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TOUR Championship betting preview: Can anyone chase down Scheffler?

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New to golf betting? Check out theScore's PGA TOUR wagering guide here. All odds listed are courtesy of theScore Bet and are subject to change.

The FedEx Cup finale is here with the TOUR Championship set to take place at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

This is by far the most difficult PGA TOUR event to handicap since it's the only one that has starting strokes. Scottie Scheffler already has a two-shot lead over Viktor Hovland thanks to his position atop the FedEx Cup points list following last week's BMW Championship.

The conversion of points to starting strokes creates a staggered start for the 30-man field. Therefore, we need to handle this event as though we're betting the tournament while it's in play ... if you're wagering on who'll win the TOUR Championship and hoist the FedEx Cup.

Thankfully, oddsmakers understand bettors' issues with this format and provide an additional market - lowest 72-hole score - that removes the starting strokes and can allow us to treat this tournament a little bit more like a traditional one.

The course

  • East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta
  • Donald Ross design
  • 7,346 yards, par 70
  • Bermuda-grass greens
  • All four par 3s over 195 yards
  • Tree-lined, parklands course with emphasis on approach play

Past winners at East Lake

2022: Rory McIlroy
2021: Patrick Cantlay
2020: Dustin Johnson
2019: Rory McIlroy
2018: Tiger Woods
2017: Xander Schauffele
2016: Rory McIlroy
2015: Jordan Spieth
2014: Billy Horschel
2013: Henrik Stenson

The favorites

Player (starting score) FedEx Cup odds Low 72-hole score odds
Scottie Scheffler (-10) +145 +550
Rory McIlroy (-7) +325 +550
Viktor Hovland (-8) +450 +1000
Jon Rahm (-6) +800 +1000

Scheffler is obviously the heavy favorite to win the FedEx Cup and is also deservedly a co-favorite to post the lowest 72-hole score. However, it's hard to feel comfortable backing the World No. 1 at +145 and hoping he can hang on to his pre-tournament lead for four days.

With that said, DataGolf gives Scheffler a 45.6% chance of winning the $18-million prize, which equates to odds of +119 and makes the +145 seem like value. The data likes Scheffler and his incredible strokes gained: tee-to-green stats, but the number is simply too short with 72 holes of golf remaining.

If forced to choose any wagers from the favorites section of the oddsboard, last week's winner is the most appetizing. A two-shot deficit is nothing for Hovland and makes his +450 price tempting, but +1000 for the low 72-hole score is also a real possibility and pays out considerably more.

The next tier

Player (starting score) FedEx Cup odds Low 72-hole score odds
Patrick Cantlay (-4) +1800 +1000
Max Homa (-4) +2500 +1200
Xander Schauffele (-3) +2800 +1100
Brian Harman (-4) +4000 +3300
Lucas Glover (-5) +4000 +4000
Matt Fitzpatrick (-4) +4000 +3300

This is where the betting board becomes a lot more interesting in both the FedEx Cup and low 72-hole score markets.

The first name of note is Xander Schauffele, who has an incredible track record around East Lake. He won the TOUR Championship in his 2017 rookie season, came second to Rory McIlroy in 2019, then posted the lowest 72-hole score in 2020.

However, Schauffele is starting seven shots back of Scheffler, which seems like a mountain too steep to climb considering he also has to chase down Hovland, McIlroy, and Jon Rahm in the process. If looking for Schauffele stock, backing him at +1100 or higher (if you can find it) is your best option.

Lucas Glover at +4000 to post the lowest 72-hole score is worth a look. He's won two of his last three starts and beat everyone in this field two weeks ago at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. East Lake is a course that better fits Glover's game, and his odds are longer than last week's despite the field shrinking by 20 players.

If you're tempted by the FedEx Cup winner market and want to avoid tracking a shadow leaderboard for four rounds, Matt Fitzpatrick at +4000 is the play from this range. He played great last week in Chicago and was in contention until the final few holes. His odds to post the lowest 72-hole score are +3300, which he'll likely have to do in order to win the tournament, so take a few extra points on the +4000 and cross your fingers.

Long shots

Player (starting score) FedEx Cup odds Low 72-hole score odds
Tommy Fleetwood (-3) +5000 +2200
Wyndham Clark (-4) +5000 +3500
Rickie Fowler (-3) +6600 +2500
Russell Henley (-3) +8000 +2500
Collin Morikawa (-1) +10000 +2000
Sungjae Im (-2) +10000 +2200

We're at the point of the oddsboards where looking at the low 72-hole score is really the only option. McIlroy is the only player to have won the FedEx Cup with a starting score of 4-under or lower since the staggered start was implemented in 2019.

Tommy Fleetwood posting the lowest 72-hole score would be too perfect. He's struggled mightily to get across the finish line at a PGA TOUR event, so how fitting would it be if he shoots the lowest score but still doesn't get credited with a win? His recent form suggests this is a real possibility.

Aside from Fleetwood, only Si Woo Kim (+6600) is a viable option for the low 72-hole score market. He's the best ball-striker of the long shots, ranking eighth in the field in strokes gained: ball-striking (off the tee plus approach) over the past 24 rounds. He's historically played very well at Donald Ross-designed courses, most notably Sedgefield, host of the Wyndham Championship.


Tommy Fleetwood (+2200, low 72-hole score)

Keyur Khamar / PGA TOUR / Getty

For both bets this week, we're targeting the low 72-hole score market to avoid dealing with the staggered-start leaderboard.

We'll start with Fleetwood at +2200, which is the shortest price you should be making this bet at.

The Englishman is fifth in the field in strokes gained: total over the past 50 and 24 rounds. He's earned a top-10 result in five of the past seven events he's played while demonstrating a well-rounded game along the way.

Fleetwood will have the opportunity to play extremely aggressively by playing from behind prior to Round 1. If the game he's carried with him since mid-June shows up at East Lake, expect him to make a ton of birdies and narrow the gap on the current leaders with the lowest 72-hole score.

Lucas Glover (+4000, low 72-hole score)

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Glover at +4000 is about as short as you'll find him this week, and it's still worth a bet. He's been playing lights out for nearly two months. His T22 from last week may not be the top-10 result we've become accustomed to, but he still gained four strokes on approach shots.

In Glover's last seven starts, he has two victories and three additional top-six showings. We're not asking him to win this week, but rather to post the lowest 72-hole score at a venue that will allow him to separate from the majority of the field due to his elite iron play. Like every week with Glover, it'll all come down to the flatstick.

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