Spieth tops elite field for Tour Championship

Matt Youmans  
VSiN senior editor

September 20, 2017 08:37 PM
Jordan Spieth is the 5-1 favorite in the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
© USA Today Sports Images

It’s not a major, but big-time prize money is up for grabs in the PGA Tour’s season-ending event. Almost all of the elite players are following the money, and the betting public is following Jordan Spieth.

At the Westgate sports book, Spieth leads the ticket count and money-wagered column in this week’s Tour Championship. The top 30 players on the money list qualified for the tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Spieth is the 5-1 favorite, followed by Dustin Johnson at 7-1 and Rickie Fowler at 8-1. Jason Day, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are each posted at 10-1 odds.

“Spieth is definitely the starting point right now. He has been the most consistent of the guys around him,” Westgate golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said. “Johnson has not shown any consistency since the Masters.”

Johnson was the Masters favorite in early April, yet he withdrew after slipping on stairs and suffering a back injury. He failed to win a major this year, but he’s got Paulina Gretzky going for him, so it’s not a bad year.

Spieth, the British Open winner, is joined this week by the other three major champions — Sergio Garcia (Masters), Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open) and Thomas (PGA). The tour Player of the Year award could be determined in Atlanta, with Thomas and Spieth the leading contenders.

“I would say Thomas is the favorite if you had odds up on it,” Sherman said. “It’s impressive what he’s done. Unless Spieth goes out this week and crushes everyone, I would say Thomas is the Player of the Year.”

How much money is up for grabs? This week’s winner earns $1.5 million, and the winner of the FedEx Cup playoffs collects $10 million.

The star players are attracting a solid betting handle, though nowhere near what’s wagered on a major.

“The handle is really good on this,” Sherman said. “It’s the last one of the year where you’re going to see a great field.”

Handicappers who emphasize current form will like Marc Leishman (20-1), Justin Rose, Fowler, Day and Rahm. Leishman won last week’s BMW Championship near Chicago, where Fowler and Rose tied for second.

Rose is worth a play at 12-1 this week, because he also has course form going for him. In his past four events at East Lake, Rose finished no lower than sixth with two runner-up finishes.

Gary Woodland (50-1) should get a look as a long shot. In his past two tournaments at East Lake, Woodland finished in the top 10.

Sherman said Hideki Matsuyama (15-1) and Garcia (25-1) offer value at their odds.

The bottom line is Spieth, who won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title two years ago, will be tough to beat if he’s in the picture on Sunday.

Best bets: Jordan Spieth (5-1), Rickie Fowler (8-1), Justin Rose (12-1).

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