Aug 22, 2022
Aug 22, 2022

Using progressive form to guide your Tour Championship betting

The effect of progressive form on golf betting

FedEx Cup betting analysis

Tour Championship betting analysis

Using progressive form to guide your Tour Championship betting

All roads lead to the Tour Championship. At the beginning of each PGA Tour golf season, the players prepare their schedule to give them the best chance of making the top 125 in terms of season FedEx Cup points and competing for the big money in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. 

The Tour Championship at East Lake is the final event of a long season, and the big cash prizes will be claimed here by the world's best-performing golfers.

We will see ongoing changes within the FedEx Cup Playoffs format as the game of golf evolves, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan – and whoever will be in charge going forward – continuously tweaking things. With the emergence of the LIV golf tour, the FedEx Cup Playoffs were altered again in 2022. In 2022, each regular-season PGA Tour event awards 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner leading up to the FedEx Cup Playoffs in which three events (with the Tour Championship being the final of these) make up the final stretch of the season, incorporating a progressive cut format.

TPC Southwind is the first port of call for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational where the top 125 players, in terms of FedEx Cup points for the regular PGA tour season, will qualify. The top 70 players after the St. Jude Invitational will advance to the BMW Championship which is held at a different course each season. The top 30 in the standings after the BMW Championship will hit East Lake for the Tour Championship and the chance to win big money and the much-coveted FedEx Cup trophy. Expect to see plenty of movement and volatility up and down the rankings during the Playoffs.

FedEx Cup prize money and format

The FedEx Cup is now worth $18 million to the winner – the player with the most points after the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. The number of points awarded from the regular tour events quadruples for the first two tournaments in the Playoffs which means anyone can still claim overall victory. $75 million is the total prize pot that the players are competing for. The runner-up will pocket $6.5 million, with $5 million going to the third-placed finisher, $4 million to the fourth-placed finisher, and $3 million going to the player in fifth.

The Tour Championship is a strokes-based handicap event where the leaderboard will be staggered in favour of the top-performing golfers leading into the season finale. The number one player in the standings starts at -10 with the number two player starting at -8, the number three player at -7, the number four player at -6, and the number five player at -5. Players ranked sixth to 10th begin at -4, while players ranked 11th to 15th begin at -3, all the way down to numbers 26 through 30, who will be starting at even par and at a huge disadvantage.

The guys in the top five ahead of the Tour Championship will have a significant edge over the field, in a similar way to the old FedEx Cup Playoffs format where the top five could be guaranteed a chance of winning the FedEx Cup title with a win at the Tour Championship.

What is progressive form in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and golf betting?

My book, Angles & Edges, talks about progressive form in golf betting. Progressive form in golf is a huge variable for finding an edge in your golf betting. With the similarly progressive nature of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, we can use this variable to try and predict outcomes more accurately. Finishing the season trending upwards will reap its rewards at the East Lake Golf Club, originally designed by Donald Ross.

Progressive form in golf betting differs from current form in that players are showing a trend in the right direction.

Progressive form in golf betting differs from current form in that players are showing a trend in the right direction in their recent scoring or finishing positions. Trending form has a high predictive value in golf betting and can also pinpoint players who are under the radar and those who are at an inflated price.

For example: a player shows form of T40 - 24 - 18. They were also leading the most recent event after 54 holes but had a poor final round due to final-group pressure. Pricing from the finishing positions data alone may not capture the true probability of this golfer given the form they are in. If the player hypothetically finishes fourth in that last week of the three, we could see as much as a 40% decrease in the odds for the following week’s tournament.

Here at Pinnacle, we love analysing data and more sophisticated golf bettors will try their hand at weighing up form trends to give them a head start on their FedEx Cup Playoffs betting. We have three individual tournaments to bet on in the Playoffs and outright golf betting market prices will portray form numbers and course history stats but they don’t necessarily reflect or pick out players who have shown signs of a big performance uptick like in the example above. We as bettors can take advantage of this for FedEx Cup betting, or for betting specifically on the Tour Championship.

To delve deeper into progressive form, look for players whose form numbers and results have been getting steadily or exponentially better in the immediate past. Peek behind the main stats and track the individual round scoring of the players. Check the stats and key metrics such as Birdies per Round or Strokes Gained: Total. Look for players who have been putting good numbers together but not quite four rounds in the same week. Ask yourself why have they not been doing this. Trends will show such guys who hit three good rounds along with one poor round, or guys that get themselves regularly into contention only to slip on the Saturday or the Sunday. Or maybe a golfer that is slow out of the blocks. These are all angles we can use to potentially beat the odds in FedEx Cup betting.

Tour championship at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta

East Lake is a playground for players who are good off the tee and those who can keep the ball in play. East Lake is a thickly tree-lined parklands style track with deep Bermuda rough and usually speedy Bermuda greens. There aren't as many runoff areas surrounding the greens but the surfaces slope severely from back to front which is a Donald Ross trademark.

East Lake is a thickly tree-lined parklands style track.

We might be able to pick up a few tips as to who could do well in the Playoffs and at the Tour Championship specifically from looking at the recent Wyndham Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic leaderboards. These two events precede the FedEx Cup Playoffs and both Sedgefield and Detroit Golf Club are Donald Ross designs.

We’ve listed some of the qualities needed for success at East Lake for the Tour Championship below. We can use this information along with Strokes Gained metrics and profile the potential winners at the Tour Championship. We can narrow down who is going to take the FedEx Cup and the prize money that comes with it.

  • Driving accuracy
  • Total driving
  • Holing out
  • Scrambling from tight lies
  • Strong mental game
  • Course management
  • Distance control with the irons

Sticky Zoysia grass is a feature in the chipping areas around the greens in the Tour Championship at East Lake and we often see several shots messed up off of the tight lies, so a neat short game can really come to fruition here.

If we can combine strong course fit with golfers showing progressive form trends ahead of the season showdown, we might have the key to unlocking the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner and grabbing a betting bonanza of our own.

Now you've a greater understanding of how progressive form can impact golf betting, enjoy Pinnacle’s great golf odds and follow Bryan Nicholson on Twitter here

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