With the regular season passing, we now welcome the first leg of the FedEx Playoffs. 125 golfers have made it to this stage of the campaign so we only have the in-form players in strong fields for the next few weeks.
Kicking it all off is the 2019 Northern Trust which is a long-standing event on the Tour, having debuted in 1967. Bryson Dechambeau is the defending champion but the ‘Scientist’ is out of touch right now and his defense is under threat from a strong declaration.
Brooks Koepka (+800 with Bovada) and Rory McIlroy (+1100) are at the top of the Northern Trust outright betting. Neither man has won this tournament but they are the form players and occupy the top two places in the FedEx race.
Koepka has three tournament wins this season to McIlroy’s two so, in terms of who will win this tournament, they are clear and obvious favorites.
Behind the top two, multiple winner of the Northern Trust Dustin Johnson (16/1) is the fourth favorite this week. DJ claimed his second title two years ago, having first won this tournament in 2011 but he’s lacked consistency and, unusually for Johnson, he has just the one win to his name this season.
Jon Rahm (14/1) is similar odds to Dustin Johnson in places, while Justin Rose and Justin Thomas are a few points further back at around 20/1. Rose was a runner up here in 2013 but Rahm has enjoyed a more positive season, winning on both sides of the Atlantic. Thomas looks fully fit again following his injury return and will get plenty of support this week.
Also worth a look are the 25/1 shots Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Tommy Fleetwood and Tiger Woods. Of that bunch, Simpson and Fleetwood have the better form while Woods has a good record in the Northern Trust. Masters aside, it has not been a stellar year for Tiger and he needs a positive four days to stay in the FedEx hunt.
There looks to be a ton of value in an outside bunch that includes the likes of Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry, Bryson Dechambeau and Tony Finau. We have just named two of this year’s Major winners, the Northern Trust defending champion and the man who led the FedEx standings for most of this campaign.
Lowry (66/1) is our most recent winner of a Major and, in providing us with a nice top 10 finish profit recently, he has proved that he can take his form across to the PGA Tour. Kuchar (50/1) led the FedEx race for some time and he is also a former winner of the Northern Trust – although we have to go back to 2010 for that triumph.
Woodland (66/1), winner of this year’s US Open, is of particular interest to us at a long opening price. He has been a runner up in this event and while immediate form may be a concern, he has the game for this course and the appetite to rise for the big occasion.
In a packed field, other names to look out for include Xander Schauffele (8/1), Brandt Snedeker (80/1), Jordan Spieth (45/1) and Hideki Matsuyama (40/1).
Our Preview’s Northern Trust Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
The Northern Trust rotates between a number of courses and this year we return to the Liberty National in New Jersey for the first time since 2013. The bare stats show that this is a par 71 but it is a lengthy one at over 7300 yards so there may be some benefit for the distance hitters in places.
It’s a tree-lined course so accuracy can play a part but the list of recent winners doesn’t hold much of a key. Aside from putting stats, no single quality really stands out so we are looking for good all round form plus a hot streak with the flatstick.
Taking all of that into account, our suggestion to get behind Gary Woodland may come from left field. Since that US Open Triumph, there have been two missed cuts followed by a tie for 55th at the WGC Bridgestone last time out but a brief spell should see him recharged and ready to make a late FedEx surge.
Woodland for the win is the overall tip while the shorter priced, top 10 finish picks should offer some insurance and hopefully add up to a strong profit over the four days. Here are the Northern Trust predictions for this preview: