Josh Perry’s PGA TOUR Picks and Best Bets: Reed, Cantlay Have Betting Value at Tournament of Champions
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed
- The PGA TOUR returns on Thursday with the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Maui.
- Favorites have had a lot of success at Kapalua, so Joshua Perry has his eye on two players near the top of the odds this week:
After a few weeks off, the PGA TOUR is back for a nine-month marathon beginning this week with the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
Despite the name, the tournament had a little different invitation process this season. Usually, the TOC only includes the 30 winners from the previous year. But the TOUR decided to expand the field to include anyone who made the TOUR Championship. So we get players like Scottie Scheffler and Abraham Ancer, who will have the unique opportunity to pick up their first TOUR win on an event that is usually reserved for past champions.
Only Rory McIlroy and Tyrrell Hatton turned down a spot in this field, but Jim Herman will miss out due a positive COVID test. In all, the no-cut event features 42 players.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort continues to be the regular stop for this event. It measures 7,596 yard and plays at a rare par 73. The course boasts some of the widest fairways on TOUR to give the more inaccurate drivers a bit of an advantage.
Despite the length, we’ve seen shorter hitters play well here, so it’s not fair to say this is solely a bombers’ course. Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker all have wins here despite not being all that long off the tee.
But recently, it’s been a spot for the long-hitting stars to shine with Justin Thomas winning twice in the last four years, along with Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele.
Since everyone tends to land it in the fairway, this tournament becomes a birdie-fest for those dialed in with the irons.
If there’s no wind, the winning score can reach 30-under par, but if weather creates any issues, 14-under was good enough for a playoff last year.
With a small field comprised of many of the best players, Kapalua has been a favorites’ paradise. We have to go back to Jonathan Byrd in 2011 to find a winner larger than +2500 here. Since then, Only Reed (2015) and Schauffele (2019) were in the +2000 range as winners.
It’s easy to see why this is one of the few tournaments where I’m willing to target someone at a low number.
The usual guys are at the top of the board with Dustin Johnson opening as the +650 favorite ahead of Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm. They’re all great fits thanks to their length off the tee, plus DJ and JT have combined to win three of the last four TOCs and Rahm was a runner-up in 2018.
Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau round out the top-five favorites. Schauffele has the 2019 victory and was in a playoff against Thomas and Reed last year. Even though DeChambeau doesn’t have much of a track record here, his seventh-place finish in 2019 is his best result, he should be a factor thanks to his added length and solid putting.
This is a tournament where I find myself going back to Patrick Reed time and time again. Reed has a win and two runner-up finishes (including a playoff loss), so the course history makes him an attractive play at 20/1 (PointsBet). This is a course where his inaccuracy off the tee won’t come back to bite him, plus he closed out 2020 in great form with third-place finishes at Wentworth and Dubai to go along with his 10th-place finish at Augusta.
My only other play so far is Patrick Cantlay at +2000 (FanDuel). Cantlay hasn’t played since The Masters so he may be a little rusty, but he came in fourth at the 2020 TOC and did pick up a win during the fall at the Zozo.
It’s been a decade since someone from this range won, so it’s hard to get too invested from an outright perspective.
If you want to dabble with a play down here, Marc Leishman may be worth a look at +6600. Leishman’s form has been inconsistent since his win at Torrey Pines early in 2020, but he was 13th at the Masters and has finished in fourth and seventh in his last two starts at Kapalua.
If I’m not betting the mid-tier, I’m definitely not going to go into the triple-digits this week for an outright.
That said, the two guys that could be worth a top-10 bet are Martin Laird and Robert Streb. Laird does have a second-place finish at Kapalua and his driver is usually a strength, so this could be a spot where he pops up. Streb won his last start at the RSM Classic and finished eighth in his only appearance here.
For me though, this week is about grabbing one or two of the top guys.
The TOC Card
- Patrick Reed +2000 (1.65 units)
- Patrick Cantlay +2000 (1.65 units)
Total Stake: 3.3 units