2021 CJ CUP Best Bets: Odds & Picks, Including Outrights, Sleepers, Props & More
Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Smith (left) and Brooks Koepka.
2021 CJ CUP Odds
Click here to see the full odds board, courtesy of DraftKings.
|Harold Varner III||+6500|
|Si Woo Kim||+6500|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+13000|
|Kyoung Hoon Lee||+15000|
|Byeong Hun An||+30000|
|Han Byeol Kim||+40000|
|Seong Hyeon Kim||+50000|
Another week, another GolfBet best bets outright winner.
This week, the TOUR moves across Sin City to The Summit Club, which will host the 2021 CJ CUP. Meant to take place as part of the TOUR’s fall swing through Asia, THE CJ CUP has been moved stateside the Vegas for a second straight year due to the pandemic.
2021 CJ CUP Betting Picks
Louis Oosthuizen (+3000)
Jason Sobel: Perhaps my least favorite golf wagers are outrights on players to win for the first time. In no other aspect of betting would we find “value” on playing something that’s never happened before. It’s like betting 37 at a roulette table.
Now, I’m well aware: Oosthuizen has indeed won previously. He won the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, plus eight other European Tour events and a bunch of times in his early years on the Sunshine Tour.
That doesn’t tell the entire story, of course. If you had bet Louis outright at every single U.S.-based tournament he’s ever played, you’d have absolutely nothing. It remains one of the more baffling not-so-fun facts in golf. In addition to those aforementioned titles, he owns a half-dozen runner-up results at majors (plus two other third-place finishes) and has climbed as high as fourth in the OWGR (he’s currently eighth), but he’s never won on U.S. soil.
So … why here and why now? Glad you asked. First of all, today’s parity amongst the game’s best players has essentially created a revolving door of winners throughout the year. Of the top-20 on the OWGR, every single one of ‘em has won in 2021, except for – you guessed it – Oosthuizen. All of which dovetails nicely into the next reason I’m picking him. Simply put, he’s played too well to not have a trophy on the mantle. He finished 26th-2nd-2nd-3rd at the majors, has piled up 11 top-25s in 17 starts and hasn’t missed a cut.
Then there’s the final reason: Fresh off a T-14 in Vegas last week, he’s not only playing well, but motivated to claim that W – perhaps more than many of his peers in this star-studded field who already have those trophies from this year.
I don’t like making bets on things that have never happened, but in this case it’s just a matter of when, not if. Oosthuizen has been knocking on the door for an awfully long time. He’s ready for that U.S. win.
Cameron Smith (+3400)
Chris Murphy: Everything I have seen this week about the course at The Summit Club has me targeting guys who can go low across four guaranteed rounds, and have shown the ability to get hot on the greens. Cameron Smith checks all of those boxes for me, and he closed out last season showing the form of a player who can win at any moment.
The Australian fell just short of the playoff at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude, then followed it up with a top-four finish at the BMW. He’s a player with the approach and scoring ability to go really low, and his putter is often the hottest club in his bag. I don’t think distance will be a huge factor this week on a shorter Par 72 course being played at elevation, which will keep Smith in the running if he brings his good form that he had to close out last season.
Viktor Hovland (+2800)
Matt Vincenzi: When analyzing the leaderboard from last week’s event, it would be easy to say that Viktor Hovland didn’t play very well by his standards as he finished in a tie for 44th place. However, his finish doesn’t tell the whole story. Hovland ranked first in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (+5.4) and eighth in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (+5.3). His undoing was how many strokes he bled around the greens all week (-8.9).
Hovland’s game around the green has been consistently poor throughout his career, but even for him this performance had to be an outlier. His 8.9 strokes lost on the green is more than double his previous worst showing of -3.9 strokes lost. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now and expect his chipping and bunker play will improve this week.
In addition to his superb ball striking statistics last week, I think The Summit Club should be a much better fit for the Norwegian than TPC Summerlin was. Hovland has played pretty well of late of Tom Fazio designs. He finished 17th at the BMW Championship (Caves Valley), tied for 14th at the Japan Olympics, and third at last year’s Wells Fargo Championship (Quail Hollow).
At just 24 years old, Hovland is mega talented and I believe a major breakthrough to superstardom is at the forefront. A major criticism to this point in his career is his lack of ability to win an event with a strong field. A win at THE CJ CUP with many of the best players in the world in the field would go a long way in silencing the doubters.
Collin Morikawa (+1600)
Rob Bolton: As the pandemic rages, the location of the 2022 edition of THE CJ CUP is both unknown and probably unlikely to return to The Summit Club in Las Vegas. So many of the replacement sites since play resumed in June of 2020 have been one-offs; this one feels no different.
The significance of that trend shares a similar commonality with Morikawa.
He’s won five times on the PGA TOUR, but he wasn’t “allowed” to defend his first (Barracuda Championship, due to elevated status in qualifying for the concurrently contested WGC-St. Jude in 2020), two others (both Workday-sponsored stops) were one-time locations and both of the majors he won migrate.
