Read The Line Betting Breakdown: RBC Heritage

Read The Line Betting Breakdown: RBC Heritage

This article is part of our Golf Picks series.

Full article available at Read The Line.

2024 RBC Heritage: Oh Captain, my captain

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC

Do you want the good news, or the bad news? Here's the bad news, Scottie Scheffler looks unstoppable and has nine wins, two PLAYERS Championships, and two green jackets in three years. The good news? All of those wins have come before the second week in April. That gives us all hope we can win a bet this summer against Scheffler! I'm not going to dwell on his performance, mainly because he will probably do the same thing this week at the RBC Heritage.

For the second year in a row, the best of the PGA TOUR are coming to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to compete for $20 million dollars. Scheffler was a rookie at Harbour Town Golf Links a year ago and finished eleventh gaining nine strokes on the field. So how will anyone beat him? Well, his wife is pregnant, and could make the call to the two-time Masters champion to end his recent run. Unfortunately, based upon the way 2024 is going, this baby is going to be born on an off week!

2024 RBC Heritage: Plaid nation

No rest for the weary warriors from Augusta National. The PGA TOUR rolls out their fifth signature event. Approximately 69 golfers have registered and will play 72-holes of stroke play with no cut. Twenty million dollars on the line and $3.6 million for first place. The strategic Pete Dye design places a huge premium on accuracy; especially off the tee. Unlike the wider fairways of Magnolia Lane, HTGL is tree-lined, sand covered and characterized by low country waterways on almost every hole.

I can't say we will be completely dry this week, but the forecast is much better than Augusta. Temperatures will be warm resting in the low 80s until we feel a chance of rain on Sunday afternoon. We are out on an island, so wind comes with the territory. Thankfully, the breeze predicted is mild and should blow around 10 mph all four days. That's a welcome reprieve from the wind tunnel we all experienced in Augusta. Of course, we are along the Atlantic coastline. The weather can change at a moment's notice. So please make use of the link below before making any firm decisions.

Nine of the last 10 winners of the Heritage played in the Masters the previous week. Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick did last year, and with the field we have, that trend is certain to continue. Prior to being elevated, this event did see some serious long shots win over the last 10 years. The average pre-tournament winner's odds in that time frame were +9600. I'm pretty sure Scottie and signature status is certain to stop that trend.

  • The average winning score over the last five editions was 17 under par, over the last ten the average drops to 15under par.
  • In recent years, the cutline average is slightly under par at -0.6. If we look at the last decade, that average jumps to +1.3 over par.

Many years this event was plagued by difficult wind and cold temperatures. This year looks mild and with a signature field I expect scoring to be prevalent.

Pete Dye's course measures 7,213 yards for the tournament. The Par 71 landscape is one of the tightest driving courses on TOUR. So much so, the field driving distance average is 15 yards less than the PGA TOUR average. Accuracy off the tee exceeds the TOUR standard and GIRs are hard to come by. We'll build a winning skill set in the outrights discussion, but overall power is not the priority at HTGL.

  • The greens are the second smallest on the PGA TOUR averaging just 3,700 square feet. That's roughly half the size of the greens at ANGC.
    • The field hits them eight percent less than the Tour average (58% vs 66%).
  • Only 54 bunkers to contend with, but each of the eighteen green complexes has at least one.

The details are endless on this Dye design and that's why it annually is one of the five most predictable courses on TOUR. A good microcosm of the challenge Harbour Town presents can be found on the Par-3s. Each one hovers in length around 200 yards. As a group, they all play to a stroke average over par. Add their stroke averages up, and the total is +0.48. HTGL forces you to hit good iron shots. Even when you do, they aren't always rewarded. Getting up and down around these greens is tough.

There are some great comparison courses to study this week and believe it or not, Scottie hasn't won on all of them; yet. I love Valspar which has the same putting green surfaces and similar ball striking demands. Sea Island's RSM classic and Sedgefield apply as well. I'd even throw in Wa'ailae CC. Pure positional golf where course management is the number one skill featured in the outrights section.

2024 RBC Heritage: Going low country

Harbour Town Golf Links will present this signature field of 69 players with a number of headwinds over 72-holes.

  • Ten holes have a bogey rate over 15%, comparatively only seven have a birdie rate over that same 15%.
  • Greens are not only guarded by water and sand, but trees as well. Find the wrong side of the fairway and you can easily get blocked out.
  • Small greens are easily missed, and Dye's disaster laden green complexes are designed with deep bunkers and steep roll offs.
  • The fairways are not only tight, but they are also tree lined. They bend in both directions, and most of them have a penalty area to protect against.

Patience is rewarded at HTGL. Stick to your game plan and follow the successful skills of the last 10 winners and you will get fitted for a tartan jacket on Sunday afternoon. In the last decade, the winner gained an average of

  • Two strokes off the tee.
  • Six strokes on approach.
  • Three strokes around the green.
  • Four strokes putting.

Iron play always leads the way but pay attention to your outright selections and their short game. The bunkers here have steps to get in and out! Building a winner takes precise positional skills. Here's my list of the most valuable tartan traits.

  • Par-4 scoring - Eleven holes vary in length from 330 to 473 yards. Each one takes two good shots to score. One of the most proven indicators for success week after week, your winner in South Carolina will be near the top of this list by week's end.
  • Good drives gained - We all miss the fairway, but when you do are you still hitting the green. On a week where position off the tee is insanely important, this measurement reigns supreme.
  • Proximity to the hole - These guys hit a high rate of GIR's, but who hits it the closest? When the green size is this small, winning the proximity contest counts.
  • Birdie or better % - There's three par-5s and one reachable par-4. The winning score with decent weather will be in the high teens. Who can keep up? With $20 million in prize money, we need aggressive scorers.
  • SG:T2G - The catch all category. Who is hitting it the best from tee to the green. Well-rounded golfers contend here and OTT, APP, and ARG all count toward this value.

I'm interested in the best approach players with a mid-iron. Nearly 50 percent of approaches fall between 150-200 yards. Bogeys come easy at HTG, which competitors have the best bogey avoidance rate? Fitzpatrick won here last year by gaining more on the field avoiding bogeys than making birdies. Each of the par-5s fall between 550-600 yards. Finally, I'm counting around the green and scrambling skill. Guys who are great with a wedge, not only save par, but they make birdies as well.

I loved last year when a classic TOUR test received signature status. Seeing a major championship field take on one of the shortest tests on the PGA TOUR is so entertaining. I expect Scottie to be in the mix, but unlike last week even the shorter hitters can contend here. The card is balanced, and I especially like the ball strikers we have. Scheffler had an average approach week at Augusta. If that trend continues, these guys have a great chance to slip by him on Harbour Town's links.

2024 RBC Heritage: Outright Winners

Ludvig Aberg (+1400)

Here comes the kid, Aberg has seven straight top 25 finishes on the PGA TOUR.

  • Ludvig led the field T2G statistically at the Valero.
  • Then he led the field in putting at his very first Masters (and major)!
  • Åberg possesses a very under-appreciated short game. A key amongst the contenders he will use this week to win.

Tommy Fleetwood (+2000)

In four starts at the RBC Heritage, Fleetwood has three top 25s and a top 10.

  • Tenth at Genesis, seventh at Valero and third at Augusta National, Fleetwood's ball striking separates him on accuracy dependent tracks.
  • Tommy has a secret weapon for Harbour Town, the "mini-Driver." LINK
  • When it comes to win equity, Tommy has seven DP World Tour wins including one this past January.

For tips and picks, check out Read The Line!

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