This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
3M Open Betting Strategy
The PGA Tour heads back to the States for the final Midwest event of the season – this week's 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota. It's the third installment of this tournament and the first time it's followed The Open Championship, leaving us with a mediocre field that features only four of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and is headlined by world No. 2 Dustin Johnson. Last year, long shot Michael Thompson, at 100-1 odds, birdied two of his final three holes to win by two strokes over Adam Long and pick up his first win since 2013.
TPC Twin Cities plays as a par-71 at over 7,400 yards, making it a bit longer than your average Tour stop. The three par-5s are reachable in two for the longer hitters but require accurate drives, as water surrounds the green on both No. 6 and 18. The closing stretch of the course tends to be the most exciting, with water very much in play on four of the final five holes, a stretch that features the driveable par-4 16th as an enticing risk-reward proposition. Players will face plenty of long iron approaches, and with plenty of bunkers and water in play off the tee throughout the course, driving accuracy will take a premium over distance.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 1:15 PM ET Tuesday.
Horses for the Course
The following five golfers, over a minimum of six rounds, have averaged the most birdies per round at TPC Twin Cities:
Pouring in birdies will be important at an event where the average winning score is 20-under-par, and Wolff leads the field with a whopping 46 of them over his two appearances. He picked up his lone Tour victory in his fourth career start here two years ago, but he has not found the winner's circle since and lacks a top-10 this year. Wolff epitomizes a boom-or-bust player, and I have no issues taking him at 30-1 in a below-average field. Meanwhile, Finau notched his third top-15 major finish of the season at the Open Championship, and his two trips to the Twin Cities have led to eight rounds in the 60s. He's gaining a whopping 1.88 strokes on approach at the 3M Open but will need to find better form on the greens in order to pick up his second Tour victory.
These golfers, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes off the tee and on approach combined over their last 20 rounds:
Ball striking will be a key factor on a course that punishes your misses, and that's an area that Stanley has excelled in recently. He's coming off a John Deere Classic appearance in which he ranked third in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green but lost over seven shots on the putting surface. He's played much better than his results would indicate – he has just one top-10 this season, but that does have him under the radar as a value play at 70-1. Higher up among the betting choices – and deservedly so – is Bradley at 40-1, who shouldn't be overlooked despite three missed cuts over his last four events. He's on my short list of prime candidates to win this week, as his struggles have been due to woes in his short game.
Patrick Reed (16-1)
Reed skipped the event last year but played well in his 2019 appearance, finishing top-10 in SG: Approach but uncharacteristically losing strokes in the short game en route to a T23 result. He's gaining strokes in every category this season and his accuracy off the tee will be important in order to avoid the trouble around TPC Twin Cities.
Bubba Watson (35-1)
Watson decided not to travel overseas for The Open, so he should not be dealing with any jet lag and should be well-rested after taking a couple weeks off. He's coming off his best finish of the year at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and nearly won the Travelers Championship the week prior, and he's been controlling the ball with his driver much better than usual.
Ryan Moore (65-1)
I'll ride with Moore again after hitting a top-10 bet with him two weeks ago, as he historically plays quality golf in the Midwest. Moore is always going to be a good fit on courses that require straight drives, and this course has similar characteristics to TPC Deere Run. He played well at the 3M Open last year, firing four under-par rounds en route to a T12 result.
Chez Reavie (5-1)
Reavie went through a rough stretch this spring but is trending in the right direction with three top-25s and only one missed cut over his last six events. He also sat T2 through 36 holes at the John Deere Classic. He'll be making his first appearance at the 3M Open and there's no reason to think he shouldn't play well here – he's 23rd in SG: Approach and fifth in driving accuracy this season.
Bo Hoag (9-1)
Hoag should be full of confidence coming off his best result of the season – a T11 finish at the alternate event Barbasol Championship last week. He has shown he can step up in better fields, recording a top-15 at the Memorial. He has played well at TPC Twin Cities before, with his closing 63 on Sunday last year tying for the low round of the tournament.
Scott Piercy (12-1)
We should get a motivated Piercy this week, as he sits 15 spots out of the FedEx Cup Playoffs with three chances to qualify remaining. He opened the 3M Open with a blistering nine-under 62 two years ago before settling for a T15 finish. He has struggled mightily with his putting this season but has played better recently, posting a pair of top-20s since May.
MacIntyre came through for me as a top-10 pick at The Open and is one of my favorite up-and-coming golfers, but I don't think this track suits him particularly great considering he's still a bit sporadic with the driver and is losing strokes on approach this season stateside. Grillo is a reliable option in this matchup with five top-15s over the last four months and a T3 finish here a year ago.
In a battle of two golfers trending in opposite directions, I'll take the side of Fowler, who is in better form. He recorded a pair of top-15s over his last five starts while Kirk has missed more cuts than he has made since May and has recorded only one top-25 over that stretch. Fowler is making his first start in the Twin Cities, and I think he will have a chance to contend if he can find the stroke with the flat stick.