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Handicapping

Fedex St. Jude Classic Picks

FedEx St. Jude Classic Picks to Win
When: June 9-12, 2016
Where: TPC Southwind – Memphis, TN
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Betting Specialist, Predictem.com

With just one week left before Oakmont and the U.S. Open, this PGA Tour season is in full-stride. If you follow golf, you've already noticed the local qualifying for the U.S. Open taking place and plenty of players have already headed to Oakmont for some prep. The remaining PGA players have their eyes set on Memphis this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. A PGA Tour event in Memphis has been a fixture since the late 1950's and TPC Southwind has hosted an event since 1989. The week before a Major doesn't often see a super strong field but there are a good amount of contenders in play this week, led by former St. Jude champ Dustin Johnson and crowd favorite Phil Mickelson. Fabian Gomez defends his 2015 championship and it will not be a surprise to see a lesser known player get a win as the St. Jude has been kind to the Tour's journeymen on many occasions.  Names like Ben Crane and Harrison Frazar have won in recent years and there are old favorites like Ernie Els, Steve Stricker and Retief Goosen looking for that late career win.

TPC Southwind doesn't jump right to mind when you think about signature courses on the PGA Tour but this 7,244 yard, par-70 layout ranks as a top-10 course in terms of difficulty among regular Tour stops and has the ability to test players start to finish.  There are nearly 100 bunkers on the course and water in play on half the holes so poorly struck shots are going to be in trouble in a hurry. Winning scores have been in the mid-teens under par of late so shooting good scores is not uncommon but this isn't a venue that gives up birdies to average drives or approaches.  The par-3 at 14 measures nearly 240 yards and is routinely one of the most difficult par-3's on Tour. Getting out of that hole with a par is a tough feat and there are multiple holes in Memphis where par is a great score.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight our best bets. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at Topbet Sportsbook (Get a 50% bonus on your first deposit up to $250 FREE!)  Here are our picks to win the 2016 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Brooks Koepka (12 to 1 odds to win)
Koepka has had a nice year with just three missed cuts so far balanced against four top-ten finishes, including a third place and runner-up.  He has done well here in recent years with a third last year after a T19 the year prior. His top-10 driving distance is a plus stat at any course but it plays well at Southwind in setting up approaches with scoring irons. Brooks is pretty average elsewhere on the stat sheet but he finds himself inside the top-20 in both birdies and scoring so it all adds up to success along the way. He hasn't quite mastered the art of the up-and-down yet and can struggle with bogeys when he is missing greens but he is better than average in hitting the putting surface so that relatively poor scrambling stat is often hid by solid runs of ballstriking. Koepka has a little polishing to do before he realizes his full potential but a win this week is appropriately in his sights.

Gary Woodland (20 to 1)
It is tough to win on Tour and it can even be tough to get close to that winner's circle. Woodland has been model of consistency this season with just one missed cut in fifteen starts but he has just one top-ten to show for all those made weekends. His season best finish of 4th came just last week and he pushed to front page the week before with a T12. He seems to be trending in the right direction and he has made good use of his devastating length off the tee. Being so close after the tee shot helps net a top-30 greens hit mark and his putting has been good enough to produce the 20th best scoring average. While statistically average in many putting categories, Woodland excels in the short putting game, ranking 18th in putts made inside ten feet. If he is striping his approaches, it usually means a birdie. Given all his power, you might expect a high number of mistakes to go along with it but Gary is one of the few bombers that score better than the raw birdie numbers suggest. His short putting game is surely at the center of his steady scoring and there aren't many events or courses that he can't find a way to solve. He just needs to put it all together.

Colt Knost (30 to 1)
Knost has been a workhorse on Tour this year with nearly twenty starts under his 2016 belt. He has just one missed cut and his recent run of T3/T4 finishes at the Players and AT&T have him looking like he is on the verge of breaking through for a win.  In a 12th place finish here last year, Knost managed a stellar 64 but couldn't quite put together a serious run at the top. With a good idea of how to approach Southwind, Knost can take advantage of his serious accuracy. Colt is 2nd on Tour in fairways hit and winds up 11th in approach proximity. The guy hits it close a lot of the time. His putting shows up not only in birdie conversions but in par-saves as well and he is no worse than 28th in birdies, scoring, scrambling and strokes gained-putting. He's not quite a household name but that fits the bill well for this event and he does have all the shots necessary to make a run.

Head-to-Head Matches
Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check out 5Dimes Sportsbook for single round matches and prop bets.

Cameron Tringale v. Boo Weekley (pick to win: Weekley)
You are going to see a lot of matches this week with these middle of the road type players so it is important to focus on the right kind of factors. Neither of these players is long by Tour standards so their success hinge on accuracy and putting. Weekley has meaningful edges in both fairways and greens hit and that will pay off at Southwind where you have to be in control of the ball. Tringale has the better putting stats and that evens things out so both players are essentially equal in birdies and scoring. Taking the better putter is often a good betting strategy but it is not as if Cam is using that putter to net a great scoring average. I would rather side with the steadier ballstriking of Weekley and let the veteran find a way to have a good week on the greens at a course he has familiarity with.

Charles Howell III v. Harris English (pick to win: Howell III)
If you are looking for either of these players, don't start in the fairway as neither are likely to be there. Both players are firmly in the bomb-and-gouge camp but they have used that method to good success as they both sport top-33 scoring marks. Howell is a bit better at hitting greens however and while is a slightly lesser putter, he is a good scrambler and doesn't give many strokes away. English is a tough competitor when he has his tee-to-green game going but he has been spotty with his approaches and that is not something that will produce good scores at Southwind. Look for CHIII to have a solid week and eventually pull away with a more well-rounded ballstriking game.

Good luck and good golf!

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