Hello, golf and gambling fans!
It’s been an exciting year for us and the PGA Tour!
The major season kicked off with Tiger Woods shocking and captivating the world by winning the Masters in May.
Then, it was Brooks Koepka winning his third major in his last five played at the PGA Championship.
The South Florida native sandwiched this win with runner-up finishes at the Masters and US Open.
He has easily been the most dominant golfer of the season but has struggled a bit, at least by his standards, in this year’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.
24th and 30th in the past two weeks are rather atypical of Koepka, especially in tournaments that carry a large amount of weight in points towards winning the FedEx Cup.
Nevertheless, he still ranks third in the Cup playoff standings behind Patrick Cantlay and last week’s winner at the BMW Championship, Justin Thomas.
These three golfers are atop the betting board this week. Brooks makes sense, of course, but why JT and Cantlay?
Well, that brings me to the proverbial elephant patiently waiting in the East Lake clubhouse to trample on the hopes and dreams of the “winner” of the Tour Championship.
This year, the PGA Tour decided to pull a hare from their cap and rip an unwritten page from the NASCAR Playoff playbook with a cascading starting strokes index.
Everyone and their great uncle have an opinion on this new format but everyone has a mouth and an ego as well and like the kind lady who had just escaped a home fire once said…
How can you forget her?
Okay, here’s the list of golfers ranked from 1st to 30th remaining in the FedEx Cup Playoffs as well as their handicap scores heading onto the first tee.
Brandt Snedeker is one of the hottest golfers on Tour right now, but we would reach an all-time high level of foolishness to bet him to win this week knowing he is starting the tournament several strokes back from guys like Jon Rahm, Koepka, and Rory McIlroy.
You can say what you want about this new format but at the very least, it’s intriguing.
This could make for a very exciting end to the season!
Then again, if Justin Thomas picks up where he left off last week, Sunday could be a bore.
That’s why we’re betting, though, right?!
We have a plethora of betting options available for you this week from the good folks over at BetOnline sportsbook.
Let’s jump in and make the final tournament of the season a profitable one as well as a fun one!
Top Ten Finish
Xander Schauffele: +125
The X-man from La Jolla, San Diego has had an outstanding year. We sometimes forget, though, how young he is.
At only 25 years of age, he does not shy away from competition nor does he let the giants of the field dwarf his confidence in any way.
Xander won two tournaments early on in the season; the Tournament of Champions which, of course, is loaded with talent, and a WGC event in the Fall where he edged out Tony Finau and Justin Rose.
Schauffele later finished tied for second with DJ and Koepka at the Masters behind Woods.
The Californian had a T-3 performance at the US Open as well.
He’s good, he’s young, and most importantly, he’s fearless.
Xander also has a very favorable course history.
The Tour Championship has been held at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta for the past 15 years, so we have definitive results and statistics as a reference.
Schauffele won this tournament in his very first appearance here. That is a very strong indicator of how well he is suited for these links, especially considering it’s a weekend that is packed with a talent-rich field every year.
He followed up his 2017 performance at East Lake with a T-7 parallel with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, and Justin Thomas.
One thing not in his favor is that he isn’t playing nearly as hot as golfers like the aforementioned JT or Brandt Snedeker.
He missed the cut at the Northern Trust but finished with a respectable 19th at last week’s BMW Championship.
Even though he currently ranks 8th in the FedEx Cup points standings, he finished the regular season 4th less just 2 weeks ago.
Schauffele will tee off Thursday 4 strokes under par.
Considering he was 7th and 1st in his two previous appearances at East Lake, I like the value at plus money.
Jon Rahm: -125
From one young gun to the next, I love the value you’re getting here with the Spaniard.
If I were to give an award for the most improved golfer of the year from a mental strength point of view, Jon would be my winner.
He is such a good player and has been remarkably consistent this year.
At only 24 years old, the Arizona State grad has worked his way up to 6th in the Official World Golf Rankings in just a few years as a professional.
