While the PGA Tour takes a break, the Olympics takes over with the men’s event starting this Thursday in Tokyo. It may look different but the concept is the same with the gold medal winner declared after four rounds of 18-hole stroke play. Those in second and third place will pick up silver and bronze medals respectively.
Despite some late withdrawals, it’s a strong field of 60 players from 35 countries who will line up in Japan.
One of our top 10 finish picks landed last time out as South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel tied for second place at the 3M Open. Gary Woodland came within one shot of making it two returns but it has been a reasonable few weeks for USA Betting’s golf picks. So let’s see if we can keep that momentum going as we cross over to Tokyo with our Olympics golf predictions for this preview.
With Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau having both withdrawn from the competition at the weekend, there are two joint favorites at the top of the leaderboard. Xander Schauffele and new Open Champion Collin Morikawa are both available at best industry odds of 9/1.
Morikawa will find some similarities between this week’s course and the one at Royal St George’s and, if he can make any improvements on his putting, he could make it back to back wins.
Behind the top two, Justin Thomas is quoted at a best of 11/1 while Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland can both be found at 12/1. Of the names mentioned in this section, Hovland is the most versatile and adaptable with wins in Germany, Puerto Rico and Mexico within the last 18 months.
It remains tight beyond the favorites with Paul Casey and Japan’s very own Hideki Matsuyama heading up the chasers. Both men can be found at best odds of 16/1 and there will be interest at those numbers. Timing has favored home favorite Matsuyama as a much earlier positive test means he is nice and rested coming into Thursday.
Moving through the pack, Patrick Reed is DeChambeau’s replacement and he can be found at a best of 18/1 while Shane Lowry, Cameron Smith, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann are all listed at 20/1 in places. Mexico’s Ancer could be one to watch with good, relevant stats in regards to Fairways hit and Greens in Regulation.
At the fringes of the chasing bunch are Corey Conners at 28/1, Tommy Fleetwood and Sungjae Im (both 30/1). Im is listed at number six in the Power Rankings and is another player whose stats could make the difference across the four days.
Australia’s Marc Leishman leads the outsiders at a best of 35/1 and he is followed by the South Africans Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Garrick Higgo who are both available at 40/1. Elsewhere, Jhonattan Vegas had a good showing in his favored event, the 3M Open, and he can be backed at tempting best odds of 70/1.
In a shortened field of 60, there may not be too much in the way of distant outside value but other golfers to consider may include Sebastian Munoz at 80/1, Ryan Fox at 100/1 and Rory Sabbatini at 150/1.
Olympic Men’s Golf Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
The venue for this event is the East Course at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama. It has previously held the Japan Open on four occasions, the last of which was back in 2006. It is a par 71 course with some considerable length at around 7,466 yards.
There are long finishing holes so stamina will be required, along with calm nerves when a medal is on the line. Renovated by Tom Fazio a few years ago, the course has wider fairways and sizeable greens so it can be forgiving.
Four years ago in Rio, Justin Rose claimed the gold medal for Great Britain with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar from the US taking silver and bronze respectively. Interestingly, only nine of this year’s field have Olympic experience from Brazil four years ago. Of that list, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters finished highest in the field with his fourth place.
Our first piece of advice would be to follow the news updates and look out for any further late withdrawals. Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm pulled out late on due to positive tests and none of us would be shocked to see one or two additional names added to the list of absentees.
You may, therefore, want to leave it late before staking but our pick for the win is Viktor Hovland. The versatile European is comfortable with any location while many of the higher ranked golfers don’t tend to travel well. Hovland also has the game to succeed on the course.
There are top 10 finish markets from the major USA sportsbooks but, in a small field of 60 with no cut, the odds there are very short so we’ve picked two additional place picks for medal finishes. These are the betting predictions of this preview:
- Viktor Hovland to win at +1200 with Bovada and Intertops.
- Garrick Higgo (best at +1400 Bovada) and Paul Casey (+450 Bovada, BetOnline) to place in the top three ie: to win a medal.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.