FedEx St. Jude Championship betting: Playing on the playoffs

Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR / Getty

"Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." In golf betting's latest version of the proverb, Joohyung Kim provided a decent payout by claiming his first career PGA TOUR victory at the Wyndham Championship, weeks after we backed him for the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

It won't be so easy for Kim - or anyone else - this week. The FedEx Cup Playoffs begin in Memphis at TPC Southwind with a full field beginning to vie for the $18-million pot of gold at the end of the PGA rainbow. This includes the favorite - Rory McIlroy (+1100) - and the FedEx Cup points leader, Scottie Scheffler (+1400), but not the defending champion.

Power draws

Will Zalatoris (+2200)

Zalatoris, known for his close calls in majors, is still looking for a first-ever PGA TOUR win. Whether due to frustration with those narrow misses or some other reason, he parted ways with caddie Ryan Goble mid-tournament last week. Fresh eyes on the bag may help Zalatoris get over the hump. At +135 for a top-20 finish, he's worth backing for a good weekend, having finished ninth last year.

TPC Southwind hosted the World Golf Championship event that preceded the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the previous three seasons. Players combined for the most putting success of any tournament in those years - making 60.5% of attempts from 5-10 feet and 18.8% of putts from 15-25 feet. This may translate to more made putts from Zalatoris, who we know will be around the hole, given that he's second on TOUR in strokes gained: tee to green.

Billy Horschel (+4500)

Muirfield Village is one of the regular event sites comparable to Southwind, and this year's champion at the Memorial has finishes of T17, T25, and T9 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Even before that, Horschel had success at TPC Southwind, recording four top-10 finishes when it's hosted a standard TOUR event.

He's +210 to nab a top-20 result this weekend after shooting four rounds in the 60s last week at the Wyndham Championship - his first tournament since returning from a long trip through Europe.

Tyrrell Hatton (+5000)

While the top 125 on the FedEx Cup standings made it to this event, the core element of these playoffs revolves around making the top 30 for a spot in the TOUR Championship field at East Lake. Hatton has two tournaments after this to move into a big-money position.

He's already started making his run. With a T8 last week, Hatton jumped from 60th to 51st and is less than 200 points out of 30th place with both this week and next to accrue points. Considering you get three times the points this week than you would normally, that's a relatively small gap. In 14 PGA events in 2022, Hatton's finished worse than 25th just thrice and is +220 for a top-20 this week.

Soft fades

Cameron Smith (+1600)

Smith hasn't played since an incredible finish to his Open Championship at St. Andrews. Depending on who you ask, that break may have included some dalliances with the LIV Tour. Either way, we haven't seen the letdown round from Smith. While he had a T5 last year, he would've missed the cut here in 2020 had there been one. Sitting in second place in the standings, Smith doesn't need to do much and is +450 to miss the weekend. A more conservative fade would be backing Patrick Cantlay (-110) in their head-to-head matchup.

Jon Rahm (+2000)

Rahm hasn't missed any cuts this season. However, his high-end results haven't been there, especially in comparison to Xander Schauffele, his matchup this week. Rahm skipped the event in 2021 to prepare for the Olympics and finished T52 in 2020. His relative lack of familiarity with the course and Memphis' trademark August humidity may cause issues.

Rickie Fowler (+30000)

Fowler finished 125th in the FedEx Cup standings, barely getting in the field this week. Despite knowing he was on the bubble for weeks, he missed the cut in the last two events. Whether it's in that market or any matchup on the board, fading Fowler is a good idea this week.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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FedEx St. Jude Championship betting: Playing on the playoffs
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