FedEx St. Jude Championship expert picks: 4 wagers we really like this week
When Andy Lack gave us his picks for last week’s Wyndham Championship, we said, “Huh?”
As in, John Huh.
The former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year had not exactly been on a tear. In fact, he’d missed the cut in three of his previous five starts.
But Lack liked him anyway, recommending that we take Huh, at 2-to-1 odds, to finish in the top 40.
Talk about easy money. Huh finished T-2.
It was Huh’s strongest showing of the season, and another winning week for Lack, who also had Justin Rose in a tournament matchup against Brian Harman.
As GOLF.com’s expert prognosticator, Lack has been on a roll, and his hot streak couldn’t come at a better time, as the FedEx Cup Playoffs get underway this week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, in Memphis.
After a lull in the schedule, many of the game’s biggest names will be back in action, including current tournament favorite Rory McIlroy, who is followed on the betting board by world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Open Championship winner Cameron Smith.
Who does Lack have his eye on this week? We’ve laid out his four favorite picks below.
If you want to see where public opinion is leading, keep reading, as we’re also including data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that allows users to engage in the action through a range of games.
ANDY LACK’S PICKS
Outright Pick to Win: Shane Lowry (+4000)
Odds available on BetRivers
While an extremely popular bet throughout the season, it appears that the shine has worn off on Lowry. Priced in the +3000 range at the last few major championships, the world No. 24 has dropped into the middle tier of the betting markets, despite now traveling to a course that I believe suits his game to a tee. Lowry is one of the most accurate drivers of the ball in the world, an elite short to middle iron player. He also has a sterling track record of success on Bermuda greens.
Many will look at his ho-hum T83 last week at the Wyndham Championship as evidence that the former Open Championship winner is in poor form, but he actually hit the ball extremely well and fell victim to a faulty putter. I believe this is an excellent buy on a premier player at a course that accentuates the strongest aspects of his game.
Top 10: Corey Conners (+550)
Odds available on DraftKings
Conners charged up the leaderboard on Sunday at the Wyndham en route to a very quiet 21st place finish. While he was never a factor to win, his ball striking improved throughout the week. The world No. 31 gained 3.7 strokes off the tee and 4.5 strokes on approach and is now traveling to a course where accuracy off the tee and mid-iron play is paramount. I believe the Canadian will be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon in Memphis.
Top 40: Mito Pereira (+120)
Odds available on FanDuel
This feels like an excellent time to buy back in on an extreme talent. I put little stock into his back-to-back missed cuts at the Scottish Open and Open Championship, as links golf is a far different test than what he will face this week at TPC Southwind. The Chilean remains one of the most accurate drivers of the ball on the PGA Tour, an excellent mid-iron player, and a great scrambler. His number in the betting markets have plummeted due to poor recent form, but on deeper inspection, the World. No. 50 still gained over three strokes on approach at St. Andrews and is playing far better than his results would suggest.
Matchup: Russell Henley (-120) over Tom Kim
Odds available on DraftKings
Taking nothing away from Kim’s breakthrough win at the Wyndham, Henley still outplayed him from tee to green by a healthy margin. Kim struck the ball well, but his victory at Sedgefield was buoyed by one of the best putting performances of the last decade. Henley accumulated his top-five finish in a far more sustainable manner, gaining 2.8 strokes off the tee, and 7.8 strokes on approach, good for his best ball-striking week of the season. As in the case of Conners, I was encouraged to see that Henley hit the ball better as the week progressed, culminating in a Sunday where he led the field in approach. I expect Henley to carry this momentum into Memphis, while Kim will certainly experience some regression with the flat stick.
WHO GOLF FANS LIKE TO WIN
Nearly 500 users have already made their picks in Chirp’s free-to-play Trifecta game, a healthy sample that gives us a sense of public opinion. The Trifecta game calls for players to make three picks: a favorite, a contender and a long shot, all categories based on the Official World Golf Ranking. (Want to play for yourself? Click here!)
Here’s a look at the three top vote getters in each category, along with the percentage of votes they received.
Favorites (players ranked 1-20)
Rory McIlroy (27.52 percent)
Scottie Scheffler (16.28 percent)
Cameron Smith (14.22 percent)
Contenders (players ranked 21-60)
Shane Lowry (20.64 percent)
Tom Kim (18.12 percent)
Kevin Kisner (14.68 percent)
Long Shots (players ranked 61 and higher)
Davis Riley (22.94 percent)
Matt Kuchar (11.93 percent)
Gary Woodland (9.63 percent)