The Punter's In-Play Blog: Casey three clear but Moore the value in Boston

Paul Casey - three clear in Boston with a round to go
Paul Casey - three clear in Boston with a round to go

Our man takes a look at the state of play in Boston where forecasted poor weather has brought today's final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship forward...

“None of the stats really put me off Casey and there aren’t enough negatives for me to want to take him on but he’s not a player I want to go to war with at even money either. He may well get the job done but it’s almost certainly going to be a bumpy ride and I don’t fancy buying a ticket.”

11:00 - September 05, 2016

Alex Noren edged out Scott Hend with a birdie at the first extra hole of the European Masters yesterday and I'll have more on that result with the De-brief either tonight or tomorrow but for now I'm going to concentrate on the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship which begins earlier than expected due to forecasted poor weather.

Here's the third round leaderboard with prices to back at 10:50. They'll play in three-balls with a two-tee start today and the leaders will go off at 14:05 UK and Ireland time. Sky Sports are live from 12:30.

Paul Casey -15 1.991/1

Brian Harman -12 12.011/1

Jimmy Walker -10 11.010/1
Kevin Chappell -11 15.5
Smylie Kaufman -11 21.020/1

Ryan Moore -10 24.023/1

Rory McIlroy -9 17.016/1
Justin Rose -9 30.029/1
Louis Oosthuizen -9 38.037/1
Tony Finau -9 65.064/1

-8 and 60.059/1 bar

A tap in eagle at the 18th hole yesterday resulted in a third successive 66 for Paul Casey and he'll go into today's final round with a decent buffer of three strokes. Windy conditions are forecasted and it's likely to be hard to go low so a steady round today could well get the job done. He'll have his supporters on the exchange at around evens given he's odds-on across the board but I'm not one of them.

Casey's record when leading is reasonable enough, he's led or co-led 12 times and he's successfully converted on six occasions but he's done the vast amount of his winning on the European Tour and he's looking for just his second victory on the PGA Tour. Three-stroke 54-hole leaders on the PGA Tour have a 52% stroke rate since 1996 but eight of the last 11 have failed.

None of the stats really put me off Casey and there aren't enough negatives for me to want to take him on but he's not a player I want to go to war with at even money either. He may well get the job done but it's almost certainly going to be a bumpy ride and I don't fancy buying a ticket.

I haven't really gotten to grips with this event from the start and I'm not comfortable with the look of it now but I have added one more to the portfolio. Ryan Moore, who led after round one, ranks second for Scrambling and first for Putts Per Green In Regulation so if he can find a bit more accuracy with his irons he could make a run today. If Casey is to slip up, Moore could be the one to benefit and at 24.023/1, I thought he was a fair price for a small interest.

10:40 - September 04, 2016

With my fancy, Andrew Johnston, and Joe Dyer's Alejandro Canizares sat tied for fourth with a round to go at the European Masters (live on Sky at 11:00) a place or two for the each-way column is a distinct possibility but a win might just be too much to ask for...

Thomas Bjorn, in 2011, and David Lipsky, two years ago, both won from three strokes back and fourth place but since 1990, only two other winners, Jamie Spence, in 1992, and Costantino Rocca, in 1997, have not sat first or second with a round to go. This tricky little track is hard place to play catch-up so I'm more than happy with the business I did yesterday.

Scott Hend, who I backed at 14.5 yesterday, was matched at just 1.875/6 after he'd raced to a five stroke lead on the back-nine but Alex Noren, who I've backed to cover the week's stakes, narrowed the gap to just a stroke and it looks like a straightforward fight between that pair now. Richard Bland in third trails Hend by three and Noren by two but I'm not too concerned by his presence. As highlighted yesterday, Bland has played on the European Tour for a very long time without winning and I'm happy to leave him out.

Over at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Kevin Chappell has hit the front at the halfway stage but it's Dustin Johnson that heads the market and he's already been matched at just 3.1511/5. The US Open winner looked likely to end the day alongside Chappell but he double-bogeyed the 18th from position A on the fairway. Here's the halfway leaderboard with prices to back at 10:30.

Kevin Chappell -11 7.613/2

Paul Casey -10 9.08/1
Jimmy Walker -10 9.417/2

Brian Harman -9 30.029/1

Dustin Johnson -8 6.86/1
Smylie Kaufman -8 50.049/1

Patrick Reed -7 17.016/1
Justin Rose -7 19.018/1
Gary Woodland -7 34.033/1
Ryan Moore -7 44.043/1
Brian Stuard -7 130.0129/1

Jordan Spieth -6 15.014/1

-6 and 34.033/1 bar

There have only been 13 previous renewals of the Deutsche Bank Championship and three winners have come from five adrift at this stage and tied 15th, 17th and tied 18th so the ten players tied for 13th and five adrift can't be discounted and it's still a wide open event.

At the head of the leaderboard, it's hard to fathom why England's Paul Casey is a shorter price than the USPGA champion, Jimmy Walker, and he looks a fair price at anything above 9.08/1 and I can make a very similar argument with Justin Rose and my pre-event pick, Patrick Reed...

Both men sit on -7 and the American is a couple of points shorter than the Olympic Champion. That isn't necessarily wrong given they went off at around 28.027/1 and 40.039/1 but what makes me lean towards Rose at the prices is the in-running stats. As highlighted in the preview, Scrambling has been the key stat and at the halfway stage Rose is currently ranked number one for Scrambling. My man Reed is ranked 40th.

