Tour Championship expert picks: Who our staff thinks will win
Dustin Johnson will begin this week’s season-ending Tour Championship with a two-stroke lead over the next closest golfer and a 10-stroke lead over the bottom of the leaderboard thanks to being first in the season-long FedEx Cup standings. It will take even more for someone else to win.
It will take even more for you to win, too.
DJ is listed at +188, around 2-1, to win at DraftKings. Your $100 bet will get you a $188 profit. Last week, at the BMW Championship, where he was even coming off a victory the week before, Johnson was around +800, or 8-1, at most sportsbooks. Your $100 bet would have gotten you an $800 profit. Bookies have adjusted to Johnson “getting strokes.”
Across the board.
Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele, for example, are getting +2,220 odds at DraftKings – a healthy $2,220 profit on your $100 bet. Each has work to do, based on the pre-tournament leaderboard. You also have work to do. If your research (we help below!) tells you that DeChambeau, McIlroy, Morikawa or Schauffele is even better than their deficit, then bet them. If your research tells you they’re not (we help below!), then bet DJ.
The Tour Championship is being played at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Last week, our James Colgan picked Jon Rahm to finish in the top 10. We’ll let him kick things off. Who does he like this week?
“It’s a boring pick, but it’s the most likely outcome,” Colgan writes. “With a multi-stroke advantage heading into the tournament, I like DJ to finish things off on top.”
A quick refresher on our game. Thirteen members of our staff will make three $100 bets — to win, top 10 and a prop bet of choice — for each tournament from the Charles Schwab Challenge through the Masters in November. Each member starts with $4,000, and the odds will come from the DraftKings website. The first-place finisher will play a round of golf when it’s all said and done, and the last-place finisher is on the bag for the winner.
Our primary goal, of course, is to help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.
The picks (in order of money total)
Jessica Marksbury ($9,874)
To-win: Webb Simpson, +900. My go-to guy is only four shots behind DJ, has had a week of rest and has played well at East Lake before. So surprise, I’m picking him again! The odds for DJ, Rahm and JT are no fun — Webb has a good shot of winning this week, and his odds are just good enough to make picking him worthwhile.
Top 5: Xander Schauffele, +200. Xander has a great track record at East Lake over the past few years, and I expect that to continue this week.
Prop: Top 10, Brendon Todd, +350. I expect this UGA grad to feel right at home at East Lake, and with a start at T11 — and given his recent form — a top 10 doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch.
Sean Zak ($7,282.30)
To-win: Daniel Berger, +2,800. This is where the good juice is at, folks! Best player not named Dustin since the restart.
Top 5: Daniel Berger, +250. Couldn’t be more obvious!
Prop: Winner to par the 72nd hole, yes, +100. Love my chances with this one.
Nick Piastowski ($6,768)
To-win: Collin Morikawa, +2,200. He’s getting decent odds despite being only five shots in the hole.
Top 5: Harris English, +550. He’s getting decent odds despite being only six shots in the hole.
Prop: Top 10, Marc Leishman, +2,000. The recent results aren’t there, but the value is.
Jonathan Wall ($6,403)
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,200. Schauffele’s three Tour Championship finishes: 1-T7-2. That’ll do.
Top 5: Tony Finau, +450. Keeps contending but can’t seem to find the winner’s circle. Expect he’ll be in the mix once again.
Prop: Top American player, Xander Schauffele, +1,400. I’m taking him to win. Might as well pick up some prop cash along the way.
Josh Sens ($5,038)
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +2,200. With his wife due to give birth any minute, I assume Rory is busy reading “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.” What I’m expecting, meantime, is a return to the winner’s circle for a man who showed good form this past week in Chicago and has done it at East Lake before.
Top 5: Tony Finau, +450. I like the odds on Finau, who is coming off a sizzling final round at the BMW and should have some good mojo coming in.
Prop: Top American player, Billy Horschel, +12,500. He’s baa-ack. With his recent strong play, Horschel has reminded us that his FedEx Cup title in 2014 was no fluke. Sure, he’s still a long shot, but the tasty odds reflect that. More than worth the risk.
