GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

A strong tee-to-green player, Justin Thomas offers serious value as only the fifth-biggest favorite of the week. Who else has odds worth targeting?

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below we will cover the best bets for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Classic based on current form, course fit, and, of course, the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook. The fun thing about small fields and no-cut events is how much more open those top end finishes can be. Many longer shots will get similar odds to 156-man fields when in actuality they have to beat fewer than half that many at this type of event. Finding those longer shots with a real chance is our value proposition this week.

For more info on TPC Southwind and the key stats this week, check out the Course Primer.

At the Top

Justin Thomas (+1400) - In a small, strong field, we can forego the highest odds and immediately find value in the next tier. It just feels like Thomas is close. Before his wrist injury at the Honda Classic, JT was listed as the first or second favorite week in and week out. He is one of the best tee-to-green players in the world, and throughout the mid-season swoon coming back from injury his performance really only suffered with the putter. He is third in strokes gained: tee-to-green and fourth in strokes gained: approach over his last 50 rounds, according to Fantasy National Golf Club. This may be the last week he is available at double-digit odds.

Xander Schauffele (+2000) - A strong field specialist, Schauffele hopes to bounce back from an ugly incident with the R&A regarding his driver at the Open Championship to get back to what he does best -- crush no-cut events. Xander won both the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Tournament of Champions this year, and has strong finishes in the tightened fields of the FedEx Cup Playoffs the last two seasons.

Value Spots

Jordan Spieth (+3300) - Keep scrolling past the Englishman with exactly zero career PGA Tour wins. Keep scrolling past the Aussie who hasn't won on Tour since 2016 and the Swede with two wins since 2013. If you squint hard enough, you might find a 3-time major champion with 7 top 30s in his last 10 events dating back to April. That might not sound like much, but consider that Spieth had failed to crack the top 30 in any of the 9 events prior to this recent stretch and that 3 of those finishes were a T20 at the Open, T3 at the PGA Championship, and a T21 at the Masters. It will happen again for Spieth, and in a short field at longer odds than he was at the majors the time is ripe for an investment.

Paul Casey (+4100) - In the primer we compare TPC Southwind to the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort, home of the Valspar Championship. Guess who's the two-time defending champion at the Valspar? Casey's top finishes overlap with Spieth's -- Jordan also won the Valspar (in 2015), and both have played well at the Travelers Championship and AT&T Pro-Am over the past few years. They get the job done in different ways, as Casey is an elite ballstriker while Jordan is a master putter), but the overlap is more than a coincidence.

Matthew Wolff (+6000) - Let's start off by saying this price is absurd in this field and that he has been a fast riser, opening the week at +9000. The key to betting outrights is crossing off the guys who don't actually win that often even if they are quality golfers. Also offered at this price are Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Tyrrell Hatton, two well-regarded Euro's with a combined zero PGA Tour wins or runner ups. Wolff, by contrast, has won events at every level over the past two years in college, as an amateur, and in the third start of his professional career at the 3M Open. His mantra that week was he felt he belonged with the pros -- now we'll get to see if he belongs with the big boys.

Long Shots

Bubba Watson (+8000) - Sticking with the Spieth and Casey trend, Watson was fourth at the Valspar this year and has won the Travelers three times, including 2018. Distance isn't a prerequisite to success at TPC Southwind, but as Dustin Johnson proved last year big hitters who find themselves with shorter irons and wedges into every hole can run away at this course. Watson has had a dismal year aside from top 5s at the Valspar and the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but he has more wins than lots of guys at shorter odds and it would be totally like him to bink a WGC and save his season out of nowhere.

Cameron Smith (+9000) - Smith fell victim to the same Sunday virus that infected most of the field, shooting 76 to finish in a tie for 20th at the Open. He was T29 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks prior, his first signs of life since February when he finished T6 at the WGC-Mexico. He is a streaky player who has won in the past year (albeit at the Australian PGA Championship).

Keegan Bradley (+9000) - Another Travelers connection, as Bradley was T2 at TPC River Highlands a few weeks back. Keegan is always a risk for a blowup, but he usually holds up his end of the bargain if he finds himself on the right side of putting variance. In an unprecedented feat (for him), he gained strokes putting in back-to-back events at the Travelers and the 3M Open. Bradley is unquestionably one of the best ballstrikers on Tour, as he is in the midst of his second straight season inside the top 10 in strokes gained approach and is perennially a leader in total driving and good drive rate. He has a great track record at no-cut events, highlighted by a win at last year's BMW Championship leg of the Playoffs.