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Finally, we can get back into the swing of things with the 2021 Travelers Championship. The last two weeks provided a bit more unknown than we typically have to deal with. The Palmetto Championship was a one-off and the USGA’s setup of Torrey Pines left some questions going into the U.S. Open. That won’t be the case this week as some version of the Travelers Championship has been in the greater Hartford, Connecticut, area since 1952.

Last year’s tournament had a couple of riveting storylines. Dustin Johnson won the tournament, holding off a number of short-hitting challengers such as Kevin Streelman and Mackenzie Hughes. Johnson played alongside Brendon Todd, who entered the final round as solo leader, thanks to an impressive 61-hole bogey-free streak. A triple-bogey on the 12th hole derailed Todd’s chances and in the process ended said streak.

However, it was former Vanderbilt standout Will Gordon who grabbed much attention. With the Mackenzie Tour having shut down due to COVID-19, Gordon was left scrambling for professional starts. The big-hitting rookie was able to finish in a tie for third, securing special temporary membership on the PGA Tour.

The 2021 Travelers Championship should provide compelling storylines as well. At Bovada and other Top golf betting sites, Bryson DeChambeau shares top spot on the board at +1200, with an implied probability to win of 7.70 percent. If successful, a $100 bet on him would net you $1,200 profit.

Tied at the top in Travelers Championship betting odds is defending champion Dustin Johnson at +1200. Coming off a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka sits at +1600. He has been outspoken about needing to focus more in regular PGA Tour events and should be something to keep an eye on this week. Find full odds and Travelers Championship expert picks below:

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2021 Travelers Championship Odds to Win
Golfer Odds
Bryson DeChambeau +1200
Dustin Johnson +1200
Brooks Koepka +1600
Patrick Cantlay +1600
Paul Casey +1600
Patrick Reed +2200
Scottie Scheffler +2500
Abraham Ancer +2800
Brian Harman +2800
Tony Finau +2800
Harris English +3300
Kevin Streelman +3300
Bubba Watson +4000
Joaquin Niemann +4000
Charley Hoffman +4000
Keegan Bradley +4000
Matthew Wolff +4000
Russell Henley +4000
Cam Smith +5000
Si Woo Kim +5000

Travelers Championship odds as of June 22 at Bovada

Can Dustin Johnson return to world No. 1?

With Jon Rahm’s U.S. Open victory, Dustin Johnson has officially fallen back to world No. 2. This marks the first tournament since the Northern Trust Open, where Johnson just happened to lap the field, that he will tee it up without the distinction of being the top player in the world.

Knowing Johnson’s laid-back personality, there’s a high probability he simply brushes it off and doesn’t think twice about it. However, it could serve as a little extra motivation, making him that much more dangerous to go back to back in this event.

Will Bryson DeChambeau bounce back after a disappointing Sunday back nine at the U.S. Open?

Standing on the 11th tee, Bryson DeChambeau held the solo lead of the U.S. Open. A tee shot flared right led to bogey, dropping him to 4 under for the championship. A three-putt bogey on the difficult 12th was then followed up with a wayward tee shot on the 13th when his back foot slipped from underneath him on his transition. A rowdy spectator then took center stage before the 2020 champion compounded the mistake he made off the tee.

Laying up in the rough, DeChambeau hit his approach into the greenside bunker, well below the surface of the green. A bladed sand shot led to a double-bogey 7, and just like that, he was 1 under. While still within shouting distance, a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4 17th left him outside the top 20 for the championship. In total, it was a back-nine 44. DeChambeau will look to rebound this week at the Travelers Championship where he has finished inside the top 10 in three straight appearances.

Course and Analysis:

TPC River Highlands, a Pete Dye redesign, is one of the shorter courses that these players will see all season. The par 70 stretches out to 6,841 yards and features a combination of short and long holes, with not much in between. On paper, this should be one of the few stops on the golf calendar where anyone could contend and possibly win.

This sentiment rings true when looking at previous success at this course. You have players like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Jason Day who all possess plenty of power. However, you also have Chez Reavie, Kevin Streelman and Paul Casey.

