TOUR Championship 2020 Golf Betting Picks: Our Favorite Props, Outright Bets and Matchups (Friday, Sept. 4)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictrured: Webb Simpson
- The 30-man TOUR Championship begins on Friday afternoon with a staggered scoring format and runs through Monday.
- Read below to see our favorite outright bets, longshots, and player props for the event at East Lake, just east of downtown Atlanta.
The TOUR Championship features a 30-player field and features a strokes-based system, called FedEx Starting Strokes, instituted for the first time in 2019. The player with the lowest total score will win the FedEx Cup and be credited with an official victory at the TOUR Championship.
Here’s how it will work:
Dustin Johnson, the FedEx Cup points leader after the first two playoffs events, will begin the TOUR Championship at 10-under par. Jon Rahm will begin at 8-under, Justin Thomas at 7-under, Webb Simpson at 6-under and Collin Morikawa at 5-under.
After Morikawa, the rest of the field is grouped in bunches of five and assigned the same score, based on the FedEx Cup Standings. There are five players who will start at 4-under, five at 3-under and so on, until we get to the players ranked 26th-30th, who will begin at even par.
The format for the 2020 TOUR Championship provides a unique opportunity for golf bettors. The staggered scoring system opens the door for some game theory. Do you want to pay up for the players with a headstart? Or do you want to go after a big price on a golfer who will need to make up some ground?
Here are our favorite outright bets, props and matchups for the FedEx Cup Finale at East Lake:
Webb Simpson +1000
I’m rooting for chaos.
Just like those who secretly (or not-so-secretly) root for every undefeated CFB team to lose in their conference championship before the playoff to promote full anarchy, I’m hoping for golf’s version of it this week.
Simpson was the lone player to skip last week’s BMW Championship, insisting he wanted to rest up before the season finale. You might now call that a poor decision, as he’ll start behind each of the world’s top-three players. Or you can call it a brilliant move, as DJ, Rahm and JT each exhausted themselves playing a brutally wonderful Olympia Fields course, while Webb rested up.
Either way, if he seriously contends or even wins this week, expect plenty of debates over the validity of a playoff which allows a player to skip an event and still claim the title. It’s very possible, though. Simpson owns three top-five results in seven career starts at East Lake.
It’s difficult to back anybody when they’re spotting strokes to a trio of superstars, but if you’re rooting for chaos, then Webb is clearly your guy this week.
Webb Simpson +1000
It won’t be easy to knock off DJ, Rahm, and JT this week; but if anyone can do it it’s Webb Simpson.
Webb has arguably been the most consistent player on tour this year while steadily climbing the OWGR to become the 6th ranked player in the world. Simpson loves Donald Ross designs and ranks 1st in the field in total strokes gained all-time on those courses.
There is a strong correlation with East Lake and Sedgefield Country Club, which Webb has dominated throughout his career. Additionally, Webb plays his best golf on shorter par 70 tracks with Bermudagrass greens, which is exactly what we are getting at East Lake.
After taking last week’s BMW Championship off, he should come in well rested and ready to win his first FedEx Cup Championship.
Daniel Berger 72-Hole Stroke Play Winner (+1800)
Note: The starting strokes do not count for this bet.
I have no desire to lay shots to Johnson, Rahm or Thomas. I also don’t want to pay up for those three at such low odds. So instead, I’m looking at the 72-hole stroke play winner market on bet365.
Berger is far enough up the leaderboard that I expect him to come out and play aggressive early and try to work his way into contention.
Berger may not have enough runway to catch Johnson or Rahm, but East Lake is a good fit for his iron game and he’s better on Bermudagrass, so I think he’s capable of playing as well as anybody this week.
Brendon Todd Top-5 Finish (+900)
Starting position: Tied for 11th
I’ll readily admit it: Through all of Todd’s midsummer title contentions, I didn’t love him at most of those venues. Some were better suited for longer hitters; others had especially deep fields. He’s continued to surprise and impress me, though, by climbing the leaderboard at tournaments which don’t necessarily suit him. All of which leads to this week, one which should suit him perfectly.
