Dustin Johnson is the outright pick at +1800 with Caesars Sportsbook
Ian Poulter can grab a top 10 at +450 with DraftKings Sportsbook
Scottie Scheffler in his matchbet versus Patrick Cantlay at -110 with BetMGM
|The Northern Trust Information|
|Tournament||The Northern Trust|
|Location||Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, New Jersey|
|Time||Thursday, August 19 – Sunday, August 22|
|How to watch||Thursday 2pm & 9pm ET (Golf Channel), Friday 2pm & 10.30 pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday & Sunday 1pm & 10pm ET (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
It seems slightly incredible that this year will be the 15th renewal of the FedExCup, an event that instinctively still feels a bit new and also not quite right.
Because the awkward truth is that golf doesn’t really work like other sports.
It might do if match play were the format utilized, but the thorny problem for those charged with creating this seasonal finale is that they crave the excitement which volatility brings, but not if it means the best players aren’t involved.
So it is that the end-of-season process has been through different versions since the introduction of an enormous $60million bonus pool.
The latest sees the top 125 in the FedExCup standings play this week, the top 70 progress to next week, then 30 play in the TOUR Championship at East Lake where they start the week’s play with a staggered start, granting players nearer the top of the rankings an advantage over the rest.
This permits the winner of the final week’s activity to be the ultimate champion of the season. In one sense it works, in another, it is very different and somewhat clumsy. The favorite this week, as The Northern Trust returns to Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, is Jon Rahm. The defending champion is Dustin Johnson, who won by a mammoth 11 strokes last year at TPC Boston.
A year before that Patrick Reed claimed the title at this week’s venue which overlooks Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
It’s a brutal reality that the world’s elite loses form at times and that their price drifts as a consequence.
From the punter’s perspective we’re always looking to snap them up at a good price before the odds compiler is in on the fact that the player has a) rediscovered some form, and/or b) is back at a course that they like enough to bounce back to old levels of performance.
This season Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy have both won when playing on courses that they favored and at decent prices, too – Koepka was +4000 and McIlroy +1600.
Is Dustin Johnson in that sort of territory this week? I think he might be. The first factor is the way he is currently playing: five top 25s in his last six starts, two top 10s in his last three outings; crucially getting used to having his name on the top page of the leaderboard again.
Then there is the course form.
At first glance his results in Jersey City are merely so-so: T15th-MC-T24th.
But back in 2009 he closed out with a 64, in 2017 he top-scored for Team USA in the Presidents Cup, and in that latter strokeplay performance, he led the field at halfway.
With Caesars Sportsbook offering eight places, he’s the outright pick at +1800.
The column’s top finish selections are in a nice run of form. Two weeks ago Harris English landed a top five at +800 in the WGC St Jude Invitational, then last week Richie Ramsay grabbed a top 10 at +350 and Kevin Kisner also landed one at +500.
Let’s see if we can make it three winning weeks in a row.
We’ll do so with a golfer whose case is made up of a rather simple, but persuasive, a matter of excellent course and current form.
Ian Poulter has landed three top 10s in his last three starts: tied fourth in the Scottish Open and T10th in the WGC St Jude Invitational coming to either side of a respectable T26th at the Open.
That’s solid form and it’s the same story at Liberty National. He missed the cut in 2013, but was tied ninth in 2009 and T10th in 2019. On both occasions he thrived tee to green and that’s been a key dynamic on this test.
Take him to make the top 10 yet again with DraftKings offering +450.
He hasn’t won yet, but Scottie Scheffler has done just about everything else since he joined the PGA Tour.
He was Rookie of the Year in 2019/20, he’s not finished outside the top 20 in the major championship since reaching the top level, and he’s been brilliant in the World Golf Championship, too: fifth in the Workday Championship and second in the Dell Match Play this year.
In the early months of Scheffler’s career, Patrick Cantlay was operating at a different level to him and so it proved in their head-to-head match-ups. In the first 20 tournaments they both played, Cantlay dominated 14-5.
But, since March, everything has changed.
Not only has Scheffler continued to thrive at the top level, Cantlay has also lost form. Scheffler leads 8-2 in their last 10 events.
He’s a man on the up and, while Cantlay continues to flounder a little, he can maintain that advantage this week.
He’s worth supporting at -110 in their match bet with BetMGM..
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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