This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
The RSM Classic Betting Preview
The 2022 portion of the PGA schedule concludes with The RSM Classic, an event hosted by Davis Love III at Sea Island Resort in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
The tournament always brings in a contingent of golfers that reside on the island, and this year's event is headlined by favorite Brian Harman, who checks in at 16-1 odds and is one of just four players among the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking teeing it up. The event is played between two courses, with players getting a go at both the Plantation Course and Seaside Course over the first two rounds before spending the weekend at Seaside. Last year, Talor Gooch -- at 35-1 -- defeated Mackenzie Hughes by three strokes to pick up his first PGA Tour victory.
The Plantation Course typically plays as the easier of the two venues, as it offers two more par-5s than its counterpart. However, players tend to go low on both tracks, with the winning score reaching 19-under-par or better five years running. Seaside plays at approximately 7,000 yards, which makes it one of the shortest courses on Tour and gives an edge to accuracy over distance when it comes to tee shots. Only two of the par-4s play over 450 yards, and with several dogleg holes on the course, players aren't required to hit driver often.
I'll mainly be targeting those who excel with irons and wedges, as we'll see a lot of approaches struck in the 100-150 yard range.
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Sea Island Specialists
The following golfers, with a minimum of 12 rounds played, have averaged the most birdies or better per round at the RSM Classic since 2017.
Simpson has used his iron play to dominate the Seaside Course, where he's gaining a whopping 1.59 shots per round on approach over his last 12 rounds here. This will certainly test two important indicators -- course history and recent form. Simpson has had a forgettable year, with zero top-10s in 2022, but if there's a place for him to find his game this is it. The oddsmakers have him priced reasonably at 45-1. Another player who has had success here but has had a much better year is Spaun, who picked up his first win at the Valero Texas Open and has two top-15s in five starts this fall. Known for his accuracy and approach play, he's a candidate to work his way into contention, like he did when he finished runner-up at Sea Island in 2018.
These five players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds.
It's no surprise that the hottest iron player in the field has two top-10s -- including a T4 last year -- in an event that prioritizes approach play. While Hoge's streak of five straight top-15s came to an end in Mayakoba two weeks ago, the oddsmakers have him priced as the second choice to win at 18-1. Meanwhile, Harman enters in great form, recently notching a runner-up result and missing the cut only once in his last 12 events. The only weakness in his game is his lack of driving distance, which shouldn't hold him back much here. The St. Simons resident posted a top-5 here in 2018 and is a worthy favorite.
The RSM Classic Bets: Outright Picks
Seamus Power (22-1)
I know Power just won a few weeks ago, but what's to say he can't do it again? He followed up his victory in Bermuda with a T3 the following week, and he recorded a top-5 finish here last year. Power's short game is one of the best in the field, which gives him a bigger edge than usual.
Denny McCarthy (30-1)
Four of the last six RSM Classic winners picked up their first PGA Tour victory. Can McCarthy make it five out of seven? Strong putters tend to do well here, and he found two top-10s over his last three appearances in this event. McCarthy has played well enough lately to break through.
Brendon Todd (55-1)
I'm going with another strong putter in Todd, whose prowess on the greens, accuracy off the tee and hometown roots make him one of the best values on the board. He posted a pair of top-10s earlier in the fall and finished fourth here in 2019.
The RSM Classic Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Aaron Rai (5-1)
Rai made his first appearance in this event last year, and he ranked fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach en route to a top-20 finish. He's in good form, coming off his second PGA Tour top-10 at last week's Houston Open. He's also one of the most accurate drivers on Tour, ranking 16th in that category last season.
Greyson Sigg (7-1)
Sigg is trending upward after struggling throughout most of his rookie season. All four of his top-20s have come since July, including two this fall. He has fared well with his wedges and putter this fall, and those should be two key factors here.
Patton Kizzire (12-1)
I'll stick with the island theme and go with another local resident who posted a pair of top-15 finishes here over the last four years. He's coming off a disappointing season but appeared to find some form in Mayakoba, where he picked up his first top-10 since February.
The RSM Classic Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Buckley's main strength is his driving prowess, and he won't be able to take advantage of that as frequently at a place where that aspect is neutralized. Buckley missed the cut in his lone appearance here last year, and he gets a difficult matchup in Merritt, who is a prime fit for the course and has three top-30s in his last four trips to Sea Island.
Kuchar remains a reliable option in matchups due to his consistency. Dating back to the spring, he has played the weekend 12 times in 14 chances. He has mainly been held back by a lack of distance off the tee, which is really the only area that Moore has an advantage in. I'm siding with the course fit and Kuchar's steady results.
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