GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Northern Trust from TPC Boston.
The Northern Trust | 20th-23rd August 2020 | Sky Sports
The PGA Tour moves onto the season-ending FedEx Cup with The Northern Trust being the first of three play-off events. With each passing week, the field gets shorter in time for the climax at East Lake's Tour Championship.
Winning over this stretch comes at an added bonus with more prize money available – the eventual winner will scoop a whopping €15m, so if there's any week to bring your A-game it's this week.
TPC Boston, designed by the late Arnold Palmer, plays host after missing the schedule last year. As a par 71 at 7,342 yards, it is a traditional resort-like parklands course with undulating fairways and bentgrass greens.
The course is very bomber-friendly, so we're looking for those big hitters this week whilst other attributes that fit the profile will be elite ball-strikers and/or those with an elite short-game. The par-5s are very reachable and much of the approach shots will lie above 175-200 yards. We'll also very much want recent winners and those in-form on board.
Something else to consider is form on other AP designs – think Bay Hill or the 3M – as well as Gil Hanse designs as he's played his part too – these are tracks like Doral, Ridgewood and Plainfield.
With such a star-studded field, it's no surprise to see certain names at the front of the market – some players I love in this bracket are Xander Schauffele (we've been stung too much by him), Jason Day (looks a touch short) and Collin Morikawa (who could win straight after his maiden major bow).
But we'll start the staking plan further down the field…
Patrick Reed (30/1 William Hill)
We'll begin around the midrange mark where a lot of our picks seem to be this week, starting with Patrick Reed (30/1 William Hill).
Captain America isn't the absolute perfect statistical fit around here, but he's a born-winner who will often find a way to challenge whatever the test. His approach game has been trending upwards over his last few outings and that has correlated into T13-T9. He's no stranger to winning the big events either; he's a Masters champion after all but he's also won a WGC at Doral and won this very event last year down the road at Liberty National.
Reed has also had two top-3s at Albany (Palmer design) and from 2015 to 2017 around TPC Boston, he finished no worse than 6th. He clearly likes this track.
Paul Casey (45/1 William Hill)
A player who is definitely suited to this week's test is Paul Casey (45/1 William Hill)
This is a man who finished runner-up in the first major of the year just two weeks ago – had he followed up with another decent result at the Wyndham, then he'd be half these odds. Still, T31 isn't disastrous. This course is more up his street, which is reinforced by finishes of 2nd, 4th and 21st in the past three competitions here.
Casey is first on the PGA Tour for Total Driving (he's long and straight!), 6th for Approach, 8th for Proximity 175-200 and 12th for GIR. He's no longer that man that couldn't win events either after three victories worldwide across the '18 and '19 season. He should give us a nice run for our money.
Sungjae Im (60/1 William Hill)
It could be Sungjae Im's (60/1 William Hill)
time to pick up another PGA Tour victory. Whilst he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, he rocked up at Sedgefield with a T9 just a handful of shots off the winning Jim Herman.
Strangely, he's worse odds than last week despite a strong showing. Yes, the field is stronger, but this is a guy that won the Honda Classic this year, which has also been won by JT, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott. Im is another strong driver of the ball, both in terms of length and accuracy, and is someone who can certainly rack up the birdies, particularly on these reachable par 5s.
After that win, he was third at Bay Hill (Palmer design), which is a nice boost.
Matthew Wolff (60/1 William Hill)
Sticking in this bracket, we'll add someone who could have quite easily won the PGA Championship had he holed more putts in that enthralling final round, Matthew Wolff (60/1 William Hill)
As a former World Amateur #1, it's no surprise to see him do so well on the PGA Tour. He's one of the new exciting young crop of big-hitting birdiemakers, ala Viktor Hovland and Morikawa. He won last year's 3M Open and finished T12 trying to defend it shortly after the Tour's restart.
Wolff was also second behind Bryson Dechambeau at the Rocket Mortgage whilst at his first-ever major he ranked 1st for T2G, 2nd for OTT and 3rd for APP. Only three players beat his weekend score too. He can mix it with the elite and this track is sure to be right up his street.
Tyrrell Hatton (66/1 William Hill)
And finally, we'll end this week's plan with the API winner himself, Tyrrell Hatton (66/1 William Hill).
We were on him that week at 50/1 and the erratic Englishman duly delivered. His form isn't ideal but he did begin the restart with back-to-back top five finishes at the RBC Heritage and the Rocket Mortgage.
Hatton's the second best on the PGA Tour for Proximity 175-200 yards, fourth for Approach,fourth for Birdie Average and inside the top 30 for things like GIR and Total Driving. He meets a lot of the criteria and in the last year has shown he can mix it with the big boys ranging from his performances in majors/WGCs to that win at Bay Hill.
If he can get his mojo back after a rough two tournaments, then he has the potential to make these odds look silly.
The Northern Trust – Patrick Reed (30/1 each-way William Hill)
The Northern Trust – Paul Casey (45/1 each-way William Hill)
The Northern Trust – Sungjae Im (60/1 each-way William Hill)
The Northern Trust – Matthew Wolff (60/1 each-way William Hill)
The Northern Trust – Tyrrell Hatton (66/1 each-way William Hill)