The BMW Championship Picks to Win and Head to Head Predictions
Date: September 14-17, 2017
Course: Conway Farms GC - Lake Forest, IL
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, Gold Handicapper, Predictem.com
We are down to the very last events for this edition of the PGA Tour season. Just this week’s BMW Championship remains before the top-30 head to East Lake to crown a FedEx and Tour champion. There may be not cut for the 70 players teeing it up this week but over half will see their season end at the completion of play, making for some high drama down the Sunday stretch. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas own wins from the two previous playoff events, putting them in very good position to win the Cup. There are plenty of mathematical scenarios that could happen but the easiest way to do things is to be in the top-5 at the end of this week and then win the Tour Championship. The winner at Conway Farms will be in that top-5 for sure and in good position to win that $10 million.
This will be the third time Conway Farms has hosted the BMW with Zach Johnson winning here in 2013 and Jason Day claiming the 2015 title. That 2013 edition is also famous for producing a 59 care of Jim Furyk. Day was playing so well in 2015 that he could have won anywhere but Johnson and Furyk’s success points to Conway Farms as being a shotmakers course instead of a bombers track. The 7,250 yard, par-71 layout features greens that slope back to front and side to side which demands accurate approaches to wind up on the right side of things. Position golf is key here as there are places where shots put just anywhere in the fairway will not be good enough to avoid negotiating the trees that line many holes. This course is a little more old fashioned than many of today’s newer layouts and that brings in the little things like creativity and guts into play.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best plays on the board. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that are featured at the offshores. Here are our picks to win the 2017 BMW Championship.
Paul Casey (16 to 1 odds to win)
Outside the two playoff winners, it is hard to be better than Casey over the last two weeks. Paul has T5 and T4 at the Northern Trust and Dell and looks to be a Cup contender. He missed only one cut this season and that came back in January at the Sony. The rest of the season has been a steady march of success with eight top-10 finishes but a win is still missing from an otherwise spectacular record. I think he can do well at Conway based mostly on his play from the tee where he ranks 12th in total driving and checks in at 5th in overall tee-to-green performance. His 25th best birdie average is great but his scoring average improves to 7th as he rarely gives away strokes and enters the week 6th in scrambling. His putter is about average as far as the Tour goes so that is really all that is standing in his way. If he has a good week rolling it, he should be a factor come Sunday.
Louis Oosthuizen (40 to 1)
Oosty has been a frustrating player to handicap and bet this season. Every time I thought he would be a good play, he fell flat and found a way to excel when it didn’t seem he had a good course matchup. He completed the “silver slam” by taking 2nd at the PGA Championship to own runner-up finishes in all four majors so he has brushed with greatness against the best in the world. Taking that next step is just about putting it all together and he might very well get it done at a course that should suit him. Louis is 34th in total driving and adds a slew of top-30 marks in scoring predictors like putting average and scrambling. It is tough to get around Conway without finding the sand at some point but Louis is 10th in sand save rate so that should not be an issue. The raw birdie average is not fantastic but Oosthuizen is 19th in scoring and that comes from being clutch both mentally and physically.
Francesco Molinari (100 to 1)
Sitting at 42nd in FedEx points, Francesco needs a strong week to make it to East Lake and he certainly could do so based on his accuracy numbers. He enters the week 7th in fairways hit and 9th in total driving so a good start to each hole seems likely. He is 7th in the tee-to-green metric so he adds a nice approach game to his driving ability and gets a lot of birdie looks as a result. Molinari is 74th in putting average on greens in regulation, which isn’t great but it isn’t bad either. He nets the 22nd most birdies per round and saves strokes well enough to 11th in scoring average. The totality of the stat sheet looks good but Franky will need to get hot and stay that way to snag a win.
Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Justin Rose v. Matt Kuchar (our pick to win: Kuchar)
Both players finished T10 at the Northern Trust with Rose also T10 at the Dell while Kuchar was back at 56th. I’m taking Kuchar this week as Conway Farms should reward his steadier style, especially when it comes to finding the fairways. Rose is ultra talented but has a tendency to be a bit more wild off the tee. He often finds a way to recover but this course is not an easy one to recover on and Rose will lose strokes to the field if he is crooked too often. Rose has a serious edge in birdies per round over Kuchar but both score at the same rate with Matt being the much better stroke saver. When in doubt, I like to take the steadier option when the course doesn’t favor the longer player. It is a tough pick anytime these guys go against each other but I think Kuchar is a stroke or two better this week.
Brooks Koepka v. Patrick Reed (pick to win: Reed)
Reed is 2-0 in this head-to-head during the playoffs and I think he goes to 3-0 as we hit the BMW. Neither player looks to have an easy time around Conway given their playing styles but Reed has been better lately and has been constantly improving after early struggles. Koepka broke out to win the US Open but has had many more ups and downs through the year and they have continued recently. Reed is the better scrambler and can always lean on one of the best putting strokes in the biz, even when he is off a bit from tee-to-green.
Good luck and good golf!