2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs: Surprising picks, Northern Trust odds, best predictions from model that nailed six majors

The 2019 Northern Trust, which is the first of three tournaments in the 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs, will provide spectators with some star-studded groupings through the first two days of action. Brooks Koepka (8-1), who enters this week's event as the betting favorite in the latest 2019 Northern Trust odds, will play alongside Rory McIlroy (10-1) and Matt Kuchar (50-1). Meanwhile, Tiger Woods (22-1), who has never won this event and told reporters he's dealt with some stiffness in his back during preparations this week, will be paired with Scott Piercy (80-1) and J.T. Poston (125-1), who's coming off his first ever PGA Tour victory last week at the Wyndham Championship. The first two rounds will also feature last year's champion Bryson DeChambeau competing side-by-side against Justin Thomas (22-1) and Tommy Fleetwood (25-1). Play officially gets underway Thursday at 7:10 a.m. ET from Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., so before you lock in your selections to win The Northern Trust, be sure to check out the 2019 Northern Trust picks from SportsLine's advanced computer model.

SportsLine's prediction model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, has nailed two of the last three majors entering the weekend. It predicted Gary Woodland's first career major championship at the U.S. Open even though he wasn't the favorite entering the weekend. The result: Woodland held off a late charge from Koepka and won by three strokes. The model also called Koepka's historic victory at the 2019 PGA Championship, predicting he'd hold his lead in the home stretch. In all, their advanced computer model has nailed a whopping six majors entering the weekend, and anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now that the 2019 Northern Trust field is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times, and the results were surprising. One huge shocker the model is calling for: Koepka, a four-time major winner and the top favorite to win it all this week, makes a strong push but falls short of capturing the title.

The No. 1 player in the world enters the Northern Trust 2019 as the FedEx Cup points leader after an impressive season that saw him register the most wins on Tour. Koepka also earned eight top-10 finishes this season and made the top five in all four majors. 

Despite his dominant season, Koepka has failed to land on top of the leaderboard in back-to-back tournaments throughout his career. In fact, he's finished in the top 15 just once in the last two years after winning his previous start. Plus, Koepka has had trouble finding the fairway off the tee this season. He enters the first tournament of the FedEx Cup 2019 ranked 96th in driving accuracy percentage (62.39), which could cause trouble at Liberty National. He's not a strong pick to win it all and there are far better values in this loaded field.

Another surprise: Patrick Cantlay, a 22-1 long shot, makes a strong run at the title. He has a better chance to win it all than his odds imply, so he's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday.

Cantlay might not be the household name some of the other players that will be competing at Liberty National are, but the 27-year-old has made plenty of noise this season on the PGA Tour. He earned his second career PGA Tour victory in June at the Memorial Tournament after shooting 19-under par. He's also racked up a total of eight top 10 finishes this season, including a T-3 finish at the PGA Championship and a T-9 finish at the Masters

And while his driving accuracy has been a problem at times, Cantlay has all the tools needed to climb the 2019 Northern Trust leaderboard because he can shoot low scores. He currently ranks inside the top 10 in both scoring average (69.171) and birdie average (4.28), which should give him a great shot at winning his first FedEx Cup Playoffs event. 

Also, the model says four other golfers with odds of 20-1 or longer will make a strong run at the title. Anyone who backs these underdogs could hit it big.

So who wins the first tournament of the FedEx Cup Playoffs 2019? And which long shots stun the golfing world? Check out the odds below and visit SportsLine now to see the full projected 2019 Northern Trust leaderboard from the model that's nailed six golf majors heading into the weekend, and find out.

Brooks Koepka 8-1
Rory McIlroy 10-1
Dustin Johnson 16-1
Webb Simpson 16-1
Jon Rahm 18-1
Justin Rose 20-1
Patrick Cantlay 22-1
Tiger Woods 22-1
Justin Thomas 22-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
Rickie Fowler 25-1
Jason Day 33-1
Collin Morikawa 33-1
Xander Schauffele 33-1
Hideki Matsuyama 40-1
Francesco Molinari 40-1
Adam Scott 40-1
Byeong Hun-An 50-1
Bryson DeChambeau 50-1
Tony Finau 50-1
Matt Kuchar 50-1
Patrick Reed 50-1
Jordan Spieth 50-1

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