The first rule of betting during the FedEx Cup play-off series is to take recent form very seriously, more so than any other stage of the year. Multiple winners during the play-offs are commonplace, as are repeat contenders.
The explanation lies partly in the fact that, while the prizes are massive, they aren't the main summer priority. It's very hard to peak for the play-offs which come at the end of a long stretch of big events including the majors. Many players are tired, dipping below their best or perhaps even carrying an injury. Yet the lure of a potential $10M bonus keeps them out there every week, when a break might otherwise be advisable.
Add in more than a decade of course form at TPC Boston, a field shortened to 99 and we have the right conditions to search for value in the speciality markets.
Back Paul Casey to be top Englishman 3u @ 4.03/1
Of the four Englishmen left in the race, sixth-placed Justin Rose has by far the best chance, though Paul Casey is still on course for the East Lake finale in 21st. Out of form Ian Poulter (69th) and Luke Donald (88th), are battling just to make the top-70 ahead of next week's cut.
Neither of the latter pair make much appeal, so I suspect this market will boil down to a match between Rose and Casey. The former's consistency justifies odds of 8/13, but a record of only one top-50 in his last six attempts on this course hardly reads like that of a short odds-on favourite.
With those dismal numbers in mind, Casey rates better than a 25% chance in my view. Seven of his last eight rounds were sub-70 and he was third at the Wyndham on his penultimate start.
Back Brooks Koepka to beat Zach Johnson 8u @ 1.910/11
With the golden trio of Day, Spieth and McIlroy dominating the outright market, it may be difficult to get players layed back at single-figure odds in-running. Therefore, the best way to back realistic alternatives is in other markets.
This match looks perfect for Koepka, who strikes me as a highly plausible contender. Forget last week's missed cut - previously he'd finished no worse than 22nd in eight starts, registering five top-tens. Expect more of the same on a course that suits, although it remains to be seen whether he can do enough to get near the top-three.
It shouldn't take anything quite so special to beat Johnson, though, who has never made the top-ten in nine tries. Though power off the tee is not a pre-requisite of success at TPC Boston, it is a big advantage and the younger man is miles ahead on that score.
Back Tony Finau 5u @ 3.259/4
Back Bill Haas 5u @ 3.55/2
Back Jason Bohn 4u @ 4.03/1
Back Carl Pettersson 3u @ 5.59/2
For all the reasons laid out above, regarding potential weak runners in this shortened field, along with the likely presence in contention of the big-three, the top-20 is definitely the best finishing positions market to play. It is a very plausible target for anyone playing well, yet isn't reliant on seriously contending for the title.
The plan is to back four players in a plan where one winner will almost entirely cover the stake. First, Dave Tindall's mid-range each-way pick looks perfect top-20 material. Tony Finau has made this mark on eight of his last 12 starts and has the ideal combination of power-hitting and birdie-accumulation for this track.
Bill Haas had made this top-20 target on four out of nine previous visits and has some good recent numbers with top-sixes at the Wyndham and Quicken Loans National. The most miraculous FedEx Cup winner ever knows the value of battling on to maximise points and is a good type for this market.
Jason Bohn was first reserve for my Find Me a 100 Winner column. A former runner-up here, Bohn is bang in form with top-15s on six of his last ten starts, including ninth last week. His short game, pivotal here, is in great touch.
Finally a player just below the cut line fancied to battle his way into next week's BMW Championship. Carl Pettersson, 77th placed going into this week, can't put two consecutive good results together at the moment, as last week's missed cut illustrates, but he has four top-12s from his last eight. The Swede also landed his second Boston top-ten last year.