2021 BMW Championship odds, picks, field grade, best bets, golf predictions at Caves Valley

Written by on August 24, 2021

Following a pretty wild Monday finish at The Northern Trust, the final 70 left this PGA Tour season head to Maryland for the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club. They’ll have less time to prepare than normal on a golf course with which they’re already unfamiliar. However, with tons of storylines and so many different prizes at stake, this no-cut event in a city that has gone decades without hosting the Tour should be tremendous.

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s contest with odds provided via Caesars Sportsbook.

Event information

Event: BMW Championship | Dates: Aug. 26-29

Location: Caves Valley Golf Club — Owings Mills, Maryland

Par: 71 | Purse: $9.5 million

Three things to know

1. New track: My pal, Brendan Porath, did a great job breaking down a golf course that has been around only half as long as the PGA Tour’s 60-year absence from Baltimore. Caves Valley was built in 1991, and the part that’s caught my eye as I’ve read and thought about this tournament is how much fun the opening run is going to be. The nines were flipped at Caves, which means you’ll see two par-5s and two drivable par-4s over the first five holes. Drivable par-4s are probably my favorite type of hole (if done correctly) on the PGA Tour, and we get two right out of the gates. Scoring will likely be ridiculously low again, but the combination of a course players have never played in competition with a short week following a Monday finish as well as a no-cut event means the best ball-strikers will almost certainly rise to the top by the end of the week.

2. East Lake Bubble: Dustin Johnson (22nd) and Rory McIlroy (28th) are probably further down in the FedEx Cup standings than you would have thought coming into this week. Kevin Kisner (31st) and Webb Simpson (52nd) are outside of the final 30 that will move on to the Tour Championship altogether. Here’s the rub, even for those inside that top 30 right now: They’re going to be 10 strokes down to somebody like Tony Finau or Jon Rahm barring a big week at Caves Valley. With the new Tour Championship staggered start format, positioning over the first two weeks of the playoffs is extraordinarily important, and D.J. and McIlroy — not to mention Daniel Berger (23rd) and Scottie Scheffler (24th) — need big weeks to be set up for a big payday at East Lake. One other name that warrants mentioning here is Patrick Reed, who was in the hospital all weekend. He’s 26th in the standings, and while he could make the Tour Championship in theory, he probably won’t given that he will not be playing at Caves this weekend.

3. Ryder Cup finale: Automatic qualifying for the U.S. Ryder Cup team ends this weekend, and only one of the six spots is up for grabs. Tony Finau currently has it on lockdown, but all of that is probably moot anyway because Finau and the handful of players behind him — Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Harris English — will almost certainly be captain’s picks after the Tour Championship if they don’t qualify automatically. Where it gets intriguing is at No. 10, which is currently held down by Reed. Can those behind Reed, such as Patrick Cantlay, Daniel Berger and Webb Simpson, play their way onto the team with a hot two weeks? Will Steve Stricker pick Reed, even though he almost certainly will not have played any of the final month of the season? There are some big questions to sort out, and that sorting will likely begin this weekend.

Grading the field

There were a few losses when the bottom 55 were lopped off last weekend, but not many. Just like last week, this field is loaded with nearly every big name in the sport (outside of Reed). Even Phil Mickelson sneaked in on the number at the 70th position in the FedEx Cup standings. Grade: A+

2021 BMW Championship picks

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