GOLF

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

Rory McIlroy looks to reassert his dominance after ceding the No. 1 ranking. Who else looks like a good value in a loaded field at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational?

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 Invitational based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

After a week in the doldrums, we get back the elite fields we've grown accustomed to coming out of the layoff from the COVID-19 pandemic. TPC Southwind will host 45 of the top 50 players in the world, and in a short field with no cut, we are going to want to narrow our targets to the best of the best in each range.

We want to pinpoint the value at the top of the market, as all of the best golfers are so close now that it becomes a true guessing game for who will ultimately triumph in any given week. Eschewing the very top for a comparable player with a better payout is the most profitable strategy for these types of events.

For more info on TPC Southwind, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Rory McIlroy (+1200) - Six months ago, the question of who is the best golfer in the world would have been fairly straightforward. McIlroy is at the top right now, with Brooks Koepka (+3300) the only other defensible choice given his major championship chops and the fact that he wiped the floor with Rory at this very event a year ago. Injuries and inconsistency have pushed Koepka to the outskirts of the debate, and McIlroy has ceded the world No. 1 to Jon Rahm (+1000). But if we really have to pick among the best, Rory is the guy. His last four finishes in WGC stroke play events: fifth, first, fourth, and second.

Xander Schauffele (+2200) - Schauffele is always on the short list at WGC events, and he's finished outside the top 25 just twice all season. He is eighth on Tour in scoring average and ninth in birdie to bogey ratio, and his consistency should be rewarded over four guaranteed rounds to grind out scoring opportunities. He has been a frequent target in this space given his all-around game and, quite frankly, lack of luck to have not won already. According to datagolf's expected wins model, Schauffele ought to have won 1.32 events this season, yet his trophy case is noticeably bare. The win is coming sooner rather than later for Xander.

Value Spots

Viktor Hovland (+3000) - If you're a believer, you will happily take the young phenom at longer odds than his fellow wunderkind Collin Morikawa (+2500). The doubters will rightly point to the slew of major championship winners right behind him, but Hovland's trajectory is unshakably toward becoming one of the very best players in the world. He has more than held his own since the restart, ranking first in strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: approach, and fourth in total strokes gained, according to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club.

Tommy Fleetwood (+3500) - Still without a PGA Tour win, Fleetwood shook off the rust last week in Minnesota and will be locked in the next two weeks. He is one of the top players in the world but gets a huge discount in odds by virtue of his lack of recent appearances, and he is currently available at a shorter number (+3300) to win the PGA Championship next week despite the field being twice the size. If he plays well here, that number could get cut in half. We'll take the value at 35/1, but because we can't shake the fact that he always seems to fall just short, we'll capitalize on juicy odds for a Top-5 Finish (+700).

Long Shots

Sergio Garcia (+7000) - A T40 finish here last year basically sunk Garcia's stateside season, but he's actually played quite well since across both the European and PGA Tours. Since a missed cut at The Northern Trust ended his 2019 PGA campaign, he has six top-10s worldwide, including a T5 at the RBC Heritage a few weeks back. His putting stroke can be played to a laugh track at times, but the ballstriking has long been a strength and remains so even relative to the top players in the world. With the ascension of fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm (+1000) to world No. 1, don't be surprised to see the elder statesman come out firing this week.

Bubba Watson (+10000) - Watson was T9 last year in the first WGC event at Southwind, his first time at the course since a lone missed cut way back in 2007. He is undeniably a golfer who can pop at tracks he likes regardless of current form heading in, and good thing too because the form is very spotty. In his last six starts, he's lost an average of 2.17 strokes putting. That span includes four missed cuts. The six events prior, however, he gained an average of 2.8 strokes per tournament even with an ugly minus-4.3 strokes in that span. In a short field, we are getting a great price on a high variance player.