rory-mcilroy-2021-wgc.png
Getty Images

After a strange odds week at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational should be more straightforward. Though this is not a full-field event, it includes anyone you would reasonably pick to win a major or any other big-time event -- other than world No. 1 Jon Rahm, who is the only top 25 player in the world who will not play.

Most of my picks this week were top-10 plays with a winner sprinkled in at the very end. Approach play was a high value for me with TPC Southwind's small greens, and I leaned toward golfers -- as I normally do -- who have been among the best from tee to green over the last two months. Here are five bets I love for this week in Memphis.

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Jordan Spieth top 10 (+138): It still feels slightly odd, but you could make the case that Spieth is a top-three-or-four player in the world this year. Consider his finishes starting with the Texas Open in April. In eight events, he has five top 10s, seven top 20s and all eight have been in the top 30. He only trails Collin Morikawa in total strokes gained since June 1.

Rick Gehman is joined by Mark Immelman, Kyle Porter and Jonathan Coachman to preview the 2021 WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Patrick Cantlay top 10 (+240): Good odds on somebody who ranks No. 1 in this field from tee to green since June 1. The top 10s are not there like they are for Spieth or even Louis Oosthuizen (see below), but I absolutely love Cantlay on a ton of rest after his missed cut at the Open Championship. He has four top 25s in his last five starts.

Louis Oosthuizen top 10 (+188): This spot came down to Oosthuizen and Morikawa for me, and I went with Oosthuizen because I think his floor right now is a bit higher and because his odds are a bit longer. Top 10s in five of his last seven, and it honestly feels a bit dumb to not auto-slot him here at this point.

Sergio Garcia top 10 (+450): If you like this, then you are essentially betting on whether Garcia can possibly have just an average putting week. The numbers are terrifying -- negative strokes gained putting in 22 of his last 29 PGA Tour rounds -- but I don't even need him to be good this week, just average (says everyone who has ever had something riding on Garcia). That's how well he's hitting the ball, and this is a terrific number for one of the great ball-strikers of his generation.

Rory McIlroy to win (20-1): Last time I saw this number for McIlroy, which was at this year's Wells Fargo Championship, I jumped on it and he won. I'm less confident about his game going into this week, but you can't pass up the 20-1 opportunity. There are positive signs. As my colleague, Rick Gehman pointed out recently, he's been well into the plus side of things on his approach play for most of the last two months. Additionally, he's had some really strong putting weeks this summer. I'm concerned about his ability to manage some fairly small greens at TPC Southwind, but he nearly won here in 2019 after the Open Championship when Brooks Koepka took him down. And again -- it's Rory McIlroy at 20-1.