Northern Trust picks to win: Who the experts and a pro gambler are betting on

At this week’s Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club, whom 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 Northern Trust

Looking to make a (legal!) wager yourself? We teamed with the online sportsbook BetMGM for this great offer: Get a Risk Free First Bet up to $1000, plus players who opt in and place a bet on any golfer to win the Northern Trust can get their stake back up to $25 if their golfer doesn’t win, but places in the top 5.

The facts 

This week’s tournament: 2021 Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, N.J.

TV (all times Eastern): Thursday, 2-6 p.m., Golf Channel; Friday, 2-6 p.m., Golf Channel; Saturday, 1-3 p.m., Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m., CBS; Sunday, noon-2 p.m., Golf Channel, 2-6 p.m., CBS

Weather (weather.com): Thursday, scattered thunderstorms, 81 degrees, 10 mph SSE wind; Friday, isolated thunderstorms, 86 degrees, 7 mph NW wind; Saturday, scattered thunderstorms, 84 degrees, 7 mph E wind; Sunday, isolated thunderstorms, 84 degrees, 7 mph E wind 

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson (at TPC Boston)

The sportsbook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
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Top 10 in odds (via BetMGM): Jon Rahm, +900; Jordan Spieth, +1,600; Collin Morikawa, +1,800; Dustin Johnson, +1,800; Xander Schauffele, +2,000; Brooks Koepka, +2,200; Bryson DeChambeau, +2,200; Rory McIlroy, +2,200; Justin Thomas, +2,500; Abraham Ancer, +2,800; Daniel Berger, +2,800; Patrick Cantlay, +2,800. 

Expert picks

Nick Piastowski, GOLF.com, @nickpia

Bet 1: Ian Poulter, to-win, +6,600. I think Kis won with the Ryder Cup on his mind last week. Let’s go with a similar thought this week. 

Bet 2: Adam Scott, to-win, +4,000. The odds are a bit down here after last week, but I’m going to go with the hot hand. Finished fifth here in 2019. 

Bet 3: Andrew Putnam, top 5, +4,000. Let’s give this underdog a shot. Finished tied for 12th here in 2019. 

Jessica Marksbury, GOLF.com, @Jess_Marksbury

Bet 1: Dustin Johnson, to-win, +1,800. There’s just something about DJ at the FedEx Cup playoffs — he seems to summon his best stuff! Not only is he a three-time winner of this event at various courses, these are also nice odds for the world No. 2.  

Bet 2: Xander Schauffele, top 10, +180. A gold medal, seven top 10s this season … bringing the tally to eight this week doesn’t seem like much of a stretch!

Bet 3: Adam Scott, top 20, +150. I’m totally digging Adam Scott’s resurgent play. He’s also a former winner at Liberty (2013). A mere top 20 this week? I’m sold.

Brady Kannon, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @lasvegasgolfer

Bet 1: Jon Rahm, top 5, +175. Rahm is the best golfer in the world, and it feels like the gap has been increased. Three of the courses that I see as similar tests are Pebble Beach, Royal St. George’s and Olympia Fields. Rahm won at OF last year, finished third at RSG at the Open Championship in July and took third at Pebble Beach at the U.S. Open in 2019. There could be some rust since pulling out of the Olympics with Covid, but I think he finds a way to a high finish once again.

Bet 2: Daniel Berger, top 10, +275. Berger has been a consistent top 10 finisher all summer. Using the correlated courses mentioned above, he took eighth at RSG in the Open Championship and has finished 1-5-10 in his past three trips to Pebble Beach. He also fared very well at this course in 2017 as a member of the Presidents Cup team. Berger is third best in the field in SG: Approach.

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Bet 3: Scottie Scheffler, top 20, +120. Scheffler has been consistently knocking on the door. With the majority of the par-4s on this course measuring between 450 and 500 yards, Scheffler ought to flourish, as he ranks eighth on Tour on par-4s of that distance. Like Berger, he, too, finished eighth at the Open Championship and recorded a top 20 last year at Olympia Fields.

Wes Reynolds, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @WesReynolds1

Bet 1: Rory McIlroy, to-win, +2,000. Even with a win earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, this has clearly been a down year for McIlroy as he continues to work on swing changes with Pete Cowen. However, he seemed to show the most progress in his past start, where he opened with a two-over 72 before closing with three-straight 66s to finish 12th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. McIlroy also led the field in Memphis for SG: Off the Tee and was second in driving accuracy, second for SG: Tee to Green and third for SG: Approach. He was also first in both total driving and ball striking at St. Jude. McIlroy finished T-6 at Liberty National in 2019. 

Bet 2: Patrick Cantlay, top 10, +250. Cantlay rates fourth on Tour in SG: Total and third for SG: Tee to Green. He is also first for scrambling and fourth in bogey avoidance. Furthermore, all four of his wins have come on bent grass greens, with three of them coming on pure bent grass. Cantlay’s short game has been a bit out of sorts lately, but he did gain 4.5 strokes on the greens last time at Liberty National, in 2019.

Bet 3: Daniel Berger, top 10, +250. Berger has three top 10s in his past four starts, including a tie for fifth two weeks ago in Memphis, where he ranked first for SG: Approach and third for SG: Tee to Green. While this is Berger’s first appearance at Liberty National in a stroke-play event, he was part of the Presidents Cup team in 2017 here and made the clinching putt for Team USA on Sunday.

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John Rathouz, PGA Tour caddie and Caddie Network contributor, @rathouz

Bet 1: Jason Kokrak, top 20, +240. Kokrak finished 12th (’19) and ninth (’13) the past two times the event was held at Liberty National. This time, he’s coming in with two wins on the season and is ranked 12th in the FedEx Cup and 25th in the world. Skyline Chili meat New York City skyline. 

Bet 2: Rory McIlroy, top 20, -110. McIlroy finished sixth (’19) and 19th (’13) the past two editions. Feels like he’s gaining consistency, having finished in the top 20 five of the past seven times he’s teed it up. Granted, a few of those were no-cut events, but this is a good course to show off his ball-striking and run near the top. 

Bet 3: Kevin Kisner, top 20, +250. Nice call by our man Nick last week, and I had him picked on The Caddie Line podcast as well ;). Two good memories at Liberty National for Kisner: He was a member of a winning Presidents Cup team (’17) and finished 12th two years ago. It’s a longer course for him, no doubt, and the debates on Kiz’s Ryder Cup merits are running rampant at the moment, but I like him as a guy to channel confidence and capture momentum. 

The “old-school” gambler, an “old-school” gambler, @notthefakeW 

Bet 1: Daniel Berger, to win, +2,800. With apologies to Homer Simpson, ‘Mmmmmm, Berger.’

Bet 2: Dustin Johnson, to-win, +1,800. If ever the No. 2-ranked player in the world could be considered a sleeper, this is the week.

Bet 3: Collin Morikawa, top 5, +350. The man wins in nearly a quarter of his starts. Is a top 5 too much to ask? It is not.

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: Hideki Matsuyama, to-win. +3,300. The public jumped off Hideki after his missed cut last week. Time to jump in on this great value play.

Bet 2: Jordan Spieth, to-win, +1,600. Hard to find a more consistent player these days. If he putts well, he’ll win.

Bet 3: Cameron Champ, to-win, +12,500. When he’s on, he’s on and very tough to beat. At these long odds, I love a guy with such a high ceiling.

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor