At this week’s Tour Championship at East Lake 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 the Tour Championship
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This week’s tournament: Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta
TV (all times Eastern): Thursday, 1-6 p.m., Golf Channel; Friday, 1-6 p.m., Golf Channel; Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m., Golf Channel, 2:30-7 p.m., NBC; Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m., Golf Channel, 1:30-6 p.m., NBC
Weather (weather.com): Thursday, mostly sunny, 84 degrees, 8 mph NNW wind; Friday, partly cloudy, 84 degrees, 7 mph E wind; Saturday, mostly sunny, 86 degrees, 5 mph E wind; Sunday, partly cloudy, 88 degrees, 6 mph WNW wind
Defending champion: Dustin Johnson (at TPC Boston)
Top 10 in odds (via BetMGM): Patrick Cantlay, +333; Jon Rahm, +400; Bryson DeChambeau, +500; Tony Finau, +700; Justin Thomas, +1,600; Cameron Smith, +2,000; Dustin Johnson, +2,000; Rory McIlroy, +2,500; Jordan Spieth, +2,800; Abraham Ancer, +3,300; Xander Schauffele, +3,300.
Nick Piastowski, GOLF.com, @nickpia
Bet 1: Xander Schauffele, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +1,100. He did this last year. And he’ll do it this year, too.
Bet 2: Sam Burns, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +2,800. He wants on the Ryder Cup. This makes his case.
Bet 3: Erik van Rooyen, top five (bonus strokes applied), +1,600. I don’t like the odds for this, but let’s play the hot hand.
Jessica Marksbury, GOLF.com, @Jess_Marksbury
Bet 1: Jon Rahm, tournament winner (bonus strokes applied), +350. I’m sticking with Rahm til the end. With only a four-stroke deficit, he seems like the player with the best chance of coming from behind to win this thing.
Bet 2: Rory McIlroy, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +1,000. McIlroy has some solid history at East Lake. And those are decent odds!
Bet 3: Justin Thomas, top five (bonus strokes applied), +200. With a starting position of T6, I feel pretty good about this one.
Wes Reynolds, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @WesReynolds1
Bet 1: Jon Rahm, tournament winner (bonus strokes applied), +350. Rahm should have won the Northern Trust two weeks ago. Over the past 24 rounds, he is in the top three for SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Total, SG: Short Game, SG: Putting, SG: Around the Green.
Bet 2: Rory McIlroy, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +1,000. Rory is a two-time winner at East Lake.
Bet 3: Scottie Scheffler, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +2,500. Scheffler was fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach last week at the BMW Championship, and he was also second here to Schauffele last year. This is also Scheffler’s last chance to impress Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker to be one of the six captain’s picks.
Bet 1: Jon Rahm, tournament winner (bonus strokes applied), +333. Let’s not overthink what this contest is. He’s been consistent all season, and at East Lake, he is the No. 1 player in the world and doesn’t have a FedEx Cup on the mantle. Starting four back allows Rahm to properly channel his restrained aggression. A top-25 percent bunker game on Tour will help.
Bet 2: Justin Thomas, top five (bonus strokes applied), +200. Starting tied for sixth in a 30-man field at a course he’s never finished worse than seventh. Motivated and not out of position to compete for the win, Thomas has the interest, patience and skill at East Lake to make a move. He’s 37th on Tour in sand save percentage.
Bet 3: Sunjae Im, top 10 (bonus strokes applied), +140. Has finished better every week for the past four weeks, starting in Memphis. Solid track record at East Lake despite a poor weekend last year after starting 68, 64. Jiving with his new looper since July. Only 61 players on Tour are better than h(im) out of the sand.
The “old-school” gambler, an “old-school” gambler, @notthefakeW
Bet 1: Daniel Berger over Scottie Scheffler for the event (bonus strokes not applied), +100. Even money. And easy money.
Bet 2: Patrick Cantlay, tournament winner (bonus strokes applied), +333. Let me get this straight. You’re giving me Cantlay. And you’re gonna spot me strokes?
Bet 3: Will there be a hole in one, yes, +600. The old-school guy has been on a rough patch lately. Time to take a flyer.
The pro 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: Xander Schauffele, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +1,100. The X-man is the prince of East Lake. Yes. it’s an elite field. But it’s also an elite field of just 30 guys. Great odds on this one.
Bet 2: Jason Kokrak, tournament winner (without bonus strokes), +4,000. Kokrak was a stripe show last week at the BMW. Just didn’t make any putts. I expect the laser-like game to continue.
Bet 3: Jon Rahm/Bryson DeChambeau quinella (bonus strokes applied), +1,400. Taking a page from horse racing here. Two of the best players in the world to finish one-two, with either guy on top. Love it.