One of the newest events on the PGA Tour returns for 2021 with a brand-new venue. The CJ Cup was played in South Korea from 2017 to 2019 before world events saw a switch to Shadow Creek, Nevada last year.
For the 2021 edition, the tournament remains in Las Vegas but will now change to the Summit Club for the first time.
As we look at this year’s field, we come into Thursday with some momentum after Matthew Wolff delivered as a top 10 betting pick at the Shriners Children’s Open on Sunday as part of that preview’s predictions. It has been a positive run, so let’s see if we can keep it going.
It’s the strongest field that we have seen so far this season and the top American-serving sportsbooks are finding it difficult to separate the men at the top. As a result, there are three joint favorites in many places with Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele all available at 13/1.
Thomas is a two-time winner of this fledgling event with both of his victories coming at the original Jeju Island course. Last season wasn’t the most productive for JT but he returned some relevant stats and led the Tour in Proximity to the Hole from the Fairway.
Johnson is another player who fell away slightly last year while Schauffele’s season peaked with the Gold Medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Form favors Schauffele slightly, and he was a runner up here in 2020, although DJ was the most valuable player at the Ryder Cup with a 5-0-0 record.
It may be a surprise to see Collin Morikawa out at best odds of 18/1. The Open Champion leads the Power Rankings and this new course could be a perfect fit. At a best of 25/1, is Jordan Spieth who, somewhat surprisingly, is absent from those Power Rankings despite a recent return to form.
Moving through the bookies’ betting odds, Rory McIlroy is quoted at a top price of 23/1 while Sam Burns and Viktor Hovland are both on offer at 26/1. Burns won the Sanderson Farms Championship two weeks ago and, for a while, threatened to secure back-to-back tournaments at the Shriners.
Hovland is one of the most consistent players on Tour and has missed just one cut since golf resumed in 2020. However, he does need to threaten the top of the leaderboard on a more regular basis.
McIlroy makes his first appearance of the season but is also lacking the form to claim titles on a consistent basis.
On the very fringes of the chasers are Tony Finau at 28/1 and last week’s winner Sungjae Im who is also available at those same 28/1 odds in places. Finau has the power off the tee that can assist on this relatively long course while Im has the immediate form after winning on Sunday with key stats including Scrambling and Greens in Regulation.
Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka won’t be found in the outsiders’ section too often and there should be interest in both men at best odds of 30/1. Oosthuizen saved his best form for the Majors without quite getting over the line but he can be a threat in any tournament.
Koepka has endured a slow start to the new campaign with a tie for 67th last week but he can always lift his game when it suits.
Elsewhere, Scottie Scheffler is listed at 33/1 while Cameron Smith and Abraham Ancer are both available at 35/1. There are strong options further down with Tyrrell Hatton, Harris English, Webb Simpson and Hideki Matsuyama all quoted at 40/1. Hatton appears to be attracting some interest after a tie for third in this event 12 months ago.
One name that should also be of interest is that of Marc Leishman who was a solo runner-up at the CJ Cup back in 2017. The Australian is in impressive form, he ranks first in Putts per Greens in Regulation and has opened the season with a tie for fourth and a tie for third. Despite all this, he’s down at best odds of 50/1 for the win.
Other players that you may want to consider here include Paul Casey at 50/1, Jason Kokrak at 50/1, Max Homa at 60/1 and Justin Rose at 60/1.
Our CJ Cup Golf Preview’s Course & Trends with Betting Picks & Final Predictions
The Summit Club in Las Vegas takes on hosting duties for the first and possibly only time. The long-term goal is to take the CJ Cup back to South Korea but, for now, the players are faced with a par 72 course which has some good length at 7,457 yards.
The power hitters will have an advantage in places with two Par 5s in excess of 580 yards and a 508-yard par 4. There are 62 bunkers on the course with Bentgrass greens expected to measure around 12 on the Stimpmeter.
Americans have dominated the first four editions of this tournament: Justin Thomas won the opening event in 2017 and followed up with a second success two years later. The 2018 and 2020 competitions were won by Brooks Koepka and Jason Kokrak respectively.
With the course being something of an unknown quantity, this is a tough call but the name that stands out is that of Jordan Spieth. An impressive return to form culminated in victory at the Valero Texas Open in April and, with his putting restored, he can be a real threat over four days.
So, for our betting predictions, it is Spieth for the win as the main pick along with three other top 10 finish picks as this CJ Cup golf preview looks to maintain our strong run:
- Jordan Spieth to win at +2500 (25/1) with Bovada. He is next best at 22/1 with BetOnline.
- Top 10 Finish Picks: Spieth (+225), Scottie Scheffler (+250), Marc Leishman (+350) and Max Homa (+450). All those odds are with BetOnline, who are first to publish their top 10s. Bovada and Intertops should also have betting lines on this shortly.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.