FedEx Cup Picks: The Barclays Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/20/2014
I always thought Colombia's Camilo Villegas would be a pretty big star in the golf world. The former Florida Gator had personality, good looks -- he was featured in the magazine GQ in 2006 and on People's "Hottest Bachelors" list -- and a game to match. Villegas won the 2008 BMW Championship and Tour Championship (finishing second to Vijay Singh in the FedEx Cup playoffs) as well as the 2010 Honda Classic.
Yet for some reason he didn't win since then. That all changed last week at the final Tour event of the 2014 regular season, the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro. Back-to-back 63s on the weekend gave Villegas his first Top 10 all year and jumped him from No. 105 on the points list to No. 37. Fredrik Jacobson needed a par on the final hole to force a playoff, but he rolled his 11-foot putt just past the hole. He finished a shot back with Bill Haas. Third-round leader Nick Watney would have forced a playoff with a birdie on the 72nd hole, but he double bogeyed it.
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As I'm sure you have guessed by now, Villegas wasn't on my radar at all last week. I liked Tim Clark (28/1), who had previous success in the tournament. He finished T24. On the Top-10 props, I hit on Brandt Snedeker (+135) and Webb Simpson (+185). Clark was the top South African, and that paid off at 7/4. I also hit on Paul Casey at -200 as the top Englishman. Head-to-head, I mentioned I didn't like Hideki Matsuyama at all last week, and he missed the cut. Thus, Snedeker paid off at -130 against him, and Simpson did at -115. Also nailed Carl Pettersson at -115 over Charles Howell III. All in all, a good tournament.
With all due respect to Villegas, the real drama last week was those players around No. 125 on the points list because only those on that number and inside it qualified for this week's FedEx Cup opening Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. Sang-Moon Bae was the only player from outside the Top 125 in the standings to qualify for The Barclays. His T14 jumped him from No. 126 to No. 120. Nicholas Thompson entered at No. 123 but his T70 dropped him to No. 126, one point behind No. 125 Robert Allenby. Perhaps the worst luck of all belonged to Heath Slocum. He finished fourth last week, a shot out of second. All Slocum had to do was par his 72nd hole to qualify for the playoffs, but he three-putted for bogey. That cost him a spot in the FedEx Cup (he finished 129 in the standings) as well as his Tour card for next season. Ouch!
Unfortunately for those guys just outside the Top 125, the Tour doesn't allow for alternates. So even though three guys well inside that number aren't playing in Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner and Steve Stricker, that just means the field will go off with 122. Last year, Adam Scott shot a final-round 5-under 66 to win The Barclays by a shot at a different course in New Jersey, Liberty National. The last time this event was staged at Ridgewood was in 2010 when Matt Kuchar won in a playoff. Only the Top 100 in points move on to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship. It should be noted that no eventual FedEx Cup winner has won The Barclays that same year.
The top three players in points, Rory McIlroy, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson, are grouped for the first two rounds. So are Nos. 4, 5 & 7: Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia. Johnson is No. 6 and out the rest of the year.
Golf Odds: The Barclays Favorites
Obviously, McIlroy is the heavy 4/1 Bovada favorite as he enters off wins at the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship. He shot a combined 48 under in those events. McIlroy has shocked me already in putting together this winning streak, but I truly think the playoffs are a pretty big letdown. He doesn't need the money and probably prefers some time off. I will be stunned if he contends. He has played this tournament three times, with a best finish of T19 last year. In 2010 at Ridgewood he was T56.
Scott is 14/1 to repeat. Four years ago here he was a solid T9. His worst finish on Tour since the Players Championship in mid-May was a T15 at the PGA Championship. Defending FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson is 16/1. It has generally been tough for reigning champions even to get all the way to the Tour Championship the next year. Stenson didn't play here in 2010. He comes off a T3 at the PGA. The favorites are rounded out by a group of four at 20/1: Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Sergio.
FedEx Cup Golf Odds: The Barclays Picks
On the Top-10 props I like Scott at +125, Fowler at +165, Sergio at +165 and Furyk at +200. Take Scott at even money as the top Aussie, Lee Westwood at 9/2 as the top Englishman and Sergio at 7/4 as the top continental European finisher and 6/1 as top overall European. Head-to-head, I like Scott (+135) at a great price against McIlroy (-175) and at -120 against Stenson (-110). Take Fowler at -115 over Rose (-115), Sergio (-115) over Lefty (-115) and Jordan Spieth (-115) over Graeme McDowell (-115).
I wish there was a group prop against the field that included Furyk and Fowler because I'd jump on that. I do think one of them wins. Both are playing terrifically this year yet haven't won. Somehow, Furyk hasn't since 2010. Fowler, Mr. Consistent in the majors this year, is the pick.
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