PGA Golf Betting Picks: 2019 TOUR Championship
Editor’s Note: Don’t live in a state with legal online sports betting? Click the following link to bet golf props at Monkey Knife Fight. Last week, our two favorite prop bets for Round 1 — Brooks Koepka Over 4.5 Birdies (or better) and Jon Rahm Under 69.5 Strokes — both hit with ease. Rahm finished with a 1st-round 68 while Koepka had 7 birdies or better, paying out 2.25x our buy-in!
This week’s Round 1 Monkey Knife Fight Picks: Justin Thomas Over 68.5 strokes; Paul Casey Under 15.5 Par or Better.
Read more about golf betting strategies for Monkey Knife Fight in our PGA Golf Betting Tips Guide
The 2018-19 PGA Tour season and FedEx Cup Playoff conclude this weekend as 30 golfers compete for the FedEx Cup Championship and the whopping $15 million that comes with the title.
Justin Thomas set the course record at Medinah with a Saturday 61, helping him take down the BMW Championship. The win catapulted Thomas to first place and gives the 26-year-old a significant advantage heading into the Tour Championship.
Because of the change to the FedEx Cup Playoffs format, a win leading up to the final week of the playoffs was more important than it had been in previous years.
The new format gives Thomas the luxury of teeing off at East Lake Golf Club Thursday with a score of -10 and a 2-stroke lead to his closest competitor Patrick Cantlay. The rest of the field starts the tournament somewhere between -8 and Even. Here’s a look at the rest of the leaderboard.
The Tour Championship Leaderboard
|Rahm, Kuchar, Schauffele, Simpson, Ancer||-4|
|Woodland, Finau, Scott, Johnson, Matsuyama||-3|
|Casey, Rose, Snedeker, Fowler, Kisner||-2|
|Leishman, Fleetwood, Conners, Im, Reavie||-1|
|DeChambeau, Oosthuizen, Howell, Glover, Kokrak||Even|
This makes betting on the tournament winner quite different than what we’re accustomed to.
The winners we’ve picked throughout the year have been 80-1 (Woodland at the U.S. Open), 66-1 (Reavie at the Travelers Championship) and 135-1 (Wolff at the 3M Open). It’s tough to imagine a longshot coming from 6-10 strokes behind with players like Thomas, Cantlay, Koepka and McIlroy receiving a headstart.
Lucky for us, some online sports betting sites are providing odds “with starting strokes” and “without starting strokes.” I’ll touch on prices in both markets, but my plays will primarily be in the without-starting-strokes market. With golfers at the bottom of the standings incentivized to play aggressively, the betting menu should be bottom-heavy with value on some longshots.
Be careful and double-check your bets to make sure your wagers on in the market you intended.
2019 Tour Championship — East Lake Golf Club
East Lake Golf Club is a Donald Ross-designed Par 70 course playing just under 7,350 yards. The greens and the rough are both Bermuda. The Bermuda rough makes hitting these thin fairways even more crucial.
The course has been the home of the Tour Championship since 2004, so there would be a good amount of history if more than 30 golfers played at East Lake year in and year out.
Last year, Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship shooting 11-under. Since it was before the PGA Tour enacted their format change, the winner of the tournament did not walk away FedEx Cup Champion.
Previous Tour Championship winners returning to East Lake Golf Club this season include Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Brandt Snedeker, and Adam Scott. As history shows, the 72-hole score should be right around -11. Of course, that will be a bit different this year with starting strokes in play.
Overall, expect good ball strikers who can hit their long irons with precision to excel at East Lake.
Golf Betting Picks (With Starting Strokes) at the 2019 Tour Championship
If you’re betting with the starting strokes and want to take the two-stroke lead, then you can find Justin Thomas +250 (use our FanDuel Sportsbook promo code to get these odds). Following Thomas are Cantlay +480, Koepka +500, McIlroy +900, Rahm +1400 and Reed +2000.
If I do decide place outright bets (with strokes), then I’ll likely stay within this tier. Instead of counting on Thomas to hold his lead, I’d rather put my money on Koepka, who won’t mind playing aggressively and should bring his A-game with $15 million on the line. With a bit of line shopping, you can find Koepka +550 at PointsBet (use our PointsBet promo code to get these odds). Koepka didn’t fare well here last year, but he does have a sixth-place finish in 2017.
If you’re looking for anyone beyond Koepka, you’ll need to find someone who can go extremely low. After finishing third at the BMW Championship, Matsuyama +4000 (use our BetStars promo code to get these odds) is one golfer who fits this profile. Matsuyama +4000 is starting 7 strokes back from Thomas, but he shot two 63s last week.
Dustin Johnson +2800 (DraftKings) starts from the same position as Matsuyama. One of the most talented golfers in the world, there’s no doubt Johnson has the ability to go low, but this price doesn’t do anything for me. Matsuyama looked much sharper than Johnson did last week. Hitting just 55.36% of his fairways, Johnson routinely found himself in the rough at Medinah. That won’t go over well here. Unfortunately for Johnson, East lake only has two Par 5s, minimizing Johnson’s opportunity to take advantage of his distance off the tee.
Golf Betting Picks (Without Starting Strokes) at the 2019 Tour Championship
This is where most of my action will be. Betting without strokes allows us to forget about the FedEx Cup standings and bet on a 72-hole winner as we’ve done throughout the season. Out of the four sportsbooks mentioned, DraftKings is the only one that currently (as of Monday afternoon) has a without-starting-strokes market available.
To be sure, we won’t want to ignore the FedEx Cup standings entirely. Part of the value of betting in this market is finding longshots who are incentivized to play aggressively while others at the top might opt for a more conservative approach.
I’m going straight to the bottom of the barrel (or the odds sheet) to find value on golfers who are good ball strikers and/or in good form. With Chez Reavie +10000, Corey Conners +8000, Abraham Ancer +7000, Sunjae Im +6600, Gary Woodland +6000 and Lucas Glover +5000, it doesn’t take long for prices to stick out.
I’ll have money on all of the above at these odds. Keep in mind this is only a 30-person field, less than one-fifth the size of regular full-field events and less than half the size of last week’s field.
Several of these golfers are superb ball strikers. In terms of proximity to the hole from 200+ yards, Woodland and Reavie sit No. 2 and No. 3 respectively. Glover is No. 10 in the field in that same category. Corey Conners is the field’s co-leader (Patrick Cantlay) from 175-200 yards and is also No. 3 in strokes gained ball-striking.
I won’t go much further with statistics this week, as I believe most of the value comes from the shortened field and the different incentives at play down the leaderboard. Let’s close out our 2018-19 golf betting season with another longshot win.
And once again, if you’re looking for general golf betting tips, please refer to our PGA golf betting guide.
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images