WGC Bridgestone Invitational Betting Tips
After his Open heroics, Niall Lyons is back with more tips, this time for the invitational at Firestone.
Firestone is always an interesting stop on the tour and having personally come down from the highs of the Open Championship it is back to work to see if we can make more gains before the end of the season. This is an event where I haven't had a great punting record despite form lines and many course comparisons available.
The event has been dominated by longer hitters in recent years not least Tiger Woods who has won this event more times than I've had hot flushes over Shakira. Adam Scott, McIlroy, DJ and Matsuyama are to name a few ex-champions who tee it up this week so there is no doubting power off the tee is a huge advantage around here.
That being said plenty of other types have made the frame with Zach Johnson runner up last year ahead of Charley Hoffman. Kuchar, Knox and Chappell are others who have made the placings so an accurate long game is certainly a prerequisite. Whether a lack of these more accurate types getting over the line is a trend or not I'm not sure, it could easily be bucked any year so I'm keeping an open mind.
Dustin is worthy favourite after last weeks win and the $8* is fair also. I thought about going all out on the swash buckling world number one but have decided there are better bets to be placed. He holds every chance and the test suits but apart from his victory in 2016 his finishes here have been modest.
Although this isn't a place where you will hit the heights every year, unless you're Tiger Woods. Woods goes to post a general $13* poke and his odds reflect his chances. He loves this place and is playing golf as good as any right now. However, I'm prepared to let him go unbacked unless I see a silly price.
He has failed on the back 9 a handful of times this season now and although we are delighted to see that, from a punting perspective it makes the price of little value. He weakened out of it at Carnoustie quite miserably and although I think he will get it right some week soon, I don't think this event with such a stellar field will be the one where he gets his nose in front.
A miserable day two at Carnoustie saw Jon Rahm crash out at the halfway stage but I can easily gloss over a loss of focus at a tough course and a tough event (major) where he has not quite settled yet. His major form doesn't match his regular tour form and having missed the last two major cuts he can be easily forgotten about, but at $23 I believe he is too juicy.
After the US Open missed cut he finished 5th in Paris and next week 4th in Donegal, both events that he comfortably could have won with a few better holes over the weekend. We can conclude from this that bouncing back after a major missed cut isn't beyond him. He was a respectable 28th on debut here last year with one round spoiling his week. 67-77-67-68 shows us that he certainly has a liking for the course and if he can eliminate the one bad round (a problem lately) then he can easily challenge here.
We know the venue plays into the hands of the longer hitters and an all round game is what is needed here. Rahm doesn't have any physical weakness in his game and ranking 15th in GIR this season is a good sign for this event. Overall, I think he can go well here and looks the best value bet in the field for me.
McIlroy and DJ have both won this event off the back of a victory in their previous event and I think the red-hot Francesco Molinari has been overlooked by the bookmakers this week also. He hasn't done anything special here down the years and has had plenty of attempts, but his results are similar to that of DJ before he got off the mark in 2016.
Make no mistake about it, Molinari is the best golfer in the world at this present time and if he continues that form into this week then the $26 on offer is a ridiculous price. The clinic he displayed on the Sunday of the Open was a sight to behold and whilst everyone was flapping around in the breeze, the Italian was focused on making pars as he knew the winning total wasn't far off the score he started out on.
Three wins and two runner up finishes in his last six starts is a phenomenal return for someone who had been a 'nearly' man most of his career. Now at 35 years of age he has hit his peak and I wouldn't rule out another victory. The big question mark surrounds motivation for this event (a week ahead of the PGA) and how he copes with the attention as being a newly crowned major champ.
He has coped with pressure brilliantly recently though, none more so than going down to Olesen in his home Italian Open after winning at Wentworth. Neither Noren, Fleetwood or indeed McIlroy can hold a candle to this form in the past 24 months and there are no signs that it will stop.
A risky play given the attention that will surround him, but he is eclipsing all those above him in the market, and I'll take the chance he does it again. Fleetwood, Day and Fowler were next on my list for an event which I think will pay to stay towards the top ten or so in the betting.