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WGC-Bridgestone Betting Guide: 2 Elite Golfers Are Way Underpriced

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Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dustin Johnson

  • Dustin Johnson (7-1) is the clear betting favorite to win the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
  • The favorites have thrived on this course: 13 of the 18 winners went off at 30-1 odds or less.
  • Tiger Woods, who's won eight times at Firestone, is 12-1 to win his first PGA Tour event since 2013.

The PGA Tour heads to Firestone Country Club for the final time, as we get the last installment of the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

The tournament is best known for Tiger Woods’ dominance. He’s won here eight times, and after his sixth-place finish in The Open Championship, he’s in great form looking for No. 9.

Woods opened at +1200, along with Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. That trio sits behind only Dustin Johnson, who’s a +700 favorite after his dominating victory in Canada last week.


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The Course

Firestone is one of the most difficult stops on the tour schedule. It routinely produces winners in the low double digits or single digits under par. It’s long for a par 70 at 7,400 yards and puts the emphasis on ball-striking. Outside of Tiger winning about half the time, we’ve had Johnson, McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Vijay Singh claim victories here.


Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods

So my bets will focus on the players who thrive from tee to green, especially those with elite driving ability. Firestone has some deep rough, and it’s not a course where players will want to stray too far off track from the tee.

Let’s dig into the field as I try to highlight my 11th outright winner of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season.


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The Favorites

This has been a tournament for the stars. Favorites dominate Firestone like no other course: We’ve seen 13 of the 18 winners go off at less than +3000.

At the top, DJ is a clearly the guy to beat, and the odds show that. He’s won twice in the past five weeks and played well at the U.S. Open. He’s also the most dominant driver on tour. But at +700, I’ll be staying away. He was the same number on Monday last week in a much weaker field.

I’d lean toward McIlroy at the top. However, I want a little more than +1200, so I’ll wait it out and see if it dips during the week to 14-1 or 15-1. If it doesn’t, I might jump in after the first round if he starts slowly.


Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy

I bet two names right on the edge of the favorite list at +3000 on MyBookie. Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood have fallen off the radar, and it doesn’t make much sense. Thomas especially. His tee-to-green game ranks fourth on tour and he’s gaining strokes with his short game, too.

Thomas shouldn’t be 30-1 to win any golf tournament, let alone one that puts this much emphasis on ball-striking.

Fleetwood is another elite ball-striker who has slid between the cracks this week. Just two weeks ago, he was +2000 to win a major. Now his odds have increased 50% in a field of 72 players.

As for Tiger, I won’t be adding any plays on him outside of my 161-1 prop from a while back that he’ll win this season. He rates out OK for me on this course, but accurate odds for him are more in the 20-1 or 25-1 range, not 12-1.

Mid-Tier

With two plays at +3000 and an eye on Rory, I won’t be adding much more to the card, but I made some room for a couple of strong drivers in the middle of the odds sheet.

Bryson DeChambeau (+5500) and Patrick Cantlay (+6600) have both shown the ability to compete against the elites. Both are ranked in the top 15 in strokes gained tee to green.


Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau

DeChambeau and Cantlay also played well at the tour’s other Ohio stop in Columbus. DeChambeau won the Memorial on a tough driving course, while Cantlay finished one shot out of a playoff.

I’ll also be betting both of them to finish in the top five (+1000 range).

Longshots

No longshot outright winners for me in this tournament. Shane Lowry is the only winner in recent history (2015) to go off at more than 100-1.

I will add a top-10 on Luke List at +700. He’s got the skill set to play well here, but just hasn’t shown the ability to finish off a tournament yet. While it’s easy to see him contending at Firestone, I have a hard time thinking this will be where List picks up his first win.

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