PGA Tour Picks: Tour Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Justin Thomas basically won the BMW Championship outside Chicago on Saturday when he shot a third-round 61. He would then shoot 68 on Sunday to finish at 25-under and three ahead of Patrick Cantlay. It was Thomas' first victory of the season and 10th of his career. He joined Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jack Nicklaus as the only players in the past 75 years to win 10 times on Tour, including a major championship, before the age of 27. We liked Aussie Adam Scott to win the BMW and he finished T9 after a final-round 67.
While the BMW Championship had a field of 70, only the Top 30 in points advanced to this week's season-ending and FedEx Cup playoffs-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The unlucky No. 31 after last week was Kevin Tway. He finished T11 but needed to shave one more stroke off his 13-under total. Jason Kokrak was the bubble boy at No. 30 after a T19.
While the PGA Tour has changed the format of the Tour Championship to bring more drama by ensuring that the winner of the tournament also wins the $15 million FedEx Cup grand prize ($5 million more than last year), unfortunately three of the sport's most popular players didn't qualify for Atlanta in Tiger, Spieth and Phil Mickelson. Woods finished T37 last week and ended up 42nd in points. Spieth was also T37 and ended a hugely disappointing season at 44th. Lefty was T48 and 47 th in points.
Woods won the Tour Championship for the third time last year in probably the biggest story on the PGA Tour of 2018. He also has won the FedEx Cup twice, although 2018 wasn't one of them because Justin Rose did so despite not winning the Tour Championship. The Tour wanted to avoid that type of situation again. Spieth won the 2015 Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. Mickelson never won the FedEx Cup but did this tournament twice. Some other notables who missed out were reigning British Open champion Shane Lowry (33 rd), Francesco Molinari (40th), 2014 Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel (43rd) and Jason Day (54th).
With his victory, Thomas jumped up to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points and will start this tournament at 10-under par. No. 2 Cantlay starts at 8-under, No. 3 Brooks Koepka 7-under, No. 4 Patrick Reed 6-under and No. 5 Rory McIlroy at 5-under. Then it's grouped by five players: 6-10 at 4-under, 11-15 at 3-under, 16-20 at 2-under, 21-25 at 1-under and 26-30 at even par. Obviously going to be tough for someone to make up 10 shots on someone as good as Thomas. It's a pretty interesting change. No one knows how to follow the points system anyways.
The Tour Championship moved permanently to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta in 2004. From 1987-1996, several courses hosted this tournament and starting in 1997 East Lake and Champions Golf Club in Houston alternated as host. It's a par 70 measuring around 7,385 yards and the course record is a 60 by Zach Johnson in 2007. There's a FedEx Cup bonus structure all the way down to the 10th place finisher, who gets a cool $830,000. If the staggered strokes format had been in place for each of the previous 12 FedEx Cup playoffs, only one FedEx Cup winner would be different so we will have to see if there's much drama. The winner of this tournament also gets a five-year Tour exemption. If there's a tie after 72 holes, there will be a sudden-death playoff. With only 30 players, there's no cut.
This will be our last preview for a few weeks as the new season starts with the Greenbrier event in West Virginia on Sept. 12.
Golf Odds: Tour Championship Favorites
For the most part, the Bovada odds are essentially lined up with where guys will start the tournament. Thomas is the +250 favorite. He has been Top 7 here the past three years, including a runner-up in 2017 when he won the FedEx Cup.
Cantlay is +450 with Koepka at +500 and McIlroy at +800. Cantlay has played here twice with no a best of 20th. Koepka was 24th last week and has a best finish of sixth here in 2017. McIlroy won here in 2016 when he won the FedEx Cup. His worst finish in his past five visits to Atlanta is 16th.
Jon Rahm and Reed are +1400 with Webb Simpson at +2200 and Dustin Johnson at +2500. DJ always plays well here but hasn't won it yet. He starts at 3-under. Simpson is at 4-under and was fourth last year. Rahm is also at 4-under and has been 11th and seventh in two trips to East Lake.
Golf Odds: Tour Championship Picks
Let's do Top 5 odds this week with only 30 players: Like Thomas (-285), McIlroy (+115) and Rahm (+200). Rahm is our winner. In his past six tournaments this season, Rahm has a win and a worst finish of 11 th. He becomes the first Spaniard to claim the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.
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