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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:49 AM

CJ Cup Picks and Predictions


PGA Tour Betting Resources
CJ Cup at Shadow Creek

The PGA Tour spends its second consecutive week in Las Vegas this week, as a select few (field of 78) tee it up at the CJ Cup this week. This no-cut event is arguably the first real “quality” field of this 2020-21 season, as many of the big names are back looking to hone their games before the Masters next month.

These small field events where guys are guaranteed four rounds, some wild things can happen over the weekend. These courses are usually the ones that see plenty of congestion all the way up through the leaderboard, so guys aren't necessarily out of things as early as they would be elsewhere.

That being said, these events are also usually where the top of the odds board finds a way to come in more often than not, and there are plenty of great candidates to get that done here as well.

  • Tour: PGA
  • Date: Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 to Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020
  • Venue: Shadow Creek Golf Course
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Par-Yardage: 72, 7,527 yards
  • TV: Golf Channel, CBS
  • Vegas Expert Picks
  • Betting Odds

Those of you who took in that Thanksgiving match play event between Tiger and Phil a few years back will recognize this track rather quickly. Phil Mickelson was the one who earned the big payday in that contest, as he and his ability to still “hit bombs”, got by the day.

At 7,500+ yards, this course will favor those who do have more length in their games, but at this stage on Tour, there is a good group of guys that do separate themselves in that regard. You've still got to make the most of your positioning that's further down the hole than the majority of the field, as those guys who can combine length with GIR and hopefully a hot putter will end up taking this thing down.

CJ Cup Odds to Win

Note: Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the CJ Cup after testing positive for COVID-19.

A deep field means the talent pool is great at the top, and the favorite among them all this week is Dustin Johnson (+850) once again. There aren't too many people in golf who have played as well as DJ has the past 6+ weeks, and at an event where four rounds are guaranteed and it plays as an advantage to be long, DJ should definitely find his way into contention this week.

The problem is, any sub-+1000 price tag is always tough to take in a field this good. Personally, I do really like Johnson's chances this week, but would rather wait a day or two to see where he stands; even if that means taking a far lower price on him.

I don't expect anyone to run away with this event through the first two days, and having Johnson at worst in that trail cluster behind the leaders after 36 holes for some price is a little more preferable for me.

That's not for everyone, but these quality field events can be taken down by almost anyone these days – especially anyone near the top of the world rankings – and preferring to have those names that start the event somewhere around the +2000 range is just an easy way to maneuver around later should in-play wagering opportunities mesh with those names.

  • Dustin Johnson: OFF
  • Jon Rahm: +850
  • Justin Thomas: +950
  • Xander Schauffele: +1200
  • Rory McIlroy: +1300
  • Matthew Wolff: +1600
  • Collin Morikawa: +2100
  • Patrick Cantlay: +2300
  • Tyrrell Hatton: +2700
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Which means that cases for Jon Rahm (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1200), Rory McIlroy (+1400), Xander Schauffele (+1400), and Patrick Cantlay (+1800) are all in a similar position; Easy to make arguments for pre-tournament, but still concerned about them just finding their name among the leaders after two or three rounds.

Without question, having any of these names in your pocket is a worthwhile endeavor in regards to selecting the name of the winner, but what happens if the two or three names you back from this group end up being the ones who perform the worst of them through the first two rounds. You're stuck with hoping for a huge weekend from them, when a Friday night breakdown could have narrowed this group down further as long as you're willing to take +500, or +600, or so, depending on how the leaderboard is currently constructed.

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Cantlay supporters can't be too happy as it is with what they saw from him on Sunday last week, and who knows how sharp any of those other names are after they've all been away from competitive golf for the past three weeks. Dustin Johnson is still the name I'd take over all of that group this week though, and I'm interested to see what kind of in-tournament opportunities may come up in that regard.

The pre-tournament card starts a little further down though with this name leading the way:

Golfers to Watch - PGA
Top Picks and Predictions

Contender to Back
CJ Cup

Hideki Matsuyama +2800

Maysuyama missed the cut in Las Vegas last week, but coming off two weeks off after posting six straight starts of 29th or better – four of six in Top 20 – you can't blame the guy for starting slow out of the gate. No worries about missing cuts here should benefit Matsuyama in that regard, and it's not like he has to look too far back in his game to find a productive stroke.

