Golf Picks: CIMB Classic Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/23/2013
The new wraparound 2013-14 schedule seemed to do what it was supposed to last week at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas as we had a pretty big-name winner, Webb Simpson. Most likely under the old format of the Fall Series where FedEx Cup points weren't at stake, Simpson wouldn't have been playing.
Simpson dominated in winning his first event since the 2012 U.S. Open. He took a four-shot lead into the final round and closed with a 66 to finish at 24-under 260 for a whopping six-shot win. The 260 total matched the tournament record for 72 holes. The win gets Simpson into the 2014 opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions; he already had Masters privileges.
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I didn't pick Simpson to win, but picked the guy who was the 16/1 co-second favorite with him, Nick Watney, who finished a disappointing T48 by bookending 66s with 73s. I did recommend taking the Big Guns group that included Simpson (and Watney, among a few others) against the field at +188. On the Top-10 props, I hit on Ryan Moore at +225 (T9) but obviously missed on Watney. Head-to-head, I hit on Brendon de Jonge over Brooks Koepka (both missed cut but de Jonge finished a shot better) and Charley Hoffman (-115) over Harris English, with Hoffman finishing fourth.
So this week I was pondering previewing the European Tour's BMW Masters, which is the start of its season-ending four-event playoffs. But I'm going to hold off until the Dubai World Championship to preview an across the pond Tour event. Plus we have history being made as the PGA Tour visits Malaysia for the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur. This is the fourth overall staging of this tournament but now it's an official PGA Tour event for the first time. That means full FedEx Cup points and a Masters invite to the winner. It's just a 78-man field, meaning there will be no cut. I can already tell you I won't be picking any guys who played last week in Vegas to do all that well as they won't have arrived in Malaysia until about 48 hours before tee time.
Four of golf's big names are playing here for the first time: Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia. Tiger Woods did last year and finished T4 but isn't this time. All of the top Europeans are at the BMW Masters for the Race to Dubai.
Americans have won the first three CIMB Classics (called CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia first two years): Watney last year, Bo Van Pelt in 2011 and Ben Crane in 2010. It will be played on a new course this year, the West Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf And Country Club. It's a short par 72.
Golf Odds: CIMB Classic Favorites
To no surprise, Mickelson, the highest-ranked player in the field, is also the 10/1 favorite at Bovada. This and next week may be the last time we see Lefty in Asia as he already has said he's scaling back his schedule in the near future. Look for him to really be inactive ahead of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst as he wants to focus completely on that to win the career grand slam. The last we saw of Lefty in a Tour event was his T12 at the Tour Championship. He has had only one Top 10 -- the Barclays -- since his British Open win.
Bradley and Garcia are at 14/1. Bradley also closed with a T12 at the Tour Championship and one Top 10 in his final six, a T2 at the WGC-Bridgestone. Sergio was T9 at the Tour Championship.
Hideki Matsuyama (16/1) and Watney (20/1) round out the favorites. Matsuyama had to withdraw last week due to illness -- he has been playing a lot recently. That makes me nervous to pick him this week. Watney won last year thanks to a final-round 61, beating out Robert Garrigus and Van Pelt by a shot.
Golf Picks: CIMB Classic Predictions
On the Top-10 props, roll with Mickelson at -140, Sergio at +110 and Graham DeLaet at +250; the Canadian played last week but missed the cut so could leave early. I do like one shot as the winning margin at +250 (I almost always will). Ditto Garcia as the top European finisher at 10/11. On the top Aussie finisher, go with Scott Hend at +240. He just won Sunday in Macau and plays the Asian Tour so should know the course. Heat-to-head, I like Rickie Fowler (-115) over Jimmy Walker (-115) and Ernie Els (-115) over Moore (-115).
I'm surprised that Van Pelt isn't lower than 28/1 to win considering he has a victory and runner-up at this tournament. He didn't play last week so presumably had plenty of time to get to Malaysia, although he didn't finish the 2013 season very well.
But I like Garcia this week. He has been off for four weeks but played really well last year, not missing a single cut and with six Top-10 finishes. The Spaniard also has had previous success in Asia.
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