2022 THE CJ CUP Updated Odds & Expert Picks: Jordan Spieth Can Parlay Presidents Cup Momentum into a Win
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Spieth.
- Jason Sobel breaks down his favorite plays for a variety of betting markets for THE CJ CUP.
- He has picks from outright winners to top-40 plays and even first-round leader.
- Check out his picks and analysis below.
Click arrow to expand 2022 THE CJ CUP odds via BetMGM
|Si Woo Kim||+8000|
|Byeong Hun An||+15000|
Irony of ironies, in the last PGA TOUR season with an official fall portion of the schedule, we’ve actually been treated to reasons why we should be paying attention on a weekly basis.
It started with the Fortinet Championship, where everyone’s favorite golfer-tweeter Max Homa successfully defended his title. One week later, the Presidents Cup wasn’t nearly the blowout many expected, and we were treated to a few breakthrough performances.
From there, Mackenzie Hughes putted his way to a playoff win at the Sanderson Farms Championship; newly minted superstar Tom Kim held off Patrick Cantlay at the Shriners Children’s Open; and Keegan Bradley won for the first time in four years, triumphing at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP over Rickie Fowler, who was attempting to break a similar drought.
Prior to the final round in Japan, I tweeted that Fowler’s presence on the leaderboard would be enough to help the event break into the public consciousness during an NFL/CFB/MLB weekend in October.
You might not believe this, but some tweeters took this the wrong way, explaining that golf’s popularity during this time of year can’t reach the stratosphere of those other sports and that TV ratings wouldn’t be massive for this one. I get it. That was never the point. I was merely suggesting that golf would at least be on the minds of many mainstream/casual fans, which is all the PGA TOUR can hope for during this period of the calendar.
All of which leads us to this week’s CJ CUP. Being played at Congaree Golf Club, this one is about as star-studded as it gets this time of year, featuring the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and a dozen other top-20 players.
We first saw Congaree in action at this level during a fill-in event last year, when it hosted a tourney called the Palmetto Championship, and Garrick Higgo defeated the likes of Chesson Hadley and Bo Van Pelt.
We’re almost guaranteed to have some of the big boys in the mix for this week’s event. No, it won’t completely make you forget that football season is simultaneously taking place, but it’ll at least follow the lead of other recent PGA TOUR events by claiming a little consciousness during a busy week on the sporting landscape.
Let’s get into the picks, starting with one player who would surely help this tournament’s visibility.
One player to win the tournament
Jordan Spieth (+2200)
Two weeks after the Presidents Cup, the International team’s most dynamic young star, Tom Kim, parlayed that momentum into his second career win at the age of 20. It can be argued whether Spieth was the U.S. side’s best player at Quail Hollow, but we can’t debate the record, as he became just the sixth player to post a 5-0-0 record in the history of the competition.
Perhaps momentum doesn’t carry a full month later, but we’ve got to believe he’ll still have some good vibes left over from that week.
That’s the narrative play for Spieth this week, but there’s a technical reason for backing him, as well. On a fast, firm course which requires creativity with wedge shots, I like the idea of playing one of the game’s preeminent wedge artists here. It'll be imperative for players to think their way around this track, which plays into the capable hands of Spieth, who thrives in a challenging environment such as this.
Then there’s the reason which is part-narrative and part-technical. Spieth’s most recent win came at the RBC Heritage, also in South Carolina, earlier this year. They’re certainly not exact replicas of each other, but if there’s a corollary course for Congaree, then it might be Harbour Town. Put all of these things together, and there’s plenty of reason to think Spieth can pull off a Kim and parlay that Presidents Cup energy into another title.
Potential selections for one-and-done pools
Sungjae Im (+1800)
I don’t care if you’re the PGA TOUR’s proverbial ironman and play just about every week, anywhere in the world. If you’re human, then traveling from Las Vegas to Japan to South Carolina for three weeks of tournaments is going to take a bit of a toll. I picked Im last week, and his T-29 result wasn’t anything to get excited about, but there’s reason to believe he’s had this one circled on his calendar the entire time.
From 2017 through ’19, this event was played in Im’s native South Korea. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented it from being contested internationally the past two years, as it went to Vegas instead, and it was no different this year, as the PGA TOUR was forced to scramble for a late replacement.
Enter Congaree, which put together last year’s Palmetto Championship in just 72 days. Even though the kimchi in rural South Carolina might be lacking, this remains a Korean-based event sponsored by a Korean company – one which just happens to be one of Im’s biggest sponsors, as well.
He’s not far from playing some extremely high-level golf, with top-15 finishes in his previous six starts before the ZOZO, so I don’t mind chasing last week’s disappointment with another chance here, especially with some potentially additional motivation.
Collin Morikawa (+2600)
Despite never having won a professional event previously, Morikawa served as the pre-tournament favorite at the 2019 Barracuda Championship and won from the 10-1 pole position. Since then, he’s owned plenty of similar pre-tournament numbers at PGA TOUR events but never won again.
Instead, his four most recent victories have come at 35-1 (2020 Workday Charity Open), 30-1 (2020 PGA Championship), 40-1 (WGC-Workday Championship) and 30-1 (2021 Open Championship). The point is, most of Morikawa’s early-career wins have come when we’ve least expected them. When his number drifts to bigger odds, that’s when he usually pays off.
As such, it’s important to note that he’s 26-1 this week at a course which might mirror a bit of Concession, where he won that WGC title. Though he didn’t quite have his best stuff at the ZOZO, where a second-round 64 wasn’t accompanied by anything else in the 60s, he’s alluded to finding his cut swing once again, which has made him one of the most proficient ball-strikers in the world.