Jon started the season en fuego; shoutout to Dan Patrick, with 6 top ten finishes in his first seven starts.
After winning the Zurich Classic at the end of April, he did have a mid-season low spot but it didn’t last long at all. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship and the following week at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Several clips went viral of him losing his cool after bad tee shots. Here’s one with his caddy attempting to advise him to lay up.
Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way.
It appears he has because since then, he’s been lights out.
After those two missed cuts, Jon finished T-3 at the US Open, 11th at The Open Championship, and 7th at the St. Jude Invitational to wrap up the regular season.
In the two playoff events, he has two top-fives.
Along with Xander, Jon will be teeing off at 4 under par so I love his chances to crack the top ten this week. Some of these young guys around 25-years-old are really special.
Webb Simpson: +100
Here is another red hot golfer!
He’s a Carolina boy from the south.
The tourney is, of course, held in Hotlanta.
We know he is used to those muggy afternoons that tend to give way to thunderstorms in late-Summer.
That’s what Saturday and Sunday are looking like at East Lake, by the way.
For Thursday and Friday, though, the course should play firm as it has been dry lately down in GA.
Webb is a very accurate golfer and ball striker as well as one of the best putters on the PGA Tour ranking 6th in overall putting average.
He really only has major problems on the longer courses like we have seen the past couple of weeks.
One good sign is that he managed to still play decently at the Northern Trust and BMW with 18th and 24th place finishes respectively.
East Lakes is a shorter course where his set of skills should be on full display.
It was only several weeks ago when Simpson had a pair of runner-up finishes in back-to-back tournaments to finish off the regular season.
He hung tough, like we said, in the last two bomber style courses so I expect him to smash this week.
Webb also has a 4-stroke handicap this week and his course history is excellent as well finishing 13th and 4th in the past two years at the Tour Championship.
Dustin Johnson: +110
From one Carolina boy to the next. This time it’s “Sowcurlina” as we say in Dixie.
The Coastal Carolina alum is not in his best form but DJ absolutely crushes East Lake Golf Club.
3rd, 17th, 6th, 5th, 5th, 10th…
If he can be a bit more consistent with the flat stick, I believe he can finish top ten this week.
He will have 3 strokes under par before Thursday’s tee time.
Driving distance is a strength and it really should have carried him farther towards the top of the leaderboard than it did with 54th and 27th place finishes in the playoffs.
He was winning early at the Northern Trust until that putter failed him badly leading to a 74 and 73 over Saturday and Sunday.
I like the southern boy to bounce back, though.
He is still the #2 ranked golfer in the world.
I am looking forward to football, yes. Most all of us are but I can’t get the curiosity of how the Tour Championship is going to unfold outside of my peanut head.
You would think we would be going into this thing with a few more questions answered than we are but there’s just as many as we had at the beginning of the season.
Was Brooks Koepka just playing with our emotions AND MONEY with his seemingly lackadaisical performances the past couple of weeks?
I picked him to win both playoff events but NOPE.
He’s not perfect as none of us are. Maybe he comes out this week and dominates, but the value isn’t there and the bad taste is still lingering.
Anything can happen, though.
Tiger Woods won the darn thing last year!
The cascading starting strokes index has golfing fans and bettors captivated.
Should we go with the golfers who are getting a 7-10 stroke advantage?
I’m leaning towards no.
Justin Thomas is playing great and all but (+225) to win amongst a field of the 30 best golfers of the year…
There are guys like Kevin Kisner and Brandt Snedeker who are both in excellent form with outstanding course history but will “only” be teeing off on Thursday 2 strokes under par.
Historically, the winners have finished around 10-12 under par so these pre-tourney strokes gained are significant.
That’s why I like the golfers in the middle of the pack.
DJ, Webb, Xander, and Rahm are almost all in solid form and they play East Lake as well as anyone on Tour.