It's a really tough one to call still and I'm playing with only small stakes because it's so open but I'm happy to add Walker and Rose at 9.417/2 and 19.018/1 and I'll revisit the event in the morning.

10:40 - September 03, 2016

We've reached the halfway stage of the European Masters so here's the current leaderboard with prices to back at 10:30.

Richard Bland -9 13.012/1
Richard Green -9 18.5
Romain Langasque -9 15.5

Alex Noren -8 5.59/2
Scott Hend -8 14.013/1
Richer T Lee -8 36.035/1

Andrew Johnston -7 12.5
Julien Quesne -7 23.022/1
Alejandro Canizares -7 23.022/1
Mikko Ilonen -7 23.022/1
JB Hansen -7 60.059/1

-6 and 34.033/1 bar

Costantino Rocca won the European Masters in 1997 having sat eight off the lead in a tie for 21st (his final round of 62 having much to do with his success) but every winner since has been inside the top-ten places and no more than four strokes off the lead at this stage so I've concentrated hard on the leaders.

The front three make no appeal. Promising young Frenchman, Romain Langasque, is a tournament invite who's looking for his first pro win. Richard Bland, despite having played on the European Tour nearly 400 times, is yet to win and veteran Aussie, Richard Green, is far better suited to coming from off the pace. And he hasn't won on the European Tour since 2010.

Of those on -8, Richard T Lee looks readily opposable. He's never been this close to the lead on the European Tour and his sole Asian Tour success came from slightly off the pace but the other two look menacing...

Former winner, Alex Noren, is the worthy favourite but he's not been great off the tee so far this week and he's had to hole a few lengthy par saves to stay in-contention. His seven-under-par 63 was a fabulous round yesterday and it couldn't have been any lower but can he keep holing the par saves over the weekend if his long game doesn't improve?

A fiddly little course like this wouldn't be my idea of an ideal Scott Hend track but then neither would Fanling and he's won the Hong Kong Open around there. The now fairly prolific Aussie's all round stats are really good so far this week and he might just hang around.

My each-way pick, Andrew Johnston, played as well yesterday as he did on Thursday but nothing dropped on the greens. He burnt the hole umpteen times and with a bit more luck today he could very easily move up. I'm more than happy to have him on side and I've added a small bet on Hend and a stakes saver on Noren.

It was a highly enjoyable first day at the Deutsche Bank Championship on the PGA Tour yesterday with Phil Mickelson providing much of the entertainment. The clip below shows how he took an eight on the par four sixth hole and how he finished the round with a stunning flop shot.

Ryan Moore and James Hahn show the way on six-under-par but 37 players are within three of the lead and I'm leaving the event alone for now. As highlighted in the preview, a slow start can be overcome and I'm more than happy to see what today brings.

19:00 - September 01, 2016

The Deutsche Bank Championship on the PGA Tour (previewed here) starts tomorrow and finishes on Monday (Labor Day in the States) so I'll take a look at that one on Saturday morning, after round one, but we're off and running in Switzerland where England's Daniel Brooks, French duo Michael Lorenzo-Vera and Gregory Havret, and the recent Czech Masters winner, Paul Peterson, share the lead after opening six-under-par 66s.

Tucked in behind the front four is a pack of nine players that includes my each-way fancy, Andrew Johnston, and the defending champ and pre-event favourite, Danny Willett and from a betting perspective, it looks a minefield at this stage.

That pack tied for fifth includes numerous quality multiple winners and I'm happy to keep the powder dry for now. Willett is still the man to beat but he surprised himself today, claiming after his round that he'd warmed up poorly and started slowly. He played well enough but an eagle at his final hole (the ninth) put the gloss on what was only a decent day and I wouldn't want to go rushing in and backing him now at around 4/1 - especially given how many winners have started slowly here.

Between 2000 and 2003, all four winners were in front after round one and every winner this century has been inside the top-10 at halfway but four of the last eight winners have trailed by at least three at this stage and Craig Lee made it to a play-off in 2013 having sat 63rd and eight off the lead after 18 holes. Thomas Bjorn won that year having sat tied for fifth and three back but he was tied 14th and five adrift after the opening round when he won two years earlier, Richie Ramsay was tied for 33rd and six adrift in 2012, and the 2014 champ, David Lipsky, trailed by five in a tie for 33rd after 18 holes.

With such a tight bunch so close to the lead, and with the stats detailed above, it makes sense to wait and see what tomorrow brings and to assess the situation at halfway after the field has thinned out.

European Masters Pre-Event Selections:
Thongchai Jaidee @ 36.035/1
Andrew Johnston @ 40/1 (each-way)

In-Play Bets
Scott Hend @ 14.5
Alex Noren @ 5.69/2 (stakes saver only)

Deutsche Bank Championship Pre-Event Selections:
Patrick Reed @ 25/1 (Sportsbook) & 30.029/1 on the exchange
Brandt Snedeker @ 50/1 (Sportsbook) & 60.059/1 on the exchange

In-Play Bets
Jimmy Walker @ 9.417/2
Justin Rose @ 19.018/1
Ryan Moore @ 24.023/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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