The added layer, and easily the most valuable, is that he’s a member at The Summit Club. And as I detailed in my Power Rankings at PGATOUR.com, the mystery of the greens will benefit ball-strikers at least early in the tournament. Well, that only multiplies the attraction for Morikawa who is defined by his power and precision from tee to green.
Brooks Koepka (+3200)
Landon Silinsky: Koepka played really well on Thursday and Friday at the Shriners last week, but he absolutely mailed it in over the weekend when he realized he had no shot of winning. Koepka also attended the Tyson Fury fight on Saturday night so it’s likely he got minimal sleep, which led to a final round 73 on one of the easiest courses on TOUR.
The fact he’s playing this week in a no-cut event means he may be taking this event somewhat seriously, and we know what happens when we get a motivated Brooks. Any time he’s longer than 25/1, he’s almost an auto bet, but it also helps he’s won this event back in 2018, albeit when it was held at Nine Bridges in South Korea. His distance will be a nice advantage this week, and if he gets out to a fast start on Thursday watch out.
Tony Finau (+3000)
Bryan Berryman: Finau finally got the monkey off his back after winning the Northern Trust in August. With the “doesn’t win” narrative finally behind him, I expect him to explode in 2021-22. In the last 12 rounds, he ranks within the top 15 in this field in approach, putting, birdie or better percentage, greens in regulation, and driving distance. These stats don’t include his fantastic performance in the Ryder Cup, where he helped the U.S. team drub the Europeans. He’s in great form, and his skillset should fit the Tom Fazio design at Summit Club this week perfectly.
Talor Gooch (+6600)
Jason Sobel: For the last 3-4 years, we’ve known that Gooch is one of the game’s up-and-coming ball-strikers — maybe not a budding superstar, but a player whose strong iron game can keep him afloat most weeks. Over the past few events, though, we might be witnessing a guy who’s ready to improve in all other facets of the game.
With finishes of fourth and 11th in his first two starts of this season, Gooch currently ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, 14th in on approach, third in Around-the-Green and sixth in Strokes Gained: Total. Essentially, he’s turned himself into a four-tool player — and on weeks when his putter decides to cooperate, he can easily be a five-tool kind of guy.
Gooch is one of my favorite picks to make a leap into a higher tier over the next 11 months.
Currently at 63rd in the OWGR — the lowest he’s ever been ranked — I can easily see him well inside the top-50 with a first victory and initial trip to East Lake on his resume by the time this season ends.
Alex Noren (+8000)
Chris Murphy: This could be an interesting week for longshots. If the scoring is as low as I expect, I think we could see some less familiar names in the hunt for a win on Sunday.
Alex Noren is one of my favorites to get in the mix as I believe he is a more talented player than his price this week. He closed out last season showing some of the talent that had him as a top-20 player in the world at one point, finishing fourth at the Northern Trust and eighth at the BMW during the FedExCup Playoffs.
Noren is a guy who can get hot at times with his putter and has shown a heavy preference for the bentgrass greens will see this week. He has the upside with the flat stick that may be necessary to capture a win at THE CJ CUP, and I really like the odds we are getting for him all across the board at BetMGM.
Adam Scott (+7000)
Matt Vincenzi: Throughout his exceptional PGA TOUR career, Adam Scott’s preeminent skill has been his superb iron play. Having taken a fairly long break from competitive golf at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March-August 2020), that incredible skill set seemed to diminish. Finally, we are starting to see some signs of that returning. The 41-year-old is gaining an average of 3.9 strokes on approach over his last three starts, including 4.5 last week at TPC Summerlin.
One aspect of Scott’s game that has drastically improved over the past few years is his putting. Once considered a below average putter, Scott has become one of the most reliable putters on TOUR over the past few years. Additionally, in his past 24 rounds on bentgrass greens, the Australian ranks fourth in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. A hot putter can be tough to predict but a consistent putter isn’t and Scott has gained strokes putting in twelve of his past fourteen starts.
Although he is most definitely on the back nine of his career, I think the former Masters champ has a few years of elite play left in him if he plays on a regular basis.
Ian Poulter (+12000)
Landon Silinsky: Poulter played poorly last week at the Shriners, an event you’d think he would’ve had success at. That’s led to this number dropping all the way to 90/1 at what should be another putting contest this week at Summit.
The Englishman has finished inside the top 16 in all four of his starts at this event, even with it changing venues a couple times.
I like him to bounce back in a big way this week, as he was pretty good off the tee at Shriners but lost 1.99 and 1.38 strokes on the greens. That’s unlikely to happen again, as Poulter ranks second in this field in Strokes Gained: Putting across his past 48 rounds.
