2020 CJ Cup at Shadow Creek Sleeper Picks: Our Favorite Longshot Bets For the Tournament
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Bubba Watson
- After a lighter Shriners tournament, the field for the 2020 CJ Cup at Shadow Creek is loaded.
- Our golf experts have broken down their favorite longshot bets to win the tournament in Las Vegas.
- Check out our experts' full breakdown of their picks with complete analysis below.
The field for the 2020 CJ Cup is absolutely loaded. Fifteen of the top-20 golfers in the world are on the board this week and that should make for some drama, both on the course and at the betting window.
Jon Rahm, who opened as the second-choice at +1000, is now the tournament favorite with Dustin Johnson out of the field. Rahm hasn’t played since the U.S. Open where he finished T23, but the Spaniard was nothing short of spectacular during the summer months.
Rahm has plenty of elite company at the top of the board, including Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy. The in-form Matthew Wolff, fresh off his runner-up finish at the Shriners, is also listed among the favorites at +1800.
A star-studded event always makes finding a longshot winner tough, but the uncertainty about the course — this is the first time the PGA TOUR is playing an event at Shadow Creek — does add some volatility to this tournament. Could a sleeper break through and upset the odds?
Here are our favorite longshots for the 2020 CJ Cup:
Joel Dahmen (+17500)
I think before answering this, we need to ask ourselves a few existential questions: What is a sleeper? How many true sleepers are there in limited-field events? And most importantly, what do we wish to get out of our sleeper?
I’ll start with that last one. If we’re simply picking a higher-priced player to play some decent golf this week, then I believe there are plenty of options. If we’re picking a sleeper, though, who owns the ability to seriously contend for this title — basically, a high-ceiling/low-floor type of guy — then I think Dahmen qualifies.
He plays a ton of desert golf at home in Scottsdale (though I’ll admit Shadow is more oasis than desert) and he owns a propensity for going exceptionally low at times. If this turns into a birdie-fest, Dahmen, Jason Kokrak and Adam Long are guys who can keep up with the big boys when it comes to posting red figures.
Joaquin Niemann (+4500)
When you bet on Niemann, you are always going to be a little concerned about the putter. But the 21-year-old Chilean has posted field-average numbers on bentgrass, which is what we’re dealing with this week.
We don’t have much to work with since Shadow Creek has never hosted a TOUR event before, but it looks ball-striking will reign supreme this week and that favors Niemann’s skillset. It’s a nice bonus that we’re also on his best putting surface as well.
Shane Lowry (+9000)
While many players have taken time away from professional golf since the end of the 2019/20 season, Shane Lowry has played five of the last six weeks. Lowry noted at the Safeway Open that he had new clubs in his bag and even brought six drivers to test at that event. Needless to say, but it looked like Lowry was working on some things over the swing season.
After watching him finish T13 at the BMW PGA Championship — where he was the 36-hole leader — I am confident that Lowry is comfortable with whatever he was trying to iron out. He may have faltered over the weekend at Wentworth, but this is a player that has won a major and been in contention at numerous big-time events.
Lowry also has a tendency to be streaky, so I’m going to ride the good form we saw last week on him at a number that feels too high.
Bubba Watson (+7000)
Bubba has been playing some excellent golf of late. He gained 10.9 strokes tee to green at the U.S. Open, but struggled with the putter. In his past 24 rounds he ranks second in this stacked field off of the tee.
Shadow Creek is a long course that I expect will favor the golfers who are strong off the tee and can hit it long and straight. In these types of no-cut events, we usually see the big names with strong resumes win.
In an event where I don’t see the winner being a longshot, I will take the guy who has some actual win equity.