Back in his current hometown of Atlanta, playing on Bermuda greens, on a course which mostly doesn’t benefit length off the tee, East Lake should be right up Todd’s alley. Starting at 11th on the board, I can easily see him moving into the top-five based on a combination of physical skills and mental toughness – essentially, this is going to mean a lot more to him than it will to so many of the other superstars in this field.
I’ll bank on the combination of those things helping his top-five come true here.
Daniel Berger Top-10 Finish (-125)
Starting Position: Tied for 6th
I like Berger a lot this week, so it’s no surprise that he features in this spot for me, too.
This bet does factor in starting position, so with Berger starting the TOUR Championship tied for sixth, I like his chances here.
East Lake puts a lot of emphasis on the approach game and that is one of Berger’s best attributes. Even though Berger was a little off last week, he’s been one of the most consistent golfers on TOUR since the hiatus.
Billy Horschel to win without FedEx Cup Starting Points (+2500)
Billy doesn’t always get to East Lake, but when he does he performs. A former champion (2014), Horschel has a 67.83 stroke average at the course (second all time).
Growing up in Florida, Bermudagrass greens come second nature to former Florida Gator. Horschel also loves Donald Ross designs as we saw three weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship (second-place finish). He gained 6.9 strokes on the greens at Sedgefield Country Club, which feature putting surfaces extremely similar to what we will see at East Lake.
While it will be almost impossible to actually win the TOUR Championship with the added stroke bonus component, “Bermuda Billy” can absolutely shoot the lowest score for the week.
TOUR Championship Matchup Betting Rules
Golf matchup bets are simple: You are betting on which player will have the best finishing position in a given tournament. That rule doesn’t change for this week, though the odds will be skewed in some matchups because of the staggered starting positions.
For example, if you are betting on the matchup between Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, you are betting on which player finishes the tournament in a better position. If Rahm should 1-under and Johnson shoots even par, DJ still would win the matchup because he is starting the TOUR Championship at -10, while Rahm is teeing off at -8.
With that in mind, here are our favorite matchup bets for the 2020 TOUR Championship.
Xander Schauffele (-118) over Rory McIlroy
Starting positions: Schauffele -3, McIlroy -3
As I often write, I love bets which give you two chances to win — and this one certainly checks a couple of boxes. The first is that, despite McIlroy’s obvious success at East Lake, Schauffele similarly loves this track, with a win, a second and a seventh in his three career starts.
The second has less to do with either player’s performance. Rory revealed this past weekend that his wife, Erica, is due with their first child “any day now.”
He also intimated that should he get the call mid-tournament, he’ll WD and head home. We can use that information to our advantage here. As long as he tees off Friday, this becomes a valid bet.
If he plays nine holes, then heads back for the birth, Xander cashes the wager as long as he finishes upright and breathing on Monday.
Daniel Berger (-110) over Bryson DeChambeau
Starting Positions: Berger -4, DeChambeau -4
Both of these players are starting at -4, so there’s no stroke advantage to worry about here. Where I do see an advantage, though, is with Berger’s current form.
Berger and DeChambeau have both played seven tournaments since the restart and Berger has finished ahead of Bryson six times. The only time Bryson finished ahead of Berger was at the PGA Championship.
In addition to form, I think Berger is a better fit at this course. East Lake puts a huge emphasis on the approach game and that’s one of Berger’s strengths and DeCheambeau’s weaknesses.
Tony Finau (-125) over Scottie Scheffler
Starting positions: Finau -2, Scheffler -2
Tony Finau was excellent last week gaining strokes in all categories including +3.7 Tee to green. When Tony gets in trouble is when he gets a chance to actually win the tournament, which most likely won’t happen this week.
Finau has all the talent in the world, so backing him when he doesn’t have the added pressure of winning and can attack pins makes a lot of sense.