how to bet the northern trust open
PHOTO CREDIT: CRAIG DUDEK

The FedExCup Playoffs are here, and only three weeks remain in the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season. The first of the three playoff events will be held this week at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ. The Northern Trust Open tournament purse is an astounding $9.5 million.

Let’s take a look at how to bet the Northern Trust Open with a deep dive into the top picks and best bets.

Entering the final three events, Collin Morikawa has a slim 32-point lead over Jordan Spieth at the top of the FedExCup standings. That margin is effectively meaningless, though, because there are so many points available in the next two weeks. The winner of the Northern Trust Open will be awarded two thousand FedExCup points. By comparison, Morikawa received only six hundred FedExCup points for winning the Open Championship in July.

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With so much money and so many points at stake this week, the field is comparable to that of a major championship. As such, the real value plays will be hard to come by. But we have looked hard at the board, and we think those plays are out there.

VALUE PICK: HARRIS ENGLISH (+105) OVER BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU (-125) TOURNAMENT FINISH

What we have here is one guy who you may not know a lot about going in the right direction, while one guy you probably know way, way too much about is going in the wrong direction.

Harris English is the under-the-radar star of this PGA Tour season. English has already banked over $6 million in prize money this season. He has won twice, including his win at the Travelers Championship in June which ended with a grueling eight-hole playoff against Kramer Hickok. English was in position to win again two weeks ago, but a disappointing 73 in the final round left him fourth by himself at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Still, that’s two very high finishes in his last three starts. If that’s not enough for you, English also finished third alone at the U.S. Open in June. This is a hot player.

Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau is making something of a habit of stepping on his own, er. putter. Put his social media exploits aside. Put his dopey “feud” with Brooks Koepka aside. If you didn’t know DeChambeau’s name, and just looked at his last five months, you’d see that he has only two top-10 finishes He tied for ninth at the Wells Fargo Championship in May. He tied for eighth at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational two weeks ago. Otherwise, it has been a lot of nondescript, mid-field finishes.

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Is Harris English a better player than Bryson DeChambeau? Probably not. Is English better than DeChambeau right now? Probably.

LONG SHOT PICK: SAM BURNS TOP 10 (+500)

Speaking of players no one talked about last season, it’s Sam Burns. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that Burns has only recently become a consistent earner on Tour. Burns claimed his first career win at the Valspar Championship in April. The second reason is that Burns has been a non-factor in major championships. He has never played in the Masters; he will be there in 2022 due to his win at the Valspar. In 2021, Burns withdrew from the PGA Championship, missed the cut at the U.S. Open and finished tied for 76th – i.e., tied for dead last of any player to make the cut – at the Open. You don’t get famous by no-showing majors.

Best Bets
VALUE PICK: JON RAHM TOP 5 (+130)
LONG SHOT PICK: HARRY HIGGS TOP 20 (+700)
PICK TO WIN THE BMW CHAMPIONSHIP: LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (+2500)

Funny thing, though…they pay guys a lot of money to play well in regular Tour events. Burns won $1.2 million at the Valspar. He won $917,000.00 two weeks ago by tying for second at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He won $882,000 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May for finishing second alone. All tallied, Burns has won $4.7 million this season.

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More important for this analysis, though, is that Burns is sitting in 10th place in the FedExCup points standings. If he merely holds that position through the last three events, Burns will be awarded a bonus of $830,000.00. That’s not the $15 million that the overall winner will get, but it’s nothing to kick away. And the drop off for falling backward is steep. The 15th place finisher in the standings will get $395,000.00, the 31st place finisher will get $200,000.00, and so on. Burns has a lot to play for this week even if he may not be capable of winning in a field this strong.

NORTHERN TRUST OPEN BEST BET: DUSTIN JOHNSON (+1600)

Dustin Johnson is currently 17th in the FedExCup standings, which means his path to claiming a big piece of the FedExCup bonus awards must start with a first step of winning this week. That’s lucky for DJ, who won this event in both 2017 and 2020.

Whereas $4.7 million in earnings is life-changing for Sam Burns, the $4.6 million that Dustin Johnson has won this season is, for him, a disappointment. But the recent results are trending well. Johnson has three top-10 finishes in his past six starts, including a tie for eighth at the Open Championship. Johnson is a threat to win every time he puts a tee in the ground, and in an event where he has recent past success, these odds are too long to pass up.

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