted Luke List’s victory at Torrey Pines at 70-1. Rick Gehman hit Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall, as well as 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!
Travelers Championship picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Joel Dahmen (100-1, DraftKings) — Joel is a momentum player. His confidence’ll be high after that great run at the U.S. Open. This is a wedge fest and putter type of course, which is bread and butter. He should be closer to the 50-1, 60-1 range.
Mayo: Joel Dahmen (100-1, DraftKings) — The trend of those middle-of-the-pack players having an amazing U.S. Open then parlaying it into success outside Hartford is a real thing. Just look at Harris English and Chez Reavie. Many will point to Denny McCarthy in this spot, but the answer is really Joel Dahmen. McCarthy legitimately cannot play any better than he did in Brookline. It was all the putting along with uncharacteristic ball-striking. Dahmen, meanwhile, kept up his pinpoint iron play on small greens yet really struggled with the putter. That’s something that has never happened to Dahmen at TPC River Highlands, where he’s gained strokes with his flat stick in all four of his appearances at the Travelers.
Gdula: Harold Varner III (65-1, FanDuel) — Varner has 97th-percentile adjusted SG/approach data over the past year and is quite a good birdie-maker. He’s played the weekend three straight years at TPC River Highlands. Varner has ranked top five in SG/approach in each of the past two events here, too.
Gehman: Brendon Todd (100-1, DraftKings) — I couldn’t create a better course for Todd who loses a ton of distance off the tee to his peers but he offsets that by finding nearly every fairway. With TPC River Highlands playing a shade over 6,800 yards with four-inch rough – that should set up nicely for Todd. His last two trips to Hartford have resulted in a T-11 and T-30 and he’s playing well now – entering with a T-13 and third-place finish in his last two starts.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mito Pereira (55-1, Bet365) — Shun the Mito non-believers. This is the week he does it. As my guy John Haselbauer (@PGATout on Twitter) points out at The Lines, there are eight par 4s in the 400-450-yard range this week, and Mito ranks second (only to Scottie Scheffler) in scoring on these par 4s. He’s top 10 in SG/off the tee and SG/approach … it all lines up perfectly for Mito to finally get over the finish line.
Powers, Golf Digest: Doug Ghim (150-1, DraftKings) — I’m surprised Pat isn’t on his boy the Ghim Reaper, but I’ll gladly die on this hill alone. Ghim has been a plus-approach player in eight of his past nine starts, which finally resulted in his first top 20 since the Players at the RBC Canadian Open. Speaking of the Players, TPC Sawgrass is a Pete Dye design, and Ghim has played very well there in his two career starts. Ditto that for Harbour Town. What I’m getting at is, Dye did some work at TPC River Highlands in his day, and Ghim seems to be a fan of his work.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Marc Leishman (55-1, PointsBet) — Leishman rallied to an excellent 14th-place finish at an extremely tough US Open last week. A sure sign that his game is getting back to its best. Leishman is a past winner here at TPC River Highlands and ranks first in the field this week for SG/total here. A huge reason for the solid turnaround in the Australian’s game is how good his putting has been of late. He ranks 15th in the field this week for SG/putting over the last two months.
Travelers Championship picks 2022: Players We're Fading
Caddie: Seamus Power (28-1, DraftKings) — Seamus is a great player, but he just isn’t in the class of players like Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Sungjae Im.
Mayo: Xander Schauffele (20-1, DraftKings) — Fading Xander as an outright bet in a full field, cut event is rarely a bad idea. So I’ll do it here. Crazy he has worse odds than Spieth.
Gdula: Tony Finau (34-1, FanDuel) — Accuracy and putting should play more of a role this week than usual, so I think someone like Finau has to be crossed off with so many other options to pick from.
