RBC Canadian Open expert picks and predictions: Our PGA Pro’s best bets for 2024 golf tournament

In this betting preview:


The conclusion of the 2023 RBC Canadian Open was one of the most memorable moments of last season. Not only did a Canadian win the national championship for the first time in 69 years, but that incredible security guard tackle of Adam Hadwin lit up social media like a bolt of lightning. Of course, we had Tommy Fleetwood (+2500) that week at Oakdale Golf and Country Club just outside Toronto. On the second sudden death playoff hole, Nick Taylor sank a 72-foot eagle putt to take the national title. Heartbreak for all those tailing Tommy and giant jubilation for Taylor as he entered Canadian sports lore for his execution in extra holes.

With the native Canadian drought broken, I believe we will get another in short time. There are six Canadians with pre-tournament odds under +8000 playing at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. The classic Harry Colt design is hosting Canada’s national championship for the seventh time. We have seen four editions since 2000, and the winners were Bob Tway (2003, -8), Jim Furyk (2006, -14), Scott Piercy (2012, -17), and Rory McIlroy (2019, -22). That 22 under par score set the all-time record for the RBC Canadian and gave McIlroy a seven-shot victory.

This preview is just that, a preview. For a complete list of my betting predictions covering the RBC Canadian Open winners, placements, and H2H matchups, please go to Read The Line and subscribe.

RBC Canadian Open expert picks and predictions

Best bet to win: Sahith Theegala (+2000 on BetMGM)

Theegala has five top-10 finishes this year. The collegiate player of the year from Pepperdine has really improved his ball striking in 2024. Over Theegala’s last 10 starts, he is gaining five strokes on the field.

A small stumble two Sundays ago at the PGA Championship dropped him to 12th, but he started the final round in the penultimate group alongside Shane Lowry. Long-range accuracy and putting are the keys in Canada, and Sahith can score both ways. His second win has been close multiple times over the past few months. This is the week he breaks through for number two!

Best head-to-head bet: Ben Griffin over Nicolai Højgaard (+100 on DraftKings)

I’m not sure what happened to Højgaard after the Masters, but he’s been horrible. He has missed two of three cuts and is losing an average of four strokes (total) per tournament.

Griffin, on the other hand, has witnessed an opposite trajectory. He has two top-15 results in his last three events and gained nearly four strokes per start over his last five. Griffin’s gift with the flatstick should help him on Hamilton’s greens as an extra edge to help take down Højgaard. At plus odds, this H2H seems too good to pass up.

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*BET OF THE WEEK*
Alex Noren to finish Top 20 (+138 on DraftKings)

Noren has not finished outside the top 25 since February. A 10-time winner on the DP World Tour, Alex has been very good, gaining over six strokes total against the field over his past five starts.

An incredible short par-4 player and par-5 birdie machine, Noren knows how to get it done on a course like Hamilton. This stretch of eight great starts has come on all types of venues — and considering his skill set on this setting, we like our chances of cashing on number nine.

RBC Canadian Open live odds to win

Odds (shorter than +10000) courtesy of BetMGM.

Golfer Odds
Rory McIlroy +400
Tommy Fleetwood +1600
Sahith Theegala +2000
Corey Conners +2200
Shane Lowry +2200
Alex Noren +2500
Cameron Young +2500
Sam Burns +2800
Adam Scott +3300
Maverick McNealy +3300
Tom Kim +3300
Aaron Nai +4000
Keith Mitchell +4000
Mackenzie Hughes +4000
Adam Hadwin +5000
Akshay Bhatia +5000
Taylor Pendrith +5000
Davis Thompson +5500
Erik van Rooyen +5500
Nick Taylor +5500
Ben Griffin +6600
Matt Wallace +6600
Seamus Power +6600
Adam Svensson +8000
Daniel Berger +8000
Doug Ghim +8000
Kevin Yu +8000
Mark Hubbard +8000
Robert Macintyre +8000
Ryo Hisatsune +8000
Mac Meissner +9000
Nicolai Hojgaard +9000
Ryan Fox +9000

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RBC Canadian Open: Conditions, winning trends

Eight holes are carefully run along a small creek on the course. Colt’s original eye created a parkland landscape of target golf that takes a minute to appreciate. I especially enjoy the routing. Like so many 27-hole facilities, each nine can stand alone. Each with its own character, players are most tested by this venue on the putting greens. I did some research looking back at the 24 players (ties) who made up the top 10 players from both 2012 and 2019. Both editions were prior to the course work, so please keep that in mind. From those two leaderboards, the largest average gain in the major strokes gained categories was with the flatstick.

