At this week’s 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind, in Memphis, who do the journalists and betting analysts like? Or the caddie? Or the old-school gambler? Gimme the facts, storylines and trends. Gimme that inside-the-ropes look. Gimme your gut feeling.
You bet, bettor.
Welcome to GOLF.com’s gambling advice column, where we’ve assembled a panel of those aforementioned experts to make three “best bets.” A real-life professional bettor here will then heed that advice, add his acumen and wager his own cash. It’s not unlike what you do through texts and Google searches — except now it’s all in one place.
Now, on to information on where to bet, some facts, the expert picks and the bettor’s best bets.
Where to bet on the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
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This week’s tournament: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.
TV times (all times ET): Thursday, August 5: 12-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Friday, August 6: 12-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, August 7: 12-2 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 2-6 p.m. ET (CBS); Sunday, August 8: 12-2 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 2-6 p.m. ET (CBS)
Weather: Thursday Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, 5 mph wind; Friday: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, 5 mph wind; Saturday: Partly cloudy, 93 degrees, 8 mph wind; Sunday: Partly cloudy, 94 degrees, 11 mph wind
Defending champion: Justin Thomas
Top 10 in odds (via betmgm.com): Brooks Koepka, +1,100; Collin Morikawa, +1,200; Xander Schauffele, +1,400; Dustin Johnson, +1,600; Jordan Spieth, +1,600; Justin Thomas, +1,800; Louis Oosthuizen, +2,000; Rory McIlroy, +2,000; Daniel Berger, +2,200; Bryson DeChambeau, +2,500
Brady Kannon, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @lasvegasgolfer
Bet 1: Harris English, top 10, +100. English is a Top 15 player in the world and in a field of 66-players, of which I give roughly 35-40 players a chance of winning outright, I will certainly take him at EVEN money to finish in the top 3rd. Accuracy off of the tee and hitting greens in regulation will be key ingredients and English ranks 32nd in the field in Ball Striking over his last 24-rounds. He’s 38th on Tour on Par 4’s between 450-500 yards, 3rd in the field in SG: Short Game, and 7th in Putting – again, over his last 24-rounds.
Bet 2: Daniel Berger, top 10, +160. I used Colonial Country Club and Pebble Beach as comparable courses this week, of which Berger has won at both – and he’s also won here at TPC Southwind twice. Over his last 24-rounds, he’s 13th in the field in Ball Striking, 4th in SG: Approach, 25th in Putting, and 30th in SG: Short Game. His all-around game ought to have him on the first page of the leaderboard.
Bet 3: Louis Oosthuizen, top 10, +160. Not many players in the world have been hotter than Louis Oosthuizen as of late. I believe he is going to break through shortly and this just might be the week. He’s rested, having not participated in the Olympics and ranks 17th in the field for Ball Striking over his last 24-rounds, 3rd in SG: Approach, 2nd in Putting, and 5th in SG: Short Game. I like all three of these players to contend for a win this week, let alone Top 10/20 finishes.
Wes Reynolds, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @WesReynolds1
Bet 1: Brooks Koepka, to win, +1100. Ordinarily do not like to take the favorite on the futures board, but this sets up well for Koepka. He seems to be over his knee injury and is one of the few top-end players that is rested from last week. Koepka won this event two years ago and has four Top 3 finishes in his six starts here in Memphis. He has four Top 5s in his last five starts along with a 2nd, 4th, and 6th in the last three majors. Other than Morikawa, who seemingly always leads in ball striking, no one is putting up better numbers than Koepka in that category.
Bet 2: Jason Kokrak, top 10, +350. Kokrak is having his career year with two victories thus far this season (CJ Cup and Charles Schwab Challenge). He rates Top 10 in this elite field for Approach, Ball Striking, and Putting.
Bet 3: Scottie Scheffler over Viktor Hovland, -110. Scheffler posted Top 10s in three majors this summer and has three Top 10s in his last five events. He also rates 6th in SG: Total over the last 24 rounds and 1st in Birdie or Better on Par 4s of which there are 12 on the track this week. Hovland is also returning from Olympic competition vs. a well-rested Scheffler.
John Rathouz, PGA Tour caddie and Caddie Network contributor, @rathouz
Bet 1: Dustin Johnson over Justin Thomas, -110. Neither of these two have had the sort of dominating years they are capable of. Each with a win, but both have posted far fewer T10s than we’re used to. JT is the defending champ after an incredible week last year with Bones on the bag and a 12th in his only other appearance. Now he’s rolling into town off the Olympics and DJ is fresh for a course he has two wins on, with two other T10s in eight tries.
Bet 2: Billy Horschel, top 10, +450. It’s getting late in the game for Horschel to check the Ryder Cup box he desperately covets and no better place to capitalize than TPC Southwind, where he has five T10s in nine tries. That’s a sneaky good stat for a guy that isn’t known for his ball striking. He must like the BBQ.
Bet 3: Webb Simpson, top 20, +120. Love that Simpson is coming off two weeks of rest into a money-making stretch for him (Sedgefield next week!). He and caddie Paul Tesori will be focused and no doubt had a game plan for improvement during the down time. Webb finished 12th and second in the last two editions at TPC Southwind and third back in 2014 to make for a nice finish card in seven showings. Plus money is easy money here.
The “old-school” gambler, an “old-school” gambler, @notthefakeW
Bet 1: Brooks Koepka, top 10, -110. Given his track record here, this feels like stealing. I’m not opposed to stealing.
Bet 2: Louis Oosthuizen, top 10. +180. Stealing? This is more like grand larceny
Bet 3: Jordan Spieth, to win, +1,600. Boy Wonder has been back on his game for quite a while now, with a win and multiple close calls.
The professional bettor’s best bets
Erick Lindgren. Lindgren, the 2008 World Series of Poker Player of the Year, has won more than $10.5 million in poker tournament earnings and is an avid sports bettor, (@EdogPoker)
Bet 1: Phil Mickelson, to win, + 1,000. Yes, Lefty was a train wreck at the Open Championship. But TPC Southwind was where he started showing life in 2020, a revival that culminated in his stunning PGA Championship win. I’m looking at this week as his back-to-the future.
Bet 2: Webb Simpson over Abraham Ancer, -110. Webb has a great history. He also has the benefit of rest, unlike Ancer, who will be winging in from across the world.
Bet 3: Louis Oosthuizen over Rory McIlroy, -110. No one has been in better form than Louis, who, like Simpson, didn’t make the trek to Tokyo.