FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: Can we FINALLY hit on Willy Z?
After an eventful regular-season finale at the Wyndham Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin this week at TPC Southwind in Memphis, site of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Daniel Berger is not in the field this week, which means someone else actually has a chance to win.
Hopefully, our expert panel can find that certain someone, as we search for a winner in the final full field event of the PGA Tour season. Two of our fearless handicappers are hoping to cash in on a coronation, while two others are riding with one of the tournament favorites. Let's see if we can finish this season strong over the next three weeks, shall we?
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship.
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: Our Experts' outright predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Rory McIlroy (10-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Rory always gets up for the FedEx Cup, and he’s coming in playing amazing golf. If the irons stay hot, I think he takes home the first leg of the playoffs en route to winning the whole thing.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Will Zalatoris (22-1, DraftKings) — At an event which has seen a winner and a few runners-up the past two years win despite losing strokes on the green, who else can we go with but Zalatoris. Outside of Tony Finau, no one’s been better at those two things than Zalatoris. And, albeit the smallest of samples, he did gain strokes with the putter at Southwind a year ago.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Scottie Scheffler (15-1, FanDuel) — Scheffler has the right game—ball-striking and putting—to do well at TPC Southwind. The greens are small, so iron play matters more than usual, and while shorter hitters can contend, distance can also be a big plus.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Rory McIlroy (10-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Expectations are always so high for McIlroy so it might be hard to realize just how well he’s playing right now. He’s gained a staggering 98.01 strokes to the field over his last eight starts. That’s the best eight event stretch of any golfer dating back to the start of last season – per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Nearly a third (+31.95) of those strokes gained and coming via his approach play which will be required for success at TPC Southwind.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Viktor Hovland (40-1, BetMGM) — Hovland has said TPC Southwind is one of his favorite courses, and if the irons stay as hot as they were at St. Andrews, he should be in contention again this week.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Will Zalatoris (22-1, DraftKings) — My chase for the first Willy Z win continues, and I believe if it actually happens, I’ll break even on him for the year. All jokes aside, how can you not love what you’ve seen from the last two starts? The ball-striking is as good as ever, which will serve him well at TPC Southwind, and the putter has been surprisingly … better over the last two months. It’s all shaping up for a breakthrough in a big-time event, which this very much is, and we know how good he is in big-time events.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Xander Schauffele (20-1, PointsBet) — Schauffele comes into this event ranked top three for SG/total over the last two years, last two months and for similar courses. The World No. 5 will be looking for his third win in four events this week.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel is starting to get HOT. Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports was on Tony Finau for both of his victories, the first at the 3M Open where Finau was 14-1, and the second at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where Finau was 13-1. Earlier this summer, Alldrick also picked Rory McIlroy (8-1) to win the RBC Canadian Open, as did Pat Mayo, who also cashed on Luke List (70-1) back in February at Torrey Pines. Previously this season, Christopher Powers nailed Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at 29-1 and then backed it up with Joaquin Niemann at 60-1 to win at Riviera. Rick Gehman also picked up two wins in the fall by correctly predicting Sam Burns (16-1) to win the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall and Viktor Hovland (19-1) to win the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Brandon Gdula also hit on Hovland at Mayakoba, and Stephen Hennessey cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.
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FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses we like
Caddie: Scott Stallings (130-1, DraftKings) — Scott might be the hottest golfer not named Rory without a win right now. His four most recent results: T-8, T-4, T-10 and T-13. He also resides in Tennessee and should be at home at TPC Southwind.
Mayo: Billy Horschel (40-1, DraftKings) — Horschel hasn’t had near his best stuff the past two turns and still managed top-30 finishes. He’s accurate enough off the tee to avoid many of the landmines, and has the frequent ability to run so hot with his putter that he can make up for some of his iron deficiencies.
Gdula: Russell Henley (50-1, FanDuel) — The past three winners at the FedEx Cup opener were all top 50 in the standings entering the week. I don’t think a full-on long-shot wins this week in such a tough field. Henley has the irons and accuracy to get it done.
Gehman: Seamus Power (65-1, DraftKings) — Power’s missed cut at the Open Championship was his only such finish at a major championship this season, with the other three all resulting in a T-27 or better. Since the WGC Match Play, Power has six top-27 finishes and he’s proving that he can hold his own – no matter how strong the field. Power has only played competitively at TPC Southwind twice, in 2017 and 2018. He finished T-27 and T-12 respectively those years and we can all agree he’s a much more well-rounded professional now than he was five years ago.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Davis Riley (100-1, DraftKings) — Approach is the biggest correlated stat at TPC Southwind year over year, and Riley proved over the summer his irons are his biggest strengths. His approach numbers at the Wyndham Championship were back to stellar, gaining nearly three strokes on approach on the field. If Riley’s irons are back, it’s worth taking a shot on him here at 100-1.
