The TOUR Championship Predictions
Date: September 24-27, 2015
Course: East Lake Golf Club - Atlanta, GA
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
With a schedule that sometimes feels endless, it is a bit odd to see the 2015 PGA Tour season actually come to a close this week in Atlanta with The TOUR Championship. The top-30 on the FedEx Points list will fight it out at East Lake and the winner of the Playoffs goes home with a cool $10 million. The FedEx Playoff format has come under fire for a variety of reasons since the playoff debut in 2007 but one really cool feature of the TOUR Championship is that all 30 players have a chance to win the playoffs this week. Now, some players have a much easier path to a playoff win but even #30 Harris English can win the FedEx Cup with a win at The TOUR Championship and a little help along the way.
The Top-5 entering the week - Day, Spieth, Fowler, Stenson and Bubba Watson - will all win the FedEx Cup simply by winning the TOUR Championship. Everyone else needs a win and progressively weaker finishes by those ahead of them to win the big money. With only 30 in the field, there is no cut and having only 29 other players to beat is about as good as it gets on Tour from a pure odds perspective. There will be plenty of great golf as all of these golfers have earned their way to Atlanta and all are certainly in win-at-all-costs mode with such a big prize on the line.
East Lake has held the TOUR Championship continuously since 2004 and Zach Johnson currently owns the course record of 60, shot in the inaugural playoff year of 2007. The 7,307 yard, par-70 course has a history of giving up good single rounds but not many have figured out the Georgia track for all four days as the last five winning scores have ranged from a modest 7-to-11-under par. That medium scoring pace leaves a lot of players in the mix through the weekend so no one is truly out of it unless they find themselves way off the leaderboard and having the Tour greats within striking distance of the leaders often makes for the best golf on TV. So the question remains, who will join recent champions, like Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker and Billy Horschel? Whoever it is will have left a strong mark on this season and a lifelong mark for a golf legacy.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites (5Dimes is the best) and highlight the players that we think are the best bets. We make some picks to win the event and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that are being offered at a variety of online sportsbooks. Here are our picks to win the 2015 TOUR Championship.
Bubba Watson (20 to 1 odds to win)
Jason Day is great and rightfully the #1 player in the world but he is getting like 3 to 1 odds to win this week and that is bad value unless you are only betting him and him alone so lets look a little deeper for some better value and Bubba is right up front. Watson has had an absurd nine top-10 finishes in just 16 made cuts, including four such finishes in his last six starts. He is massive off the tee and hits enough greens to be the best tee-to-green player on Tour. It is pretty simple after that, if he putts well, he contends. He is statistically average on the greens but that is commonplace for those players that hit a ton of greens. He is top-4 in both birdie and scoring average and is somewhat under the radar as a true contender so he won’t get the distracting galleries or press room questions until he hits the top of the board.
Matt Kuchar (40 to 1)
You could easily say that Kuch has had a tough 2015 as he hasn’t recorded a win but the happy-go-lucky veteran has missed just one cut in 24 starts and that came all the way back in May. It is true that the season hasn’t been superb but he does have four top-10 runs in his last seven starts and he is just the kind of steady player in wade through this short field and grab a win. He is rather unimpressive 75th in both greens and fairways hit but he is devilishly close to the magic 65% both categories that he clocks in at 23rd best in overall tee-to-green performance. If he has even a minor uptick there and a good week on the greens then he will be right in the mix come the weekend.
Charley Hoffman (66 to 1)
Oh, Charley. You look so good with those hefty longshot odds and a talent for knocking down birdies, can you not just pay off one week? Hoffman nearly paid a big amount a few weeks back but just missed with a 3rd at the Deutsche. That finish was enough to get him here and was his 4th top-3 finish on the year. No one will say he is untalented, but does he have the complete package to win against a stellar field? At a major, I say no but I do think he can best 29 other guys and he has the game to do so. Hoffman is 29th in driving distance so he can attack any course and he is also a top-30 putter so he is a good book-end player. He is good enough for 36th in the all-around so there are no glaring holes on his sheet but he does struggle at times and gives back too many shots when he is off. I know he can score with anyone in this field, if he manages to turn a few bogeys into pars, he can surprise this week.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and prop bets.
Jordan Spieth v. Henrik Stenson (pick to win: Stenson)
This just in, Jordan Spieth is not going to top-5 in every tournament he enters. It did seem that way for a while but a recent downturn in performance has taken just a little shine off the wonderkid. Honestly, a bit of a dry spell was predicted as all those TV appearances and sponsor shmoozes start to erode concentration and he should absolutely enjoy a bit of a mental break anyway. That said, it is hard to kickstart that engine back automatically and I doubt Jordan is going to be the stellar version of himself in Atlanta. Stenson is best on Tour in greens hit and is longer and straighter off the tee than Spieth. Jordan has the clutch gene but that doesn’t count for much when you aren’t in those pressure situations. For what it is worth, the sportsbooks have taken Spieth off the favorite line in many head to heads and that is meaningful as plenty of people were willing to take -150 to bet him through the summer. That is bad for the books now and it means that you should take advantage of Spieth while he is in a mini-rut.
Paul Casey v. Patrick Reed (pick to win: Casey)
Given that there is no cut to give us some cheap head to head wins, we have to look at elite-level stats and how they come into play over four days. Casey is elite in greens hit as the 4th best player on Tour in that category and Reed is elite with the 11th best strokes gained-putting stat. I’m going with Casey this week as more and more greens hit over four days will tend to score better when the scores are medium-low. Reed’s putting prowess will be muted if he can’t hit greens often and even if he saves a bunch of pars, Casey should be holing more birdies simply by having more chances. Casey owns a slight edge in year-long scoring average and it comes almost entirely from the better accuracy into the greens. Expect that to continue this week. Another great place to bet on golf is 1Vice. Not so much because they offer special golf offerings, but that they offer a HUGE signup bonus which means FREE CASH in your betting account!
Good luck and good golf!