Whether or not Matsuyama has his putter going is another question in itself, but giving it a chance to ignite in a guaranteed 72 holes is another benefit of this format for Matsuyama. He's won two WGC events in an identical format already in his career, so the pedigree of him beating this type of field in this format is already established as well. More than enough there for me to take a shot that Matsuyama's putter gets hot early on and can stay warm over the weekend to at least give himself a shot.

Mid-Range Value
CJ Cup

Tony Finau +3000

Oddly enough, Finau withdrawing because of COVID results last week is always going to be a little concerning in terms of backing him this week, but at the same time the entire market knows he was “sick” and that's something that wouldn't have been common knowledge in the past. That's not to say he's undervalued at this price because he isn't, but Finau wouldn't be playing here if he wasn't feeling alright himself, nevermind the testing procedures he'd have to pass. He's a guy that fits the profile of someone who's one of the longest on Tour and in desperate need of a signature win, something that this week and this golf course provides.

Finau's game is all about bombing the golf ball and believing having the shorter club in his hand more often will lead to better scores. It's worked for him quite well in recent years, but he can never seem to keep it up for four consecutive rounds. Finau's lone win on Tour came in an alternate event a few years ago and it's been nothing but Top 10's and heartbreaks since then. But give him a course that's generous off the tee, length is an advantage, and guys better be able to go low, Finau's eyes have to like what they see.

He's consistently one of the best guys in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green each week on Tour, and when the field is tough but not at its peak with the best names, Finau always finds a way to enter the conversation. And knowing he has had some virus concerns recently doesn't have to be only viewed as a reason to stay away. Heck, it'd be reasonable to assume he's been eating better than he could have been in an effort to get better.

None of that probably matters, but in a week where the course seems to be a good fit for Finau's talents, and market hesitance may be what it is with him, backing this guy that's overdue to get over that hump feels like a natural addition to the card.

Long Shot Pick
CJ Cup

Sergio Garcia +5500

Expecting two wins in three starts for Garcia is unrealistic, but when a Top 10 finish is still in the +500 range, I do believe he's worth some sort of investment in.

A ball striker's course is something that should always garner some interest in Garcia, and it's tough to argue with his current form. He fell off the pace at the Shriners over the weekend, but that could be someone expected after getting his first win in forever the week prior. There has been a lot to like from his pure ball striking though these past two weeks, and he's known to get streaky hot with the flatstick in a similar way that Matsuyama does.

Again, likely better to take him in the placement markets rather than the outrights, but of his 11 career wins on the PGA Tour, he did win two events in a two month span two different times (May-June 2001, May-June 2004). Garcia can bring a wide range of outcomes to his game, but with the way he's been playing recently, those are more often on the better side of things.

CJ Cup Props

Note: Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the CJ Cup after testing positive for COVID-19.

72 Hole Matchup to Take - CJ Cup

Dustin Johnson (-112) over Jon Rahm (-112)

Might not prefer to jump in on DJ in the outright pre-tournament market, but in a pick'em matchup against Rahm I've got no problem going that route given their outright odds for one.

Both guys should fit this course very well, but if the personal preference is already there for DJ because of where we last saw his game, then backing up the guy who is generally going to stay much calmer out there is an opinion I can get behind. I'm still not sure that big picture Rahm is as good of a putter as his numbers have shown the past year or so, and unless you get the disinterested DJ who slumbers his way to flirting with 80, you really can't ever go wrong with him in a pick'em line.

Top 20 Finish: Lanto Griffin +450

Griffin's struggles with accuracy off the tee aren't going to be as big of an issue for him here as they are elsewhere on Tour, and that could work out quite nicely at this +450 price for a Top 20. In Griffin's last 11 starts he's got two missed cuts, nine finishes of 58th or better, with five of those being Top 24 or better with ultimately three Top 20 finishes. His game has been right there for some time now, and eliminating one of his biggest weaknesses here can really only help.


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How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2020 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.

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