A good week last week with two places at odds of 55/1 and 28/1 though sadly not the winner, but things are very different this weekend as we have just 30 golfers left looking to land the Fed-Ex title in what is effectively a handicapped event (despite the terminology they prefer to use). Once the rankings were finalised last week the starting scores were announced giving Scottie Scheffler a starting score of 10 under before he even hits a ball, two clear of Patrick Cantlay (eight under) with the other 28 fanning out to the bottom five who all start at Even par, meaning they will need to come up with something amazing to have any chance at all.
Luckily for us, the bookmakers are pricing up a minimum of two markets, giving us the chance to speculate on the winner overall and the best 72-hole score (without handicaps), and I am hoping that we can steal ourselves one last profit from the PGA Tour. The problem I can foresee is a mental one – will any player posting a good score give their all with a few holes to go knowing they cannot pick up the prize thanks to the handicaps – will they ease off the throttle when their chance has gone (in some cases, before they even start)? On the other side of the same coin, what will those on Evens do form hole one – will they settle in to their round and play percentage golf as the better handicapped can – or will they feel the need to go for everything from the off – regardless of the sense or not in their choice of club? It is a quandary, and something we need to take in to account, and the main reason why I am keeping my bets at the same levels regardless of the temptation of the prices.
On to the course, and we head off to the ever-popular East Lakes in Atlanta Georgia, and a par 70 measuring in at 7,346 yards, and where accuracy off the tee is key. The rough here is punishing (as it should be) with lightning-fast undulating greens – accuracy should come out on top over raw power here, but we shall see.
On to finding the winner – fingers crossed…
Selections with reasoning:
***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here accurately as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.
2pt Win Patrick Cantlay 4/1 Spreadex in the with handicap market (starts on -8) (5.1 Betfair)
Ok so 4/1 may not seem that big a price (because it isn’t) but the market is very skewed here thanks to the handicaps and I feel he may be able to get back the two shots he has to give to Scottie here. He arrives in great form after winning the BMW last weekend, won the overall event last season, and will play with a bit of pressure off thanks to the “rules”. The general consensus seems to be that this will lie between the two of them, but Scheffler’s position relies on spring form whereas Patrick is the man on fire at present making him the sporting option to become the first layer to record back-to-back Fed-Ex successes.
1pt each way Xander Schauffele 10/1 top 5 places Betfred (11.0 Betfair)
Looking at course form has served us reasonably well over the course of the season and at 10/1 I cannot resist – remember when looking at the shorter offs we are only talking about a 30-runner field for a change. He has played in this event five times, winning twice on the 72-hole score (ignoring handicaps), and coming home second, third, and seventh on the other three- meaning we would have collected four times out of five on the same bet. His scoring average here is 67.30, and he starts on six-under, suggesting he will feel he has a realistic chance of winning the tournament even after handicaps are taken in to account. That should put him in the right frame of mind (which as mentioned could be all-important here), and I am expecting a big showing – and a profit one way or the other.
1pt each way Tony Finau 16/1 top 5 places Betfred (18.0 Betfair)
The big man has suddenly come of age this season with wins at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the 3M Open as well as a second place in the RBS Canadian Open and three other top ten finishes. Last week’s BMW saw him start with an unsightly 77 which effectively ends his chances before that had begun, but he then hit scores of 68, 67 and 68 to come home 28th, and I wonder if he has slipped under the golfing radar a little. He sits fifth for the season in strokes gained tee to green which looks potentially telling here, and second in the last three months for strokes gained overall, and although he may come up short at the end of the day giving away strokes to those ranked higher, he could well land a decent return in the 72 hole score market, provided he can keep his focus once he realises his chance at the megabuck s first prize has gone.