The CJ Cup at Shadow Creek lured a prestigious field to the uber-exclusive Las Vegas course when it was moved from South Korea due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The limited 78-player field includes four of the top six players in the world, and three of them are among the pre-tournament betting favorites for good reason.
Jon Rahm (+800 by BetRivers.com) shot to the top of the list after world No. 1 Dustin Johnson was forced to withdraw following a positive COVID-19 test. Rahm hadn’t seen Shadow Creek before this week, but the No. 2 player in the world is coming off a break since the U.S. Open, and scores are expected to be quite low this week.
Justin Thomas is right on his heels at +900 by BetRivers.com. He has won two of the three previous iterations of this event, which were all held on Jeju Island in South Korea. More important, Thomas is coming off a T8 at the U.S. Open and a T3 in the Tour Championship. Thomas won the WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational in August, so the world’s No. 3 is showing up on the first page of leaderboards in marquee events.
Thomas was asked this week what separates the players at the top of the world rankings from the deep pool of extremely talented golfers around the globe. His answer? They’re more consistent and “know how to play bad better than everybody else.”
Rory McIlroy (+1200) would certainly fall into that category. He has struggled to put together four solid rounds since the PGA Tour’s restart in mid-June. However, he has still managed to make all 10 cuts during that time and is coming off a T12, T7 and T8 in his past three starts.
McIlroy’s odds are slightly longer at BetRivers.com than that of Xander Schauffele (+1100). Schauffele hasn’t won a stroke play event since 2019, but many analysts are predicting a breakthrough for the San Diego native.
Schauffele hasn’t missed a cut in nine months and has nine consecutive top-25 finishes. That includes posting the lowest score at the Tour Championship – won by Johnson due to the weighted starting positions – and finished solo fifth at the U.S. Open.
The Wolff is in Sheep’s Clothing: CJ Cup Odds Move Drastically After Johnson’s Withdrawal
All of the players above saw their odds this week shorten a bit following Johnson’s withdrawal. But few players’ odds were impacted as much as Matthew Wolff’s.
The 21-year-old has finished second three times this year, including in each of his past two events. He has shot up to 12th in the world rankings, although he still has a lone PGA Tour title on his resume.
Wolff shot up to +1600 at BetRivers and was the most heavily-bet player in the field at DraftKings. A day before teeing off, Wolff was responsible for nine percent of the total outright winner bets and 13 percent of the handle.
That put him ahead of Thomas (eight and 11 percent, respectively) and Rahm (four, seven).
Another popular bet was Daniel Berger, who was bringing in six percent of the total bets and handle. At +2500, he provides intriguing odds for a player with a win and six other top-10 finishes in 2020. He has cooled off with a T25, T17 and T34 in his past three events.
There is also a pair of Las Vegas residents in the field who are taking advantage of the two-event swing through their hometown.
Collin Morikawa (+2000) offers unusually long odds for the sixth-ranked player in the world. Since his breakthrough win at the PGA Championship, Morikawa has missed three of five cuts, with his lone top 10 being a T7 at the 30-player Tour Championship.
Kevin Na is being offered at +10000, the same odds as J.T. Poston, the alternate who got into the field on Tuesday. Na is coming off a T43. He has only four career wins, but two of them came cross-town at TPC Summerlin.
This week also marks the return of Brooks Koepka. The four-time major champion is making his third return from an injury-induced hiatus in 14 months.
Following an eight-week hiatus, Koepka insists he feels better than he has in the past year and is confident he’ll be in the picture this week despite only picking up a club again last week.
Koepka is being offered at +2200 by BetRivers.com and has been a popular bet at DraftKings, where his +3300 outright winner odds had enticed only three percent of the total bets but six percent of the total handle.
CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek Best Bet for October 15, 2020
Scottie Scheffler graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour and catapulted his way into the world’s top 50 with an excellent summer that included T4s at the PGA Championship and The Northern Trust, where he threw down a 59.
He also had the second lowest score at the Tour Championship, but that momentum was halted by his own positive COVID-19 test. After taking three weeks off, he returned to miss the cut last week.
Shadow Creek isn’t considered an overly difficult course and Scheffler is a streaky player who could make some noise or fail to be anywhere near contention.
PointsBet is offering a tournament matchup bet of Scheffler (-125) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (-106).
The two couldn’t be in much more contrast as players. Oosthuizen isn’t a big hitter, but he is an excellent iron player who should put himself in good positions around Shadow Creek’s tricky greens.
The South African is coming off a solo third at the U.S. Open and a T19 last week. Oosthuizen also finished T6 at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude and enters the week at No. 18 in the world.
CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek Best Bet: Louis Oosthuizen (-106 by PointsBet) to finish ahead of Scottie Scheffler (-125)
–Field Level Media