Barracuda Championship Odds & Picks: Your Guide To Betting This Alternate Event
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Davis
While the top names battle it out at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the rest of the tour will look to grab an elusive spot in the PGA Championship at this week’s Barracuda Championship.
With the FedEx Cup playoff events also looming in a few weeks, a win at the Barracuda will also put a player further down the standings in a more comfortable position and also guarantee tour status for the next two seasons.
The Barracuda is also the lone event on the calendar that uses the Modified Stableford scoring system — an albatross gains eight points, an eagle five, a birdie two, a par zero, a bogey loses one and a double or worse loses three. This style promotes more aggressive play since the reward for a birdie is twice as big as the penalty for a bogey.
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The event remains at Lake Tahoe, but will take place at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood course after being played at Montreux for many years.
The new course is a Jack Nicklaus design and measures 7,390 yards for a par 71, but given the altitude, that effectively plays in the high 6,000s. I wouldn’t expect the players to find too much trouble here.
All the par 5s will be reachable for most of the field. There are also two par 4s that are drivable for the longer hitters.
Given how valuable an eagle is in this format, strokes gained off the tee with a lean toward accuracy and birdie or better percentage will be my starting points. Length will be key to create easy birdie opportunities, but the fairways are tree-lined on many holes, so players won’t be able to stray too far off the path. Water is also in play on six holes, so misplaced irons will be punished.
I’ll also give a slight edge to players more comfortable on Poa Annua greens that we typically see out west.
The Barracuda Championship Favorites
Russell Henley opens at the top and is the only play under +2000 this week, coming in at +1800.
Brendan Steele, Alex Noren and Ryan Moore are all right behind Henley at +2200.
Sam Burns and Patrick Rodgers made the card last week, and despite neither playing that well, they’ve both been slashed down to +2800.
I rarely bet anyone in the favorites range to begin with, and that will definitely hold true in an alternate field event. Other than Collin Morikawa a year ago, this field lends itself to winners from that mid-tier.
I’ll start with Matthias Schwab at +4000 (Bet365). He’ll be a very popular selection this week after leading the field in ball striking at the 3M Open. The Austrian also has experience adjusting his game to altitude in his home country as we saw the elevation factor into the opening pair of European Tour events over there.
Cameron Davis is another guy I like at +6000 (PointsBet). Davis was really starting to find his form in March and may have been hurt more than anyone by the shut down. He missed his first four cuts after the restart, but last week was one of the best ball strikers in the field and finished 12th.
Davis has shown he’s capable of winning away from the PGA Tour, taking down the Australian Open over Jason Day and Jordan Spieth in 2017. The 25-year-old has the talent to win this event and the form seems to be returning as well.
Next up is Chase Seiffert at +8000 (BetMGM). Seiffert is a great iron player and usually solid off the tee — qualities that will stand out in a weaker field. It will come down to his putter, which has a tendency to run hot and cold. But if it gets going, we know he’s capable of a high-end finish after taking fourth in the Workday.
I’ll also back Denny McCarthy at +8000 (Bet365). I tend to shy away from guys who ride a hot putter each week, but I’ll take a chance with McCarthy here. Having one elite skill can be enough to put you over the top in an event of this nature, and McCarthy’s putter is among the best in the world.
McCarthy is also coming off his best ball striking week since January at the 3M Open, so there are signs that the rest of his game is rounding into form.
My last guy in this range will be Austin Cook at +9000 (BetMGM). Cook is another guy who has struggled with the approach, but gained strokes in that category for the first time since January last week. In this range, and in this field, that’s the sign of life I’m looking for from a previous winner on tour.
I won’t go too deep here with a bunch of selections, but I do want to start with Kramer Hickok at +16000 (Bet365). Hickok’s ball striking numbers were great last week, especially off the tee, where only Sepp Straka gained more strokes. His short game was bad, but with the way he’s hit it at the 3M, I’ll take a chance that his putter can heat up at these odds in this field.
Barracuda Championship Picks
- Matthias Schwab +4000 (.83 units) [BET NOW]
- Cameron Davis +6000 (.55 units) [BET NOW]
- Chase Seiffert +8000 (.41 units) [BET NOW]
- Denny McCarthy +8000 (.41 units) [BET NOW]
- Austin Cook +9000 (.37 units) [BET NOW]
- Kramer Hickok +16000 (.21 units) [BET NOW]
Total Stake: 2.78 units