The 2020-21 PGA Tour season ends this weekend with the $15 million first-place prize for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The top 30 golfers from the season-long FedEx Cup standings are in attendance for the finale. Below, we’ll look for the best value prop bets in the 2021 Tour Championship odds, with matchups, placings and first-round leader PGA Tour picks and predictions.
Patrick Cantlay begins the Tour Championship at 10-under par as the top seed in the FedEx Cup standings. Tony Finau, who won The Northern Trust two weeks ago, is second and starts the week 2 strokes behind Cantlay at minus-8. Jon Rahm, who’s No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, starts at minus-6 from fourth in the FedEx Cup standings.
For full information on starting strokes, head to Golfweek.com.
Dustin Johnson will start the week from 15th in the FedEx Cup standings in his defense of the season-long title. Xander Schauffele was the low 72-hole scorer at East Lake GC last year.
2021 Tour Championship picks: Matchups (72 holes)
Xander Schauffele (-110) vs. Rory McIlroy
Schauffele and McIlroy rank 1-2 among those with at least 10 rounds played at East Lake GC in average strokes gained on the field per round, with 3.56 and 2.91 strokes gained per round, respectively. McIlroy is a two-time FedEx Cup winner, but Schauffele won here in 2017 and was the low 72-hole scorer last year.
McIlroy’s in better form off of a fourth-place finish at last week’s BMW Championship, but Schauffele’s course history can’t be overlooked. Schauffele (-110) is the pick in an evenly priced matchup with both golfers starting the week at minus-2.
Joaquin Niemann (+105) vs. Corey Conners
Conners tied for eighth at The Northern Trust before a T-22 finish last week, while Niemann went T-47 and T-29 in the first two playoff events, respectively. The Canadian is 21st in the FedEx Cup standings and the Chilean is 24th, but they will both start at minus-1 Thursday morning.
Both are evenly matched off the tee; however, Niemann has been the superior putter over the course of the 2020-21 PGA Tour with an average of 0.44 Strokes Gained: Putting per round. Conners is averaging just 0.02 SG: Putting per round for the season and lost 0.17 strokes per round on the greens last week.
Take the plus-money value in Niemann (+105).
2021 Tour Championship picks: Placings
Top 5: Xander Schauffele (+350)
Schauffele is beginning the week 17th in the season-long standings and 8 strokes behind Cantlay; however, he’ll need to make up a modest 3 strokes on pre-tournament fifth-seed, Cameron Smith.
Given his record at East Lake, the 2017 Tour Championship winner can make up that difference within the first round.
Top American: Tony Finau (+450)
Rahm is the pre-tournament betting favorite with or without starting strokes despite beginning the week 4 back of Cantlay and 2 back of Finau. American Bryson DeChambeau starts at minus-7.
I’m fading Cantlay this week, as he has averaged just 0.31 strokes gained on the field per round over 12 rounds at East Lake. Finau ranks seventh among all players with a minimum of five rounds played at this venue with 2.06 strokes gained per round. He needs to make up just 2 strokes on Cantlay and enters with a 1 shot lead over DeChambeau.
Finau comes in third by the odds in this 18-man pool as an excellent value two weeks removed from his first win in five years.
2021 Tour Championship picks: First-round leader
Jon Rahm (+650)
The oddsmakers are clearly expecting Rahm to erase his 4-shot deficit over the course of the week, but there remains value in the FRL bet, where he’s fourth by the odds.
He began each of the last two weeks with a share of the first-round lead at minus-8 after going 64-68-66 over the final three rounds of the British Open. He has averaged 2.18 strokes gained on the field over his 16 career rounds at East Lake, and he leads all golfers with an average of 2.57 total strokes gained on the field per round for the 2020-21 season.
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