Tour Championship Picks & Odds: Best Prop Bets for the Season Finale
The Tour Championship changed its format in 2019, adopting something similar to the Gunderson Method, used in Cross-Country Skiing.
The idea behind this was to ensure that the winner of the Tour Championship also wins the FedEx Cup no matter what, but the system has its flaws and is often criticized.
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Lets look at the history of the Tour Championship, since it changed its format in 2019, and how the starting scores have affected the final leadeboard.
Tour Championship 2019-2021 and Beyond
Here are the last three winners of the Tour Championship, and where they started their week on the leaderboard.
2021 - Patrick Cantlay (-21) started in 1st place at -10
2020 - Jon Rahm (-21) started in 1st place at -10
2019 - Rory McIlroy (-18) started in 4th place on -5 and five strokes back of the leader. He won by four.
Clearly then, it is a huge advantage to start off in the lead, and it took a valiant effort from arguably the World's best golfer to overcome a deficit here, since it started.
In 2021 both Kevin Na and Jon Rahm shot 266 here (-14), posting the lowest scores on the week, but they finished 2nd and 3rd respectively on the leaderboard. Rahm was spotting Cantlay 4 shots and Na was giving up 8, so it is no surprise they couldn't overtake the FedEx Cup leader.
In 2020, Xander Schauffele won by 4 strokes gross, but because he started the week on -3 and 7 shots back of Dustin Johnson before the off, Johnson won by three over the lowest scorer on the week.
2019 was the only year the FedEx Cup leader was beaten, as Rory McIlroy shot -13 for the week, adding to his -5 starting score, to culminate in an -18 winning total. Justin Thomas was the Fedex Cup leader that week, but could only shoot a -3, 277 total when playing with the lead. This allowed others to leapfrog Thomas, and Rory was ultimately the one who took advantage.
Let's look at the current starting positions for the 2022 Tour Championship
2022 Tour Championship Starting Leaderboard
Here is how the players will start their week, at the 2022 Tour Championship, at East Lake.
Note - Will Zalatoris was set to start in 3rd place at -7, but he has withdrawn with a back injury. Zalatoris will not be replaced, and the players will still all start on the same score they were assigned before his withdrawal.
1) Scottie Scheffler (-10)
2) Patrick Cantlay (-8)
3) Xander Schauffele (-6)
4) Sam Burns (-5)
T5) Cameron Smith (-4)
T5) Rory McIlroy (-4)
T5) Tony Finau (-4)
T5) Sepp Straka (-4)
T5) Sungjae Im (-4)
T10) Jon Rahm (-3)
T10) Scott Stallings (-3)
T10) Justin Thomas (-3)
T10) Cameron Young (-3)
T10) Matt Fitzpatrick (-3)
T15) Max Homa (-2)
T15) Hideki Matsuyama (-2)
T15) Jordan Spieth (-2)
T15) Joaquin Niemann (-2)
T15) Viktor Hovland (-2)
T20) Collin Morikawa (-1)
T20) Billy Horschel (-1)
T20) Tom Hoge (-1)
T20) Corey Conners (-1)
T20) Brian Harman (-1)
T25) KH Lee (E)
T25) JT Poston (E)
T25) Sahith Theegala (E)
T25) Adam Scott (E)
T25) Aaron Wise (E)
Tour Championship Winning Odds (Bonus Strokes Included)
Here are the top-5 in the betting, to win the Tour Championship, with the player's starting scores taken into account.
Tour Best Prop Bets for the 2022 Tour Championship
Billy Horschel to finish top-10 (+450)
I really like Billy Horchel's +4500 odds to win without the bonus strokes here, as I think that is immense value on a former winner and runner-up here, before the bonus strokes were introduced.
In fact, in three starts prior to 2019, Horschel finished 7th, 1st and 2nd here, sitting inside the top-4 of the leaderboard in 9 of his 12 rounds in that span.
