BMW Championship Betting Picks and Predictions

The PGA Tour is in Olympia Fields, Illinois, for the BMW Championship. OddsChecker's golf handicapper and expert Andy Lack gives us his best picks for the 2023 BMW Championship.

Scottie Scheffler during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship .
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The BMW Championship is the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. It was introduced in 2007, and previously known as the Western Open. The field is comprised of the top-50 PGA Tour golfers in the FedEx Cup standings following the conclusion of last week's FedEx St. Jude's Championship. It will once again be a no cut event, and the top-30 in the standings at the end of the week will advance to the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake. This tournament has been held at a number of different courses, often in the Chicago area, such as Cog Hill, Medinah, and Conway Farms, falling in line with the history of the Western Open. The event has certainly departed from that in recent years, employing venues such as Cherry Hills, Crooked Stick, Aronomink, Bellerive, Caves Valley, and Wilmington C.C. Running through the winners, and it's very rare that we do not see a top player win, as much of the fat has been trimmed at this point. 

The last couple of years, we've had champions such as Patrick Cantlay (three times), Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy. Marc Leishman at 45/1 and Keegan Bradley at 140/1 were the only real outliers across the last decade. We will once again be returning to Olympia Fields in 2023, which has proven to be a departure from the easier venues that the BMW Championship has chosen over the last decade. We last saw Olympia Fields in 2020, when Jon Rahm triumphed over Dustin Johnson in a playoff at four-under par. Only five players broke par that entire week. It played as the hardest non-major venue in the last three years. With a dry couple of weeks in the Chicago area, we should expect similar firm and fast conditions, and plenty of carnage to ensue.

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BMW Championship: Course Preview

Olympia Fields

Olympia Fields is a classical, tree-lined, parklands course in Olympia Fields, Illinois, about 25 miles south from the center of Chicago. It contains two 18-hole courses, and the tournament this week will be hosted on the North course, designed by Willie Park Jr. Olympia Fields features very narrow fairways gnarly 3'5'' inch rough. The Park design is a proper execution test, which beckons a resemblance to Oak Hill and Winged Foot. It plays as a par 70, measuring 7,336 yards on the scorecard. Water comes into play on three holes, and the fairways are a blend of Bent-grass/Poa Annua. The rough is a fairly thick Kentucky Blue-grass, and the greens measure 5,000 square feet on average, featuring Bent-grass/Poa Annua. On paper, it does not look all that dissimilar from previous BMW Championship hosts such as Crooked Stick, Aronomink, or Medinah No. 3, yet the main difference is that Olympia Fields played incredibly firm and fast in 2020, making it one of the most difficult non-major tests that we've seen in the last decade. In terms of the actual layout, both par fives measure over 600 yards, and the 15th hole barely played under par. 

In 2020, it featured the toughest set of par fives on the entire PGA Tour. The eighth hole measures 254 yards, and featured over a 32% bogey rate. It played as the second hardest hole on the course. Eight of the 12 par fours measure over 450 yards on the scorecard, and in 2020, not a single par four played under par. It featured the third hardest set of par threes on the PGA Tour. In terms of top-10 finishers, we saw an even distribution of strokes gained across the board. Jon Rahm won here via a balanced attack, gaining strokes across the board, and there were no real massive trend lines in terms of one category being outwardly more important than the other. Hideki Matsuyama and Joaquin Niemann both finished top-three here with field average putting. Nine of the top-10 players on the leaderboard gained strokes on approach, but Patrick Cantlay did finish 12th here while losing 5.2 strokes on approach. Eight of the top-10 on the leaderboard gained strokes off the tee, and I would probably point to excellent driving at the top if we are looking for one reference point. 

Any leaderboard populated by Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Joaquin Niemann, Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finau, Jason Kokrak, Rory McIlroy, and Matthew Wolff, is sure to favor distance over accuracy. With that being said, Brendon Todd still finished eighth here, Mackenzie Hughes finished 10th, and Brian Harman finished 12th. I've already mentioned Oak Hill and Winged Foot as comparative courses, but what separates Olympia Fields from those other narrow, long, Bent-grass major championship style tests is that the Willie Park Jr. design played firm enough for shorter players to compete. The approach shot distribution was heavily skewed towards short to middle iron play, unlike most other difficult venues that are incredibly long iron dependent. Olympia Fields required an incredibly balanced attack, whereas courses in the a similar vein often heavily emphasize distance off the tee and long iron play. Aesthetically, and even somewhat statistically, it still bears a strong resemblance to many of the narrow, thick-rough, Bent-grass courses we have come to know and love.

