After Tony Finau leapfrogged everybody to go top of the standings after Monday’s win in Jersey City, the race for the FedEx Cup has really started to gather pace. The best in the world will now battle it out in Baltimore to earn a place at East Lake next week. With the world’s best 70 players on show, expect plenty of fireworks at Caves Valley Golf Club, which is unique in that, as it’s never been used for a PGA Tour event before, it presents each player with a brand-new challenge.
After considering the BMW Championship from a fantasy draft perspective, now let’s look at a few sportsbook angles. Which players stand out as viable betting options?
Accuracy required at Caves Valley
With no shortage of top-tier talent in the field this week, we really are spoilt for choice in every market. What’s more, with no previous course data to peruse, we’re left in the dark a little. We do know that there’s no shortage of hazards at Caves Valley so clever positioning and accuracy should be key, while the greens are expected to be fast and furious, meaning that obtaining the optimum position on approach is likely to be important too.
As mentioned in the fantasy preview, strokes gained: tee-to-green, as always, should be at the forefront of our thinking, while greens in regulation and strokes gained: approach can point us in the direction of players of should thrive too.
In the outright market, world number on Jon Rahm stands alone at the head of the market, and there’s something of a gap between him and his closest market rivals. The Spaniard has clocked up no shortage of high-placed finishes this year and has regularly challenged at the top, but as we saw last week, even when he’s hot, he doesn’t always get over the line. If you’re looking for an outright bet, then taking on the favorite is probably the way to do it, especially as there’s plenty of juice in the odds of top players such as Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas, both of whom look equipped to deal with the challenge presented by the Baltimore course.
Top 5 Finish
Collin Morikawa – 2 units @ +450
If there’s one bet to have this week, then for my money, it’s got to be a Morikawa top-five finish. The two-time major winner has enjoyed a fantastic campaign and it would appear, on paper at least as if he’s perfect for the test at Caves Valley.
Morikawa is Mr. Accurate on the PGA Tour, he hits fairways for fun or at least hits more fairways (on average) than all but two players in this field, and with hitting fairways likely to be important this is week, that’s a huge plus. In addition, he’s the second-best player when it comes to the ever-reliable metric that is strokes gained: tee-to-green.
The approach should be big this week too, which will suit the 24-year-old down to the ground, as he’s the number one player when it comes to strokes gained: approach, picking up on average 1.337 in that area per round. No other player on tour gains 1.00 or above on average when it comes to approach play. Throw in that Morikawa hits plenty of greens in regulation, the third most in this field, and a bet on the recent Open champion to keep his push for FedEx Cup glory alive by hitting the top five at least becomes hard to resist.
Top 10 Finish
Corey Conners – 2 units @ +350
If there’s another player who looks nailed on to hit the heights this week, then it’s Corey Conners, who has been a model of both accuracy and consistency this season. In fact, Conners makes just as much top-ten appeal as Morikawa makes top-five appeal.
The Canadian has featured in the top ten of the leaderboard on a Sunday evening on eight occasions this season, which really is impressive. Known for his accuracy off the tee, Conners is one of the best at setting himself up with the ideal position ahead of approach, so much so that only Mexican Abraham Ancer hits more fairways on average in this field, while only five players gain more strokes off the tee than Conners, who gains a very healthy 0.65 strokes with his driver.
The man from Ontario, who arrives here positioned in 20th in the FedEx Cup standings, is also among the best in the field in terms of strokes gained: tee-to-green, strokes gained: approach, while only five players in this star-studded line-up hit more greens in regulation. All of this points towards a big week for the Canadian, who at the current odds is well worth supporting to add yet another top-ten to his tally.