This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
BMW Championship Betting Preview
The FedEx Cup Playoffs started off in dramatic fashion with Will Zalatoris picking up his maiden PGA Tour victory in a playoff, and this week the field cuts down from 125 players to the top-70 in the FedEx Cup Standings for the BMW Championship. The second of three playoff events is being held in Wilmington, Delaware, and features tournament favorite Rory McIlroy (10-1 odds), with Cameron Smith the lone player among the top 20 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking missing the tournament. Last year, Patrick Cantlay (25-1 odds) defeated Bryson DeChambeau on the sixth playoff hole at Caves Valley Golf Club for his fifth Tour win.
Wilmington Country Club is hosting a PGA event for the first time and will play lengthy as a par-71 (four par-3s and three par-5s) at over 7,500 yards. Unfortunately, we won't have any previous data to draw from so targeting players that play well from tee-to-green is always a good place to start, with an emphasis towards the elite drivers due to the length of the course. Three of the par-4s on the front-nine play a whopping 490+ yards and two of the three par-5s are over 630 yards. The rough is set up thick and players have a lot of longer, uphill approaches. Overall, I expect this to be a tough test with a winning score similar to what we saw this past weekend.
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These five golfers, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes from tee to green over their last 20 rounds.
- Tony Finau: 2.54
- Scottie Scheffler: 2.24
- Matt Fitzpatrick: 2.06
- Will Zalatoris: 1.90
- Brendan Steele: 1.86
Once again, we find Finau (14-1 odds) at the top of a statistical category when it comes to current form, as he followed up consecutive victories with a top-5 finish as a place where he's historically been mediocre. He's one of just four players -- Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris are the others -- that rank top-15 in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Approach this season. Much farther down the betting board we find Steele, who would certainly be a long shot winner and can't be overlooked in DFS contests as a low-cost option. His putting has been a major letdown where he ranks 196th this season, but the 39-year-old is still an elite driver where he's sixth in strokes-gained off-the-tee. We've seen him put up top-10s at the PGA Championship and the Memorial this summer, so he's capable of good results against elite competition.
BMW Championship Bets: Outright Picks
Scottie Scheffler (14-1)
Scheffler is coming off a disappointing missed cut last week, but his tournament got off to a terrible start after he lost 4.7 strokes on the greens in the first round. I expect the normally reliable putter to bounce back, and what a great spot for him to put to rest any doubts on who is the Player of the Year with Smith missing the event.
Collin Morikawa (20-1)
Morikawa has been a difficult player to figure out as he seems to either play really well or miss the cut. He at least won't have to worry about the latter since there is no cut this week, and his biggest weakness in around-the-green play should be somewhat negated on a place with large greens.
Shane Lowry (40-1)
Lowry's two Tour wins include a major and a WGC event, so it tends to be a bigger event when he wins. The oddsmakers are laying a generous number on him at 40-1 in a limited field, and his combination of length and accuracy off-the-tee makes him a strong dark horse this week.
BMW Championship Bets: Other Wagers
Top-5 Finish: 11-2
I'm not sure there's a hotter golfer on the planet right now than Kim, who has made seven cuts in a row that has included a win and four top-15s. While his win came against a weaker field, he did play well against strong fields at the U.S. Open and Scottish Open. He's gaining .69 strokes on approach this season which would rank 14th this season (only 30 measured rounds).
Top-10 Finish: 8-1
At a place where I think distance will be a key factor, it's hard to ignore the long-hitting Clark, who is fifth in driving distance this season. While struggling with inconsistency for most of his career, Clark has flipped the script this year, missing just one cut over his last nine events with a pair of top-10s.
Top-5 Finish: 12-1
Harman posted four rounds in the 60s en route to a share for third in the first playoff event, so he's clearly in good form. These odds are too generous for a player who is gaining shots in all four Strokes Gained categories and has posted six top-10s in 20 starts this year.
BMW Championship Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Cantlay may be the defending champion but that was at a shorter course, so this should be a much better course fit for McIlroy who is the better ball-striker of the two. Coming off a rare missed cut, I like a motivated McIlroy and a golfer who has been one of the most consistent out there this summer.
This is a surprising line to me as while Kim has more upside of the two, Stallings is gaining more strokes per-round total this season and has been hot lately with four top-15s in his last five starts. Kim is never a target of mine in matchups, especially as a favorite with three missed cuts and a withdrawal in his last seven events.
BMW Championship Bets: End of Round 1 Leader
Corey Conners (40-1)
Conners has been a disappointment this season, struggling to put four rounds together and recording just three top-10 finishes. That's not to say he can't get hot for one day, though, as on a per-round basis he's gaining a whopping 1.29 strokes off the tee and on approach combined. His elite driving play should suit him well in Wilmington.