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McIlroy’s Success At Crooked Stick Makes Him Favorite for BMW Championship

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The real Rory McIlroy showed up for the closing two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship, and the four-time major winner is listed at +500 to double-dip this weekend on the odds to win the 2016 BMW Championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

With the 7,516-yard par-72 layout at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., the next-to-last event of the FedEx Cup playoffs is a haven for longer drivers. McIlroy went 66-65 on Sunday and Monday to capture the BMW Championship and get his first tournament win of 2016 on U.S. Soil.

In 2012, McIlroy won in back-to-back weeks at the Deutsche Bank and BMW championships. At the latter, he went under par on 25 of the 72 holes.

World No. 1 Jason Day, who is playing Crooked Stick for the first time, is listed at +700. Day is in the PGA Tour’s top 20 in driving distance, and has been in the top 15 in four consecutive events. Dustin Johnson, at +800, leads the Tour in driving distance, but his iffy putting of late should give bettors pause.

Jordan Spieth (+1400 on the golf betting lines) has contended in only one of his last seven events. However, Adam Scott (+1600) is among the driving distance leaders and is coming in hot with successive fourth-place finishes. Being sixth in FedEx Cup points creates some urgency for Scott, since anyone who is in the top five after this weekend can win the playoffs and a $10-million bonus by winning The Tour Championship.

Patrick Reed (+2200), who is first in the FedEx Cup standings, has been consistent all season. Rain is forecast for later this weekend in Carmel, and moist fairways might limit the advantage heavy hitters have over someone such as Reed, who averages fewer than 300 yards off the tee.

Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose, who falls in the former category (15th in driving distance), is looking for a bounce-back after a brutal back nine in the final round of the Deutsche Bank. Rose is also at +2200 on the BMW Championship betting lines.

Gary Woodland (+5000) is another long hitter who could get into contention if his short game remains stable throughout the weekend. Russell Knox (+6000), who is seventh in FedEx Cup points, should be out to make a statement after being left off Europe’s Ryder Cup team.

The event is open to the top 70 in FedEx Cup points, but Henrik Stenson has withdrawn due to an ailing knee. The top 30 after this weekend advance to The Tour Championship.

Jordan Spieth Has Top Odds, Tiger Woods Making Charge on Masters Betting Lines

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Jordan Spieth has top odds and Tiger Woods is charging up the futures board, but recent history at Augusta National dictates fading those who have already won the green jacket.

Spieth is the +900 favorite on the 2018 Masters betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s first major due to commence on Thursday. All told, nine men in the field have odds of lower than +2000 (or 20/1), including Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+1100), Woods (+1400), Justin Rose (+1400), Bubba Watson (+1600), Jason Day (+1800) and Phil Mickelson (+1800).

However, only two recent champions – Mickelson in 2010 and Spieth in 2015 – have gone off at lower than +2000 odds. Woods is drawing a lot of action at many sportsbooks and it’s all well and good to indulge the thought of an all-time great writing a comeback story, but it will be his first major since 2015. Also, no one over age 40 has won the Masters since 1998.

Eight of the last nine major winners have been first-timers, with Spieth (2017 British Open) being the only exception in that span. Those trends don’t mean automatically having to rule out a favorite. Rose, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Masters, has had five top-10 finishes in the event and is also playing well so far this season, with three top-5 placings.

With a 7,435-yard course that is free of flat hole layouts, Augusta rewards golfers who are efficient with their approach. While there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Woods in 2001-02, defending champion Sergio Garcia (+2800) leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach, while Thomas and Mickelson are also among the leaders.

Two-time winner Bubba Watson missed the cut in in three of the 2017 majors, including the Masters, but his recent win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a reason to consider investing in him.

If one is bent on backing someone who is on the Yet To Win A Major Shortlist, there’s Paul Casey (+2200), who has finished sixth or better in his last three majors. A wrist ailment has affected Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) at times this season, but the Japanese star has finished 11th or higher in his last three starts at the Masters. Matsuyama’s odds are right in the range of several recent Masters champions.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Tony Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

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While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he’s apparently been hard at work ever since.

“I’ll be treating it very serious,” Romo told reporters Tuesday. “My wife will tell you she hasn’t seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you’ll get the best I’ve got this week.”

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf “you’re trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag.”

“I’m not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball,” Romo said. “It’s at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that’s difficult, and sometimes that’s easier depending on the situation.”

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which “was not up to any Tour standard.” The first-tee jitters can’t be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

“I think they’re waiting to either tell me ‘Congrats’ or ‘I knew it, terrible,'” Romo said. “Something along those lines. They’re probably going to wait to see which way the wind’s blowing before they send them.”

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.