Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. However, finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they select a champion.
Below, we will cover the best bets for the THE CJ CUP in South Carolina based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at Golf odds.
Pre-pandemic, we were treated to a feast for the eyes at NINE BRIDGES on Jeju Island, South Korea for THE CJ CUP's first couple installments, but since travel restrictions have been in place this event has been transplanted stateside, first at Shadow Creek and The Summit Club in Las Vegas, and now to Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina, a perennial Top 100 contender that has been trying to crack PGA Tour rotation since it opened.
Congaree filled an open summer slot last year for the Palmetto Championship, producing a tough test to an admittedly weak field. An altogether different lineup descends upon Ridgeland, South Carolina this week, including the top two ranked golfers in the world. Ballstriking proved key at the Palmetto, with driving distance a major advantage at this 7,565-yard par 71. With a strong, small field of just 78 golfers, we'll keep our card tight this week.
For more info on Congaree Golf Club, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out Brandon Gdula's article.
At the Top
Justin Thomas (+1400) - Thomas is behind three of the top five golfers in the world rankings, all of whom are more formidable drivers than he. But at more than double the price of favorite Rory McIlroy (+650), JT offers the most value among the best players in this field. Thomas is no slouch off the tee, ranking 14th in driving distance last season and 16th in strokes gained: off the tee. He is elite with his irons and wedges, and that combination gives Thomas a high floor week in and week out. When either the driver or the putter gets hot, he tends to win or get darn close to winning. He can occasionally be wild off the tee, but with little rough to speak of at Congaree, the course is an ideal fit for Thomas.
Cameron Young (+2900) - Young was second in strokes gained: off the tee and third in driving distance last year, an absolute beast of a rookie season that featured five runner-up finishes and two more third-places. That first career PGA Tour eluded him, but as we saw with the meteoric rise of Scottie Scheffler (+1200) last year, consistently contending eventually turns into victories for talented young golfers. One of those second-place finishes came at The Open Championship, and one of the thirds came at the PGA Championship. He won't be overmatched or intimidated by top talent in the field, and at a course that should play to his strength, Congaree looks like a great opportunity to pick up that first career PGA Tour victory.
Aaron Wise (+4500) - Wise had his best season as a pro last year, finally fulfilling some of the promise of his 2017-18 Rookie of the Year campaign. He has played well in the fall each of the past two seasons, including T8 at the Shriners Children's Open and T5 at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT. Obviously, it was a different course for the latter, but Wise was in the mix all week and held up well against similarly tough competition. His lone PGA Tour win came at the hokey Trinity Forest, but what Congaree has in common with that course is a general lack of rough. He's solid in both ball-striking categories, ranking 21st in strokes gained: approach and 31st off the tee last season.
Emiliano Grillo (+6500) - Grillo has had a hot start to spring, with an opening T25 at the Fortinet Championship followed by a T5 at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a T73 in the birdie fest Shriners Children's Open, and T4 last week at the ZOZO Championship. The travel back from Japan is a bit of a concern, but I like him at this number. He's solid off the tee, ranking 18th last season in strokes gained: off the tee. Once upon a time, he was an elite iron player, but he slipped to 106th last year in strokes gained: approach after being in the top 15 the three years prior. He's playing well and scoring even when not quite at his best, and if he can get right with his approach play, he can find the winner's circle. It's been a while for Emilio, though, so our best bet for him is probably a Top-10 Finish (+550).