2022 Tour Championship Odds, Matchup Picks: 3 Matchups to Bet, Featuring Justin Thomas & Xander Schauffele
David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas.
Each week here at Action Network, I typically preview the best sleeper bets on the PGA TOUR, scouring the bottom of the boards for outrights that might have a chance to hit.
This week with the TOUR Championship teeing off at East Lake Golf Club outside of Atlanta, that becomes a difficult task. The TOUR Championship is now formatted with players at the top of the FedEx Cup Standings receiving a head start relative to par, making the chances of a longshot winner nearly impossible.
While many books will also let you win on this week’s winner ignoring the freebie strokes awarded by the standings, the tournament features just 29 players (after Will Zalatoris withdrew), whittling down any real value on a potential dark horse.
DraftKings, for example, is offering just six players with odds longer than +7500 to win the gross scoring throughout the four rounds, which is far from the dozens we usually have to comb through to find our sleepers.
Instead of digging for longshots this week, let’s turn to a betting format that meshes well with this week’s tournament a bit better – matchups.
With the top 29 FedEx Cup point-earners battling this weekend, there are plenty of juicy matchup options across your various sportsbook options. These three stood out to me as your best bets when looking for a winner on Sunday:
Adam Scott (+100) Over Sam Burns (BetMGM)
Experience on a course only gets you so far, but there is a chasm between these two players in terms of previous play at East Lake.
Burns made his first trip to the TOUR Championship last summer, posting the 18th-best score of the week. Scott, on the other hand, has played at this venue 11 times. In those 11 trips to Atlanta, Scott has a win and five other top 10s. He’s gained strokes on the field, one featuring the TOUR’s best, in nine of his 11 starts here.
Even better, his recent play suggests this isn’t just a nostalgia pick. Scott comes into Atlanta after finishing T5 in each of the first two FedEx Cup Playoff events. That marks Adam Scott’s first time finishing in the top five in consecutive starts on the PGA TOUR since 2018.
I’ll take the hot hand against the less experienced Burns.
Xander Schauffele (-115) Over Patrick Cantlay (BetMGM)
It feels irresponsible to bet against Cantlay given his impressive performance last week in Wilmington where he won the BMW Championship. That feels particularly true when he’s the underdog in this matchup.
Yet we simply cannot ignore how well Xander Schauffele has played at East Lake in his career. In five trips to the TOUR Championship, Schauffele has never scored worse than seventh-best for the week (ignoring the head start strokes given by the TOUR). In his five starts at this venue, Schauffele has gained at least 2.35 strokes on the field each time out.
So yes, if there’s a spot where it makes sense to bet against Cantlay as an underdog, it’s by nabbing Schauffele, who loves East Lake, has won two of his last five starts, and was T3 last week in Delaware.
His matchup at DraftKings comes against Sam Burns, but you’ll need to pay -250 for Xander. Stick with this better price, even against the hot Cantlay.
Justin Thomas (+116) Over Jon Rahm (FanDuel)
The reigning PGA Champion, like Schauffele, has taken kindly to East Lake Golf Club. In six starts here, he’s never finished outside the top seven (once again ignoring the free strokes).
While Rahm is no slouch and posted the second-best 72-hole score at the TOUR Championship last season, Thomas has consistently outperformed the Spaniard at this event. Both Thomas and Rahm have played in every TOUR Championship since 2017. Thomas posted the better score in four of those five years, with Rahm only edging Thomas in 2021.
Rahm’s performance thus far in the playoffs, where he’s quietly nabbed two finishes of T8 or better, are likely why he’s the favorite here, yet I like Thomas and the track record at this event to prevail.
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