2019 Tour Championship Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Betting Strategies for East Lake

2019 Tour Championship Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Betting Strategies for East Lake article feature image

Steve Flynn, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kevin Kisner

The 2018-19 PGA Tour Season comes to an end on Sunday with the conclusion of the Tour Championship.

Thirty golfers remain in the hunt for the 2019 FedEx Cup and for the first time, the winner of the Tour Championship at East Lake will automatically win the FedEx Cup and the $15 million that comes with it.

Check out our staff’s favorite bets for the 2019 Tour Championship below:

Jason Sobel

The Bet: Kevin Kisner Winner Without Starting Strokes (40-1)

Yes, this wager is gloriously available at some books this week. I thank you, dear oddsmakers, and the good folks at the OWGR (who will offer ranking points only based on all players starting at level-par this week) thank you, as well.

On a tight track with Bermuda greens, East Lake should be right up Kiz’s alley.

He didn’t reach this field a year ago, but finished T-3 back in 2017.

With results in ascending order from 30th to 27th to 12th to 9th in his last four starts, he’s trending in the right direction.

Justin Bailey

The Bet: Louis Oosthuizen (-120) over Marc Leishman

After backtesting all the metrics in the FantasyLabs Trends tool, golfers who are in great recent form tend to the best at East Lake Golf Club, and Oosty has superior recent metrics to Leishman in every aspect I am weighing this week:

  • Recent Adjusted Round Score: 69.0 vs. 70.2
  • Greens in regulation: 70.8% vs. 67%
  • Driving accuracy: 64.3% vs. 59.8%
  • Birdies per tournament: 16.4 vs. 13.6
  • Adjusted strokes on par 3s: -2.2 vs. -1.2
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -0.2 vs. +0.4
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -4.8 vs. -4.2

The biggest thing drawing me to Oosty is his Adj Rd Score is 1.2 strokes better than Leishman’s over the past six weeks, and he’s averaging almost three more birdies per tournament. Leishman managed a 19th-place finish last week at the BMW, but he still lost 1.9 strokes on approach, while he gained 6.7 strokes with his putting, per Fantasy National.

Overall, Oosthuizen is simply striking it better than Leishman right now, hitting more greens and fairways over this time frame. Additionally, Oosthuizen’s approach game has been on point over his last two tournaments, gaining 5.5 and 9.3 strokes on approach at the BMW and Northern Trust.

Dr. Lou Riccio*

The Bet: Tony Finau Top-10 Finish (+175)

He’s a tee-to-green machine. The only thing that will cause pause will be his putting on Bermuda. But as Finau showed yet again last week, losing almost four strokes on the greens last week, but still finishing T-4, Finau can be a factor despite losing ground on the putting surface.

Dr. Lou Riccio, a PhD senior lecturer, teaches rational decision making at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and has served on the USGA’s handicap research team for three decades. More of his predictive analysis can be found over at Golf Digest.

Bryan Mears

The Bet: Rory McIlroy DFS Cash-Game Lock

Rory is five shots back of Justin Thomas to begin the tournament, but that is more than factored into his salary of $10,600, which is nearly a $5k discount from JT.

Rory can obviously get hot and get back into contention, and his history at East Lake is hard to deny: He won here in 2016 and finished second in 2014. He finished seventh last year mostly thanks to poor accuracy off the tee, but that historically hasn’t been an issue for him at East Lake, and he’s been fine in that regard lately.

JT is worthy of a roster spot given his solid lead, but Rory is a little too cheap given the reasons above. Peter Jennings wrote about him as a chalk cash-game play (link to his report), and I agree.

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