Bet PGA FedEx Playoffs: Mike Kern likes Daniel Berger, Patrick Reed, longshots Henley, Kim at Northern Trust

Kern is coming off a Kevin Kisner winner last week. The tournament tees off Thursday morning.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs return to Liberty National in New Jersey.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs return to Liberty National in New Jersey.@PGATOUR on Twitter.

Last week we gave you Kevin Kisner, at 45-1, though we did say that we probably liked him more at 9-1 to finish in the top five. So he won a six-hole playoff. I just hope you also threw a buck or two on him to win, just in case. But it’s still a cash, either way. And we also had Si Woo Kim, at 33-1. He lost in that playoff, but still paid 4.5-1 for a top five. So it wasn’t a bad week.

Now it’s on to the first of the three FedEx Cup playoff events, the Northern Trust at Liberty National in New Jersey, just across from New York City, where it was last played in 2019.

Jon Rahm, the U.S. Open winner who has missed time once again with Covid issues, is the fave at 9-1. Dustin Johnson, who won last year in Boston, is 16-1. He’s had three top 10s in his last 10 starts, with three missed cuts. Jordan Spieth is also 16-1. He’s played well after a three-year drought but has only won once. Collin Morikawa is 18-1. He’s the British Open champion, and has top 10s in six of his last nine appearances.

Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele are 20-1. I just can’t go with Rory at this point until he shows me a little something more. Xander of course won the Olympic gold in Tokyo. Bryson DeChambeau is 22-1. Who knows? So is Brooks Koepka, who didn’t play well at the WGC two weeks back. And this isn’t a major, which usually brings out the best in him. Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay and Paul Casey are 28-1. So are Webb Simpson and Justin Thomas. Webb played well last week, but he always does at St. Jude. Berger has three top eights in his last four starts, and played well here at the Presidents Cup in 2017. But the U.S. always plays well in the Prez Cup.

Hideki Matsuyama is 30-1. Abraham Ancer, who won a few weeks ago, Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith, who also just recorded his first victory, are 33-1. Harris English, Patrick Reed and Adam Scott, who almost won last week, are 40-1. Reed won here two years ago.

I’m not going to go much deeper than that. But Kisner is 66-1. And Russell Henley, who led most of the way last week, is 70-1. Kim is 80-1. So much for carry-over considerations.

OK, so what to do? As always I will tell you that I have Henley in my yearlong pool, which isn’t always a good thing. I had Morikawa last week, and he didn’t play, and Koepka the week before that. So I rest my case.

Anyway, as usual I’m looking past the faves at maybe getting some added value. Doesn’t always work, but it does more than you might think. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So let’s try Daniel Berger at 28-1. And 6.5-1 for a top five. I should say that if I was going to take one of the faves it would likely be Collin Morikawa (just because). And the number on Brooks Koepka is enticing, but again it’s not a major and that seems to make a difference with him.

In that middle tier, against my better judgment, I would also take Patrick Reed at 40-1. But I like him more to just get a top five at 9-1, or a top 10 at 4.5-1. As you might have inferred, I’m not really in love with much this week and I don’t know why. And I’m not sure what to make of that except to proceed with caution.

I’m going to give you two longer shots. One is actually Russell Henley, which goes against everything I’m feeling in my bones cause I have him in my pool. But he’s 70-1. That’s worth maybe a minor investment. And I do mean minor. But at 14-1 for a top five and 7-1 for a 10s, well that seems like a reasonable investment. Which means he’ll probably miss the cut. It happens.

Along those same lines, and again against my vibes, I would give Si Woo Kim some more love (but not too much) at 80-1. And he’s also 14-1 and 7-1 for a five or a 10. So maybe one of them can play well back-to-back. I just wouldn’t get too excited about it. There’s always next week. And we will be back for that, hopefully with a little more in our pockets.

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