When Scottie Scheffler tees it up Thursday at the PGA Championship, he’ll be looking for his fifth victory in his last six starts.

To complete the first half of the calendar grand slam, Scheffler will need to take down a similarly hot Rory McIlroy at a course McIlroy loves.

McIlroy, who won the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, returns to the Kentucky course fresh off a pair of victories. McIlroy won last week’s PGA Tour event by five strokes over Xander Schauffele — Scheffler skipped the event to be home for the birth of his first child, Bennett — giving him consecutive PGA Tour victories.

“I’m a way better player now than I was back then,” McIlroy said Sunday.

Despite not winning a major since 2014, McIlroy believes he’s on the verge of adding his fifth major. He doesn’t lack confidence entering this week.

Given the elite form for both Scheffler and McIlroy, the two are viewed as the favorites across most betting apps. FanDuel lists Scheffler at +400 to win the PGA Championship, with McIlroy holding +750 odds. No other players hold odds shorter than +1400, where Schauffele sits.

Don’t forget about Brooks Koepka

The game’s biggest stars find themselves in elite form. Brooks Koepka is the major’s defending champion, and he’s coming off a victory in his most recent LIV event.

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RotoGrinders’ Derek Farnsworth is backing Koepka to win this week.

“There always seem to be patterns with Koepka’s major championship wins,” Farnsworth told Sports Handle via email. “He tends to play well [in] the event before he goes on to win majors.”

Farnsworth loves Koepka’s length off the tee and ability to hit the ball well out of thick rough. Several prominent players have suggested in their press conferences this week that the course will require elite ball-striking and length to succeed.

Valhalla might not require much on-course strategy but rather a superb week of tee-to-green performance.

“It’s pretty obvious when you get out here, it’s just going to be a lot of well-struck 7-irons, well-struck 6-irons,” Max Homa said during his press conference. “Hit the ball well off the tee, and then see what you can do going in from there.”

FanDuel offers +260 odds on a prop bet of McIlroy, Koepka, and Scheffler all to finish inside the top 10 (including ties). DraftKings offers odds of +160 for one of the trio to win the tournament.

Notable PGA promotions and specials

FanDuel is among the betting apps offering an assortment of specials for this week’s major championship, including several relating to Tiger Woods. FanDuel gives Woods odds of +10000 to make an ace during the tournament and +20000 to make an albatross.

In a more likely Tiger Woods special, FanDuel offers Woods or Scheffler to win the tournament at +300 odds — although, bettors looking at that market might be better off placing individual futures on either player, given Woods’ long odds of +40000.

Woods remains adamant he’s still good enough to win tournaments, but he hasn’t finished inside the top 10 at a major since winning the Masters in 2019.

DraftKings offers a special prop of “any LIV player to win the tournament” with +250 odds on “yes” and -400 on “no.” Koepka, Jon Rahm, and Bryson DeChambeau are among the LIV golfers with the shortest odds to win the championship.

Fanatics Sportsbook, which named Justin Thomas an athlete partner this week, is offering a promotion where customers can receive FanCash for every first-round birdie made by the player they bet to win the tournament. Some bettors will likely back Thomas, a two-time PGA Championship winner, for the promotion.

While Farnsworth doesn’t have Thomas winning this week, he likes the Kentucky native to finish in the top 10.

“He has finished T12 or better in nine of his last 14 starts worldwide,” Farnsworth said. “He teed it up at the Wells Fargo Championship last week and gained 3.4 strokes tee to green. He has now gained at least that many strokes tee to green in six of his last eight events.”

ESPN BET is offering customers “Winsurance” for the PGA Championship. Bettors can place up to three bets of at least $25 on someone to win the PGA Championship and receive a percentage of their wager back as a bonus bet (max $25) if the golfer doesn’t win but finishes in the top five of the event.

The operator also offers some first-round leader insurance, with one losing first-round leader bet receiving 50% of the wager back (up to $10) via a bonus bet.

In addition to promotions and an array of specials, ESPN will have an alternate betting-focused broadcast this week for the PGA Championship. The broadcast, which airs on ESPN2 on Thursday and Friday before moving to ESPN+ during the weekend, will feature betting analysis from numerous analysts, including “Stanford Steve” Coughlin.

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