Weekly Preview: BMW Championship

Weekly Preview: BMW Championship

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

BMW Championship

Caves Valley Golf Club
Owings Mills, MD

The PGA Tour heads to Maryland for the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs.

Weather delay aside, we couldn't have asked for much more out of the first postseason event. Not only did we have an elite player near the top of the leaderboard all week in Jon Rahm, we also got a playoff! Oh, and a fan favorite happened to break his 35-year winless drought. Okay, it wasn't quite that long, but every time Tony Finau found himself in contention it was the same story over and over about how long it had been since his last win, and I was as guilty as anyone. Finau had inexplicably won only once on the PGA Tour prior to this past Monday, but that's no longer an issue and I have a feeling he might take his game to the next level now that he no longer has to hear the talk about his inability to close. 

As we move to the second event on the playoff schedule, I have to take a quick look back to last week and how it was upsetting that we had such little course history to consider, and now, well, now we have nothing. This doesn't come as a huge surprise, as this event has been all over the map over the past decade, from just south of Chicago to just west of Chicago to just north of Chicago and now we are just east

BMW Championship

Caves Valley Golf Club
Owings Mills, MD

The PGA Tour heads to Maryland for the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs.

Weather delay aside, we couldn't have asked for much more out of the first postseason event. Not only did we have an elite player near the top of the leaderboard all week in Jon Rahm, we also got a playoff! Oh, and a fan favorite happened to break his 35-year winless drought. Okay, it wasn't quite that long, but every time Tony Finau found himself in contention it was the same story over and over about how long it had been since his last win, and I was as guilty as anyone. Finau had inexplicably won only once on the PGA Tour prior to this past Monday, but that's no longer an issue and I have a feeling he might take his game to the next level now that he no longer has to hear the talk about his inability to close. 

As we move to the second event on the playoff schedule, I have to take a quick look back to last week and how it was upsetting that we had such little course history to consider, and now, well, now we have nothing. This doesn't come as a huge surprise, as this event has been all over the map over the past decade, from just south of Chicago to just west of Chicago to just north of Chicago and now we are just east of Chicago...by about 700 miles. Makes perfect sense. We'll make do!

LAST YEAR

Jon Rahm shot a final-round 64 on his way to a playoff victory over Dustin Johnson.

FAVORITES

Jon Rahm (6-1)

Rahm was 10-1 entering The Northern Trust and he almost won, so the only logical move is that he moved to 6-1? I get why he should be the favorite – he's playing at a such a high level right now and is one of a handful of truly elite players on Tour at the moment – but this number offers hardly any value at all. I expect Rahm to be in the hunt, but there are better plays on the board.

Xander Schauffele (15-1)

Schauffele hasn't quite been that same since winning gold in Tokyo, so I'm a little surprised to see him installed as the second favorite. Especially since this week's odds are based solely on recent play and not on track history. With that said, Schauffele is too good to be out of the mix for much longer, so I would expect him to make a run in Maryland. Is there enough value at this number, though? Probably not.

Justin Thomas (18-1)

Thomas got off to a great start at The Northern Trust, but as has been the case often in 2021, he couldn't string together four high-quality rounds. It's tough to figure out, as Thomas is certainly among the elite on the PGA Tour, yet he's consistently failing to find that final gear to get across the finish line. He will find it at some point, but will it happen before this season ends? At this number, there's certainly some value in taking a chance that he will.

THE NEXT TIER

Dustin Johnson (22-1)

DJ missed the cut at The Northern Trust, but he finished T10 in his previous start, so he's not that far off right now. He's nowhere near the player he was a year ago, but he doesn't need to be that guy to win this week. There's a number greater than 20 on the left side of Johnson's odds, which for him is unheard of. You may not see odds like this on DJ for several more years.

Patrick Cantlay (25-1)

Cantlay spent the better part of the past couple months spinning his wheels after winning the Memorial in early June, but he looks to be back on track after a solid showing this past week. Cantlay already has two wins this season and enters this week fourth in the standings, so a win would put him in the driver's seat heading into the TOUR Championship.

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Tony Finau (25-1)

Are the floodgates going to open for Finau now that he has picked up that elusive full-field win? Yes and no. I do believe Finau will start racking up the wins much like Phil Mickelson gobbled up majors after notching his first, but the next one might not come this week. Then again, Finau seems pretty level-headed, so he might be worth a shot at this price. My gut tells me he's a better target next week at the TOUR Championship, but his odds will likely be much lower than they are this week considering the minuscule field and the extra shots he will have on the rest of the field.

LONG SHOTS

Sam Burns (50-1)

Credit to Burns – he hasn't slowed down at all since picking up his first PGA Tour win earlier this year. I thought at the time that Burns seemed like a guy who would use that win to take his game to new heights, and although he hasn't won since, he certainly has played well. He posted a runner-up as recently as three weeks ago in the last WGC event, and that was obviously against a solid field. He was on his way to a nice finish this past week until a poor final round, but it looks like he's close to finding the winner's circle again.

Erik van Rooyen (90-1)

I'm not expecting a long shot to come through this week, but van Rooyen might be a worth a gamble at this price. After all, he was right in the mix late into the final round at The Northern Trust, and may have made a real run save for one rough hole. With that said, it was surely good experience to contend with some big names, so perhaps he'll use that as a springboard to bigger and better things.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Jon Rahm - I had Rahm listed here this past week, and although he didn't win, he still picked up a nice check. He will once again he a very popular choice among those that still have him available, and if you are near the top of your league, he's an obvious pick. If you are trailing, however, and you know the teams in front of you still have him, you might have to save him for next week.

Moderately-owned Pick: Patrick Cantlay - The trick this time of year is figuring out who the other teams in your league have remaining. Cantlay was likely used early in the year, but for those that didn't start him through the first six months of the year, I can't imagine he's been used a lot recently, which means there may be a good number of teams deploying him.

Lightly-owned Pick: Sam Burns - As mentioned previously, I don't expect a surprise winner this week, but if someone is going to do it, Burns seems like the logical choice. Most OAD players have been saving a couple big guns for the final two events, so if you were to deploy Burns in this spot, you'd likely gain a lot of ground if plays well, which I expect him to.

Buyer Beware: Collin Morikawa - Morikawa is one of the most dangerous fades on Tour right now, but he's been well off his game since the Olympics. Perhaps he's had trouble adjusting since then, but whatever the case, he has not been the same since just missing out on the bronze medal. I don't anticipate him staying down for long, but expecting him to turn it around in Maryland might be a bit optimistic.

Last Week: Adam Scott - MC - $0

Season Total: $7,507,272

This Week: Sam Burns - It appears I've picked myself into a bit of a corner, as the only big gun I have left is Thomas. I'd like to use him here, but he has more value at the TOUR Championship. Burns is a solid play, though, as he's certainly capable of high finish and is not likely to be on many OAD teams.  

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Jon Rahm ($12,000)
Middle Range: Patrick Cantlay ($10,700)
Lower Range: Erik van Rooyen ($8,300)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Abraham Ancer - T64

Streak: 1

This Week: N/A

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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