2022 Tour Championship Odds & Predictions: 2 Betting Picks & 1 DFS Target
Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele.
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It’s hard to believe the season finale is already here, but golfers are set to tee it up at East Lake Golf Club this week for a chance to win the FedExCup and the $18 million first place prize. If you are unfamiliar with the setup of the event, let me give a quick refresher on how it will work. Based on the FedExCup standings, golfers will start with starting strokes that are meant to act as an advantage for playing so well throughout the course of the season. Here is where each golfer will start when they tee it up on Thursday:
In other words, Scheffler will step up to the first tee at 10-under par. From that point, the tournament will play out as usual and we will crown a winner on Sunday.
East Lake is one of my favorite stops on the PGA Tour because it is both challenging and fair. If you strike the ball well, you can certainly rack up birdies. If you hit poor shots, you are going to make a lot of bogeys. If you take out the starting strokes, the last five winners at East Lake have all finished between 11-under and 15-under par.
The course is a Par 70 that measures 7,346 yards. It is the longest Par 70 on the PGA Tour, but is not a course that can be overpowered off the tee. Distance certainly helps, but not if you are playing from the rough. The course features thick bermuda rough and tree-lined fairways, which places an emphasis on accuracy. Rather than distance or accuracy, I prefer looking at total driving this week.
The greens here are average in size and feature bermudagrass. They are lightning-fast (12.5 on the stimpmeter) and are quite undulating. Many golfers have noted the importance of keeping the ball below the hole in order to be aggressive on the greens. Water is in play on four of the holes and golfers will need to take advantage of the two par fives in order to contend this week.
Favorite Bet With Starting Strokes: Xander Schauffele +700
Even though Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay are starting ahead of the pack, their odds are tough to swallow. I’ll take the longer odds and go with Schauffele. He starts at 6-under par, so he has a little ground to make up.
However, he has the best course history of anyone in the field and it’s not even close.
Schauffelehas played here six times and has never finished worse than T7 (if you take out the starting strokes). He’s a good total driver of the ball, he’s good on approach, and he has an elite short game. He also comes into the event in good form after finishing third at the BMW Championship last week.
Favorite Bet Without Starting Strokes: Jon Rahm +900
I was tempted to bet Rahm to win this week, but starting seven strokes behind the leader is a big mountain to climb. Instead, I’ll bet him to finish as the lowest scorer over the course of the tournament.
The Spaniardaccomplished this task last year and there were some major positives to take away from his performance last week. He got off to a very rough start, but didn’t make a single bogey on the weekend and played his final 45 holes at 14-under par (best in the field). He’s first on the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Total Driving and Greens in Regulation, so this course clearly lines up with his skillset.
Contrarian DFS Play: Billy Horschel $6,900 DraftKings / $7,800 FanDuel
Adam Scott and Scott Stallings are going to soak up most of the ownership in the value range after both finishing in the top five at the BMW Championship. While this is the time of year to target form, I can’t stomach playing those two at 30% ownership.
I’ll pivot to Horschel, who has a win and a runner-up at East Lake in his career. We know he loves any and all courses with bermuda greens and historically, he’s been a very good total driver of the ball. The short game always seems to show up, so he could really surprise if he has a good week with his ball striking.
Good luck this week and we’ll see you back here for the start of the 2022-23 season!
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