The FedExCup Play-offs gather momentum with the star-studded Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston and trying to pick the winner is a thankless task because one can made strong cases for quite a number of the tournament favourites.
Tiger Woods heads the Deutsche Bank Championship and, for once, he is a betting proposition. Woods is the second highest Deutsche Bank Championship money earner having triumphed in 2006 and posted two seconds and one third. Woods is in good form – he was second in last week’s The Barclays and won his third-last start – and his familiarity with TPC Boston should strike fear into the hearts of his fellow competitors. Only twice this year has Woods played on a course on which he has won before and failed to lift the title. All five Woods wins have been on tracks where he has been victorious previously and all of them were processions. Woods is 8.50 with Youwin and, at those odds, he is a worthwhile option. History suggests that putting is key to success at TPC Boston and Woods is ranked first for total putting on the PGA Tour this season.
When one looks for Deutsche Bank Championship entrants who have the combination of excellent course form, excellent recent form and excellent putting statistics on this year’s PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson’s name pops up. Mickelson won the Deutsche Bank Championship on his event debut in 2007 and he has posted two more top-10 finishes, including last season’s fourth behind Rory McIlroy. Recently Mickelson has won two of his last five tournaments, including the top-class Open Championship, and he was sixth in The Barclays last week. Mickelson is ranked fourth for total putting on the PGA Tour this term and he heads the birdie average chart having scored 282 birdies in 66 rounds. His birdie average of 4.27 per round is 0.2 higher than any other PGA Tour regular. Mickelson is trading at odds of 15.00 with a wide range of bookmakers, including Bet365 & Betfred, and makes the shortlist because he has so much going for him.
Having picked Woods and Mickelson – dutching the Deutsche Bank Championship first and third favourites at 8.50 and 15.00 respectively would result in a bet at odds of just under 5.50 – it is time to find some decent match bets.
Whereas Mickelson is a golfer to back in the Deutsche Bank Championship, Justin Rose is a golfer to lay so it is great that Boylesports and Sportingbet are offering odds of 1.80 that the American beats the Briton. One has made the case for Mickelson already so one should focus on Rose, who was second in The Barclays last week. That is where the good news for Rose ends, though. Rose has missed the cut on three of his last five Deutsche Bank Championship appearances, not finishing higher than 54th over that period. Rose is ranked 123rd for total putting on the PGA Tour this season, although he is 20th on the birdie average ladder.
At the risk of putting too many eggs in the oppose-Rose basket, the Briton is worth opposing in his Deutsche Bank Championship match against Steve Stricker, particularly as Stan James is taking bets on the American at odds of 2.00. Stricker does not feature on most of this term’s PGA Tour statistical charts because he has played only 10 events this term but his numbers are terrific. Stricker has two seconds and an additional three top-10 finishes to his credit, making every cut and only twice failing to make the top 25. If Stricker was eligible he would be ranked 10th for birdie average and his TPC Boston results are ace. Stricker won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2009 and, apart from his 42nd in 2011, he has not finished lower than 13th since 2005.
Finally, Webb Simpson ticks all the boxes in his Deutsche Bank Championship match versus Matt Kuchar. Simpson won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2011 and made a creditable title defence 12 months ago, ending up in 18th position. Simpson has four finished 14th, 25th, 11th and 15th respectively in his last four starts so his recent form is solid if not spectacular, while he is ranked 33rd for total putting and 22nd for birdie average on the PGA Tour this season. Simpson is 1.90 with Bet365 to defeat Kuchar, whose recent form is similar to that of his mythical opponent. The keys to the bet are that Kuchar, while consistent, has not cracked the top 10 in nine visits to TPC Boston and his morale must be low after blowing his shot at winning The Barclays last week. Kuchar fired 78 on the final day.