Powers, Golf Digest: Tyrrell Hatton (60-1, PointsBet) — It sure seems like Hatton is beginning to cook, going 24th (Scottish Open), 11th (the Open) and eighth (Wyndham) in his last three starts. At Sedgefield in particular, his iron game was elite, the Englishman gaining over five strokes on approach en route to his first top 10 on the PGA Tour since Bay Hill. He also loves him some Bermuda greens, and he finally seemed to figure this course out last August, picking up his first top 20 in four tries at TPC Southwind.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Scott Stallings (130-1, DraftKings) — Stallings has finished top 15 in his last four events. He also ranks sixth in the field this week for SG/total at similar courses and seventh for SG/total at TPC Southwind.
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: Players We're Fading
Caddie: Scottie Scheffler (15-1, FanDuel) — I think there’s a better case to be made on the rest of the players at the top. Scheffler is the one who seems to be struggling enough, particularly with his putter, to hold him back here.
Mayo: Cameron Young (28-1, DraftKings) — Young’s iron play has been oddly weak for a player who has often been in contention over the past three months. No amount of distance will cover that up this week however.
Gdula: Jordan Spieth (29-1, FanDuel) — Spieth will probably have trouble gaining strokes off the tee because he isn’t long enough or accurate enough to gain an edge. The putter is an issue, and he is historically weakest on Bermuda greens anyway.
Gehman: Max Homa (50-1, DraftKings) — Homa has really struggled at TPC Southwind and I mean really struggled. In 20 career rounds at this course, he’s lost 1.5 strokes per round on average. That’s the worst of any golfer in this field with at least as many rounds played as Homa. Combine that with the fact that Homa has lost strokes on approach in three straight and that’s enough to find other options this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Jon Rahm (18-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — The longer-term approach numbers aren’t strong enough for me to consider backing him here, despite some of the highest odds we’ve seen on Rahm in a long time.
Powers, Golf Digest: Sam Burns (28-1, BetMGM) — Dangerous game fading Bermuda Burns in the south but he just hasn’t been very good over the last two months and my money is elsewhere.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Cameron Smith (16-1, FanDuel) — Smith is not best suited to this course. He ranks just 88th for SG/total at similar courses to TPC Southwind. He also has not had a top-10 finish on American soil since April.
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Sam Burns (+100) over Jordan Spieth (DraftKings) — I really like Burns this week and think his Bermuda splits are enough to be confident in him over Spieth in this matchup
Mayo: Viktor Hovland (+100) over Collin Morikawa (DraftKings) — Haven’t seen either since the Open, and while, on paper, this really does seem like a Morikawa track, Hovland’s ability to make more putts over the past year should be separator as long as Kawa continues to operate below peak level.
Gdula: Sam Burns (-124) over Hideki Matsuyama (FanDuel) — I’m big on Burns this week, and my model finds these to be strong odds for him over Hideki in this matchup. He has a noticeable edge over Hideki over the past three, six, and 12 months.
Gehman: Will Zalatoris (-125) over Jordan Spieth (Bet365) — There are natural ebbs and flows on the tour calendar and Zalatoris just played at two courses that didn’t really fit his game. Impressively, he was able to finish T-21 and T-20 despite the poor fit. Now he travels to TPC Southwind which should magnify his ball-striking strengths and give him a legitimate chance to win. He finished T-8 here last year and will look to improve on that result.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Viktor Hovland (+100) over Collin Morikawa (DraftKings) — Morikawa has been struggling a bit, so I’ll take the even money on Hovland on a course he says he loves with his current form.
Powers, Golf Digest: Joaquin Niemann (-110) over Max Homa (DraftKings) — Homa has seriously struggled at this course in his few trips while Niemann top-20’d here a year ago and is coming in well-rested, having not played since the Open Championship.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Russell Henley (-120) over Aaron Wise (Bet365) — As you’ll see below, I really like Henley this week. Wise on the other hand ranks just 103rd for SG/putting on Bermuda greens over the last two months and 100th for Opportunities Gained over the same period.
Matchup Results from the Wyndham Championship: Gdula: 1 for 1 (Hatton (-116) over Kisner); Gehman: 1 for 1 (S.J. Im (-110) over Zalatoris); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Svensson (+126) over Varner III); Powers: 1 for 1 (Gotterup (+100) over Champ); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (S.J. Im (-110) over Zalatoris); Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 27-8-4 (up 17.52 units); Powers: 22-15-4 (up 6.73 units); Caddie: 22-16-3 (up 4.65 units); Alldrick: 22-17-2 (up 2.26 units); Gdula: 20-19-1 (down 0.53 units); Gehman: 17-18-5 (down 2.2 units); Hennessey: 20-20-1 (down 4.2 units)
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Sam Burns (+410, FanDuel) — Bermuda Burns back on his favorite surface should mean he’ll contend this week.
