The smart way to bet $1,000 on The Northern Trust, according to an expert

One of the smartest plays we’ve made at GOLF.com was to go all in on Erick Lindgren as our expert prognosticator. Lindgren is a star of the professional poker circuit, with more than $10 million in career earnings. But he has proven to be a shark at golf wagering, too, having chosen five outright winners already this year in our weekly picks roundtable (most recently last week, when he predicted Kevin Kisner at the Wyndham).

That sparkling track record inspired us to strike a deal with Lindgren: every week through the end of the 2021 season, we’re giving him a $1,000 gambling budget (just play money!). In return, he’s giving us — well, you — his five best bets for that week’s event. Here are Lindgren’s picks for The Northern Trust, the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which starts Thursday at Liberty National Golf Club, in Jersey City, N.J.

(Looking to place any of these bets yourself? We teamed with BetMGM, and the online sportsbook is offering a “Bet $20 to Win $100” promotion, regardless of your wager’s outcome, as well as a “Risk-Free First Bet” up to $1,000.)

Jordan Spieth to win, $250 at 16-1

Added length and a stellar iron game have been central to Spieth’s resurgence. So has plain-old steadiness. “He’s probably the most consistent player in golf right now,” Lindgren says. “If the putter gets hot, he will win.”

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Bryson DeChambeau to win, $200 at 22-1.

Big, bad Bryson has endured a lot of razzing by fans of late, but crowds in New Jersey would never do that, right? Wrong. Still, that’s no reason not to bet the guy. Even in the midst of a relatively rough patch, DeChambeau retains a huge advantage off the tee and remains, Lindgren says, “maybe the best golfer in the world.”

Hideki Matsuyama to win, $300 at 30-1.

In the wake of his missed cut last week at the Wyndham, much of the betting public has begged off Matsuyama. All the more reason to jump on, Lindgren says. “Where some people see a guy coming off a poor performance, I see great value,” he explains. Not only is Hideki a ball-striking machine, his putting improves more dramatically than any other player on Tour when the competition shifts to bentgrass greens. Guess what kind of turf Liberty National has?

Jason Kokrak to win, $100 at 66-1.

Despite a stellar season highlighted by two wins, Kokrak is still flying somewhat under the radar. “A quiet killer,” Lindgren says. Plus, like Matsuyama, he rolls the ball beautifully on bentgrass, an alluring trait for a sleeper pick.

Cameron Champ to win, $150 at 125-1

Lindgren cashed in big earlier this year when he picked Champ to win the 3M Open in Minnesota. He’s going back to the well this week. “I’m loyal to my man,” Lindgren says. What’s more, when he makes to-win wagers, Lindgren likes guys with a hefty upside. “And few guys have a higher ceiling than Champ,” he says.

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.