For the second consecutive year, the BMW Championship served up another thriller with Patrick Cantlay edging out compatriot Bryson DeChambeau in an enthralling playoff. Enthralling could be good or bad, depending on who you had to win outright. Let’s be honest, winning beats enthralling every time. But I digress.
It was a week where 70 got whittled down to 30 as the PGA Tour brings down the curtain on yet another memorable year. The final 30 will move onto East Lake in Atlanta, which will play host to the FedEx Cup’s final stop. One man will be leaving Sunday $15 million richer. Even for high-level professional golfers, that’s a lot of green.
It’s a strange tournament, with a field of only 30, finding value in the betting can be tricky, throw in the addition of the starting strokes and it makes it a very hard puzzle to solve.
As a quick reminder to those who might not be familiar with the format of the Tour Championship, the remaining 30 players start with staggered scoring. Cantlay thanks to his victory last week, tops the FedEx Cup rankings so as a reward for leading the way, he will tee off at -10. Tony Finau who is ranked second will tee off at -8.
The below is a quick summary of the top ten players and what score they will tee off from;
- Patrick Cantlay -10
- Tony Finau -8
- Bryson DeChambeau -7
- John Rahm -6
- Cameron Smith -5
- Justin Thomas -4
- Harris English -4
- Abraham Ancer -4
- Jordan Spieth -4
- Sam Burns -4
Big names such as Dustin Johnson (-3), Brooks Koepka (-2) and Rory McIlroy (-2) all have plenty of work to do if they are to challenge for victory this week.
With some players starting as far as ten strokes off the lead, what chance do these players have at clawing such a deficit back?
East Lake is the home golf club of legend Bobby Jones, the club has hosted the season finale since 2005 and has been the final stop of the FedEx Cup playoffs since 2007.
East Lake is a par 70 that will measure at just under 7,400 yards. It isn’t the most daunting of golf courses with the average winning score (not including the staggered scoring) being around -11 since 2004. But it should be mentioned that East Lake is one of the longest par 70s the field will face on tour all year. It is a treelined course, that has four holes where water will be in play. To succeed a player will need to be accurate, strokes gained from tee to green, and a golfer with solid putting stats should be what you are looking for this week. Zach Johnson holds the course record, shooting a 60, so if a player is swinging the club well the opportunity to go low is there.
Last week we struggled with our selections finishing 24th, 29th, and 34th. We will be looking to finish the playoffs off with a bang, but this week's selections will take a bit of a twist. We will be providing one selection in the starting strokes market but then picking two others in the market where the scoring isn’t staggered.
STARTING STROKE BET - Bryson DeChambeau +550
Sitting three shots off the lead heading into this week's final event, DeChambeau will look back on last week's BMW Championship with some regret. Sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard halfway through the third round, DeChambeau found the water twice in successive holes and saw his lead slowly evaporate. From there he would go onto miss several key putts before eventually succumbing to Patrick Cantlay.
Despite all the noise that surrounds DeChambeau it's easy to forget what a good golfer he is. DeChambeau has had a great year on tour, winning once and achieving eight top-ten finishes. For this week I think the fact that DeChambeau is ranked 1st in strokes gained off the tee, 4th in strokes gained from tee to green, 4th in scoring, and 3rd in birdie average should really give him a great chance of winning it all.
WITHOUT STARTING STROKES BET - Harris English +2500
To clarify we are betting on the without starting strokes market - meaning that despite the staggered starts, this bet starts with everyone at even par. With no cut, each golfer is guaranteed to play four rounds.
As mentioned in our opening, finding value in a 30 man field is tricky but in Harris English odds of +2500 look a little on the long side. English has had a great year on tour, winning twice and having eight other top-ten finishes. When you look at the stats it's surprising as nothing really jumps out - everything is just really solid. 53rd in strokes gained tee to green, 85th in strokes gained through approach, 70th in driving distance, and 51st in driving accuracy. Around the greens, English is 9th for scrambling but perhaps it's his putting that has contributed to the great year he has had. He is ranked 10th in strokes gained through putting, 9th for overall putting, and 5th for the highest percentage of one-putts. He has the 5th best-putting stats on tour for Round 4.
English's name never seems far off the top of the leaderboard and he could represent some good value in this super competitive field. Odds of +330 for a top 5 and +110 could be a good way to play if looking for small returns.
WITHOUT STARTING STROKES BET - Cameron Smith +3000
Coming into this week standing 5th in FedEx Cup points is Australian Cameron Smith. Smith has had a great year on tour, with one win and eight top-ten finishes. He comes into this week in pretty great form with his last four tournaments yielding finishes of 10, 5, 2, and 34. He will have been a bit disappointed to have not backed his performance at the Northern Trust up with a strong showing at the BMW Championship but the Aussie has the game to bounce back this week.
Ranked 9th in strokes gained through the putter, he ranks first in putting average and one-putt percentage. This was clearly evident in the Northern Trust where he only had eighteen putts over eighteen holes during the third round.
Whenever you look, Smith just seems to be making birdies and in a market like this, I think Smith's birdie making capabilities could serve us well. Odds of +500 for a top 5 finish look pretty generous considering the form he currently finds himself in.