PGA Tour Picks: Quicken Loans National Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/24/2014
Last week's Travelers Championship outside Hartford pretty much summed up how impossible it has been to project winners on Tour this season. Needless to say I didn't expect much from Kevin Streelman at the tournament. Not that he's an unknown, but the guy had missed four straight cuts heading into the event and hadn't had a Top 10 since the first tournament of 2014 in Hawaii.
So what does Streelman do on Sunday? He set a PGA Tour record with seven straight birdies to close his final round to win the championship at 15 under, one shot ahead of K.J. Choi and Sergio Garcia. It was Streelman's second career tour win. Seven straight birdies is only the record for most consecutive birdies at the end of a round to win an event. The overall record is nine straight by Mark Calcavecchia at the 2009 RBC Canadian Open. Streelman shot a back-nine 28 at TPC River Highlands and one-putted every green -- can you imagine that? Streelman was only tied for 39th entering Saturday but then put up matching 64s.
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My pick to win was Ryan Moore at 33/1. He had fared extremely well at that course in the past. He ended up a solid T5. It was his fourth Top-5 finish at the tournament. Moore paid off for me at -115 head-to-head against Graham DeLaet and at +360 in a fivesome against Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and DeLaet. So that was nice. I expected Bubba Watson to contend, but he was a disappointing 31st. I did hit Watson at -125 over Johnson, who missed the cut. Also thought Hunter Mahan might contend, but he missed the cut, and his game is officially a mess right now. Other than Moore, not a good tournament.
This week the Tour moves to Congressional outside Washington for the Quicken Loans National, and the big news is that Tiger Woods will play, a surprise. Recent hints had been dropped that he was hitting full shots again off back surgery three months or so ago, but most expected him to return at the British Open. Tiger admitted that's what he targeted originally but wanted to play this week because the tournament benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation. I'm sure he'd also like to knock the rust off before the Open Championship.
Woods sounded like he didn't expect much from his game due to rust and a still slightly tender back. This is Tiger's first start since the mid-March World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Doral. It's going to be very difficult for him to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs as Tiger is currently 209th in points. He may also have to be a captain's choice for the Ryder Cup. His next start will be the British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, site of his 2006 Open victory.
Tiger is one of four Top-10 players teeing it up this week along with No. 7 Jason Day, No. 9 Jordan Spieth and No. 10 Justin Rose. There are five past champions in the field: Bill Haas (2013), Tiger (2012, '09), Nick Watney (2011), Rose (2010) and Choi (2007). Expect the 10th hole to be popular with fans as one lucky fan (per drawing) will win $1 million if someone aces the 218-yard hole. No one has done so since 2008.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Quicken Loans National Favorites
Day and Rose are the co-12/1 favorites at Bovada . Day looks finally healthy with his thumb problem as he followed up a T4 at the U.S. Open with a T18 last week. He was T21 here in 2013. Rose is the most prominent European still on U.S. soil and not back overseas preparing for the British Open. His win in 2010 was when this tournament was held elsewhere as Congressional was being prepared for the 2011 U.S. Open. Rose didn't play here last year.
Spieth is 16/1. He has been a bit off since a T4 at the Players Championship as Spieth hasn't finished in the Top 10 in his past four tournaments, although his past three have been in the Top 20. He finished sixth here a year ago and was a co-leader after 36 holes.
Tiger is the only other player below 22/1 at 16/1. I highly doubt he contends as this is more about getting competitive rounds in and protecting his back. For example, if he's buried in some deep rough, Woods likely softly hits out instead of trying to mash the ball out and reach the green. His back isn't ready for that.
PGA Tour Picks: Quicken Loans National Betting Predictions
Let me address Bovada's Tiger props first. Will he finish in the Top 10: +125. I say no. Top 20: -185. I say no. Will he make the cut: yes -450 and no +300. I think no is better value there.
On the Top-10 props, go with Spieth (+120), Snedeker (+200) and Keegan Bradley (+200). Head-to-head, I like Spieth (-130) over Tiger (even), Haas (-110) over Webb Simpson (-120), Jason Dufner (-130) over Mahan (even), and Aaron Baddeley (-115) over Watney (-115). Go with Day at even money as the top Aussie and Ernie Els at +250 as the top South African.
Brendon Todd is interesting value at 28/1 to win. He's playing terrific golf with four straight Top-20 finishes, including a win at the Byron Nelson. He was T13 at last year's event. However, I'm going with Snedeker at 22/1. He has three Top 10s here, with a high of T5 five years ago. He also played solid at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. This year had been a struggle but he's rounding into form with a T9 at the U.S. Open and T11 last week.
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