We are finally on to the second postseason event of the FedExCup playoffs as the Northern Trust bled into the workweek. With the top 125 players being narrowed to the top 70, a no-cut event presents itself at Caves Valley this week for the BMW Championship.
In what was one of the most memorable finishes last season, Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson found themselves in a two-man playoff. After an improbable birdie on the 72nd hole, Johnson got a taste of his own medicine as Rahm answered in an eerily similar manner in the playoff to capture the BMW Championship title.
The 2021 BMW Championship odds have been posted at [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog] with world No. 1 and defending champion Jon Rahm leading the way at +650, with an implied probability to win of 13.33 percent. If successful, a $100 bet on him would net you $650 profit.
Looking to maintain his lead going into the Tour Championship, Tony Finau is listed at +2800 and will hope to remain No. 1 in the FedExCup standings as a staggered start and two-stroke lead is up for grabs ahead of East Lake.
2021 BMW Championship Odds To Win
Odds as of August 24 at [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog]
How Will Players React To Less Prep Time?
Tropical storm Henri got the better of the PGA Tour ahead of the BMW Championship. Delaying the final round of the Northern Trust more than a day, heavy rains bombarded the New York City metropolitan area and Liberty National was no different. With more than nine inches of rain on the course, much more than expected, the grounds crew and volunteers rushed to get the Northern Trust venue playable come Monday.
Yet delay after delay began to unfold as the scheduled 7:30 a.m. ET start time was pushed back to 9:30 a.m., then 10:30 a.m. and finally to 11:30 a.m. Leaving the final trio of Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith and Erik Van Rooyen to tee off in the mid-afternoon, the short trip down to the Baltimore, Maryland, area for the BMW Championship would have to wait just a few more hours.
Likely arriving Monday evening, players who made the cut will only have two days of preparation ahead of the BMW Championship. On a course that none of these players have seen as a professional in the competitive setting, those who missed the weekend in Jersey City may in fact hold a slight edge going into the BMW Championship.
Those notable players who were not present at the Northern Trust over the weekend and may arrive on time in Maryland include: Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Jason Kokrak and Louis Oosthuizen. While question marks surround each of these players, injury concerns arise with Morikawa and possibly even Oosthuizen.
Morikawa appeared to have tweaked his back at the Olympic Games and hasn’t looked quite the same since. Losing strokes on approach in two consecutive starts, the world’s best iron player likely could use the extra couple days of rest. And while seemingly steady this summer, Oosthuizen has been known to catch the injury bug and withdrew before the start of the Wyndham Championship due to a neck injury.
You may have noticed that Patrick Reed was omitted from this list. On Monday, he released a statement to disclose he has been in a Houston-area hospital battling pneumonia. Reed has now withdrawn pre-tournament three weeks in a row, pulling out of the Northern Trust at the eleventh hour, citing an ankle injury, and the week before at the Wyndham Championship.
Course And Analysis:
Opened in 1991, Caves Valley in Owings Mills, Maryland, has seen its fair share of the limelight in competitive golf. Host to the 1995 U.S. Mid-Am, 2002 U.S. Senior Open, 2005 NCAA Division 1 Championship, 2007 Palmer Cup and the 2017 Senior Players, this Tom Fazio design has yet to welcome the PGA Tour. That is until this week for the BMW Championship as the top 70 players in the FedExCup make the short trip from New Jersey to Maryland.
At just over 7,500 yards, this par 72 will present a number of unknowns ahead of the BMW Championship, especially coming off a delayed Northern Trust. However, based on interviews that I have conducted with those who have ample course knowledge and experience, the world’s best shouldn’t be all too concerned.
In what will likely be yet another birdie-fest on the PGA Tour, there aren’t many gimmicks or nuances to Caves Valley. With everything right in front of the players, they’ll be able to attack the four par-5s with ease and hope to hold on for dear life on the par 3s as all have the capability to play over 220 yards and feature water of some sort.
Boasting a nice mixture of drivable, potentially three and long par 4s, I am immediately drawn to those players who are strong drivers of the golf ball. Keep in mind that approach play will always be prominent when analyzing week to week and the BMW Championship is no different.
I just believe those players who have the ability to overpower a golf course, make birdies in the bunches and impose their will are the type to target at Caves Valley. It will be a far cry from Olympia Fields where 4 under got you a date with Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson in one of the most memorable finishes in recent history.