Patrick Reed (+8000)
Bryan Berryman: One thing we must keep in mind when betting on sleepers is that he must have legitimate win equity. In a field this stacked, it’s tough to find many paths to victory for the golfers priced further down the board this week.
While Patrick Reed has been playing some pitiful golf of late, he has legitimate win equity anytime he tees it up due to his boom/bust nature. As one of the best short game players on the planet, the path to victory is clear for Reed — he needs to find his ball striking.
Of his nine career victories, three came in tournaments following a negative tee-to-green performance. Reed is not incapable of figuring it out in one week’s time.
The former Masters champion is too talented to be priced where he currently is, and I’m willing to take a shot in hopes that he can find something to click.
Marc Leishman — Top 10 (+400)
Jason Sobel: After a pair of top-fives to start the new season, it’s clear that Leishman is on a mission right now. “It’s good just to be playing well, feeling good over the ball, seeing the putts go in,” he said after finishing in a share of third place last week at the Shriners. “It’s been awhile since that’s happened and for it to happen at Napa and then here again, it’s a good feeling.”
Internal motivation is a strange thing, and it’s a disservice to other players to suggest they own less of it than a guy like Leishman, but the combination of a somewhat disappointing previous season and hot start to this current one proves that he’s focused on proving something to himself at this time of year.
I might not bank on a third straight top-five, but I do the big Aussie for at least another top-10 this week.
Tommy Fleetwood — Top Englishman (+300)
Chris Murphy: One of the few bright spots for the European team at the Ryder Cup came in the form of Tommy Fleetwood, who showed some flashes of the player we expected him to be throughout the year.
Fleetwood was able to roll that right into his play at the Alfred Dunhill, where he finished 12th. He will have to beat out Tyrell Hatton in this market, who finished runner-up at that same event, but I think a low-scoring, four-round affair caters better to Fleetwood’s game. He’s my pick for this fun side market this week in Vegas.
Sergio Garcia — Top 5 (+850)
Matt Vincenzi: Sergio was at worst the second-best player on the European Ryder Cup team. He was spectacular from tee to green and actually made some putts while helping to propel himself and Jon Rahm to multiple wins while the rest of the team struggled mightily.
Garcia’s strong play at Whistling Straits wasn’t much of a surprise given his extraordinary Ryder Cup success, but what is making his performance stand out even more is how well he was playing leading into the event. He had a top-five finish in an elite field at the BMW Championship. That tournament was held at Caves Valley, which is a Tom Fazio design that I find to have a great deal of correlation to what we may see at The Summit Club.
Sergio has the power to reach the par 5’s in two and go for one or two of the shorter par 4’s, which should give him plenty of scoring opportunities this week.
Alex Noren — Top 10 (+600)
Rob Bolton: I was going to lead with Collin Morikawa for a Top 10 at +160 because it’s almost as if the house isn’t aware that he’s a member of The Summit Club in this 78-man field with no cut. Sometimes, when you bite on the bait, the line snaps and you enjoy a nice meal. Right this way, your table is ready.
That gimme aside, Noren, who is one of my Sleepers at PGATOUR.com, recorded top 10s in three of his last four non-majors on the PGA TOUR. He’s also fresh off a T12 at the Dunhill Links. It’s his only competition of the last month, so he’s physically fresh, too.
While the ball-striker angle plays on this track, the small-ball stud is a cut above the rank-and-filers who have that stock still set. It slots him in the same lane as Jordan Spieth, whose line for a top 10 equals Morikawa, but for whom I’m not recommending a ticket. Yet, the Swede arrives in better form than the American.
For the record, in case you haven’t noticed, while Noren qualifies a bit as a value pick, I’m gravitating away from them because of how few have delivered in my seven months contributing. It’s a learning curve that I’ve acknowledged and now compelled to share. Furthermore, I’m not the get-rich-quick type.
Give me the slow and steady upward angle over time, because even if I did reel in a big one, I’m going to continue to play along, anyway. That is to say that it’s more fun hauling in wins regularly than to spike infrequently, if ever.
Russell Henley (+115) over Tyrrell Hatton
Jason Sobel: There really wasn’t much which separated Henley from fellow University of Georgia product Harris English last season, other than the not-so-insignificant fact that English closed on a pair of Sunday afternoons and Henley didn’t.
That thin line becomes a massive divider, of course, when one player bursts into the world’s top-10 and makes his first Ryder Cup appearance, while the other is mired at 56th and needs a few good results to qualify for next year’s majors.
That’s not to suggest that they both don’t deserve their current place in the golf stratosphere –one of the great things about this game is the non-subjective results — but things do have a way of balancing out over time and I do believe that Henley is ripe for diminishing that divider between them.
As for Hatton, he finished in a share of second place at the Dunhill Links one week after the Ryder Cup, but I still don’t completely trust his game right now. Prior to that, he’d missed the cut in four of his last six starts.
I’m not so sure this matchup isn’t mispriced, to be honest, so I’d easily side with Henley at even-money.