The fields for the new PGA Tour season are getting stronger with each passing tournament and for this week’s CJ Cup in South Korea, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka headline the list of entrants.
Both men are popular with bettors for the CJ Cup but as we saw last week in Malaysia, ranking alone is no guarantee of success. We just secured a profit in the top 10 finishers betting market last time thanks to Kevin Chappell, so let’s see if we can extend our own winning run with this CJ Cup preview.
Brooks Koepka (+800 with Bovada) may be the reigning PGA player of the year but he concedes the favorite’s berth to Justin Thomas (+550), who is our defending champion this week. He heads the Power Rankings and, having shot the lowest final round at the CIMB on Sunday, Thomas is clear by a few points at the top of the market.
Koepka has claimed those two majors in 2018 and has also stayed active since the Ryder Cup, choosing to stay in Europe to contest the Alfred Dunhill links. Neither man has spectacular form right now but they are genuine contenders and may be harder to split than the market suggests.
Our most recent winner on Tour heads the chasing pack and as runner up to Thomas last season, Marc Leishman (+1400) will be getting plenty of support as he plans to go one better this time. In places, Jason Day is locked at the same price as his Aussie compatriot but he comes here having not played since a poor showing in the FedEx playoffs.
We then move several points back to Paul Casey (+2000 or 20/1) who was in contention in Kuala Lumpur before some seriously low scoring pushed him back down the field. Casey can still be a contender for a single digit finish as can fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (+2800) who was eased into second while trying a three-peat in the Alfred Dunhill last time out.
Other names to look at include Hideki Matsuyama (+1400) who returns from injury while Louis Oosthuizen (28/1) is another man to have enjoyed a productive four days at the CIMB Classic.
As always, there is plenty of value as we move through a strong field and one of our own favorites, Brandt Snedeker (50/1) is way down the list. As he continues his comeback from injury, the key for Sneds is to find consistency and after a recent 59 and a tournament win, immediate form puts him out of the Power Rankings.
Ryan Moore (50/1) is in a similar position and after tipping him last week, a poor display in Kuala Lumpur puts him at a distant price in the markets. Both men could still come through as could Xander Schauffele (25/1), Kevin Na (50/1), Kevin Chappell (80/1), JB Holmes (66/1) and Byeong Hun An (40/1). There is a perfect chance here for an outsider in the CJ Cup odds to deliver but what are the qualities needed to get over the line?
Our CJ Cup Preview’s Final Betting Predictions, Picks & Course Trends
The CJ Cup first saw life last season so we only have the one former champion in Justin Thomas. Marc Leishman was pushed into a solo second but there are no real trends to consider in terms of former winners so this CJ Cup preview will simply have to look at the challenges of this course.
Twelve months ago wind was a factor and scoring increased notably when the gusts started to get up. This year, the forecast is calmer but weather should certainly be watched, particularly if you are betting in-play.
This tournament is back once again at the Nine Bridges Golf Club on Jeju Island in South Korea at a par 72 venue which comes in at a fraction under 7,200 yards.
Based on one year’s worth of stats, it is hard to define a key component and Justin Thomas ranked modestly in terms of distance and accuracy in an event that ultimately came down to a battle of the putters.
Thomas and Koepka are the men to beat and maybe it is time for one of the favorites to get over the line. It’s a tough call and one of those weeks where you may want to stick with top 10 betting but if pushed for a winner, Xander Schauffele is one of those players capable of winning any tournament. If he can add consistency to his game, he is set for a big season.
So our CJ Cup predictions are Schauffele for the win and we also have three top ten tips, who should hopefully lead us to a profitable four days in South Korea.
- Xander Schauffele to win @ best odds of +3700 (37/1) with Bookmaker (go to their ‘futures’ section and then ‘golf’). Those odds are a stand-out, so take them while you can. By comparison, Schauffele is +2800 with BetOnline and +2500 with Bovada, 5Dimes or Intertops.
- JB Holmes (+1000 or 10/1), Kevin Chappell (+500) and Byeong Hun An (+300) for Top 10 finishes, all with Bovada Sportsbook.
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.