PGA Tour Picks: The Greenbrier Classic Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 7/2/2014
I've learned the secret to golf handicapping this year: Stop picking a winner and instead take advantage of those rare props on players who will or won't miss the cut.
Last week at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, Justin Rose beat unknown Shawn Stefani in a playoff. Both players tried to give it away. Rose hit into the water on 18 and had to make a 15-foot bogey just to get into the playoff. Then Stefani hit into the drink on the first playoff hole, also No. 18. Rather shocking that Congressional played harder for this tournament in some regards than when the U.S. Open was there in 2011 and Rory McIlroy shot a record 16-under. Rose and Stefani finished at just 4-under.
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The victory was Rose's sixth on the PGA Tour since 2010, with only Tiger Woods having more with eight. Patrick Reed looked like he might win for the third time this year -- and get in the running for Player of the Year honors -- as he led by two after 54 holes, but he blew up with a final-round 77.
Rose, whose first-round 74 was the highest for any winner on Tour this year, was a co-12/1 favorite at Bovada, and I didn't go there because he hadn't played the tournament since 2011. I guess he was smart for not being overseas preparing for the British Open. My choice at 22/1 was Brandt Snedeker and he finished T21, never breaking 70. I also was high on Brendon Todd and he finished T5.
My big win was Tiger at +300 to miss the cut in his first tournament back. It was Tiger's 11th missed cut as a pro. He shot 74-75 and was predictably rusty but also upbeat that he was pain-free. There's now no doubt he'll play the British Open. I missed on Jordan Spieth (+120) for a Top 10 by a shot. I also hit on Spieth at -130 over Tiger. That's about it.
Now the Tour shifts to a still fairly new event, the Greenbrier Classic at the storied Old White Course in White Sulphur Spring, W. Va., British Open spots are up for grabs here. The top four players not already exempt for British Open who finish among the Top 12 and ties will get in.
This tournament has only been around since 2010 and all four winners are here: Stuart Appleby (2010), Scott Stalling ('11), Ted Potter Jr. ('12) and Jonas Blixt. Last year Blixt won this tournament at 13 under, two shots ahead of a group of four led by Jimmy Walker. Blixt was four shots out of the lead when he teed off on Sunday. The 54-hole leader has yet to win the Greenbrier Classic. Appleby won four years ago with a final-round 59. They toughened up the course after that.
It's not a great field this week with all the big names off practicing their links golf for the British Open. Just seven of the world's Top 30 are set to play and 12 of the Top 50, led by Masters champion Bubba Watson. Two unusual entrants are U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson (500/1 at Bovada), a professional emeritus at the course since 2005, and Nick Faldo (1000/1 longest shot).
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Greenbrier Classic Favorites
Bubba and Walker are co-12/1 favorites at Bovada, and in my mind Walker should be the sole guy. Watson has been a bit off in his last two events, missing the cut at the U.S. Open and a T31 at the Travelers. He played here in 2013 for the first time and was T30.
Walker, the FedEx Cup points leader, already has three wins in this wraparound season and he loves this course: He was part of the runners-up last year and was fourth in 2010 and '11. He's the only player with three Top-10 finishes in the tournament. He should be fresh as Walker hasn't played an official event since a T9 at the U.S. Open.
Webb Simpson is 20/1 with Haas and Todd at 22/1 . Simpson has been inconsistent this year and enters off finishes of T45 at the U.S. Open and T30 last week. Simpson has two Top-10s in three trips to Greenbrier. Haas lost in a playoff here in 2011 and was T9 in 2013. Todd is playing out of his mind with Top-10 finishes in four of his last five starts on Tour, including his first win, at the Byron Nelson.
PGA Tour Picks: Greenbrier Classic Predictions
On the Top-10 props, take Walker (even money), Haas (+200) and Reed (+300), who may shaken his slump last week, the final round notwithstanding. I'd like Todd but no option. Head-to-head, go with Todd (even money) over Simpson (-130), Haas (-125) over Steve Stricker (-105) and Brendon De Jonge (-115) over Kevin Na (-115). Go with Marc Leishman at 13/8 as the top Australasian and Tim Clark (+225) as the top South African. This tournament has gone to a playoff two of the past three years so go there as the winning margin at +250.
I can't decide if Potter Jr. is good value at 100/1 here because he's having a really lousy year. But he's got that win and a sixth place in two starts here. My pick is DeJonge at 33/1. I pick this guy once a year usually, and he's too good not to have won yet. He has been up-and-down this year but was T8 last week and has made eight straight cuts. He finished T17 here in 2013 with three very good rounds but a Saturday 73. He had Top 5s at Greenbrier in 2010-11.
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