As the PGA shifts from the regular season to the playoffs, so too will things be changing with our golf coverage over the next couple of weeks. For example, you might have noticed this piece is entitled the 2022 PGA Tour: St. Jude Championship Picks. The reason is that we will be combining the DFS picks and the prop bet picks into one article.
Before we get to the picks, let's wrap up the prop bet ledger for the year. We had another positive week last week, albeit a minimally positive one with a profit of just half a unit. That gives us a final net profit of 22.4375 units on the year. So if your betting unit was a fairly popular bet of $10, you made a profit of over $220 if you simply tailed me all year. Even if your betting unit was simply a $1 bet and you tailed me all year, you would have made enough of a profit to take yourself and two friends to lunch at Chick-Fil-A.
Either way, not too shabby given that this was my first year publishing and tracking my bets. I will continue to give you some of my favorite bets throughout the FedEx Cup Playoffs. But I will also be providing a few DFS picks every week as well. But the change is going to be simply "Players I Like" and reasons why.
The Tour heads to TPC Southwind in Memphis this week for the first round of the PGA playoffs with the St. Jude Championship Picks. I prefer when this event is a regular tournament versus the venue for Round 1 of the playoffs. Because we can appreciate those golfers that will play to help out the famous charity. However, I guess the LIV tour has taken over as the barometer for where players' hearts lie.
But I'd rather not get into the discussion and instead give you some of my favorite plays for this week.
2022 PGA Tour: St. Jude Championship Picks and Players I Like This Week
We are going to start with my favorite play this week to both bet and play in DFS, Chesson Hadley.
Chesson Hadley (DK $6400, FD $7600): Top 40 Finish (+190)
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Hadley is an incredible bargain on both Fan Duel and Draft Kings this week. And the only reason I betting him to finish Top 40 is that this is an extremely deep field, so I'm being a little more conservative with my bets this week.
Hadley is coming into the playoffs on an absolute tear. Less than two months ago, he was on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in, and needed to make up some ground. And he certainly did! He made the cut in six of seven tournaments, including four top tens. He'll likely need another top ten to remain in the playoffs.
Hadley is one of the better putters on the tour (14th in SG: Putting) and I think he ride that to at least a Top 25 finish. He also has a top 15 finish here in 2014, so I'm riding while Hadley I can.
Joohyung (Tom) Kim (DK $8000, FD $9700): First Round Leader (+4200)
If Hadley is so hot he's burning, Kim is incinerating right now. Kim finishes the season 35th in the FedEx Rankings and needed to win the Wyndham Championship to get into the playoffs and simply did just that. He only played nine tournaments on Tour this season, but obviously utilized his special membership to the fullest. He finished 47th at St. Andrews and an even more impressive 23rd at the US Open earlier this season. Even if we ignored his dominating victory last week, he still had an impressive 7th place the week before at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Leave him off your DFS entries at your own risk. And while I don't think he wins this week, I think he can stay pretty hot. So at 42-to-1, I'm willing to throw a quarter of a unit down on him being your FRL as well.
Cameron Smith ($10500 DK, $11600 FD) Top 5 finish; Xander Schauffele ($10600 DK, $11000 FD) Top 10 finish; & Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9800 DK, $10900 FD) top 20 finish; (+3200)
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This is "FD golf special" and these are usually more aggressive bets, but I'm willing to bet a tenth of a unit on it, maybe more. I will after all have shares of each of them in DFS as well. Although I will note that Fitzpatrick is a slightly better buy on DK than FD. But let's break this down piece by piece, starting with Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick has had quite the career year and finishes the season number one in Shots Gained: Tee to Green. There is no good reason why the tenth-ranked player in OWGR (Overall World Golf Rankings) can't finish at least in the top 20 this week. He's done it before too with a T-4 and a T-6 in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Schauffele meanwhile is 5th in the OWGR and I like his chances to add another top ten to the five he already has this season. He's top ten on the Tour in Shots Gained: Approaching the Green (8th), Shots Gained: Tee to Green (9th); and Shots Gained Total (4th). Schauffele was the one who tied Fitzpatrick here back in 2020, so his course history is not too shabby either. Throw in his three victories this year and Schauffele is an easy pick this week.
The Cameron Smith piece might be the hardest piece here, but I like Smith as much as the other golfers in this bet, probably more. But that's probably because he absolutely smoked it here last year with a 62 in the second round to help him finish in the top 5 last year. He's second in both the FedEx Standing and the OWGR. He too is coming in hot, with a T-10 at the Scottish Open in early July and an even more recent and more impressive victory at The Open less than three weeks ago.
Parlay (+545 FD): Scott Stallings ($7100 DK, $8900 FD) Top 40 (+115) and Billy Horschel ($8200 DK, $9900 FD) Top 20 (+200)
I realized I needed to give you a couple of mid-level DFS plays and I like both of these golfers this week to do well enough to make us a profit. Both should make the cut and then some.
Horschel is a "horse for the course" at TPC Southwind. He's made eight of his last eight cuts at TPC Southwind, including five top 10s. He's 15th in OWGR and would be surprised to see him finish this week much lower than that rank.
Stallings meanwhile cost me a nice win last week when he finished one stroke out of the top 10. But you can't hold a grudge. He's a spectacular DFS play given his affordable salary. He too is coming in strong. Over his last four events, he's gone T-8, T-4, T-10, and T-13. Most of the Tour would love to have a four-tournament stretch that strong! He now has six top-10s and 11 top-25s. I think he's a decent bet to make the top 40. His statistical profile is strong as well, having gained strokes in every measured category this season. Finally, he was a runner-up finish at TPC Southwind back in 2013. Again, Top 40 looks like a strong bet.
That will do it for the 2022 PGA Tour: St. Jude Championship Picks. Follow me on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) to see what other bets or DFS plays I might be contemplating. In the meantime, good luck with your bets, and let's get that green!
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