2021 BMW Championship Picks:
Rory McIlroy +2800
Starting to write this before the conclusion of the Northern Trust, it is safe to say that McIlroy had an odd week in New Jersey. Improving in each of his first three rounds, it wasn’t your standard stripe show from the Northern Irishman, instead having to rely on a strong week on the greens. Putting together a strong front nine in his final round only solidified my feelings toward him for BMW Championship predictions.
Finally figuring out the flat stick that has been hindering his performances so much, McIlroy struggled with his irons, specifically in Round 2, losing -4.83 Strokes Gained: Approach on the day. Having been red-hot for the past few months or so in that department, I am hoping it was just a blip on the radar and that they will return to form to become BMW Championship odds value.
Before the postseason began, McIlroy had posted performances of +6.5, +4.4, +4.1, +4.3 and +5.3 SG: Approach in the United States. Dating back to his lone victory of the season at the Wells Fargo Championship, many believe Quail Hollow Club, another course with Tom Fazio’s hands all over it, could offer some correlation to Caves Valley.
One of the best drivers of his generation, if McIlroy is able to finally marry the entirety of his bag, he will be a force to be reckoned with. The all-time money leader in the FedExCup playoffs and a two-time FedExCup champion will be looking to add a sixth postseason victory to his impressive resume. Having had past success just an hour south at Congressional Country Club, a return to Maryland could be what pushes him over the edge.
Bryson DeChambeau +2800
The Northern Trust very much felt like a missed opportunity for DeChambeau. Leading the field in SG: Approach through the first two rounds, the 2018 champion was just six strokes adrift from Rahm at the halfway point. Needing a big moving day, DeChambeau faltered, failing to capitalize on the pristine scoring conditions at Liberty National and carding a round of 1-over 72.
However, the birdie-making ability that he displayed in New Jersey is more than enough to draw me in for the BMW Championship. With 16 of them through 36 holes and an additional eagle for good measure, the two-time postseason victor showed off some firepower that we haven’t seen from him in a while. Known this season for playing well in more difficult conditions, such as the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the U.S. Open, the eight-time winner on the tour may have found another gear.
Leading the field in SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Par-5s over the last three months, Caves Valley could set up perfectly for DeChambeau. With little trouble off the tee, lost balls are a rarity in Owings Mills per those members I have talked to. That should be right up DeChambeau’s alley as there are three drivable par 4s and four potentially reachable par 5s.
With the difficulty of the course coming mainly from the par 3s, DeChambeau should have his way with those as well. Ranking inside the top five in proximity from 200-plus yards over the last three months, it’s just another box ticked for his BMW Championship prospects.
Scottie Scheffler +3300
When the PGA Tour makes a stop at a new venue, those younger players who have been dealing with similar preparation methods tend to thrive. You can look no further than the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession where Collin Morikawa and Scheffler were there on Sunday. While Morikawa was victorious in Florida, I will look to Scheffler at the BMW Championship as he is quickly garnering “big-game hunter” status on the PGA Tour.
While there are final-round concerns, as he hasn’t been his best on Sunday, he has gotten himself on the first page of the leaderboard with 18 holes to go time and time again. Top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship, Memorial, U.S. Open and Open Championship were followed up with yet another close call at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where the Texan closed with a 4-over 74 to finish solo 14th.
Then there’s this week at Liberty National, where he never found himself with an opportunity to capture his first PGA Tour victory, but still looked strong. Before a poor final round from around the greens, Scheffler was gaining strokes on the field in all tee-to-green metrics. The only concern before Monday was his putter as he struggled on the greens, mainly on Friday and Saturday, posting -3.34 and -1.88 SG: Putting in those two rounds.
While he does have the propensity to fall flat on the greens, he also has the ability to boom. Having gained nearly nine strokes at the U.S. Open and just over 4.5 strokes at the PGA Championship, when his putter gets going, it becomes a buzzsaw. Highlighted by leading the field in birdies or better the last three months, if the putter pops at Caves Valley, then the rest of the game is strong enough for a BMW Championship title.
Odds Shark’s Golf Pages
These helpful pages will assist you in handicapping your golf wagers:
Doc's Picks Service
Need more winning picks? Get $60 worth of premium member picks from Doc’s Sports – a recognized leader and trusted name in sports handicapping since 1971.