Mayo: Brendan Steele (+1000, DraftKings) — OK, Steele may be too much of a disaster with the putter to truly contend, however, a top 10, that’s plausible. Steele’s gained over 4.5 strokes on approach in four of his past five starts, and hasn’t dipped below +1.7 SG/off-the-tee since his first event of 2022, the Sony Open.
Gdula: Sam Burns (+410, FanDuel) — Bermuda Burns can pick up strokes off the tee due to distance, and he has some of the best irons in the field, as well. It’s a great setup for him this week overall.
Gehman: Tom Hoge (+1000, DraftKings) — Which version of Hoge can we expect this week? The one who missed six straight cuts or the one who bookended that slump with two top-10 finishes? When Hoge hits his irons well, he contends and there’s plenty of evidence of that. He gained 7.83 strokes on approach in his ninth-place finish at the PGA Championship and 10.36 on approach in his T-4 at the 3M Open—his most recent start. At this price, I’ll give Hoge a chance to keep it rolling and tap into his upside.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Sungjae Im (+335, UniBet) — Sungjae’s irons have been scorching hot the past two events, and I’d fully expect him to keep that up at TPC Southwind.
Powers, Golf Digest: Adam Scott (+700, DraftKings) — Scott is beginning to drive the ball quite well and doesn’t have to make a million putts to contend this week.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Russell Henley (+400, DraftKings) — Henley is playing some great golf right now. He ranks second for Opportunities Gained over the last two months. His long-term form isn’t bad either, ranking 16th in this stellar field for SG/total over the last two years. He also ranks 16th for SG/total at similar courses so everything is pointing towards him having a great week.
Top-10 results from the Wyndham Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Russell Henley +230, DraftKings); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Russell Henley +280, FanDuel); Everyone else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Alldrick: 13 for 41 (up 35.5 units); Powers: 12 for 41 (up 27.55 units); Hennessey: 10 for 41 (up 8.95 units); Gehman: 9 for 41 (up 3.7 units); Mayo: 8 for 41 (down 0.1 units); Caddie: 11 for 41 (down 0.5 units); Gdula: 6 for 40 (down 11.2 units)
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Joaquin Niemann — With only a few events left, our options are limited but I still have Niemann available. The good news is that his ball-striking has been elite, gaining strokes in nine consecutive measured events. On the flip side, his putter has gone ice cold—losing in four straight starts. Let’s hope he can find the same success on the greens as he did last year (+3.90) and make a run.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Xander Schauffele. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy. Players Championship: Jon Rahm. Valspar Championship: Dustin Johnson. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Patrick Cantlay. Mexico Open: Aaron Wise. Wells Fargo: Matt Fitzpatrick. AT&T Byron Nelson: Justin Thomas. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Max Homa. The Memorial Tournament: Will Zalatoris. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith. U.S. Open: Collin Morikawa. Travelers Championship: Davis Riley. John Deere Classic: Cam Davis. Scottish Open: Tommy Fleetwood. Open Championship: Tyrrell Hatton. 3M Open: Sahith Theegala. Rocket Mortgage Classic: Cameron Young. Wyndham Championship: Si Woo Kim.
Hennessey: Tony Finau — Riding the hot form here with Tony Tone.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Will Zalatoris. Honda Classic: Russell Knox. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Keith Mitchell. Players Championship: Cameron Smith. Valspar Championship: Shane Lowry. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Justin Thomas. RBC Heritage: Russell Henley. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Troy Merritt. AT&T Byron Nelson: Jhonattan Vegas. PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler. Charles Schwab Challenge: Jordan Spieth. The Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith. U.S. Open: Rory McIlroy. Travelers Championship: Joaquin Niemann. John Deere Classic: Webb Simpson. Scottish Open: Matt Fitzpatrick. Open Championship: Xander Schauffele. 3M Open: Sahith Theegala. Rocket Mortgage Classic: Cameron Davis. Wyndham Championship: J.T. Poston.
Powers: Russell Henley — I do think one of the elite elites gets it done this week by Henley has been knocking on that door for well over a year now and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him right back in the thick of it following a strong week at Wyndham.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson. Genesis Invitational: Adam Scott. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Chris Kirk. Players Championship: Xander Schauffele. Valspar Championship: Sam Burns. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Matt Fitzpatrick. Mexico Open: Abraham Ancer. Wells Fargo: Keegan Bradley. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sahith Theegala. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. The Memorial Tournament: Patrick Reed. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton. U.S. Open: Shane Lowry. Travelers Championship: Davis Riley. John Deere Classic: Scott Stallings. Scottish Open: Viktor Hovland. Open Championship: Will Zalatoris. 3M Open: Maverick McNealy. Rocket Mortgage Classic: Cameron Young. Wyndham Championship: Si Woo Kim.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.