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Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas among best bets for PGA Tour event

Jon Rahm, the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer, is the 10-1 favorite to win The Northern Trust this week in his first action since the British Open after having to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics because of a positive test for COVID-19.

Defending tournament champion Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are tied as the 16-1 second choice to win the first of three events that comprise the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Handicapper Wes Reynolds, co-host of VSiN’s “Long Shots” golf betting show, looked further down the odds board for his best bets, starting with Rory McIlroy at 22-1.

“Even with a win earlier this season in the Wells Fargo Championship, this has clearly been a down year for McIlroy as he continues to work on swing changes with Pete Cowen,” said Reynolds (@WesReynolds1). “However, he seemed to show the most progress in his last start at the WGC: FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where he opened with a round of 72 before closing out the week with three straight 66s to place 12th.

“McIlroy tied for sixth here at Liberty National in 2019. He has 19 career PGA Tour victories, and his next win will hit the magic number of 20, which will give him a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour when he turns 35.”

Here are Reynolds’ other best bets and comments on each:

Justin Thomas, 27-1

“Last time Thomas drifted this high, we were aboard for his victory at the Players Championship. Unlike many of the other top-end players, he does not have much recent form in terms of stats. But he was fourth for approach — always his bread and butter — in his last start at Memphis, which was his best performance since early May.”

Daniel Berger, 31-1

“Berger has three top-10 finishes in his last four starts, including a tie for fifth two weeks ago in Memphis.

“While this is Berger’s first appearance at Liberty National in a stroke-play event, he was part of the Presidents Cup team in 2017 here and made the clinching putt for Team USA on Sunday.”

Patrick Cantlay, 33-1

“Cantlay has slipped a bit from his season peak when he won The Memorial tournament in a playoff over Collin Morikawa. But this looks like a spot to get back to his winning ways.

“He ranks first on the PGA Tour for scrambling and fourth in bogey avoidance. And all four of his PGA Tour wins have come on greens featuring Bentgrass, with three of them coming on pure Bentgrass putting surfaces.”

Paul Casey, 38-1

“Casey has two top fives in his last two starts with a tie for fifth in Memphis preceded by a tie for fourth at the Olympics, where he was part of that massive playoff for the bronze medal.”

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