Will Tiger Woods’ first win in nearly 5 years happen this week? One of the greatest golfers of all time should win his own tournament, right? If he’s looking at it from that perspective, he may feel some pressure.
In the sports world, pressure is something that should be minimized, most of the time. It’s possible, though, in Tigers’ case that the pressure of competing at the highest level of golf may be what he needs to win.
Before a big competition, It’s hard to tell a perfectionist to just “Go out there and have fun”. It’s against their personality. I could very well be wrong about this, but maybe a little more pressure combined with the familiar feel of his own tournament could carry him to victory.
Tiger is a tough pick, but maybe a top ten bet would be much more likely to hit.
The “Pastel Pompadour” Rickie Fowler will be the favorite within the field with fairly low odds to win at (+650). As many bettors key in on Rickie, we can’t forget about Marc Leishman and Beau Hossler who have been playing well of late along with last year’s winner Kyle Stanley will each have a good shot.
Nestled between the humbling Potomac River rapids of Great Falls and the house of heroes that is Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD is where fans and media alike will converge to get a glimpse of Tiger and the rest of the field at the tournament simply known as The National.
Next year, the tourney will move to Detroit for the first ever PGA Tour stop within the city limits, and the Tiger Woods Foundation will no longer be involved. It seems like the perfect time for a storybook win from Woods, but we will see.
Tiger has won at the Congressional Country Club twice in the past, but this is only the second year they will be playing the tournament at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. Kyle Stanley outdueled Charles Howell III in a playoff to win a year ago.
There aren’t a ton of big names in the field this week but rejoice in that. The more superstars there are in a field of golfers, the harder it will be to pick a winner. That is not to say that a lesser-known golfer on the rise couldn’t pull off the improbable, but I like a good spread of 3-5 very good golfers who have been playing at a high level lately.
Let’s jump right into the odds with some first-round leader lines.
Odds on the Leader at the End of the First Round
- Rickie Fowler: +1200
- Tiger Woods: +2000
- Marc Leishman: +2500
- Francesco Molinari: +2800
- Kyle Stanley: +2800
- Beau Hossler: +3300
- Charles Howell III: +3300
- JB Holmes: +3300
- Byeong-Hun An: +4000
- Kevin Na: +4000
- Billy Horschel: +5000
- Rory Sabbatini: +8000
Yes, these are longer odds than picking the winner of the tournament. I like them though as the betting lines on some of these guys carry quite a bit of value.
Rickie Fowler, who finished tied for 3rd here last year, has performed very well in the first round this year with a scoring average of 69.43. That is good enough to tie him for 11th on the tour.
Tiger Woods, on the other hand, is ranked 162nd at nearly two and a half strokes higher. There are several guys on this list who have consistently outperformed the aging superstar.
Beau Hossler ranks 2nd on the tour this year with a first-round scoring average of 68.91 and has played in more tournaments (22) than anyone than anyone in the top 30.
How did he perform on this course last year? Well, he didn’t compete. Therefore, we have less data to make a call here. He’s a competitor and only 23 years old, so he has been playing courses for the first time quite often in his first few years as a professional.
I love the value here with Hossler at (+3300).
Charles Howell III finished a close second here last year but ranks 53rd on the Tour this year in first round scoring. He could do it, of course, but someone like Marc Leishman has more value.
Leishman finished tied for 5th only 3 strokes back of the winner here a year ago and is tied for 29th on the tour with a first-round average of 70.6. With a similar payout, I like Leishman here more than Howell III, at least in the first round.
Billy Horschel and Kevin Na are both respectable first round performers at 33rd and 36th respectively, so if you want to include them in your pool go ahead.
My super sleeper with the best value in the field is Rory Sabbatini. At (+8000), he could make you rich or at least rich for the weekend. He ranks 21st in first round scoring with an average under 70 strokes.
Of this week’s field, only Beau Hossler and favorite Rickie Fowler perform better than Sabbatini in the first round.
Odds to Finish in the Top Ten
- Rickie Fowler: -165
- Tiger Woods: +120
- Marc Leishman: +155
- Francesco Molinari: +185
- JB Holmes: +200
- Kyle Stanley: +200
- Charles Howell III: +220
- Beau Hossler: +275
- Jimmy Walker: +300
- Kevin Na: +300
- Chesson Hadley: +450
Last week at the Travelers Championship, my best good friend Bubba came through for me finishing 4 strokes ahead of the rest of the field for his 3rd win on that course. Hopefully, I can give you guys some more top ten betting gold this week.
JB Holmes and Beau Hossler finished tied for 2nd last week behind Watson, and have 7 top tens this year between them. Both guys have a good shot at being there in the end on Sunday.
Last years winner, Stanley, and runner-up Howell III each have 4 top tens this year so I would say either guy has a little more value than Holmes or Hossler.
The two guys with the best value on the list are probably Marc Leishman and Chesson Hadley. Leishman is a very good pro on the verge of being one of the top ten golfers on the tour and has many consistent performances to back it up.
The difference is Marc has done it in 17 tournaments while Chesson has competed in 23. I like these two at the top of your betting list for the top ten bets.
Will it be Tiger’s week? How many times are I and others going to ask that question? It will be 5 years in just over a month since he has won a tournament, so maybe we should leave the idea alone.
Sportsbooks have him with the second lowest odds behind favorite Rickie Fowler.
So you’re saying there’s a chance?
Sure. I think maybe the pressure of this being the last chance for him to win his tournament for his charity will be enough to sharpen his focus back to where it used to be, at least for a long weekend.
He will also be playing for something that is more than himself.
It’s a difficult sell at best, but I would love to see him do it.
In the first round bets, I like Beau Hossler (+3300) and Marc Leishman (+2500) with Rory Sabbatini (+8000) as my sleeper pick.
For the top ten finisher bets, Chesson Hadley (+450) and the aforementioned Marc Leishman (+155) top my list. Both guys have been very consistent this year with 6 top tens a piece.
Have fun and bet hard team!