The winner will need their putter to distance themselves from the pack. McIlroy and Piercy averaged gaining over six strokes on the field when they won. Classic designs always work in subtle ways. Grabbing those birdie putt opportunities cannot be missed considering the various bogey moments one will encounter. The second trend from those two leaderboards came on approach. Forty percent of approach shots come from under 150 yards, and another 30% from over 200. That combination of long/scoring iron acumen eliminates much of the field.

A majority of PGA TOUR players have the short iron skill, but just a select few can operate from that longer distance with accuracy. The best way to separate this week will be scoring on those four par 4s over 450 and the two par 5s. Rory ripped them up five years ago and his power proved to be very valuable. Great drivers have an incredible advantage on classic courses. The ability to take it deep when others always play positionally to find the fairway makes another big difference this week.

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OTT play sits fourth on my list behind the putter, approach, and par 4 scoring because it is equally matched by scrambling skill. These small targets above and below the approach zones will be missed. Those same top 10s showed us that a short game is needed to contend on Sunday. Don’t completely discount creativity around the greens. Hamilton does not provide just one type of short game situation. Sixty bunkers surround these greens along with short and long grass lies. Watch for a couple of timely up and downs to save par on Saturday and Sunday. Looking for an edge in H2Hs, I love this little insider aspect of the scoring breakdown.

Ultimately, my last consideration is internal motivation by the Canadian crowd of contenders. Out on TOUR, these guys are outwardly discussing the Presidents’ Cup matches in September. With the Canadian winner drought conquered, I see multiple mounties from north of the border contending. A win gets them on the team headed to Royal Montreal for the matches. That inspiration is enough to motivate many of them past their weekly ceiling. These guys want to get on Mike Weir’s team and the truth is they all cannot. Outside of Corey Conners, none of them have a ticket. Watch the nationalism boil over this week once again as they compete amongst each other.

With great weather, I expect an incredible show supported by an unbelievable crowd. After last year, I cannot wait for Oh! Canada.

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RBC Canadian Open: Hamilton Golf Club & Country Club course description

Harry Colt, best known for his work in Great Britain and Ireland designed Royal Portrush and Royal Liverpool, site of last year’s Open Championship. The par 70 layout at Hamilton Golf and Country Club measures 7,084 yards. Two par 5s, four par 3s, and 12 par 4s cover the landscape. Those 12 par 4s have an average length of 397 yards. Three of them measure under 400 yards and four stretch over 450 yards! In many ways, the variety of the 4s is a great microcosm for the Hamilton scorecard. At times, players are challenged by difficult long iron shots, and others presented with a delicate wedge scoring opportunity.

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The weather looks favorable for a golf tournament in Canada considering it is May. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s and very little wind. The region has received a decent amount of rain recently and it should only further help the great growth they have witnessed this spring from a mild winter. I expect the course conditions to be perfect for scoring. Will someone get to Rory’s record 22 under par, probably not. But keep in mind, the top 10 on the leaderboard from 2012 and 2019 averaged 18.4 sub-par scores. Not quite a birdie fest, you will need to make putts if you plan to keep up with the Sunday contenders.

Both Piercy and McIlroy can launch it off the tee and go low. I don’t believe that’s the exact model for success, but it does catch our attention. McIlroy has made a name for himself north of our border winning two of the last three editions. Hamilton Golf and Country Club has 27-holes. Make sure you are handicapping the correct courses. The championship layout utilizes the West (Front) and South (Back) nines for the tournament. Only two Canadian courses have hosted more national championships than this venue. At just over 7,000 yards, it is the third shortest course on the PGA TOUR to date this season.

Hamilton will test your ball striking ability. The terrain is rugged, and players will be dealing with uneven lies all week. The greens are 6,000 sq/ft (average) and covered in bentgrass. The current landscape was renovated in 2019. Due to covid, the transformation took almost three years. The finished product is award winning and exemplifies the Colt characteristics. Nine holes have a birdie rate over 15% and 11 holes a bogey rate over that same amount. Scoring at Hamilton is a well-rounded challenge. Three of the par 3s rank in the top four toughest holes on the course.

Thirty-eight acres of fairway grass appeases the eye of the bombers. That’s some serious room for these players. Avoid the 72 bunkers and attack those targets like Rory in 2019. That’s our approach for building a contending card in Canada. After a sleeper finish last week in Dallas, I foresee another champagne celebration coming in Canada.

Read The Line is the leading golf betting insights service led by 5-time award winning PGA Professional Keith Stewart. Read The Line has 30 outright wins and covers the LPGA and PGA TOUR, raising your golf betting acumen week after week. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter and follow us on social media: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter.

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