2019 BMW Championship Matchup Bets: Is Fading Tiger Still the Move?
Mark Konezny, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods
One of the biggest questions surrounding this week’s BMW Championship is: What can we expect from Tiger Woods?
The easy answer: Not a whole lot.
Which leads to the next question: Why is he even playing?
The slightly more difficult answer: There are whispers that Tiger needs to play a minimum number of events for specific contract clauses to kick in, but the less skeptical response is that he might as well give it a shot, because if he doesn’t advance to the Tour Championship, he’ll have two months off after this anyway.
On the heels of last week’s withdrawal, this feels like a smash spot to fade Tiger. Unfortunately, everyone else knows that, too.
My list of three favorite matchups begins with a Tiger fade, though one that would’ve been more profitable earlier this week.
Bryson DeChambeau (-235) over Tiger Woods
Yes, this one started out as -135 or -140 in most books, but the public has been piling on DeChambeau, who essentially owns three different ways of winning this one: 1) He simply scores better than Woods over a 72-hole stretch; 2) Woods plays a few rounds, knows he can’t advance to the Tour Championship, so decided to play it cautiously and withdraws; or 3) Woods is in too much physical pain right away on Thursday that he’s unable to swing properly and is forced into an early WD.
Each of those scenarios is extremely plausible, which is why DeChambeau’s odds have moved so much.
Then there’s the slow play factor – or should I say, the backlash from it.
Bryson sounded as if he felt like he was in a fight with everyone last weekend — other players, fans, media — coming to his Saturday post-round interview session with guns blazing, going into a 16-minute diatribe about how he doesn’t play slowly and fingers were irrationally being pointed at him. By Sunday, he appeared in a much calmer frame of mind about the whole situation, one which should carry over to this week.
I expect him to play well and I expect this bet to cash in one of those three scenarios. What I don’t expect is for any of us to get a better number on DeChambeau before the opening round.
Ryan Moore (-105) over Rafa Cabrera Bello
As I wrote about Moore in my tournament preview, I once asked him at which event he’d pick himself if he could only choose one. His answer: The Memorial, because he loves how Muirfield Village suits his game.
This is a story I inconveniently forget before the Memorial begins most years, only to see his name on an early leaderboard and start kicking the nearest table leg. In any case, I’ll try to make it up to you here, as Medinah and Muirfield own a lot of similar characteristics.
Moore went through some dark weeks not too long ago, even parting ways with his long-time caddie, but back-to-back 18th-place finishes have him trending in the right direction once again.
As for RCB, he’s fresh off a week-long paternity leave to witness the birth of his first child. It wouldn’t have been surprising to see him skip the playoffs altogether, but he made the trip to Medinah in hopes of reaching the finale next week. Even so, don’t expect his head to be too into the game for this one – and rightly so.
Jason Kokrak (-135) over Brandt Snedeker
I’d already earmarked this matchup as one of my favorites, but I’ll give my boy Sleeze a little credit for numbers he listed on our Action Network Podcast.
Long and straight off the tee works every week, but even more so at Medinah, a big ballpark where that’s absolutely imperative.
In total driving, Kokrak ranks 11th, while Snedeker is a mere 168th. In strokes gained off the tee, Kokrak is 13th, Snedeker is 153rd.
Throw in the fact that Kokrak is fresh off a T-6 and a T-12, the latter of which included a final-round 66 at Liberty National last Sunday, and I think this is a tremendous play for this event.