CROMWELL, Conn. — Just as I was about to begin typing this week’s Odds Drop opus, the news of Rory McIlroy withdrawing from the Travelers Championship crawled across my computer screen. The runner-up on Sunday will be remembered for that vacant stare and ensuing walk out of the scorer’s room following an all-time final hole in U.S. Open history.

RELATED: Does Brandel Chamblee have a point about Rory McIlroy’s major drought being ‘technical’?

Fatigue, both mental and physical, will play a role in handicapping the eighth signature event of the 2024 season. For the third week in a row, we have the tour’s elite competing in another $20 million no-cut tournament. The field of 71 will play at one of the PGA Tour’s most unique stops, TPC River Highlands. When the odds board dropped on Monday morning, the usual cast of characters were all assigned an odds value based upon the past couple of weeks.

RELATED: Travelers Championship DFS picks 2024: It’s a perfect spot for Patrick Cantlay

One player I had my eye on covering Muirfield Village and Pinehurst #2 was Russell Henley. Henley has been performing at a very high level and this course is a great fit for the Georgia Bulldog. In six trips to the Travelers, Russell has four top-20 results. In his five most recent starts in 2024, Henley is gaining four strokes/tee to green and another two and half with his putter. Six strokes total (on average) against elite fields is impressive. TPC River Highlands requires accurate wedge play and a hot putter. One of the best wedge players in the game, Russell led the field in strokes gained/putting at Pinehurst.

I’m grabbing Russell Henley on Monday before those odds drop below +4000. Just as Golf Digest betting expert Steve Hennessey pointed out in our weekly video, now is the time to act on these middle tier guys. Once the Rory news hit the betting boards, the players in this range will move the most. One player I don’t anticipate dropping is Jordan Spieth. Jordan did manage the cut last week, but he lost seven strokes with his putter. That’s four negative weeks in a row with the flatstick!

Watch the below video for our favorite bets and players we’re fading for the 2024 Travelers Championship:

Combined with losing strokes on approach in eight of his past 11 starts, Spieth’s number should go up, not down. In fact, it should have been higher to start the week. Jordan is a past champion at TPC River Highlands. That was seven years ago, and since then, he has only won twice. Currently 52nd on the FedEx Cup points list, Spieth is not guaranteed a spot past the first round of the playoffs. If he doesn’t quickly improve with both skills, he might find himself with a couple of late summer schedule additions like his buddy Justin Thomas last year.

Read The Line will be on-site for the third week in a row at the Travelers in Connecticut. Continue to follow our coverage—so you can capitalize on our advice like finding value before the McIlroy WD affected betting boards on Monday.

Looking for insider golf betting knowledge? Subscribe to Read The Line for Stewart’s weekly picks.

Listen to Golf Digest’s weekly podcast, “The Loop”, where we interview the industry’s leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to “The Loop” wherever you get your podcasts!

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor and content partner with Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA Tour. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith’s winning content can also be found on SportsGrid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

This article was originally published on