Wednesday, September 27, 2023

2022 Phoenix Open picks, odds: Justin Thomas over Jon Rahm among best bets to make at TPC Scottsdale

This week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open is the best PGA Tour event of 2022, featuring most of the top players in the world. As a result, there’s a ton of potential as it relates to best bets. There are many players we’re quite familiar with but also some we aren’t as familiar with who have favorable odds.

Here’s a look at five I like ahead of what should be four awesome days of golf in the desert.

Odds below provided via Caesars Sportsbook. 

1. Daniel Berger top 10 (+260): There are certainly injury concerns after he withdraw from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week, but Berger is at a Scottie Scheffler number, and he has been playing a lot better than Scheffler (who has been playing well!). Berger is fourth in this field in his last 20 rounds in strokes gained on ball-striking and second in strokes gained on approach shots. He has three top 10s in his last four starts, and you’re getting him at a number that implies that his injury is fine. If you believe that or want to take the chance on it, like I do, then his odds are just right.

2. Justin Thomas over Jon Rahm (+145): Listen, I get it. I’ve been screaming from the mountaintops how good Rahm has been over the last eight months. But J.T. at these odds when he’s finished in the top five in four of his last six starts worldwide and the putter is starting to pop just a little bit is way too tempting. It’s also a bit of a hedge against bet No. 5 on this list (which you’ll see below).

Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter, Greg DuCharme and Mark Immelman to preview the 2022 WM Phoenix Open. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

3. Hideki Matsuyama over Patrick Cantlay (+120): As good as Cantlay has been, and he’s been exquisite, Matsuyama destroys at TPC Scottsdale. He’s the all-time strokes gained leader here at a course where Cantlay doesn’t have any data. The consistency of Cantlay concerns me, but getting Matsuyama at this number on this course when two of his last four events have been wins? I’ll take that.

4. Troy Merritt over Pat Perez and Adam Hadwin (+170): Merritt’s ball-striking of late has been extraordinary. Among players in this field, only Viktor Hovland and Luke List have been gaining more strokes per round over their last 20 rounds in ball-striking than Merritt has. He’s been especially good with his iron play, which this golf course rewards.

5. Jon Rahm top 20 (-250): This is not sexy, nor is it thrilling. It seems safe, though. I know those words can look foolish in 24 or 48 hours, but Rahm has been an absolute top-20 and top-10 machine over the last year. He has 11 top-20 finishes in his last 12 starts, including last year’s infamous Memorial Tournament, and his only MC came at the Fortinet Championship in September when he was ill. Additionally, his success at TPC Scottsdale is immense. He has six top 20s in six starts here, and a solid field shouldn’t be scary even if the odds are extremely short.

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