Tides’ Takes – PGA Tournament Matchup Picks, Props & Outrights: FedEx St. Jude Championship
ScoresAndOdds analyst Timothy Buell gives free expert advice and betting picks for the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship!
For the purpose of this column, I will be focusing mostly on H2H matchup, outright tournament winners, and live bets!
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2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship
Congratulations to all of the Joohyung “Tom” Kim backers last week. He shot a final round 61 to earn his first career PGA Tour win.
At the age of only 20, he is going to be a true superstar, and I look forward to watching him for years to come. Our outrights did not come to fruition, but we did cash both of our matchup picks, so it wasn’t a complete loss last week.
This week, we head to TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee, for the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The top-125 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings will compete to take home this coveted title.
Despite a few exceptions, due to some of the golfers jumping to the LIV Tour, this will be one of the strongest fields of the season.
TPC Southwind is a par-70 that plays 7,238 yards with Bermuda greens, which are 4,300 square feet. One important note about this course is that there are water hazards on 11 holes.You will inevitably see some big numbers throughout the week.
Ball striking is paramount on this golf course. You can get by with a poor putting performance, as long as your approach game is stout. Abraham Ancer, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka are the three previous winners at this course.
Accuracy off the tee is more important than distance. It is all about putting yourself in the right position off the tee and to have the right angle to the pin. Due to the smaller-than-average green sizes, there are very few three putts at this course, when compared to other PGA events. The majority of approach shots will come between 150-200 yards. We want players that have strong greens in regulation numbers from those proximities.
Free PGA Betting Picks
Justin Thomas To Win
- Current Odds: 18-1 On BetMGM
The strength of the field is so strong this week that I think that we need to get exposure to the top of the betting board.
Rory Mcllroy comes into this tournament as the betting favorite at 11-1 on FanDuel Sportsbook. No offense to Rory, but I think that is a hard pass. We then have a very strong group at the 16-1 threshold, with Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay. I personally don’t think Cantlay deserves to be rated this strongly in this class of field. So, for me, it has come down to Scheffler and Thomas at the top for my card.
Obviously, it’s hard to pass up on Scheffler, he really is the best player in the world, and will likely win first place in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
However, Thomas won this event in 2020, and it makes a ton of sense in terms of course fit. His biggest weakness is with the putter, which is just not as big a factor at this course as it is on other PGA courses. Thomas actually won this event in 2020 while losing strokes putting! Distance is also not as big a factor, so that decreases another edge that Scheffler typically has.
Will Zalatoris To Win
- Current Odds: 26-1 on FanDuel
Perhaps it’s because I haven’t bet Willy Z as much as the public has over the last couple of years, but I don’t have the same bitter taste in my mouth with all of the close calls that he has had.
This is the time I am ready to make a stand with him. He fired his caddie mid tourney last week and will have a new one this week. This course is going to reward accuracy and strong iron play. Willy Z fits those metrics perfectly.
This course has the ninth-most narrow fairways on the PGA Tour. You don’t want to be playing from the rough at this course. Bermudagrass rough is one of the toughest to control spin, while accuracy is integral. Willy Z has the rare combination of being long and straight, while being one of the best iron players in the world.
We have all seen Willy Z struggle with short putts from 2-3 feet and it looks like a case of the yips waiting to happen. However, he is actually a solid putter from 5-20 feet. As I alluded to above, we won’t be seeing a lot of three putts, due to the small greens. Willy Z will dominate from a greens in regulation and good driving percentage.
If he putts to a zero this week, he should be in the top 10 at the very least. I think this number is very fair. He plays strong fields the best and I think he is ready to finally break through to bring home the trophy.
Brendan Steele To Win
- Current Odds: 150-1 on Caesars
This is my long shot pick of the week. Let’s do .10-.25 units on the outright and do the remaining unit on the top-20 at +400. Steele is an excellent off the tee and approach. He should be able to make enough birdies to make a run at the first page of the leaderboard.
Brendan Steele Top-20
- Current Odds: +400 on DraftKings
He is my favorite value for a top-20 pick and he has the upside to contend to win. There is obviously massive risk to add him to your outright card, but I feel like I have to just from looking at what he excels at. In four of his last five events, Steele has had two top-10’s and with a 25th and 30th place finish. He did have a missed cut at the 3M. But that can be expected for such a volatile golfer.
Head to Head Matchups
Sungjae Im vs. Billy Horschel
- Pick: Im (-115, DraftKings)
This is exactly the same matchup I took last week and it was an easy winner. I am going to go right back to the well this week.
Im is a superior player in every aspect of the game and blows Horschel out of the water in terms of median projection. Im’s best putting service is Bermudagrass and his off-the-tee numbers are going to make him excel at this course. Im makes very few mistakes off the tee, which will be vital for success this week. Horschel does have random ceiling weeks that can be frustrating to bet against. If we avoid one of those, I think this is an easy head to head winner.
Chez Reavie vs. Keith Mitchell
- Pick: Reavie (+105, DraftKings)
This pick is more about course history and course fit, rather than raw projection and talent. This course fits Reavie perfectly, due to his tremendous ability to be accurate off the tee. Acros the last 36 rounds, Mitchell ranks 85th in good driving percentage and 54th in fairways gained over that same period. Reavie ranks 17th in good driving percentage and first in fairways gained over that same sample. Long term, I understand that Mitchell is a better golfer, but I think the odds reflect that. However, I am going to take a stab with the recent form of Reavie at plus money.
Official Betting Card
- Justin Thomas (18-1, BetMGM)
- Willy Zalatoris (26-1, FanDuel)
- Brandon Steele (150-1, Caesars)
- Brandon Steele top-20 (+400, DraftKings)
- Im over Horschel (-115, DraftKings)
- Reavie over Mitchell (+105, DraftKings)
- Chez Reavie top-20 (+280, DraftKings)