We are just one week away from golf’s second Major of the season so while the countdown is firmly on for the US Open, starting on June 14, another strong field is assembling at TPC Southwind in Tennessee for the St Jude Classic.
It has been held every year since 1958 and is a lucrative tournament in its own right while it also offers that final chance to find form ahead of the major event that follows.
There are some big-name absentees this week as some golfers will prefer to rest from tournament play ahead of the US Open but former World Number One Dustin Johnson is here and he leads the betting markets by some distance as +650 favorite with Bovada Sportsbook.
DJ is a former winner of the St Jude Classic and although that win came in his debut appearance in 2012, he followed that with a fifth place when he was last here two years ago.
Slightly further back is Brooks Koepka (+900) who is second favorite but actually edges Johnson in the Power Rankings by virtue of a more consistent record in this tournament. The current US Open Champion has made the weekend on all four appearances in the St Jude Classic and has a second and third in that time.
Daniel Berger (+2800) comes here as our defending champion and in fact, the 25 year old has two straight victories here from 2016. Considering those are his only wins on Tour, Berger clearly must be suited to this course but his lack of success elsewhere makes it hard to back him with any confidence.
At the head of the chasing pack is Phil Mickelson (+1600) who looks good value at mid-range odds. Lefty came back to form earlier in 2018 and while he has never won here, Phil has two runners up places alongside a tie for third.
Henrik Stenson (+1100) is surely worth watching this week. The Swede is top of the Tour stats in terms of Greens in Regulation, Fairways Hit and Par 4 Scoring. That is impressive but this is his first visit to Southwind since 2012 so we are a little more wary than some.
Also worth monitoring among the chasing golfers is Billy Horschel (+2200), who has four straight Top Tens here and while Tony Finau (+2000) is making his tournament debut, there is a lot of support for him this week
Aside from Daniel Berger and Dustin Johnson, there is a lack of former champions lining up but there could be some top value bets as we move into the distant prices. Firmly in the outsider bracket is Kevin Chappell (+5000) who has given us nice profits in top ten markets while Brandt Snedeker (+6600) and JB Holmes (+5500) are also favorites of ours and are even further down the betting lists.
Elsewhere, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+3500) features in the Power Rankings this week but while he is a consistent performer in Europe, he has yet to stand out on this side of the Atlantic. Other names to mention in this section include Steve Stricker (+5000) and Byeong Hun An (+3300) while it has been reported that there is a run of bets on William McGirt (+20000).
Our Preview’s St Jude Classic Predictions with Course Trends & Betting Picks
TPC Southwind down in Memphis has been the regular venue for this event since 1989 and in terms of bare stats it’s a Par 70 but at a relatively lengthy 7,244 yards. It has been a tough course since it was built in 1988 but a 2004 redesign made things even harder with the addition of 15 bunkers and the planting of 125 new trees.
It features small, high and fast greens so scrambling is key and accuracy vital over the next four days.
Daniel Berger completed those back-to-back wins last year and multiple winners are fairly common with Justin Leonard and David Toms both achieving doubles since 2000. However, only Dave Hill and Lee Trevino have won the St Jude more than twice so the trends are not necessarily with Berger this week.
With those stats in mind, the best scrambler of all may come through this week so we are giving our support to Phil Mickelson in the straight win markets. The left hander also led the field in birdies or better percentages at Memorial and that’s another key stat in his favour.
Phil to win it is the main pick but there are some additional St Jude Classic predictions with our Top 10 wagers, which will hopefully boost our profits at the expense of the USA betting sites by Sunday evening.
- Bet on Phil Mickelson to win @ +1600 (16/1) with Bovada. Plus take Mickelson for a Top 5 finish at + 275 with the same bookmaker.
- Billy Horschel (+225), Kevin Chappell (+500) and JB Holmes (+600) for Top 10 finishes with Bovada.
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.