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The PGA Tour spotlight is turning up the wattage this week at the CJ Cup at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, S.C.

While it’s a 78-man field (like last week’s ZOZO Championship in China), it’s a no-cut event meaning a guaranteed payday to those invited to play.

And we’re going to be getting a much larger sampling of star-power this week with 15 of the world’s top players teeing it up.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, along with stars like Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and others, will headline a field that will take aim at the $1.7-plus million top prize.

And don’t forget about Rory McIlroy, the No. 2 ranked player, who is back as the defending champ. As you’ll see in a minute, right now isn’t the time to bet against McIlroy who is one of the best players this game has seen.

One last thing to remember before heading to the betting windows: If players teed it up last week in China, it’s going to be a very long trip to get to South Carolina. Now that may or may not factor into your betting plans for the week, but it never hurts to have as much information as possible.

Let’s see who might have what it takes to get into the winner’s circle this week.

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Odds to Win the CJ Cup

Rory McIlroy+650
Jon Rahm+900
Scottie Scheffler+1100
Max Homa+1600
Justin Thomas+1600
Matt Fitzpatrick+1800
Sungjae Im+1800
Jordan Spieth+2200
Shane Lowry+2200
Tom Kim+2800
Sam Burns+2800
Collin Morikawa+2800
Cameron Young+2800
Viktor Hovland+2800
Tyrrell Hatton+3500
Hideki Matsuyama+4000
Keegan Bradley+4500
Billy Horschel+4500
Aaron Wise+4500
Taylor Montgomery+4500
Maverick McNealy+6500
Corey Conners+6500
Christiaan Bezuidenhout+6500
Brian Harman+6500

As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays. 

Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland are paired together at the Zurich Classic. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Collin Morikawa (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

CJ Cup Expert Analysis & Top Pick to Win

Collin Morikawa, who sits at No. 9 in the world rankings, is trying to get his act back together. That may seem like a weird statement as it doesn’t seem to match up but the numbers don’t lie.

Morikawa, at +2800 this week, has one start under his belt this wraparound season where he finished T-45. That was last week at the ZOZO in China, so he is logging several travel miles this week.

But it’s his play to end the 2021-2022 season that we’re thinking has him looking for ways to step up his game and get back on track.

In his final seven events of last season, his best finishes were a pair of T-5s. That’s all well and good. But add in missed cuts in three of four events in that same stretch and things weren’t looking bright.

We’re now in a new season, and the CJ Cup will bring back good memories as he was T-2 last year. If he’s going to get his game back in order, this might be the ideal spot.

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It’s Never Smart to Overlook McIlroy

Let’s see, Rory McIlroy is the favorite this week at +650. He is ranked No. 2 in the world. He won three times last season. He’s the defending champion of this event.

What’s not to like about his chances of repeating this week? His worst round in the tournament last year was a 68 while he also put a third-round 62 on the board.

There’s plenty more. He made 14 cuts in the last wraparound season, and he was in the top-25 in 13 of those finishes. The guy comes to play and even if he doesn’t always have his “A” game, he’s usually hanging around and giving himself a chance.

This CJ Cup last year was his first outing in the wraparound season and he held off a hard-charging Morikawa–who was 10-under in the final round—to come out of the gate with a victory.

His odds may not be the greatest, but with the way he’s playing right now, there’s no doubt he should be in the hunt. And if he’s on the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday, it’s great news for him and not-so-great news for the rest of the field.

One more thing to consider: Depending on how everything unfolds there’s a chance McIlroy can move into the No. 1 spot in the world rankings this week.

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Around the Prop Scene

We’re going to look at a top-20 finish by Rickie Fowler at +500 as one of our top choices.

Fowler’s newfound game, after he changed just about everything around in his golf world, has shown a steady rise as he looks to get back into form we haven’t seen in awhile. He has two top-10s in his three outings in this year’s wraparound season including a T-2 at last week’s ZOZO Championship in China.

He’s also one of those who is traveling back from China, but we love the rediscovered play and attitude he’s showing. Fowler has overcome long odds to get back to relevance, and there’s no doubt he’s wanting to strike while the iron is hot.

Oh, and did we forget to mention he was T-2 in last year’s event, which wound up being his only top-20 of the season. A good start to this year and good memories from last year’s event have to be a good sign as he gears up for this week.

Another bet we like is a five-way matchup. We like Justin Thomas at +300 to beat four other players: Max Homa (+330), Jordan Spieth (+330), Viktor Hovland (+330) and Shane Lowry (+350).

Thomas is +1600 to win the tournament, but at +300 to just beat these other four guys, that’s a solid number for us.

And one final prop bet to consider: That the winner won’t be in the final group. At +175, it’s a solid price, and all it takes is one guy playing in front of the final group to get hot and put up a really low score that the leader doesn’t match to make this bet a winner.

Also read: Longshots Who Can Win Majors in 2023

About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 45 years of experience in the sports-writing industry. He's spent the past 20-plus years covering the golf scene, including 10 years as a writer and editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. Bowman also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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