Gehman: Tony Finau (34-1, FanDuel) — There are natural ebbs and flows in a season, and Finau appears to be entering an ebb. He’s coming off a missed cut at the U.S. Open losing strokes both off-the-tee and with the putter, facets of his game that had been strong. Now he’ll travel to TPC River Highlands which hasn’t played nice with Finau in recent years. He’s missed three straight cuts and has only gained strokes on approach in one of six trips.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Patrick Cantlay (14-1, FanDuel) — Cantlay had a good Sunday at The Country Club, but he wasn’t firing on all cylinders last week … I don’t think he can be 75 percent and win here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy (9-1, DraftKings) — Could Rory continue to play the role of PGA Tour hero and win? Given how well he’s playing, and how well he putted last week, of course. But this is now the fourth straight week of golf for the Northern Irishman and he’s coming off another emotional near-miss at Brookline. Letdown city, USA. That +450 to miss the cut bet, also on DK, is calling my name.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Patrick Cantlay (14-1, FanDuel) — Cantlay may have impressive course form here, however, his current form is not so good. He ranks just 74th in the field this week for Opportunities Gained over the last two months and just 71st for SG/putting over the same period.
Travelers Championship picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Brian Harman (-120) over Seamus Power (Bet365) — I will gladly fade Seamus with one of the best course-form guys, who’s also coming off a very nice U.S. Open, in Brian Harman. These guys have similar games, but give me the guy with the boatload of top finishes here.
Mayo: Davis Riley (-115) over Brooks Koepka (DraftKings) — This might be a trap, but imagine not going against Brooks in what is likely his final PGA Tour start for the foreseeable future?
Gdula: Cameron Davis (-126) over Rickie Fowler (FanDuel) — Davis’ driving accuracy could get him in trouble in this matchup, but it’s not like Fowler is hitting every fairway, either. From there, then, Davis has a huge advantage virtually across the board.
Gehman: Patrick Cantlay (+115) over Rory McIlroy (DraftKings) — McIlroy has been asked to carry the weight of the PGA Tour and that comes with plenty of stress and exhaustion. He’s due for a bit of a let down while Cantlay offers some high upside as evidenced by big gains with both the driver and putter last week. He’s been excellent at TPC River Highlands and basically every other Pete Dye design on tour.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mito Pereira (-120) over Tommy Fleetwood (Bet365) — I hate fading our guy Tommy Fleetwood, but in talking to him on our Be Right podcast this week, it sounds like his game is “close” but not 100 percent there. Mito’s just two starts away from nearly winning the PGA, and he can play well in a birdie-fest, whereas I like Tommy better on a harder course.
Powers, Golf Digest: Patrick Cantlay (+115) over Rory McIlroy (DraftKings) — Easy one for me. I love these best on best matchups with plus odds anyway, and Rick being on it too makes it a no-brainer.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Brian Harman (-120) over Seamus Power (Bet365) — I really like Harman this week. Seamus Power on the other hand doesn’t shape up well for TPC River Highlands at all. He ranks just 103rd in the FanShareSports CSR for TPC River Highlands and has never finished better than 19th here.
Matchup Results from the U.S. Open: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Schauffele (+100) over C. Smith); Mayo: 1 for 1 (Scheffler (+100) over Rahm); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Schauffele (+100) over C. Smith); Gdula: 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 23-6-4 (up 16.1 units); Caddie: 19-13-2 (up 4.82 units); Powers: 18-13-3 (up 4.76 units); Alldrick: 18-14-2 (up 1.61 units); Gehman: 14-15-4 (down 2.17 units); Gdula: 15-17-1 (down 2.96 units); Hennessey: 15-18-1 (down 6.9 units)
Travelers Championship picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Keegan Bradley (+333, Bet365) — Keegan was totally enthralled by the Boston crowds last week, and he gets to embrace his fellow New Englanders one more time this weekend. He’s got a runner-up and an eighth-place finish in the past four years. Keegan knows this course as well as anybody … if the putter gets hot, watch out.
Mayo: John Huh (+1600, DraftKings) — Yes, John Huh still plays golf. In fact, he’s playing this week. I’m not entirely sure what has happened to him recently, but he’s playing some sneaky good golf. After being in the wilderness most of the season, the man of many question marks has been a tee-to-green monster the last two events. Between Colonial and Canada he’s gaining +8.9 SG/tee-to-green, while losing an average of over two strokes on the greens. He’s actually lost on the greens in four straight after gaining in six consecutive starts before that. So, it’s there, Huh just needs to unleash it.
