By: Field Level Media
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Odds and PGA Odds for the Weekend
Jon Rahm will face the deepest field since the PGA Tour returned to competition when he tees it up as the world’s No. 1-ranked player for the first time.
The World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Classic, which begins Thursday at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., is a limited 78-player event. Among those 78 are the top eight players in the world and 45 of the top 50.
Rahm took a week off after winning the Memorial Tournament, which vaulted the 25-year-old Spaniard past Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy for the top spot in the world rankings for the first time in his career.
Rahm was one of the hottest players on Tour when the coronavirus pandemic hit, having won three of his previous 17 worldwide starts and posting four more runner-up results before the sport was shut down for three months.
He initially struggled to regain that form after the hiatus, missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge before a pair of top-40 finishes. Rahm then arrived at Muirfield Village and tied for 27th at the Workday Charity Open before earning a victory the following week on the same track.
He enters this week as the +800 favorite at BetRivers and +1000 at PointsBet. But there is plenty of stiff competition right behind him.
The difference between the odds at those sportsbooks is indicative of the strength of this week’s field.
WGC-FedEx St. Judge Invitational Odds for a Stacked Field
Third-ranked Justin Thomas, who continues to lead the FedEx Cup standings, is the second favorite at +900 at BetRivers. Rahm is listed at +1200 by William Hill, with Bryson DeChambeau and McIlroy the co-favorites at +1100. PointsBet has McIlroy and Thomas at +1100, with DeChambeau at +1200.
McIlroy had seven consecutive top-five finishes before the break in play. In four events since returning, his lone top-30 was a tie for 11th at the Travelers Championship, and he also lost his grip on the No. 1 ranking.
He has also been spending time recently with his swing coach, and he tied for fourth at TPC Southwind last year. McIlroy certainly is not to be overlooked. Like many players, he is using this WGC event as a test leading into the first major of the year, the PGA Championship next week at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Count DeChambeau among them.
Now seventh in the world rankings, DeChambeau missed the cut at the Memorial.
Before that? He won the Rocket Mortgage Classic as part of seven consecutive top-10 finishes that rocketed him up 11 spots in the rankings.
DeChambeau has been the talk of the tour with his increased bulk coming out of the hiatus, along with the prodigious driving length that has accompanied his uptick in swing speed.
Michael Thompson (+12500 at William Hill, +15000 at BetRivers) earned a spot in the WGC field by virtue of his win at the 3M Open last week. He’s playing well — he was in contention late on Sunday at the RBC Heritage last month before winding up tied for eighth — but it’s unlikely a longshot swoops in to snag a victory this week.
There is simply too much firepower.
Consider that Rahm and McIlroy share the 18-hole scoring record of 62 at TPC Southwind.
Why Longshots Are Not Worth the Bet at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Odds
Webb Simpson (+2000 at BetRivers and +2200 at William Hill) enters the week ranked a career-best No. 4 in the world. He has earned it with a pair of wins and three runner-up results in his past 15 worldwide starts — including a second place in this event last year.
No. 5 Dustin Johnson (+2800, +3300) is coming off a missed cut and a withdrawal at the 3M Open. He also won his start before that double trouble at the Travelers Championship and is a winner of six WGC events.
No. 6 Brooks Koepka (+2800, +3000) is the defending champion few are betting on considering he has only one top-10 finish in his past 12 starts dating back to October. He is also well known for building up to marquee events, and he also will be the defending at Harding Park next week.
Another player showing little signs of life in his game is Rickie Fowler.
Still working on swing changes with his new coach, Fowler (+5000 at both books) has plummeted to 32nd in the world and has three missed cuts in five events since the Tour’s return. He didn’t play in this event last year, but Fowler does have 12 top-10s in 29 career starts in WGC events.
Then there are the young guns.
Collin Morikawa (+2800 at both books) and Norway’s Viktor Hovland (+3000) were both included in “featured groups” by the PGA Tour this week. That’s something a former No. 1 and major champion Johnson can’t claim.
Morikawa has a win and a runner-up since the Tour resumed and has vaulted to No. 7 in the FedEx Cup standings. Hovland is making his first start in a WGC event, but he is the highest-ranked rookie in the FedEx Cup standings at No. 23 and has three top-12 finishes in his past four starts.
Should You Bet on PGA Odds for Some Lesser Known Veterans
There are also two veterans with interesting resumés to consider.
Daniel Berger (+2800 at both books) was a consecutive winner of the St. Jude in 2016-17, and he won the Charles Schwab Challenge in the PGA Tour’s first event back this summer.
Australia’s Marc Leishman offers significantly longer odds at +7000 at BetRivers and +6000 at William Hill. He has a win at the Farmers Insurance Open and a runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this season. He also finished third at TPC Southwind last year.
There were five players to post four rounds in the 60s at TPC Southwind in 2019.
Koepka, Simpson and Leishman occupied the top three spots on the final leaderboard. The other two were Englishmen Matthew Fitpatrick (tied for fourth) and Ian Poulter (eighth).
Fitzpatrick, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour but did finish third at the Memorial, was +2500 at BetRivers and +3500 at William Hill midweek, while Poulter was +8000 at both books.
–Field Level Media