BMW Championship Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Off the Tee: Narrow, Firm Courses with Thick Rough
  • Long-Term Proximity 125-175 yards
  • Strokes Gained Total: Difficult Scoring Conditions

Predict the top four finishers at this week's BMW Championship for a chance to win this Golf Monthly x OddsChecker free-to-play golf contest.

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BMW Championship: Outright Winner

Scottie Scheffler (+800) (Bet $100 to collect $900) BetMGM has the best Scottie Scheffler odds

It’s hard to imagine the last time we had a legitimate buy-low spot with Scottie Scheffler, but after back-to-back finishes outside of the top 20, here we are! The former Masters champion is coming off a ho-hum 30th-place finish at the FedEx St. Jude’s, his worst finish of the entire season. He still gained over 1.5 strokes in both ball-striking categories, but it was still his worst ball-striking performance in his last 17 starts. I am far from deterred. If this is Scheffler’s floor, I will gladly take the opportunity to buy the dip. The advantage that Scheffler has over the field on a week-to-week basis due to his elite ball striking should be heightened even further on a track such as Olympia Fields. The recent Players champion remains the number one driver of the ball and the number one iron player in this field by a healthy margin. 

Where Scheffler is able to separate himself from some of the other great ball-strikers in this field, such as Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, and Viktor Hovland, is that he has the best short game of that bunch as well. Scheffler’s elite around the green play will be far more prevalent this week on a course which such a low greens in regulation percentage. The putter remains a massive question mark, but I was tentatively concerned by the fact that he did gain strokes with the flat-stick in two of his four rounds at TPC Southwind, and he was able to rebound from an abysmal performance on Saturday. The fact that Scheffler has not been able to capitalize with more trophies during one of the best ball-striking runs that the game has ever seen still feels unfair, and Olympia Fields is the perfect spot for him to secure his seventh PGA Tour victory.

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Scottie Scheffler's Outright Odds Comparison via OddsChecker
SportsbookOddsPayout ($100 Wager)

As you can see, it is imperative that you compare the BMW Championship odds at OddsChecker.

Scottie Scheffler is now best-priced at +800 at BetMGM, +750 at Bet365, and just +650 at DraftKings and FanDuel, a stark $100 to $150 difference in returns. Make sure to pick the best sportsbook for your Scottie Scheffler pick with OddsChecker.

Tyrrell Hatton (+3000) (Bet $100 to collect $3,100) For the best Tyrrell Hatton odds go to Bet365

Tyrrell Hatton was one of my headline selections last week at the FedEx St. Jude’s Championship, and similar to Scheffler, he greatly disappointed with a 43rd-place finish. The ball-striking still looked solid, but the fiery Englishman fell victim to a faulty flat-stick. This was the first time that Hatton lost strokes putting in his last nine starts, and I’m expecting a strong rebound performance on the heavily contoured greens of Olympia Fields, which should yield an advantage for elite putters. Over the last two years, Hatton ranks seventh in this field in Bent/Poa putting and fifth in this field in lag putting. 

His tee to green chops are worthy as well, as Hatton has gained strokes ball-striking now in 22 straight starts, and over two strokes ball-striking in nine straight starts. While certainly featuring different agronomy, Olympia Fields bears a lot in common from a strategy standpoint with Bay Hill, a course that Hatton has had resounding success at. Hatton’s 2019 victory at Bay Hill came in major-esque scoring conditions, not dissimilar from what we should expect this week in Chicago. It should not come as a surprise that Hatton ranks sixth in this field on firm golf courses. I always encourage bettors to capitalize on buy low opportunities, and Hatton remains in an ideal position to find his way back into the winner’s circle. 

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Tyrrell Hatton's Outright Odds Comparison via OddsChecker
SportsbookOddsPayout ($100 Wager)

Once again, OddsChecker odds comparison tool comes to the fore, as there is a difference of $800 to $500 in returns when you bet $100 on Tyrrell Hatton at Bet365 rather than FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings.

Andy Lack

A PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York, Andy Lack has contributed to sites such as Golf Digest, GolfWRX, OddsChecker Rotoballer, the Score, and now Golf Monthly. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. When he’s not writing, Andy can likely be found somewhere on a golf course pursuing his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.