I understand if you don’t want to burn him yet for OADs, especially at a relative unknown like Congaree, but I do think there’s value in the outright marketplace, too.
J.T. Poston (+8000)
Yeah, I know. Anyone can list Im and Morikawa as OAD selections in a fall event like this one. The reality is that most poolsters would rather dig a little deeper and save the stars. With that in mind, allow me to present Poston, who’s finished inside the top 35 in six of his last seven starts.
That doesn’t even include his victory at the John Deere Classic in the summer, which shows that he’s stayed in-form after his second career win. It’s no secret that Poston tends to play his best golf in Southeast-based events, and one in the Carolinas should hold a little extra special meaning for him. He’ll be a guy who finds his way not only on my OAD list, but betting card and DFS lineups, too.
Kevin Kisner (+15000)
Here’s another player who works for OADs but isn’t a bad idea for outright sprinkles at a big price, as well. Kisner hasn’t been shy in the past about knowing there are certain courses where he can’t win. (“I’m not going to win at Bethpage Black or Torrey Pines,” he said last year. When asked why he’d play those courses, he replied, “Because they give away a lot of money for 20th.”)
Congaree isn’t one of those courses. I get it: At something around 7,655 yards on the scorecard, it might not seem that way, but it won’t play nearly as long as that number. This one should be right up Kiz’s alley, so I like taking a shot on that massive outright number, not to mention playing him in OADs.
One player to finish top-five
Aaron Wise and Tommy Fleetwood
Sometimes I’ll list two players for a specific category because I like each of them to cash that bet. Other times, it’s simply a guesstimation hedge, figuring that if one of them hits, then we’re still winning. Consider this the latter. There wasn’t anyone at the top of the board whom I wanted to chase for a top-five finish, so let’s go a bit deeper and try two guys who have played well in the past on firm courses.
One player to finish top-10
Are we really doing this? I honestly can’t recall the last time I penned Day’s name in a preview column, but it legitimately might’ve been during last year’s West Coast swing. It’s been a long road of struggles for the former world No. 1, who’s down to 143rd in the latest ranking, though a share of eighth place in Las Vegas two weeks ago suggests he could be on the verge of finding something.
I don’t completely love it and will readily admit you’ll have to grit your teeth for this one, but if Rickie Fowler can post top-10s in two of his last three starts, then there’s hope for Day, too.
One player to finish top-20
The books hung a bigger-than-expected number on Moore, so we might as well take advantage of it. Coming off a T-12 in Japan, the PGA TOUR sophomore is another guy we should be targeting in Southeast events, as he’s shown a propensity for showing up at these tournaments.
In his last four Southeast starts, he finished T-24 (Mississippi), T-31 (Memphis), T-5 (Greensboro) and T-21 (Kentucky). In a smaller field, those near-misses for top-20s should equate to something inside this number again.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS lineups
Prior to last season, I wrote that the best comp for Sam Burns was Scottie Scheffler, who wound up clearly surpassing his buddy with four wins, including a green jacket. Even so, I’m still not sure there’s much of a differential between the two of them, which is less of a knock on Scheffler than it is a compliment of Burns’ talents.
With some other big names in the field this week, the LSU product could go a bit overlooked at the top of the DFS board, which places him firmly on my radar, especially for GPP contests.
A lower-priced option for DFS lineups
Much like last week’s event, this one is a limited-field, no-cut format. (If you’re a LIV Golf supporter, this is the part where you’re supposed to heckle the PGA TOUR for contesting these types of “exhibition” tournaments.)
Unlike traditional formats, where it’s imperative in DFS that we get as many of our six rostered players through to the weekend as possible, this one is a guarantee, which means there’s rationale behind creating a “stars-and-scrubs” approach to building a lineup, maximizing the ceiling potential of the biggest names, while knowing every player’s floor still includes 72 holes.
That said, I really don’t like that terminology. I don’t want no scrubs, a scrub is a guy who can’t get no love from me. Hodges has proven to be something more, with top-30 results in three of his last five starts following a solid rookie campaign. He ranked 53rd in Strokes Gained on Approach shots last season and is already 39th this season. I’ll take a shot that he can pay off as a low-priced DFS play this week.
One player to post the low round Thursday
In his last eight starts, Mitchell owns a first-round scoring average of 69.63, with five scores of 68 or better, including an opening 65 at the Shriners in his most recent appearance. I’m still extremely bullish on his long-term potential and think he can win multiple titles on the PGA TOUR over the next 10 months, but he hasn’t stepped on the gas pedal lately, with a half-dozen consecutive results outside the top-30.
For now, I’ll play him to get off to a hot start, with some more aggressive bets when he starts showing some four-round form once again.
One player who should beat comparable players
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+6500)
Something has been holding back C-Bez since he’s joined the PGA TOUR. Sure, there are some title contentions mixed in, such as his share of runner-up honors at the John Deere, but for the most part, his results are an amalgam of solid finishes without ever really climbing the leaderboard. Case in point: In his last four starts, Bezuidenhout’s results are T-29, T-20, T-39 and T-12. A lot of good, not a lot of great.
While most players preach trying to find consistency in their games, the reality is that professional golf more greatly rewards brief moments of brilliance mixed with poor results over a flatlined table such as this. We can, however, take advantage of his consistency in matchup bets, where we fade certain players against his baseline. At a venue which should reward creativity around the greens, Bez shouldn’t be too far from his usual solid performance.
Also Receiving Votes
Other players who should provide value
Matt Fitzpatrick (+1800), Maverick McNealy (+6500), Rickie Fowler (+8000), Davis Riley (+10000), Webb Simpson (+15000), Chris Kirk (+15000), Alex Smalley (+15000), Trey Mullinax (+18000)