This week sees the last edition of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational before it is replaced on the calendar by the St Jude Classic. The tournament has been a fixture for 20 years and also offers a challenging final warm up for the PGA Championship that follows next week.
In Canada last week, Dustin Johnson strolled to victory while we took a profit on Keegan Bradley in the Top 10 finishers market. So let’s see if we can extend a decent run in Akron Ohio with our WGC Bridgestone predictions and betting picks.
Fresh from his brilliant win at the Canadian Open last week, World Number One Dustin Johnson (+700) is a clear favorite for the second week in succession. DJ was almost faultless over four rounds at Glen Abbey and won by three shots in a low scoring tournament.
A winner at the WGC Bridgestone in 2016, Johnson has the form for a repeat and also looks to be peaking nicely ahead of the US PGA Championship that follows this tournament.
Behind Dustin Johnson there is a gap of several points to our second favorite Rory McIlroy (+1200). The Northern Irishman was a winner here in 2014 and has five Top 10 finishes in seven visits so, coupled with sound form in a tie for second at Carnoustie, Rory has a chance.
In places, Tiger Woods is locked on the same win price as McIlroy and he has shortened overnight so is clearly getting some support. Tiger has yet to get over the line in 2018 after threatening to win the Valspar Championship but he has won the WGC Bridgestone no fewer than eight times so he’s happy with course conditions.
Behind Woods, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day are all here in what is one of the strongest fields outside of the four Majors.
There is a lot of interest in Justin Thomas (+2000), reigning US PGA Champion and World Number Two but a man who is out of touch coming into Thursday. Thomas heads the list of outside punts at a relatively distant price and while he remains second in the FedEx Cup points table, form is elusive.
A host of high quality golfers are priced similarly including Europe’s Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood (+2500) and new Open Champion Francesco Molinari (+2500). Moving further back we have the consistent Paul Casey (+4000) plus Xander Schauffele (+4500) who produced four solid rounds at the Open.
At huge odds are Phil Mickelson (+7500) and Bubba Watson (+4500), who is a three-time winner this season. Then we have Webb Simpson (+6000) and Kevin Chappell (+7500) who have both given us good profits in Top 10 finish markets. It’s a strong field so what will it take to produce a winner?
Our Preview’s WGC Bridgestone Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
For the final time, the WGC Bridgestone heads to Akron Ohio and the Firestone Country Club. From 2019 onwards, the St Jude Classic claims WGC status and will take its place but for now, we remain at this long par 70 which comes in at exactly 7,400 yards.
Length is a common theme here with par 4s stretching into 500 yards and a 667 yard par 5 which is the longest hole on Tour outside of the Majors. Winning scores have been relatively high, if we discard Hideki Matsuyama’s -16 in 2017 which was made in unusually favorable conditions.
Hard fairways and soft greens mean that while there is no clear stat over recent renewals, length off the tee combined with reasonable, but not pinpoint accuracy will be desirable. Form with the putter is also an obvious requirement on fast greens which can reach up to 13 on the stimp.
This is the 20th year of the tournament and of the 19 previous editions, Tiger Woods has won no fewer than eight of them. Obviously, Tiger isn’t such a dominant force at the moment but that’s an incredible return and to date, no other golfer has won this tournament more than once.
That record makes Tiger an obvious consideration but there are so many strong contenders. Dustin Johnson’s form makes it hard to look beyond the favorite but back-to-back wins are tough for anyone and we are looking to Rickie Fowler for our WGC Bridgestone predictions this week.
He has a good record at the Bridgestone with four straight Top 10 finishes and has the game to master the course and get across the line. Fowler for the win plus a set of Top 10 picks will hopefully lead to a profitable four days. These are this preview’s recommended tips: