Spieth tops list of long shots to watch

By Matt Youmans and Wes Reynolds  (VSiN.com ) 

Jordan Spieth
© Imagn

Buying low and selling high is a profitable strategy when playing the stock market. If applying the same approach to sports betting, specifically the golf futures market, this might be the right time to buy into Jordan Spieth.

Once the fastest-rising star in the game, Spieth has hit his lowest point as a professional. A three-time major champion by 24, Spieth’s winless streak is nearing three years.

A player who was a betting favorite as recently as 2017 when earning his last win at the British Open is now seeing soaring odds this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. As the PGA Tour returns from a three-month absence, Spieth will be looking to find his lost form.

“I wouldn’t quit on him,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “He’s hungrier than ever. He has performed horribly the past year. The world was expected of him. Spieth was beating himself up so much, and I don’t know if he puts too much pressure on himself or what.

“You just never know, when a guy loses it, will he ever show up again?”

The Westgate SuperBook and William Hill opened Spieth at 50/1 odds, with Circa Sports going as high as 65/1 this week. Those numbers were unimaginable a couple of years ago.

Spieth, who’s from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is playing in his backyard at Colonial Country Club. It’s a tournament he won at 7/1 odds in 2016. A year ago, he fired a first-round 65 and finished in a tie for eighth, so this could be a nice spot to launch his comeback.

Even without Tiger Woods, the field is remarkably strong and features the Nos. 1-5 players in the world.

A former world No. 1, Spieth has slipped out of the top 50. He won 14 times from 2013-17. In 2015, Spieth won the Masters and the U.S. Open, tied for fourth at the British and finished second at the PGA Championship. As recently as 2018, he made a huge run on Sunday to finish third at the Masters. And then came the slump, which he will bust at some point.

Just as Woods bounced back from a lengthy winless streak, Spieth, 26, has the talent to do the same. The price is right for a low-risk, high-reward wager.

Spieth is one of five intriguing players to watch as the tour restarts with nine events before the year’s first major, the PGA Championship on Aug. 6 in San Francisco.

Brooks Koepka

The current world No. 3 might not be a player to watch in terms of immediately garnering a win in a PGA Tour event. However, he did finish second at Colonial two years ago and is getting 38/1 odds this week at Circa. The two-time PGA champion is less than two months from trying to make it a three-peat, but he was nowhere near that championship-level form when golf was put on pause three months ago.

Koepka has played in five events in 2020, with his best finish just a tie for 17th at the European Tour event in Saudi Arabia in January. After last year’s Tour Championship, he underwent a painful stem-cell injection for a knee injury that he played through for parts of 2019. In October, he slipped on wet concrete between rounds at the CJ Cup in South Korea and aggravated the injury, which forced eventual surgery. The injury kept him out until January, and he likely came back prematurely. The three months off may benefit Koepka to further heal his injury, but his progress will surely be something to monitor for the rest of the season.

Bryson DeChambeau

If the layoff helped players who were injured or in unimpressive form, like Koepka, it’s fair to wonder if the break came at the most inopportune time for players who were starting to find consistently top form, like DeChambeau. Before play ended after the first round of The Players Championship, DeChambeau had three straight top-five finishes, including a runner-up at the WGC Mexico Championship.

The 26-year-old already has five PGA Tour wins early in his career and is one of only five players in history to win the NCAA championship and the U.S. Amateur in the same year. Nevertheless, he went winless in 2019. DeChambeau majored in physics at SMU and has always been more of a scientist than an artist in how he approaches golf. That approach still endures, but he went with a simpler plan starting late last year. He got into the gym and has moved his performance off the tee to among the best in the world. DeChambeau (28/1 odds this week at Circa) ranks No. 1 on the PGA Tour in driving distance (321.3 yards) and No. 3 in strokes gained off the tee. His length off the tee might not matter nearly as much on upcoming courses like Colonial, Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) or TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship), but it will likely increase in importance as we get closer to the major championships.

Tony Finau

The winner’s circle has been elusive for Finau, who regularly contends but rarely closes the deal. His only PGA Tour win came in a playoff at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016. In early February, he blew a late lead and lost to Webb Simpson in a playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, one of his three top-10 finishes this season. In 2019, he played in the final group of the Masters with Woods, who won his 15th major while Finau finished fifth. A year ago in Fort Worth, Finau opened with a 64 and finished second. Circa is offering 44/1 odds on Finau, who has impressive course history in his corner.

Scottie Scheffler

The 23-year-old Texan is still seeking his first PGA Tour win but is already up to No. 45 in the world due to his performance on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, when he was named player of the year. Scheffler will be a popular pick at 65/1 odds in Fort Worth since he is a Dallas resident and in relatively solid form. Since earning his full PGA Tour playing privileges last fall, he has four top-10 finishes and seven top-20s in 13 events. He ranks eighth on tour in strokes gained off the tee, 15th in driving distance (311.5 yards) and fifth in birdie average (4.52 per round).

Just seven years ago, Spieth was a hot prospect who played his college golf at Texas and emerged as a player to watch. Scheffler is hoping to do the same and looks to have the potential to be a major player.



June 11-14 — Charles Schwab Challenge, Colonial CC, Fort Worth, Texas

June 18-21 — RBC Heritage, Harbour Town GL, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

June 25-28 — Travelers Championship, TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn.

July 2-5 — Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit GC, Detroit

July 9-12 — Workday sponsor for event at Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio

July 16-19 — Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio

July 23-26 — 3M Open, TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn.

July 30-Aug. 2 — Barracuda Championship, Montreux Golf & CC, Reno, Nev.

July 30-Aug. 2 — WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.

Aug. 6-9 — PGA Championship, Harding Park GC, San Francisco

Aug. 13-16 — Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield CC, Greensboro, N.C.

Aug. 20-23 — The Northern Trust, TPC Boston, Norton, Mass.

Aug. 27-30 — BMW Championship, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Ill.

Sept. 4-7 — Tour Championship, East Lake GC, Atlanta

Sept. 10-13 — Safeway Open, Silverado Resort and Spa North, Napa, Calif.

Sept. 17-20 — U.S. Open, Winged Foot GC, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Sept. 24-27 — Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, Corales Golf Club, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Sept. 25-27 — Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wis.

Oct. 1-4 — Sanderson Farms Championship, CC of Jackson, Jackson, Miss.

Oct. 8-11 — Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas

Oct. 15-18 — The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea

Oct. 22-25 — Zozo Championship, Accordia Golf Narashino CC, Chiba, Japan

Oct. 29-Nov. 1 — World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China

Oct. 29-Nov. 1 — Bermuda Championship, Port Royal GC, Southampton, Bermuda

Nov. 5-8 — Houston Open, Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston

Nov. 12-15 — Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC, Augusta, Ga.

Nov. 19-22 — The RSM Classic, Sea Island Resort (Seaside), Sea Island, Ga.

Dec. 3-6 — Mayakoba Golf Classic, El Camaleon GC, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Dec. 3-6 — Hero World Challenge, Albany, New Providence, Bahamas

Dec. 11-13 — QBE Shootout, Tiburón GC, Naples, Fla.

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