GOLF

Betting Guide for the TOUR Championship

Rory McIlroy will start five strokes behind the leader at the TOUR Championship, but he is worth betting on given his current form. Who else is a good value this week?

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 TOUR Championship based on current form, course fit, and, of course, the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook. At an event with starting strokes and just 30 players in the pool, we are either getting smaller than normal payouts for the middle class and basically no value on long shots whose "true odds" are to not only play the best over the course of the week but also overcome a starting deficit.

We'll review which golfers makes for the best bets for outright winner and first round leader, as well as a few matchups that we can take advantage of.

For more info on East Lake Golf Club and the key stats this week, check out this week's course primer.

Outright Bets

Brooks Koepka (+500) - Three strokes is nothing! Koepka will be starting the event at 7-under compared to Justin Thomas (+250) at 10-under, and Koepka comes at twice the odds of JT. Koepka had multiple stroke margins of victory in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship, and he beat Thomas by 10 strokes at the WGC (Thomas sat out the PGA with an injury). As we've seen over the past couple years, Koepka's A game is just about unstoppable. The $15 million top prize would be a fitting end to a terrific season for Brooks that saw three wins, including his fourth major championship at the PGA, and top 5s in each of the other three majors.

Rory McIlroy (+900) - Even further back we find Rory, who is wrapping up a terrific season in his own right. While Koepka shined more brightly at the majors, McIlory arguably had the more consistent season. In his 18 PGA events this season, Rory finished inside the top 10 a staggering 13 times (72.2%). Thomas, by contrast, had just six top 10s in 19 events. McIlroy will be spotting JT five strokes and Patrick Cantlay three strokes, but his high-end finishes throughout the year show he can navigate his way from behind and hold onto a lead if he gets one. McIlroy is on pace to finish the season first in strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: off the tee.

Webb Simpson (+3100) - Simpson will start at 4-under par, the same starting position as Jon Rahm, who is available for an unsatisfying +1400. Rahm is the superior player, but Simpson has much more appealing odds given the starting position. Simpson had three runner-up finishes, and his best weeks ran into dominant performances by Koepka (at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude) and McIlroy (at the RBC Canadian Open). His true odds to win from this starting position are slim, but he ranks thirrd in total strokes gained over his last 50 rounds behind only McIlroy and Cantlay, and he is the best putter in the field both overall and on Bermudagrass greens, according to Fantasy National Golf Club.

Lowest Round One Score (without Starting Strokes)

McIlroy (+1000) - Same reasons as above -- McIlroy has been the best tee to green player in the world this year. He has the highest odds to post the best first round, but he is still offered longer than his outright odds that factor in the starting strokes. He is more likely to post the best individual first round than he is to post the best week by multiple strokes over those starting ahead of him. These odds are similar to first round leader bets in a full field, and Rory only needs to beat 29 golfers to cash this ticket.

Tommy Fleetwood (+2000) - Fleetwood is always good for one white hot round every week, and given his starting spot at just 1-under par he will need to go for broke on Thursday to gain ground on the leaders. He has not yet shown an ability to close on the PGA Tour, but there will be basically no pressure on anyone this far back to actually win. He'll be able to swing freely and make shots with no fear of missing the cut or falling out of contention.

Matchups

Simpson (+110) over Patrick Reed (-148) - Reed has never shown much affinity for East Lake. Only Reed and Hideki Matsuyama have reached the TOUR Championship in each of the last five seasons, but Reed has failed to record a top 10 in any of those appearances. In the field of 30, Reed has finished 28th, T13, T24, 27th, and T19. His game had been terrific for the weeks leading up to his win at the NORTHERN TRUST, but he lost strokes tee to green at Medinah. Simpson has had the better season overall, ranking 6th in total strokes gained versus Reed's 24th. Even a two stroke head start for Reed won't be enough, and Simpson will finish ahead and cash the plus-money matchup.

Matsuyama (-126) over Tony Finau (-108) - Both of these golfers will start at 3-under par, making this matchup an even playing field from the start. Matsuyama has just flat out been the superior player this season, ranking 8th in total strokes gained to Finau's 36th. Hideki is 6th in strokes gained: tee to green in this field over his last 50 rounds, compared to Finau's 20th. Pay up for the favorite in this matchup.