It’s the second-straight week of golf in Las Vegas, as The CJ Cup gets underway on Thursday. It’s a loaded field even with just 78 total players and with Bryson DeChambeau sitting this one out. The other notably absent player from this event is Dustin Johnson, who was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19 this week, and a lot of the odds have shifted as a result. John Rahm has moved into single digit betting odds at +900, and he’s the odds on favorite for the event.
- 78 Players
- $9.75 million prize
- Course: Shadow Creek Golf Course - North Las Vegas, Nevada (Par 72)
- Defending Champion: Justin Thomas
Rahm isn’t getting a lot of betting traction as the favorite this week, as the player with the largest handle percentage is the defending champion Justin Thomas, who has the second shortest betting odds at +1000. Thomas won this event last year and also won it three years ago, and it seems like many DraftKings bettors are putting some weight into that track record. Thomas has been as steady as anyone of late, notably finishing eighth at the US Open and second at the Tour Championship. He also won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational two months ago, and has made seven-straight cuts.
First Round Leader
There’s one player getting more traction than Thomas in the first round leader market, with Matthew Wolff at the top in both bets and handle percentage. Wolff is actually number one in outright betting percentage as well, and it’s easy to see why he’s popular across the board this week. Wolff has been as good as anyone in recent events, losing in a playoff last weekend and registering a second place finish at the US Open last month. Wolff had a few strong events towards the end of 2020 as well, with a fourth place at the PGA Championship and a second place at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He’s generally popular as a 21-year-old rising star, but the strong play of late is making Wolff even more of a hot commodity this week.
Thomas and Wolff are at the top of the Top 10 betting as well, but the numbers on Thomas are a massive outlier. He’s only getting 8% of the bets — less than Wolff at 13% — but Thomas is getting an overwhelming share of the handle at 68%. The strong recent play and course history are likely a big part of this, but the fact that Dustin Johnson withdrew from the event on Tuesday probably drove some of these bets as well. Johnson was obviously worth a Top 10 bet, and the chances of another player earning a Top 10 are significantly higher now that he’s not playing. Having said all that, 68% is still an astronomical number for any golf betting market, and it’s easily the highest figure that’s shown up in recent memory.
The most prominent head-to-head market for this event appears to also involve Matthew Wolff, for his matchup against another star in the making in Collin Morikawa. Wolff has shorter odds to win and is a more popular bet than Morikawa in each of the aforementioned categories, but Morikawa is actually getting 78% of the handle for their head-to-head as only a +105 underdog. Wolff has surely been the better player in the last few events, but Morikawa probably has the better overall track record and it’s not as if he’s been bad lately, either. Morikawa notably won the PGA Championship only two months ago, and also finished sixth at the Tour Championship in September and won the Workday Charity Open in July. Bettors targeting this head-to-head appear to be selling the Wolff hype and buying low on Morikawa, who missed two-straight cuts to start the season after his excellent year in 2020.
In a matchup between two guys with some of the longest odds to win, Jordan Spieth and Cameron Champ are drawing a significant amount of attention from DraftKings bettors. Spieth and Champ are both polarizing players — Spieth for his highly volatile play and Champ for his driving ability — and it seems to be an intriguing matchup for many people. The line is close to pick ‘em here, with Spieth as a -114 favorite, but the vast majority of the handle (91%) is on Champ to earn a higher finishing position. Champ is somewhat of a popular bet overall for this tournament overall, with the 10th largest outright handle.
Thomas vs. McIlroy is another close matchup with Thomas as a -120 favorite. Just like with Wolff, Thomas is also the less popular bet for his head-to-head, as DraftKings bettors may be seeing value in McIlroy at even money. McIlroy has been an underachiever for quite some time now, but it wasn’t too long ago when he was the betting favorite in virtually every tournament. McIlroy began the 2020 season with six consecutive Top 5 finishes, including one win, but the results haven’t been the same since golf returned in June. McIlroy has still been making every cut since that point, but he hasn’t finished in the Top 5 since before the shutdown back in March. Nonetheless, bettors are still bullish on his chances to finish ahead of Justin Thomas at the CJ Cup this week.
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