And then there were two.
That’s right, there are just two more events before the PGA Tour playoffs kick off. If you’re not in the top 70 after those two weeks, you’ll be on vacation during the three weeks of the playoffs while eligible players battle for millions and millions of dollars.
Our 3M Open odds and predictions take all of this into account.
In the end, the FedEx Cup champion will walk away with a cool $18 million by winning the points finale out of a $75 million pool, and that doesn’t count the tournament winnings he will likely accrue during those three weeks.
Intrigued? We know you are because for the last three weeks we’ve been harping on the fact PGA Tour players better get their act–and game–in shape and get inside that top 70 in the points race.
Well, now we’re down to two chances, and this week’s 3M Championship being held at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, is the next-to-last chance. It’s not going to be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination as more and more of the big-names inside the top 70 are teeing it up this week to try and improve their standings — and their bank accounts.
For those hoping to make that big move, the past two weeks were the ideal spots as there were two off-field events that went up against the Scottish Open and the Open Championship.
It was the perfect spots for lesser-known players to get into the winner’s circle and vault up the FedEx Cup standings. Vincent Norrman (Barbasol Championship winner) and Akshay Bhatia (last week’s Barracuda Championship winner) took advantage of the star-less fields to get in the winner’s circle.
Norman moved up to No. 59 in the FedEx standings with his victory, and should be in the first round of the playoffs unless those right behind him have great weeks and he falters.
Bhatia, who moved into the 92nd slot after his win, will likely need to win this week to get into the playoffs, but at least he gave himself a chance with his victory last week.
Let’s take a look at a couple of players who definitely need to win to not be sidelined for the final three weeks.
Odds to Win 3M Championship
We’re Backing Justin Thomas This Week
Sure, Justin Thomas has lost his way–and his golf swing–right now. But at No. 75 in the FedEx Cup rankings, he’s still got a chance to right the ship and get into the playoffs with a victory.
If he’s battling for a top-five come Sunday like he’s going to need to be to keep his season going, we like him to seal the deal and win. At +2200, he’s further down the odds list than we’re used to, but it’s for good reason.
JT hasn’t had a top-10 since the Valspar in March, and that’s the good news. Since then, he’s got five missed cuts including last week at the Open Championship where he had an opening round 82.
As bad as that is, he did show signs of life. He came back with an even-par second round. While that didn’t get him close to making the cut, he just may have found a little something that can help turn his game around.
We know, that would a miracle, but there’s more to his potential turnaround than just this week’s tournament. Thomas was a very late addition to this week’s 3M tournament, as he also tries to earn a spot on this year’s Ryder Cup team.
Right now, he’s 13th in the standings for an automatic bid with the top-six players earning those spots. He has been on the previous five U.S. teams in international competitions, in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.
A win this week would solve a lot of his problems, and help get him back on track –and onto the leaderboard where we expect to see him every time he tees it up.
Look at Cameron Young
Here’s a guy, at +1600 this week, who has been so close to winning on the PGA Tour he can taste it.
In 47 career starts on the PGA Tour, Cameron Young has 12 top-10 finishes. Impressive, but add in the fact he’s got six runnerup finishes, as well as T-6 and T-8 finishes in his past two Tour events, and he’s poised to get in the winner’s circle.
Young’s solidly in the FedEx Cup race in the 41st spot, but a win would likely ensure he plays in all three events. He’s No. 15 in the world rankings, and coming off a disappointing (in his mind) T-8 at the Open Championship following a final round 73.
Young was paired with champ Brian Harman in the final group, but couldn’t get over the hump for that first win. This week, all of the heartbreak from being so close could come to an end.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re going to look at Caesars Sportsbook this week for our prop bets odds. One of the bets that stands out is James Hahn finishing in the top 20 at +550.
Hahn hasn’t had the greatest of seasons, but two tournaments work in his favor. One, he wound up T-6 in last week’s Barracuda Championship. And two, he was T-4 in last year’s 3M Open.
Put those two successes together, and he should have confidence coming into this week.
The second prop bet we like is Emiliano Grillo to finish in the top five at +550. Grillo has been playing solid golf with a win at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and a T-6 in last week’s Open Championship.
He’s playing well enough to win again, but all we need is a top-five finish.