This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
FedEx St. Jude Classic Betting Preview
Playoffs?!? The PGA Tour's regular season has come to a close, and 121 of the 125 players qualified for the first of three FedExCup Playoff events will tee it up at this week's St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee.
It's a star-studded field that consists of the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and is headlined by World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who checks in at 14-1 odds. Scheffler may hold the edge in the rankings, but No. 3 Rory McIlroy is the favorite at 9-1. Tony Finau, at 50-1 odds, took down the playoff opener last year, knocking off Cameron Smith in -- fittingly -- a playoff at Liberty National Golf Club.
TPC Southwind is this week's host venue and has been a mainstay on Tour since 1989. The course originally hosted the FedEx St. Jude Classic and then a World Golf Championship each of the last three years. The track plays as a par-70 -- there are four par-3s and two par-5s -- at just over 7,200 yards. Water wil lbe in play on about half the holes. The course puts a premium on ball striking and especially iron play, as the winner ranked no worse than 16th in either Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee or Approach each of the last five years. Distance isn't a requirement, as evidenced by precision player Abraham Ancer winning last year's event in Memphis.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 3:00 PM ET Tuesday.
Horses for the Course
The following five golfers, with a minimum of eight rounds played, have the lowest scoring average at TPC Southwind since 2017.
For a second straight week Simpson tops the course history list. He disappointed his backers at the Wyndham Championship, an event he usually thrives in. At 130-1 odds to win this week, he's more of a dark horse in DFS contests if you think he can right the ship at a place where he has recorded three straight top-15 finishes. Another player who is fond of TPC Southwind is 2020 champion Thomas. He was unable to carry that momentum into last year and finished T26, but looking deeper into the stats, he had a terrible putting week, losing over five shots on the greens. He still ranked fourth in SG: Approach. Thomas, along with four other players at 14-1, has better odds than anyone but McIlroy.
In the Right Form
These players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes off the tee and on approach combined over their last 20 rounds.
- Tony Finau: 2.26
- Scottie Scheffler: 2.02
- Rory McIlroy: 2.00
- Brendan Steele: 1.84
- Xander Schauffele: 1.56
It's no surprise to see Finau atop the list after winning the last two events he appeared in by a combined eight shots. The main question mark is his lack of success at TPC Southwind, where he hasn't recorded a top-25 in four appearances. The oddsmakers have priced that into his 20-1 odds, and he's a particularly attractive option given his current form. McIlroy is the lone player to show up on both lists, so it's no surprise to see him listed as the golfer to beat. It's a bit surprising that he only has one win to his name this year given how good he's been statistically, as he ranks top-50 in the four primary Strokes Gained categories, top-10 in both SG: Off-the-tee and Putting and fifth in Birdie or Better Percentage. As the clear favorite, McIlroy will be a great fit in DFS lineups.
FedEx St. Jude Classic Bets: Outright Picks
Xander Schauffele (14-1)
Like many of the top players in the field, Schauffele is making his first start since The Open. He finished T15 that week, so it's easy to forget that he won two straight starts prior to that. You have to go all the way back to The Masters to find a finish outside the top 20. There's just too much value to pass up here.
Russell Henley (50-1)
I bet on Henley to win a couple weeks ago and he recorded a T10. He followed that up with a top-5 last week, so he's clearly trending in the right direction. We know iron play will be key in Memphis, and Henley trails only Will Zalatoris in the SG: Approach department.
Taylor Pendrith (100-1)
Pendrith has really emerged following a four-month layoff, finishing top-15 in all four of his starts this summer. The rookie has quickly emerged as an elite driver, averaging over 315 yards off the tee and ranking 14th in SG: Off-the-Tee. Pendrith has the upside you're looking for in a long shot.
FedEx St. Jude Classic Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Corey Conners (11-2)
In typical Conners form, he had an excellent ball-striking week at the Wyndham Championship, ranking top-10 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and Approach. However, he lost three strokes on the greens. Half his starts this year have resulted in top-25 finishes, so he has put himself in position to pick up top-10s on a consistent basis.
Mito Pereira (8-1)
The oddsmakers have cooled on Pereira after four consecutive missed cuts, but with that comes value. Two of those misses came at links setups, though, and Pereira has had a few weeks since to rest and reset. He's making his first trip to TPC Southwind, and he should be a good fit considering he ranks top-25 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and Approach.
Stephan Jaeger (12-1)
Jaeger quietly recorded a second straight top-15 finish last week, closing with a 62 -- the second best score recorded in the final round. He ranks 12th around the greens this season, which should come into play at a place where it's tough to hit the putting surface in regulation.
FedEx St. Jude Classic Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
In a matchup between two young stars who haven't shown their best this season, I like Hovland coming off a top-5 at St. Andrews. Morikawa hasn't been as sharp with his irons as he was in the past, and he is a flimsy option in this format, missing three cuts over his last four starts and posting only one top-25 since The Masters.
Burns' first start last year in Memphis resulted in a playoff loss, and he did that despite losing strokes off the tee, where he's typically reliable. I'm fading Spieth this week, as he's been erratic with the driver this season and has had the yips on shorter putts. He did notch a couple top-10s in Scotland, but I have my doubts about him keeping that going at a traditional track.