PGA Tour Picks: BMW Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 9/11/2013
I knew Henrik Stenson was due to win a tournament as he kept coming so close, but I unfortunately didn't pick the Swede to take the Deutsche Bank Championship before the PGA Tour took last week off.
Stenson finished with a tournament-record 22-under 262 for a two-shot win at TPC Boston to take over the lead in the FedEx Cup standings and for his fifth Top-3 finish in his past six starts. The victory guaranteed Stenson will play in next week's Tour Championship for the first time. Steve Stricker, who sat out the first playoff event, finished runner-up, his third such result this year. That also allowed Stricker to jump into the Top 10 and qualify for the U.S. Presidents' Cup team -- that Ryder Cup-style team event takes place two weeks after the Tour Championship. Jordan Spieth and Webb Simpson were the two captain's picks by Fred Couples.
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I went with Phil Mickelson in Boston and was feeling pretty good about things when Lefty opened with a 63 to take the lead. Yet he then finished with three straight 71s to finish T41. I also liked Tiger Woods for a Top-10, but he finished 72-73 to finish T65. I did hit on Mickelson (-115) over Rory McIlroy as well as Rose (even) over McIlroy. Jim Furyk (-115) and Dustin Johnson (-115) tied on their head-to-head -- I chose Furyk.
The Top 30 in the points after this week's BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., advance to the Tour Championship and the shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup prize. Right now the guy on the bubble is Lee Westwood. The biggest names outside the Top 30 are Bubba Watson (40), McIlroy (41), Luke Donald (54) and Ernie Els (70). Els moved up from 89th to that final 70th spot in Boston for this week.
Before I get to the BMW Championship, I do want to mention that the PGA Tour announced the 2013-14 schedule while we were away. The Tour has moved to a wraparound schedule starting this year. The season begins with the Frys.com Com on Oct. 10 and follows with five events before a six-week break through the holidays. The Tour was hoping the new schedule would lure bigger names to those former non-points events by turning them into official FedEx Cup points tournaments, but I highly doubt it will work. About the only tournament you might see all the stars is the WGC-HSBC Champions in China starting on Halloween. The major schedule change is the FedEx Cup playoffs next year will not have a week off; instead there will be a week off after the Tour Championship ahead of the Ryder Cup in Scotland.
As for the BMW, the current Top 19 in points are all considered "likely" to advance to the Tour Championship regardless of finish. And all of the Top 19 could take over the top spot with a victory, obviously depending on how others finish. If McIlroy and Watson finish in the Top 8, they should be good to advance. Donald probably needs a Top-5 as does Els. For what it's worth, two players outside the Top 30 entering last year's BMW advanced, but they were 31st and 35th, respectively entering the event. The player who made the biggest jump into the Top 30 was No. 69 Geoff Ogilvy, who rose to No. 24 with a third at the BMW.
McIlroy won this tournament last year, his second straight FedEx Cup playoff win. He became the first player since Tiger in 2009 to win consecutive weeks on Tour. However, last year's tournament was at Crooked Stick in Indiana. This is the first time it has been held at Conway Farms -- it used to be at Cog Hill outside Chicago. Donald is a member of Conway Farms and played a big role in the course landing this tournament. There is no cut this week.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: BMW Championship Favorites
Tiger remains way ahead of the pack on the Bovada odds to win at 11/2. His T65 in Boston tied for his worst finish of the season, which came at the Memorial. Since the Tour started resetting FedEx Cup points after the BMW Championship in 2009, only Tiger has won the FedEx Cup without winning the Tour Championship.
Adam Scott and Stenson are 12/1. The Aussie also struggled last time out with a 53rd after winning the Barclays. It's not unusual for a player to win two FedEx Cup events in one year -- it's happened four times in the six years of its existence. Stenson is playing out of his mind right now, but no way I pick a guy to win back-to-back events, even with a week off. He qualified for the Tour Championship, and that's probably enough for now. He can focus all his energy there.
Mickelson (14/1), Justin Rose, McIlroy and Stricker (all 20/1) round out the favorites. I was stunned Lefty fell off the pace last week as it looked like he had found his rhythm again. As usual, I don't know what to expect from him. Rose won this event at nearby Cog Hill in 2011 and hasn't finished outside the Top 16 in the two playoff events this year. Stricker has the best scoring average in the past 10 weeks on the PGA Tour -- he just doesn't play a lot. McIlroy will be aggressive to get into the Top 30.
PGA Tour Picks: BMW Championship Predictions
It's a short par-71 course at a maximum of 7,149 yards, so really the only defense it has will be wind. The greens are pretty small. On the Top-10 props, I love how Stricker is playing, so he's one choice at +160. I might even take a Top-5 at +400. I also like Rose for a Top-10 at +150. Guys like Scott, Stenson, Tiger and Mickelson I am not high on because they are going to advance regardless. I also like Dustin Johnson at +225 as he will be angry he wasn't picked for the Presidents' Cup team.
Head-to-head, go with McIlroy (even) over Mickelson (-130) as McIlroy needs a good result. Take Stricker (-130) over Dufner (even), Sergio Garcia (-115) over Hunter Mahan (-115) and Ian Poulter (-115) over Charl Schwartzel.
Some people believe playing on essentially your home course is a detriment because of pressure in front of friends and family. Hogwash. No one knows this course better than Donald. He can salvage a disappointing year with a win and a trip to the Tour Championship, something he hasn't missed since 2008. Take him at 33/1 to win and on any head-to-head or Top-5/10 prop.
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