GOLF

PGA Tour Betting Guide for THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. However, 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 select a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

We have a short field and a new course this week, two additional variables to contend with in our handicapping. What we know about The Summit Club is that it's long, measuring over 7400 yards and each of the par 5s measuring at least 550 yards. Add in three more par 4s of at least 480 yards and we have a certified bomber's track on our hand.

Birdies on those par 5s will be key this week, and we need plenty of distance to give ourselves a shot to cash in on those opportunities. We'll focus on good drivers as we build our card, and while distance is the emphasis there's something to be said about one of our shorter hitters still being up there in strokes gained: off the tee despite far less distance than others. That he also happens to be the best iron player in the world helps.

For more info on The Summit Club, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the numberFire course primer.

At the Top

Xander Schauffele (+1300) - The Olympic gold medalist lived up to his reputation in Japan, winning in a short field once again. He's without a PGA Tour win in what will be three years come January, and he hasn't won against a full field except in his first career win at the Greenbrier in 2017. He is far too talented a player for that to continue for much longer, and we'll continue to back him with confidence this season and hope he goes on a run. He's a West Coast guy with a game that fits just about anywhere, so a new course shouldn't be much of a concern. He feasts on par 5s as well, ranking 4th in birdies or better on par 5s last season.

Collin Morikawa (+1400) - The aforementioned approach king, Morikawa didn't mind driver-heavy courses when winning at TPC Harding Park or The Concession, and despite ranking 112th in driving distance last season he still managed to finish 36th in strokes gained: off the tee.

The long par 5s won't bother him a bit as he ranked 17th in birdies or better on par 5s last season, and as a Justin Thomas (+1300) backer at the Workday Charity Open in 2020, I still have nightmares of Morikawa's approaches from 200-plus yards leading to near tap-in eagles. And for all the unfamiliarity the field will face this week at a new course, Morikawa has no such concerns -- along with Maverick McNealy (+6500), he is a member here at The Summit Club.

Value Spots

Viktor Hovland (+2700) - Poor Viktor gained 5.4 strokes off the tee and another 5.3 on approach last week but gave back 8.9 around the greens. It is a true outlier outcome for a golfer to rank first off the tee and eighth in approach but finish in a tie for 44th (all stats from Fantasy National Golf Club). His short game can't possibly be that bad again this week, and we'll ride the ballstriking form as more sustainable given Hovland's long-term trends.

For all his talent he is still without a marquee win, though I'm sure many on Tour would gladly take his two career victories at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Puerto Rico Open. He's due to break through on a bigger stage, though, and with just 77 men to beat this week and good ballstriking form in toe this could be Hovland's week.

Abraham Ancer (+3500) - Ancer shed the winless tag with his victory in Memphis, another no-cut event. The driver is his specialty, and he put together some terrific birdie runs last season so we know he can go low early or charge from the back of the pack. I expect him to be fired up coming into Summit as he proves he belongs in the same breath as the Tour's elite, and he looks like a good value for First Round Leader (+4000).

Hideki Matsuyama (+3800) - Mostly missing in action after winning The Masters last April, Matsuyama started the young season strong with a sixth-place finish at the Fortinet Championship. He started strong with a 65 at the Shriners last week, but the wheels came off and he failed to break 70 the rest of the week. The ballstriking is historically his strength, and he's become an excellent player around the greens.

Putting is always a question mark, and we like him at a track like this where the wealthy Vegas visitors or members are not dealing with lightning fast greens. Despite the top 10 in California he's truly only sniffed the top of the leaderboard once since donning the Green Jacket, and that came at the short field in Memphis.

Long Shots

Gary Woodland (+15000) - Not long ago, Woodland was among the best drivers on Tour. He ranked 3rd in strokes gained: off the tee in 2018 then 19th in 2019, but he's lost his way and had just two top 10s last season. A missed cut to start the 2021-22 campaign is less than ideal, but unless you think Woodland is completely done just a couple of years after winning a U.S. Open we have to think he'll find a way to contend again. The golfers between 50/1 and 100/1 don't present quite enough value this week, so we'll back this 150/1 horse as our sole dart throw.