PGA Tour Picks: The Barclays Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/21/2013
My two-tournament winning streak on picking correct PGA Tour victors ended on Sunday when some guy named Patrick Reed won the Wyndham Championship for his first Tour win. That was the trend for a long stretch earlier this year where a relative unknown would get his first Tour victory. Well-known players had won the previous four events (not counting the two opposite-field tournaments for the British Open and WGC-Bridgestone).
I at least had heard of Reed, who had his third straight Top-10 finish, but of course didn't pick him. Really, the big news is that he beat Jordan Spieth in a playoff. Spieth is just 20 years old and won the John Deere last month. He would have become the youngest multiple winner in modern Tour history had he beaten out Reed. Incidentally, no one from outside the Top 125 in points was able to move into the FedEx Cup playoffs, which start this week. That had never happened in the final event of the "regular season" before.
I did hit on an American as the winning nationality for the Wyndham at -300. Also got Zach Johnson at +110 for a Top-10 finish and just missed on Webb Simpson as he finished T11. Head-to-head, I was correct on Bill Haas at -110 over Sergio Garcia and Johnson at -110 over Brandt Snedeker. My value pick to win was Tim Clark at 50/1, and he closed with a sweet 64 but finished only T26.
So now for the Top 125 in points it's on to Round 1 of the four-event FedEx Cup playoffs, The Barclays at Liberty National outside of New York City. The playoffs conclude at the Tour Championship with a $10 million prize to the Cup winner. Only Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker have reached the Tour Championship every year since the creation of the FedEx Cup in 2007. Stricker may have it tough this year as he's skipping the Barclays, as is the red-hot Johnson (brother's wedding). This year's playoffs field includes past FedEx Cup champs Tiger Woods (2007 & '09), Jim Furyk, Bill Haas and last year's winner, Snedeker. The only guy missing is Vijay Singh.
Woods has a gigantic lead entering the playoffs, but it really doesn't mean a whole lot as playoff events are worth five times the points of a regular event. Snedeker is looking to become the first reigning FedEx Cup champ to make it to the next year's Tour Championship. There are 20 first-timers in the playoffs, including Spieth.
It's the first time Liberty National has hosted the Barclays since 2009, when Heath Slocum won. Slocum, who didn't qualify this year, finished at 9-under 275, edging Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Tiger and Stricker by one. The course has been tweaked quite a bit since then to be less penal. It's now at 7,353 yards and plays at par 71. Nick Watney won last year's Barclays at Bethpage. The Top 100 after this week will advance to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship. Note that event begins Friday and concludes on Labor Day.
I'm resigned to the fact that Tiger is going to be such a huge favorite for a while that I simply can't recommend him unless it's at one of those courses he dominates year after year. He's 5/1 at Bovada this week. It's not a major, so Woods may well win. He has won four of his past five non-major events. Again, though, those were all courses he knew.
Adam Scott is 16/1. He finished at 5-over here in 2009 but obviously isn't the same player at this point. He definitely seems to have cleared his Masters hangover with three straight Top-15 finishes, including Top-5s as the British Open and PGA Championship.
The Top-5 favorites are rounded out by Henrik Stenson, Mickelson and Rory McIlroy (all 18/1). There is no hotter player than the Swede Stenson with two seconds and two thirds in his past four starts. He didn't play here in 2009 and has traveled back and forth from Sweden since the PGA and might be a big jetlagged.
Mickelson is an honorary member of Liberty National, and the course actually made some changes at his suggestion. Lefty was T52 in 2009. He hasn't been great since his back-to-back wins in Scotland.
Oddsmakers seem to be back on McIlroy's bandwagon to a point thanks to a T8 at the PGA Championship. He didn't play here in 2009.
PGA Tour Picks: The Barclays Betting Predictions
This one is a bit tough to handicap as really no player has an advantage in course knowledge. I highly doubt Mickelson has actually played there much just because he's an honorary member. He's a pretty busy guy and lives on the other coast.
On the Top-10 finishes, I do like Tiger (-275) despite the ridiculous price. I also like Scott (+125) and Jason Day (+250). Head-to-head, take Luke Donald (-115) over Sergio Garcia (-115), Ian Poulter (-115) over Rickie Fowler (-115), Tiger (-200) over Mickelson (+155), Scott (-120) over McIlroy (-110), and Matt Kuchar (-115) over Jason Dufner (-115). Bet against Dufner on any prop you can find -- he's going to have a major PGA Championship hangover.
Jim Furyk is tempting at 40/1 to win. He finished T9 at Bridgestone and then runner-up at the PGA Championship. He deserves a win this week after blowing another major. Furyk was T15 in 2009. I like Furyk at -4.5 shots against Tiger at 12/1.
But I'm going with Day at 25/1. He played well again at the PGA with a T8, his sixth Top 10 this year. He also has made 21 straight cuts and was T12 at the 2009 Barclays. Also take Day at +333 in Bovada's Group D betting against Webb Simpson (+333), Keegan Bradley (+350), Haas (+350) and Bubba Watson (+400).
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