Despite their differences, all have had the same path to success at TPC River Highlands, and I don’t see that changing for the 2021 Travelers Championship. In order to play well here, strong iron play and streaky putting is required. With only two par 5s on the property, par-4 scoring is a necessity as many former winners have finished first in that category by week’s end.

Expert Travelers Championship Picks:

Harris English (+3300 to win)

After breaking through in a big way at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, English has struggled to find form ever since. A pre-tournament withdrawal at the Players Championship due to a nagging back injury appeared to be the final straw for English as he has since found a little something in his game.

A near top-20 finish at the Masters was followed up with a top-20 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He has since contended at the Palmetto Championship before a dreadful back nine on Sunday derailed him and left the former Georgia Bulldog in a tie for 14th place. English appears to be a quick learner as he put the disappointment at Congaree behind him, finishing solo third at the U.S. Open thanks to a strong final-round performance of 3-under 68.

This will be his eighth Travelers Championship start and while he doesn’t have a ton of success to go off of, I still love him at this number. We’ve seen it recently with a couple of players that just the slightest hint of momentum can go a long way. Patrick Cantlay was able to parlay a strong ball-striking performance at the PGA Championship into a win at the Memorial. English could very well do something similar in Hartford.

He has posted north of +4.5 Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green in three of his last four starts. That includes last week at Torrey Pines where he gained +8.1 strokes, including +4.6 SG: Approach. The Travelers Championship typically rewards those players who are striking their irons well and have the potential to catch a hot putter. Over the past month, English has been one of the best in those two categories and should be a great pick with his value on the Travelers Championship oddsboard.

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Sam Burns (+6600 to win)

So, you say TPC River Highlands rewards strong iron play and competent putters? Sam Burns has entered the chat. The recent winner of the Valspar Championship is coming off a missed cut at the U.S. Open which may turn some people away. I for one have found it prudent to go back to the well with said players as not only are their numbers typically longer, but they are well rested.

With his Travelers Championship odds value, this could be a great spot to target Burns as this will be his third appearance at the tournament. In his first two, the LSU product finished in a tie for 43rd in 2019 and a tie for 24th last year. Clearly trending in the right direction at this Pete Dye redesign, it is my opinion that Burns is a completely different player than he was in those two starts.

Brimming with confidence, he is clearly one to thrive on momentum as his victory at Innisbrook was nearly followed up with another one at TPC Craig Ranch at the AT&T Byron Nelson. While the Burns bus has halted in his last two starts, this feels like a very similar spot to Tampa, and I will happily back him in this instance.

Rickie Fowler (+6600 to win)

Jon Rahm’s victory at the U.S. Open taught us all the power of positivity and perspective. Rickie Fowler may be stealing some of that new-aged wisdom as it was announced via Instagram that Fowler and his wife, Allison Stokke, are expecting a baby girl. With his mind possibly at ease, or potentially the exact opposite, Fowler now makes his way to the Hartford area for the first time since 2013 when he finished in a tie for 13th.

We won’t be putting any stock in that performance as it was nearly a decade ago and back in the days of flat brims and floppy tops. However, lately, Fowler has been enjoying a mini resurgence as it appears his swing changes have begun to materialize. Those swing changes could provide bettors with some Travelers Championship odds value.

Fowler took full advantage of a special exemption into the PGA Championship, finishing in a tie for eighth place. He gained +4.5 SG: Approach at Kiawah Island, good for his best iron performance since the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He’s since followed it up with an 11th-place finish at the Memorial and a near miss at the Columbus, Ohio, final qualifier for the U.S. Open.

Motivation is at an all-time high in the Fowler household and narrowly missing a playoff to get into the U.S. Open should only intensify things. While the irons have turned the corner, it’s the putter that has me giddy for the 2021 Travelers Championship.

With one of the purest strokes in the game, Fowler struggled while working tirelessly on his full swing. It appears those woes have disappeared as he has gained nearly +7.5 SG: Putting in his last two starts. If he is able to marry the irons with the putter yet again, he could find his way back into the winner’s circle for the first time since the beginning of 2019.