After another long and entertaining PGA Tour season, it all comes down to one final tournament. The 2023 Tour Championship tees off this week, with just the best 30 players left from the FedEx Standings.
There is an unusual format in place, which this preview will cover as we work through the field heading to the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
Last time out at the BMW Championship, one of our top five picks delivered a small return. It would have been a big profit for those backing Viktor Hovland for the outright win, but let’s see if we can build on that momentum with our Tour Championship predictions, picks and full preview.
The highest placed player in the field begins with a head start over the rest of the competition. The leader of the FedEx race will tee off at 10 under par and the remaining golfers will be placed a number of shots behind, depending on their position in the points table. That format always has an effect on the odds with the major American online sports betting outlets, which will be shorter than those in place for a regular tournament. It all means that Scottie Scheffler goes off as the clear favorite this week at a top price of just 6/4.
Scheffler will start at that 10 under mark, which means he has a two-shot lead over the man in second place. He is the FedEx leader, had a good week at the BMW Championship, and leads the Tour in key stats including Greens in Regulation.
The second favorite is Rory McIlroy who is quoted at best industry odds of 7/2. Rory tees off at 7 under and he has clawed back bigger gaps than this to win this event in previous years.
Next in the betting lines comes Viktor Hovland at 5/1, who starts at 8 under and is the form golfer, after that late surge claimed the BMW Championship on Sunday. With a much-improved short game, Hovland appears to be the complete package, just as the season ends.
In fourth place is Jon Rahm who will begin the tournament at 6 under. He is in a slump at the moment, but he does enjoy this event and has a scoring average of 68.25 at Eastlake. Rahm finished second here to Patrick Cantlay in 2021, but he did return the joint best gross score over the four days.
There is such a huge gap between the top four and the rest of the field that we have to consider everyone else as outsiders. Therefore, this section is led by Patrick Cantlay at a top price of 20/1. Following on are Xander Schauffele at 30/1, Max Homa at 33/1 and Lucas Glover at 45/1. Cantlay won this event two years ago after starting as the leader. He is at 4 under this time and has found some decent form with a tie for 15th on Sunday.
Matt Fitzpatrick and Brian Harman are at 50/1, followed by Tommy Fleetwood and Wyndham Clark at 60/1. All four have good stats and reasonable form, but we are getting to the point where players have too much ground to make up. Despite that, you may want to consider other names including Rickie Fowler at 70/1 and Russell Henley at 80/1.
For the second week in succession, there is no cut so all 30 golfers will play 72 holes, barring injury or withdrawal. However, at the bottom of the list of qualifiers, five golfers have to make up 10 shots on the leader Scottie Scheffler.
Jordan Spieth, Sepp Straka, Sam Burns, Tyrrell Hatton and Emiliano Grillo will all start at level par, and the size of their task is reflected in their odds this week. Straka carries the longest figure and he will tee off at a best of 1000/1.
Our 2023 Tour Championship Predictions & Picks Verdict with Course & Betting Trends
The East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia is the regular home for the last event of the Tour season. It is a par 70 course, but there is significant length at some 7,346 yards. When Rory McIlroy won here last year, he ranked first for Driving Distance although accuracy has been more important historically. Over the last ten years, Greens in Regulation has been the better indicator.
Rory also ranked in first place for Putting Average, and nobody will win on these tough Bermuda greens if their putting lets them down.
I don’t enjoy the current format, and am not sure why we can’t just see a regular tournament with placings deciding the FedEx winner. It does reduce the odds and brings in a handicap system that many bettors will want to avoid.
However, we have seen deficits overtaken, and one man who could come through is Jon Rahm. We may have put a little too much faith in him over the season, but we think he deserves another chance. After a bad run, he has the stats and an exceptional record on this East Lake course.
Scottie Scheffler and the men immediately behind him will need to have a weak four days, but Rahm can make up those four shots. Along with our winner, this preview will add in just one other top 5 finish betting pick this week, with Brian Harman equipped to race up the standings. So these are the predictions against the bookies for this Tour Championship 2023 preview:
- Jon Rahm to win at best odds of +900 (9/1) with BetOnline.
- John Rahm (-120) and Brian Harman (+350) for a top 5 finish, both odds with BetOnline 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.