Since the starting strokes were introduced he has finished 30th (2020) and 7th (2021). In 2020, Horschel started the week at level-par in T26, and he shot +4 on the week to finish bottom of the pack. Horschel had missed the cut in the Northern Trust and finished T33 the following week at the BMW Championship, so wasn't in the best form then.
Fast forward 12 months, and he finished 9th in the Tour Championship field, thanks to being the 7th best scorer, in the 72-hole scoring. Horschel started the week in T26 on level-par again, but this time put in a strong performance, to climb into the top-10.
This time, Horschel starts in T20, two shots back of the top-10 as it stands, and if he can win the 72-hole scoring, as I suspect he can, then the +450 for him to finish inside the top-10 looks a good bet!
Sepp Straka to finish top-10 (+400)
Sepp Straka starts at -4 this week, in a tie for 5th place and the odds suggest he will go backwards. That is probably a fair assumption, but can he avoid dropping outside the top-10? I think he can.
Straka shot a pair of 68's last weekend, charged by improving irons, where he ranked top-20 in the field on both days with his approaches.
Off the tee last week, Straka gained strokes in every round and had two separate top-10 rounds in that department, so I like his chances of competing at a course that may well suit.
He hasn't played in this event before, but has seen the course, playing in the East Lake Cup way back in 2015, where he suffered a semi-final exit at the hands of Sam Burns.
Straka isn't someone I consider a likely contender to win the FedEx Cup, but he does start on the same score of the likes of Rory Mcllroy and Tony Finau, who will both have their backers in that market.
If you believe Straka can shoot -6 or -7 here over the four days, you best believe he can top-10, as -11, -10 and -5 have been the scores required to finish inside the top-10 over the past three years.
Adam Scott to shoot lowest R1 score (without starting strokes) (+2000)
Adam Scott is a man in form, finishing 5th in back-to-back starts, and finishing top-15 in each of his past two major appearances, at the U.S Open (14th) and Open Championship (15th).
In his eight starts at East Lake, Scott has never finished better than 5th, and while he has four top-10's, that doesn't stand out in a 30-man field in the same way it would elsewhere.
What he does show though, is a knack to shoot great scores here. On his debut in 2007, opened up with rounds of 65-66 to sit 3rd at the halfway stage, but shot a 3rd round 78 and eventually finished 26th. Four years later he opened with rounds of 67-65 to lead at the halfway mark, and in 2013 he opened with another 65 to sit 2nd at Thursday's end.
He hasn't played here since 2019, when the new format was first introduced, but he opened that week with a 68 and closed with a 66.
Scott probably needs to shoot a 64 to lead here on day one, based on previous years, but he's capable of that. In his last five starts, Scott has posted a 2nd round 65 at the Open Championship, a second-round 66 and closing 65 at the Rocket Mortgage, two 66's and a 67 at the FedEx St Jude and then an opening-65 to sit 2nd at the end of play Thursday, last week.
Adam Scott has posted 21 first round leads in his career, and been within two 73 times at the end of round 1, so he's clearly capable of being the lowest scorer on day one. For a man that's lightly run each year, that's some record.
Bonus Omega European Masters Pick
Mike Lorenzo-Vera to lead after Round 1 (+9500 FanDuel)
I couldn't go a week without giving a 1st round leader pick, so let's go for Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the Omega European Masters.
Vera has twice been the first round leader at this course, shooting 63 and 64 on those occasions, and he has shot seven rounds of 66 or better in total here.
The Frenchman has missed one cut in seven starts here, finishing no worse than 30th when he's made the weekend, peaking with a 3rd place finish.
Vera has held 9 first-round leads in his career, and been within two of the opening-day lead 32 times in total in his career.
His finishes of late have been nothing to shout about and he's coming into this event after a five-week break, but when he has played, there's been signs. He opened with rounds of 68-66 at the Scandinavian Mixed to sit 2nd at halfway, he opened with a 66 on day one of the BMW International Open to sit 4th, and backed it up with a Saturday 68. When missing the cut at the Barbasol he shot a second-round 67, before opening with a 68 at the Barracuda.
This is a course he loves, and he's playing just well enough to warrant chancing him here.
Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!