Tour Championship Picks and Predictions: Who Will Win the FedEx Cup?

Jon Rahm will enter the Tour Championship four-strokes back from leader Patrick Cantlay.
Jon Rahm will enter the Tour Championship four-strokes back from leader Patrick Cantlay. / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Tour Championship is set to take place this week, as the top 30 golfers in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Standings compete for the $15 million first place prize.

This will be the third season that the Tour Championship will feature a handicap system, which means each golfer will start a certain amount of strokes under par depending on where they finished in the FedEx Cup standings.

For the full list of odds, as well as a further breakdown of how the strokes system will work, check out my Tour Championship odds and preview article.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into handicapping the event itself.

How to Handicap East Lake Golf Club

After watching PGA Tour golfers attack a bombers paradise that resulted in a birdie-fest at last week’s BMW Championship, we’re back to a Donald Ross designed course that will favor accuracy and ball striking.

Narrow fairways, dog legs, thick rough, and fairway bunkers will all be in play this week, typical of a Ross-designed course. We won’t see guys like DeChambeau be able to hit it a quarter-mile on every tee to take the bunkers and hazards out of play. Placement, rather than length, will take precedence at East Lake.

Something to keep in mind when betting this event, that golfers who will start at -2 or worse likely don’t have a shot at closing the gap on the top guys. East Lake Golf Club is a Par 70 course that can be tough to score on. You’ll want to focus on the top ten or so golfers in the standings when you’re deciding who to bet on.

With that being said, here are the five key stats that you should keep an eye on when handicapping the Tour Championship.

  • Driving Accuracy
  • Ball Striking
  • Strokes gained: approach the green
  • Scrambling percentage
  • Strokes gained: putting

Tour Championship Picks & Predictions

All odds listed below are via WynnBET.

Jon Rahm +375

Despite starting four-strokes back from the lead, Jon Rahm is set as the betting favorite, and for good reason. The No. 1 golfer in the world continues to play fantastic golf every single week. He stumbled on Saturday this past weekend, and Sunday the weekend before, but in an event that will only have a handful of golfers in contention, Rahm should thrive. He ranks first on the Tour in ball striking, seventh in strokes gained: approach the green, and first in strokes gained: total.

If anyone can close the gap on the leaderboard, it’s going to be the Spaniard.

Cameron Smith +2500

Cameron Smith broke my heart two weeks ago at the Northern Trust by losing in a playoff to Tony Finau when I had a 40/1 ticket on him, but I’m back on him this week. It’s surprising to see his odds so long this week, especially considering he’s starting in the same spot that Rory McIlroy did two years ago when he ran away with it despite starting five-strokes off the lead.

While he doesn’t exactly thrive in the ball striking or driving accuracy categories, his putting skills and ability to drain birdies can be enough to put him in contention. He ranks ninth in strokes gained: putting and second in birdie average.

He’s worth a shot at his current price.

Abraham Ancer +3000

Abraham Ancer will start at four-under par, six strokes back from leader Patrick Cantlay, but the Mexican has quietly been one of the hottest golfers on Tour in recent weeks.

He won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational a few weeks ago, and then finished T9 at the BMW Championship while being near the top of the leaderboard the entire week.

His game also fits East Lake to perfection. He’s the top golfer in the field in driving accuracy, while also ranking 25th on Tour in ball striking and strokes gained: approach the green.

He had an outside shot at winning this week, but he presents the best value among golfers who will enter the week at four-under par.

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