GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the BMW Championship from Medinah.
BMW Championship | 15th-18th August 2019 | Sky Sports
The FedEx Cup play-offs roll into Illinois for the penultimate tournament before the Tour Championship at East Lake. Just 70 players make it here to fight for a spot in the final 30.
Last week we managed to pick the winner in Patrick Reed who needed that performance to strengthen his Presidents Cup chances not to mention his leap from 50th to 2nd in the FEC standings. This week similar applies at a very long and tough course. Only the elite should show up here this week.
- Medinah No .3, Illinois, United States.
- Par 72 – 7,657 yards.
- A super long, tree-lined woodlands course.
- Bentgrass from tee to green.
- Hosted the 2012 Ryder Cup – the famous ‘Miracle at Medinah'
- Also hosted the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2006.
- Extremely long course lined by trees therefore Total Driving is key here – only the long and straight in with a proper chance.
- Elite ball-strikers and tee-to-green game.
- FedEx Cup playoff winners normally in hot form.
- Four par-5s and one par-4 all reachable in two and one respectively.
- Hard to have many comp courses but we can use a combination to gauge a teeny look into what's required here this week – Torrey Pines (Farmers), Riviera (Genesis), Firestone (ex-WGC), Copperhead (Valspar), Quail Hollow (PGA & Wells Fargo) and Augusta National (Masters) as it feels very major-like this week.
- Four from the front from me this week as everything mentioned points towards an elite winner – someone expected – someone that isn't a shock so I am more than happy to lead front-heavy even more so with a condensed field too. 7 places on offer in most places so there are some mouthwatering odds.
Jon Rahm (11/1 Betfair)
The way I see it this week with Jon Rahm is he either wins, gains a top-10 so gives us refund potential or completely blows up. It should be either of the former with the way he's playing – he could have easily won last week if he stuck at it.
Rahm ranks inside the top-10 for both Total Driving and SG:T2G for the season which is a great sign for this week and this course should really suit his eye with a lot of doglegs to the left which he should be able to rip through with his driver. The rough isn't a worry this week with the fairways a little wider than usual so that makes me more confident with this pick.
His form is out of this world – I don't think there's a player in this field that is in as red hot form as the Spaniard – It's 6 straight top-11 finishes including a win at the Irish Open, a T3 at Pebble Beach for the US Open and a T3 last week at the Northern Trust. He's won at Torrey Pines, finished 4th-T9 at the last two Masters and performed well at Riviera and the Valspar – further signs for encouragement.
Rahm is 5th in the FEC rankings and could do with a victory to catapult him into the lead before the Tour Championship where the no.1 ranked player begins on -10 for the week… It should hopefully be win or refund on the powerful hitting 24-year-old!
Adam Scott (25/1 SkyBet )
Here we are again, it was a close one between Scotty and Cantlay – two players I've backed countless times this year but I will side with the Aussie after his Sunday showing at the Northern Trust – a final round 65 with the long-stick putter (!!!) gave him a solo 5th.
The putter is the key, last time we backed him he unexpectedly switched to the short putter which normally means a poor week. Let's hope he sees sense and keeps that long-stick out.
Last week's 5th was his best showing out of the last three tournaments but before that he went three straight with top-8 finishes and five straight in top-20s. This year he finished runner-up at the Farmers (Torrey Pines) and seventh at the Genesis (Riviera). The 2014 Masters winner has also won at Firestone and Riviera in the past and shows up at almost every course mentioned.
He's one of the best players in the world with his irons, ranking 4th for SG:App for this season – he is also 4th for SG:T2G and 3rd for par-5 scoring, further encouragement towards success this week.
He hasn't won in since 2016 but we've seen a whole host of players knock out huge winless streaks in the past 12 months or so. He has every single chance if he plays with the long putter this week.
Paul Casey (45/1 Betfair)
Casey had last week off which I think is a good thing for his chances this week. He's gone home, seen the family and that will surely put him in a good mood going into the final two events in the FEC – a win could put him inside the top-5 and that's a hell of a lot of money.
Statistically he's one of the best fits for this week – 3rd for Total Driving, 9th SG:App, 6th SG: T2G and 9th for par-5 scoring for the season.
He's won at the Valspar back-to-back (Copperhead) in the last two years. He's also popped at Riviera (Genesis), Firestone (ex-WGC), Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo), and even the Masters.
If the putter behaves he will certainly contend as it's been nine straight evens gaining strokes T2G, OTT and in APP.
Hideki Matsuyama (45/1 SkyBet)
Finally our staking plan ends with another notoriously bad putter but one who is an iron player nearly as good as Scotty. Hideki rates out 7th in SG:T2G and 8th in SG:APP for the season. He's also 22nd for Total Driving and 18th for par-5 scoring which is still very good.
Matsuyama is currently missing out on the Tour Championship as he ranks 33rd in the FEC standings so he needs a good week to slide to East Lake next week.
He's won some big events as a player including two WGCs (one at Firestone), the Memorial and the Phoenix Open x2. He just needs a good week with the putter and every time he has gained strokes on the greens he's finished at least in the top 20-odd going back to the 2018 PGA Championship – this run also includes a 15th in this very tournament last year so it shows he can turn it on when required.