Following a brief and entertaining diversion for the Olympics, we’re back on the PGA Tour as the race for the FedEx Cup begins to heat up. This week it’s the turn of the 2021 St Jude Invitational with a strong field looking for points to close out the season.
Last time out in Tokyo, our tip for a place, Paul Casey, was one of seven golfers who initially tied for third. The Englishman ultimately lost out in the subsequent playoff but dead heat rules gave us a small return so let’s aim to build on a solid recent run as we head to Memphis, Tennessee with our St Jude predictions for this preview.
Brooks Koepka lifted the St Jude Invitational trophy in 2019 and he starts as clear favorite at best industry odds of 12/1. Koepka has a great record in this event with a tie for second last year and he is in decent form for once with three straight top six finishes.
Open Champion Collin Morikawa and Olympic Champion Xander Schauffele can also be found at 12/1 in places but elsewhere, both men are listed at a top price of 14/1. Clearly they are in good form and will rightly get solid support at those figures.
Justin Thomas is the defending champion and he is back this week to look for this third St Jude title in four years. It is the kind of record that might have seen JT head up the outright betting but, instead, he kicks off the list of chasers at best odds of 16/1.
A dip in form since victory at the Players Championship keeps Thomas down the list but this is a favored event and he is the only golfer, other than Tiger Woods, to win the St Jude more than once.
Jordan Spieth is also available at that same top price of 16/1 and, as he comes second in the Power Rankings, he could be one to watch. A welcome return to form is reflected in the FedEx Cup ratings where Spieth sits in second place.
In a strong field for 2021, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are both on offer at a best of 20/1. Rory was among the clutch of players who initially tied for third in Japan and he is another former champion with a win in the St Jude back in 2014. Johnson has also lifted this trophy – back in 2016 – but form is more of an issue.
Other players to consider from within the chasing pack include Daniel Berger at 22/1, Louis Oosthuizen at 22/1, Viktor Hovland at 25/1, Bryson DeChambeau at 28/1 and Patrick Cantlay at 28/1. Of that list, Oosthuizen has a good record here and he has also claimed four runners up places in his last eight starts.
Yet another former champion leads the outside pack: Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama also entered that bronze medal playoff last week and he won the St Jude Invitational back in 2016. The reigning Masters Champion is available at best odds of 30/1 and he is joined on that figure by Scottie Scheffler and Paul Casey.
Casey returned that third place initial finish on Sunday while Scheffler is building a reputation for lifting his game at Majors and big WGC events.
Next up are Patrick Reed, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson and Cameron Smith who are all available at 35/1 in places. Simpson returned a solo second behind Brooks Koepka in 2019 but Fitzpatrick and Smith may have the better form heading into Thursday.
Other names to mention in the outside bunch include Tony Finau at 40/1, Abraham Ancer at 45/1, Harris English at 45/1, Shane Lowry at 45/1 and Brian Harman at 66/1. That list involves yet another former St Jude champion with Lowry enjoying success here in 2015.
Our St Jude Invitational Preview’s Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
Now a WGC Event, the St Jude Invitational was first held back in 1999 as the NEC Invitational. The current sponsor, FedEx, and the current title have only been in place since 2019. That was the year that we also saw a switch of venue from Firestone in Ohio to TPC Southwind in Memphis.
The course is a par 70 but it’s a relatively lengthy one at over 7,200 yards. The main features are the tiny greens which average out at around 4,300 square feet. Accuracy will be vital with Greens in Regulation and Scrambling likely to be among the key stats.
The name that interests us this week is that of Jordan Spieth. His putting had dipped so badly that we wouldn’t have even considered him on this surface 12 months ago but all that has changed. Form has returned in all areas as evidenced by that second place in the current FedEx standings.
Spieth also has the game to succeed on this type of course and, along with three other top ten picks, he can contribute to a profitable weekend in Memphis. So these are the betting predictions for this St Jude preview:
- Jordan Spieth to win at +1600 (16/1) with Bovada, Intertops and BetOnline.
- As well as Spieth (+175), take Scottie Scheffler (+225), Tony Finau (+275) and Harris English (+275) for top 10 finishes. All those odds are with BetOnline, currently top priced about those selections.
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.