Tim Reilly ($4,850)
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +2,200. With all the chatter surrounding Bryson this season, it culminates with a Tour Championship victory this week. It might not be a major, but a win at East Lake will leave Bryson feeling vindicated for all his hard work.
Top 5: Scottie Scheffler, +700. Scottie is playing so damn well, and he’s going to cap off his rookie season with one last impressive showing.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +550. I’m looking for Bryson to come through in a playoff. Rahm will end up on the losing side of things this week. …
James Colgan ($4,388)
To-win: Dustin Johnson, +188. It’s a boring pick, but it’s the most likely outcome. With a multi-stroke advantage heading into the tournament, I like DJ to finish things off on top.
Top 5: Sungjae Im, +900. Somebody is going to make a run this weekend and launch themself into contention. Why not Sungjae, who seems to be rounding back into form.
Prop: Group D winner, Scottie Scheffler, +275. He’s playing the best golf of anyone in his group by FAR. These are great odds for Scottie this week.
Andrew Tursky ($4,200)
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +2,200. He hasn’t played great the past two weeks (MC and 50th), but he isn’t too far removed from contending at the PGA Championship and winning the Rocket Mortgage. After all of the hype around Bryson recently, wouldn’t a Tour Championship win be the perfect stamp on a weird season?
Top 5: Daniel Berger, +250. He cooled off just slightly last week with a T25, but Berger has been playing such great golf the past month that I see him competing down the stretch here with nothing to lose.
Prop: Hole in one in the tournament, yes, +600. Here’s to hoping everyone is firing at the pins on the par-3s this week.
Zephyr Melton ($3,530)
To-win: Dustin Johnson, +188. I’m going all chalk with this one. He’s been so sharp as of late, plus he starts the week with a lead. Tough not to take DJ at East Lake.
Top 5: Daniel Berger, +250. Outside of DJ, Berger has arguably been the best player on Tour since the restart. Every week it seems like he’s in the hunt. Look for it to continue at the Tour Championship.
Prop: Winning margin, two strokes, +400. I just have a feeling.
Josh Berhow ($3,263)
To-win: Dustin Johnson, +188. Jon Rahm had some nice breaks go his way at the BMW (OK, besides the whole ball marker thing), and I don’t see that happening again at East Lake. DJ already has a two-shot lead, and he’ll only add to it.
Top 5: Collin Morikawa, +250. He’s starting in the fifth spot already, and I’m thinking he’ll put together a sneaky good week and keep right where he is, if not move up a bit.
Prop: Winning margin, three strokes, +500. Like I said, Dustin’s already up two! Here’s to a three-shot win in Atlanta.
Alan Bastable ($1,960)
To-win: Justin Thomas, +500. This is the chalkiest pick I’ve made all year (four top-10s at East Lake in his past four starts for the world No. 3) but, gosh, do I need a W. It’s been a long, cruel season, and winter is coming.
Top 5: Daniel Berger, +250. Every week* I regret not taking him. Not this week. (*Well, I actually didn’t regret it last week, but pretty much every week.)
Prop: Top rest of the world player, Joaquin Niemann, +450. Got better throughout the week at Olympia Fields, culminating with a Sunday 67 and T-3 finish. No reason to believe that form will break at East Lake.
Dylan Dethier ($1,250)
To-win: Daniel Berger, +2,800. He’s been so, so good. His game tracks for East Lake. Dustin Johnson might not like this much spotlight this many weeks in a row, right?! Gimme Berger.
Top 5: Tony Finau, +450. Another surefire winner.
Prop: Top American player, Daniel Berger, +2,200. If he’s going to win, he’s probably going to be top American, right? Plus, this way we’re covered if Rahm takes the cake, too.
Luke Kerr-Dineen ($650)
To-win: Cameron Smith, +60,000. I need to make up ground. Who has the highest odds of winning this week? *Checks odds.* Cameron Smith it is!
Top 5: Marc Leishman +4,000. I need to make up ground. Who has the highest odds of finishing in the top 5 this week? *Checks odds.* Marc Leishman it is!
Prop: Top American player, Cameron Champ, +25,000. One more swing for the fences because why not? Also, in case you haven’t figured this out already, you should probably stay away from all my picks.