Gdula: Sungjae Im (+300, FanDuel) — I was in on Im last week at Brookline, and he missed the cut (by one) with poor iron play. Before that, though, Sungjae had four straight top-21 results in stroke play events and is a good long-term iron player. He’s also accurate, which is crucial for this week’s setup.
Gehman: Brian Harman (+400, DraftKings) — Harman played well at Brookline last week, finishing T-43 in the U.S. Open. His skill set, which offers precision over power, is welcome at TPC River Highlands – one of the shortest courses on the schedule. That fit has produced three top-eight finishes in his last four trips to the Travelers Championship.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Joseph Bramlett (+1600, Bet365) — All aboard the Bramwagon. As Rick pointed out in our DFS column on GolfDigest.com, Bramlett gained 13.1 strokes tee-to-green last week, second only to Patrick Cantlay. He also had the worst putting week of his career. But these greens ain’t too similar to The Country Club. Give us a neutral putter and this could cash.
Powers, Golf Digest: Christopher Gotterup (+2500, DraftKings) — I think my fellow Golf Twitter degenerates jumped the gun on my fellow New Jersey native Chris Gotterup the past few weeks. He was the toast of the town, then he did what any 22-year-old would do in their second PGA Tour start—he struggled, missing the cut at the RBC Canadian Open. But a fine showing at Brookline has me thinking this might be the week to hop on the Gotterup bandwagon. The Travelers is a great spot for young studs to introduce themselves to the golf world at large and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this Jersey legend do exactly that in Hartford.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Brian Harman (+400, DraftKings) — Harman has some amazing course history at TPC River Highlands. He ranks 23rd in the FanShareSports CSR and has finished top 10 in four of his last seven events here. His form coming in is solid too, ranking 18th in the field this week for SG/total over the last two months.
Top-10 results from the U.S. Open: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Will Zalatoris +260); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Alldrick: 11 for 34 (up 33.8 units); Powers: 11 for 34 (up 30.05 units); Hennessey: 8 for 34 (up 1.62 units); Mayo: 6 for 33 (up 0.8 units) Gehman: 7 for 34 (down 0.3 units); Caddie: 9 for 34 (down 2.5 units); Gdula: 3 for 34 (down 19.1 units)
Travelers Championship picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Davis Riley — Riley, along with other breakout stars like Cameron Young, illustrate my strategy to rarely “save” golfers in a One and Done format. There will be emerging stars who become available that you wouldn’t have considered before the season started. The last seven starts for Riley have been nothing short of amazing. He’s gained over two strokes per round to the field in that run and he bested the U.S. Open field by over six strokes on approach last 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. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Xander Schauffele. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy. Players Championship: Jon Rahm. Valspar Championship: Dustin Johnson. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Patrick Cantlay. Mexico Open: Aaron Wise. Wells Fargo: Matt Fitzpatrick. AT&T Byron Nelson: Justin Thomas. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Max Homa. The Memorial Tournament: Will Zalatoris. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith. U.S. Open: Collin Morikawa.
Hennessey: Joaquin Niemann — If you still have him, I think his off-the-tee prowess will give him a ton more chances than the rest of the field … and if he can sort out his short-game woes from last week, he should contend.
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. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Will Zalatoris. Honda Classic: Russell Knox. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Keith Mitchell. Players Championship: Cameron Smith. Valspar Championship: Shane Lowry. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Justin Thomas. RBC Heritage: Russell Henley. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Troy Merritt. AT&T Byron Nelson: Jhonattan Vegas. PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler. Charles Schwab Challenge: Jordan Spieth. The Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith. U.S. Open: Rory McIlroy.
Powers: Davis Riley — He’s going to win this week. That’s all I got.
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. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson. Genesis Invitational: Adam Scott. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Chris Kirk. Players Championship: Xander Schauffele. Valspar Championship: Sam Burns. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Matt Fitzpatrick. Mexico Open: Abraham Ancer. Wells Fargo: Keegan Bradley. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sahith Theegala. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. The Memorial Tournament: Patrick Reed. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton. U.S. Open: Shane Lowry.
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.