RBC Heritage Analysis & Picks
Event: RBC Heritage
When: June 18-21, 2020
Where: Harbour Town GL - Hilton Head, SC
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
The PGA Tour made a noteworthy return to live action last week, and there were plenty of big storylines floating around Colonial, and I’m not just talking about Bryson DeChambeau’s newly pumped-up physique and driving distance.
Few golfers showed any rust at all from the CoVid-imposed layoff, and we saw several top players battle all the way to Sunday afternoon before Daniel Berger was able to take down Collin Morikawa on the first playoff hole. Jordan Spieth used his preference for Colonial to flirt with his first win since 2017, and Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele were among those who picked up right where they left off in March. The Tour heads to Hilton Head this week for the RBC Heritage. This event is typically the follow-up to The Masters, making for a tough draw in terms of star power, but the new date has strengthened the field with Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, and Justin Rose all teeing it up at Harbour Town. CT Pan will defend his 2019 championship, and it will be three in a row for Asian Tour players if Pan is successful with Satoshi Kodaira winning the 2018 Heritage. International players have won five of the last seven editions, and the event has an invitational status with a field limit of 132 players.
Harbour Town Golf Links has been a fixture on Tour since 1969 with Arnold Palmer as the inaugural champion and Davis Love III owning a record five victories. The 7,100 yard, par-71 layout is a ball-striking challenge much the same as Colonial was, so look for many of the same contenders from last week to keep things rolling. Driving accuracy is a key at Harbour Town, and par-3 scoring should provide an advantage for those who can take advantage of those holes. Scrambling and putting round out the key predictors here and it is no surprise to see names like Furyk, Kuchar, and Snedeker on the past champions list. Course familiarity seems to be a major player here as eight former Heritage champs have either multiple wins here or at least one additional runner-up finish to go along with their win. Luke Donald has notched five runner-up finishes since 2009.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best value bets on the board. We make a short, middle, and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that are commonly found at just about any golf betting outlet. We didn’t predict Daniel Berger’s win last week, but we had two guys finish in the top-10, and our 100-1 longshot (Rory Sabbatini) made a fringe run with a T14. Here are our picks to win the 2020 RBC Heritage with odds info found at Bovada.
RBC Heritage Value Picks & Odds
Rory McIlroy (12 to 1 odds to win)
I am not usually the one to push chalk picks, but Rory at 12 to 1 instead of the 6 to 1 range is good value. In just seven events, McIlroy has six top-5 finishes, including two thirds and a win at the HSBC Champions. Colonial got the better of him on Sunday, but Rory posted a 63 on Friday to look like another top-5 was a certainty, and I’m not afraid of one bad round. He enters the week ranked 18th in greens hit, 12th in birdies, and 1st in scoring average. McIlroy is also first in scrambling and 2nd in total strokes gained from tee-to-green. There are simply no weaknesses in his game, and it will be a lights-out win if he finds his way into the top-10 in putting for the week at Harbour Town. Bet your RBC Heritage picks for free by taking advantage of a special “Deposit $200 and get $200 FREE” offer at MyBookie! Must use this link to sign up and activate special bonus!
Xander Schauffele (22 to 1)
Schauffele was rolling with eight top-25 finishes and four top-10s prior to the layoff and picked things up where he left off with a T3 last week. It will look like Morikawa gave away the win with a couple missed putts on Sunday, but Xander had himself in position as well before a couple of loose shots caused him to miss the playoff. Schauffele is remarkably accurate with the 4th best GIR rate and the 7th best tee-to-green performance in terms of strokes gained. He is closer to Tour average with the putter, but that hasn’t hurt his scoring, and he comes into The Heritage with the 13th best birdie average and 6th best scoring mark. Xander adds the 12th best scrambling rate to round out a stat sheet that is tailored for success at a shot makers course.
Kevin Kisner (50 to 1)
Kisner hasn’t done much of note this season, but he hasn’t’ played poorly either, and I really liked his balance at Colonial. He was in the sixties all four days and hit his irons very well, which should translate well to Harbour Town, where he has made six of seven career cuts, finishing 2nd in 2015 and 7th in 2018. He is sitting at a respectable 65% in greens hit on the season but hit 75% of the greens last week. I think he keeps that positive trend going, and he is almost inevitably going to be one of the best in this field in terms of hitting the fairway. He is a solid scrambler, and the putter is currently ranked 30th in total putting so he has a very nice analytic profile for someone sitting at 50 to 1.
Picks to win based on the predicted score for all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round pairings and a variety of prop bets.
Daniel Berger (+110) v. Matt Kuchar (-140) (pick to win: Berger)
You will see Matt Kuchar’s name in any number of expert pick columns as his Harbour Town record is special. In sixteen career starts here, Kuchar has missed the cut just once and recorded six top-10s. He is also 2-0 against Berger in the two Heritage editions where both played. I am sticking with Berger this week based on his exceptional play last week en route to his third PGA Tour win, and +110 is fantastic value for a player that has the better recent trend. Entering the week, Berger has the advantage in greens hit, off-the-tee performance, and scoring average. Kuchar is the better putter but not by a significant margin, and Berge is the better player in total strokes gained and scrambling. Kuchar is still a good horse for this course, but the schedule shuffle benefits everyone that did well last week as Harbour Town is so similar to Colonial, and they now sit back-to-back so no need to re-tool the approach for Berger to stay hot.
Patrick Reed (-115) v. Sungjae Im (-115) (pick to win: Im)
I swear the books find a way to make this kind of pairing each week, no matter the tournament, course, or any other scenario. These two players have so many similarities that a pure coin flip may be the best way to make a pick here, but I won’t settle for that. Im leads the Tour in FedEx points, Reed is fourth, and both have a win and runner-up in 2020. Each has just one missed cut this season, but both missed the cut here in 2019. Neither are elite in any ball striking category, but both are fantastic putters and strong players around the greens. So, where are they different? I see Sungjae holding an advantage off the tee as the more accurate driver, and he hits more greens on average as well. I think that plays out to more birdie looks this week, and that will ultimately get Im the head-to-head win. Reed has not recorded a round in the sixties at Harbour Town in nine attempts, and while I don’t like either to be especially relevant on the leaderboard, I think Sungjae has the better chance to make the cut and perhaps even backdoor a top-20, and I don’t feel the same for Reed’s prospects.
Good luck and good golf!