PGA Tour Picks: WGC-Cadillac Championship Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 3/4/2015
I was very happy to see good-guy Padraig Harrington win the Honda Classic on the first stop of the PGA Tour's Florida Swing at PGA National. I had mostly forgotten about the multiple-time major championship winner. He beat rookie Daniel Berger in a Monday playoff at the Honda, site of his first PGA Tour victory a decade prior. It was Harrington's first win since he won the 2008 PGA Championship only a few weeks after taking the British Open. Harrington, who lost his Tour card last year, needed a sponsor's exemption just to play the Honda. He won't have to worry about an exemptions for a while now.
Harrington nearly blew his chance. The Northern Irishman led Berger, who was already finished with a 64, by a shot, but Harrington hit a terrible 5-iron on the par-3 17th into the water for a double bogey. However, he rebounded with a 15-foot birdie putt make on No. 18 to force the playoff and then beat Berger on the second playoff hole when the rookie hit into the water on the 17th and put up a double bogey.
Ian Poulter was the 54-hole leader, his first 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, but his chance to win essentially died with a triple bogey on No. 14 in his final round. He made birdie on the final two holes to finish third at 5-under 275, one shot out of the playoff between Harrington and Berger. Patrick Reed was tied for the lead with Harrington at 7 under through 14 holes, but Reed hit his tee shot in the water at the par-3 15th and made bogey on the next two holes. Outside of Harrington, a big winner last week was Paul Casey, who finished tied for third with Poulter and Russell Knox. That got Casey into the world's Top 50 and into this week's WGC-Cadillac at Doral.
I obviously didn't have Harrington on my radar last week. At least I can say I wasn't a big backer of Rory McIlroy, either, and he missed the cut. So did Justin Rose, whom I liked for a Top-10 finish. For the first time in a long time, I didn't hit a single Top-10 result. My pick to win also was a flop as Keegan Bradley missed the cut. I did get Rickie Fowler at -115 head-to-head over Graeme McDowell and Reed at -130 over Phil Mickelson. Let's just put the Honda Classic in the rear-view mirror, shall we!?
So this week it's the big-money, invite-only World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at the storied Blue Monster. Casey wasn't the only one to earn a berth last week. So did Robert Streb, Sangmoon Bae, Charley Hoffman and James Hahn by being in the Top 10 in the FedEx Cup after the Honda. However, Hahn won't play as his wife is expecting. The entire Top 50 in the world is set to tee it up. It's the first time all Top 50 are in the same tournament since the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Tiger Woods isn't among that group because he's no longer in the Top 50. It's just the second time he ever has failed to qualify for a WGC start.
Also potentially up for grabs is the No. 2 spot in the world rankings. McIlroy has a stranglehold on No. 1, but Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Rose all have a mathematical chance to be No. 2 if they win.
Reed is the defending champion, going wire-to-wire. He closed with an even-par 72 on a windy day to win by a shot over Watson and Jamie Donaldson. Reed's four-day total of 4-under 284 on the Blue Monster was the highest in a tournament there since 1985. Re-designed Doral became the hardest course to host a non-major since the 2013 season.
Golf Odds: WGC-Cadillac Championship Favorites
Despite last week's hiccup, McIlroy is the heavy 11/2 Bovada favorite again this week. The missed cut was only his fourth finish outside Top 15 since a T25 at Doral last year. McIlroy had three straight Top 10s at Doral before that.
Watson and Day are 14/1 . Last year's runner-up at Doral was Watson's second in three years there. He hasn't finished outside the Top 15 in 2015. Day, who hasn't played re-designed Doral yet (other than in practice), has been off since following his win at the Farmers Insurance Open with a T4 at Pebble Beach on Valentine's weekend.
Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth round out the favorites at 18/1 (Reed is next at 22/1 with Mickelson). Johnson was another big name to miss the cut last week, but he contended in the two tournaments prior and was T4 at Doral last year and a runner-up in 2011. Spieth, off last week, has consecutive Top-10 finishes this year and was T34 at Doral in 2014.
PGA Tour Picks: WGC-Cadillac Championship Predictions
On the Top-10 props, I am going McIlroy (-175) this time as I can't see him struggling two weeks in a row. Ditto Watson (+125), Johnson (+150) and Adam Scott (+165) in his first USA start of the year. I'll go with a Top 20 for Reed (-110) but don't like a Top 10 (+165) or Top 20 (-130) for Lefty. On a highest-placed finisher prop, I lean Hideki Matsuyama at +333 over Mickelson (+300), Matt Kuchar (+350), Stenson (+400) and Garcia (+400).
Head-to-head, take Johnson (even money) over Day (-130), Reed (-115) over Spieth (-115), Scott (-115) over Mickelson (-115), Matsuyama (-115) over Stenson (-115), Kuchar (-115) over Rose (-115) and Furyk (-115) over Donaldson (-115). I lean Scott at 8/5 as the top Aussie, Casey at 7/2 as the top Englishman and Matsuyama at 5/4 as the top Asian.
Matsuyama is pretty good value at 33/1 to win. He has three Top 5s already this year, but I'm going with Johnson. Doral is one of the longest courses on Tour and few can hit it like D.J.
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