Northern Trust predictions, odds 2019: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson picks from PGA insider

Tiger Woods has won 81 times on the PGA Tour, second-most all-time, but he's never won The Northern Trust. Woods tries to change that this week when the 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs start Thursday with the 2019 Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. Woods was the runner-up the last two times Liberty National hosted The Northern Trust, in 2009 and 2013. But coming off his debacle at last month's British Open, oddsmakers aren't listing Woods among the favorites in the latest 2019 Northern Trust odds. World No. 1 Brooks Koepka is the 8-1 favorite, followed by Rory McIlroy (12-1), Dustin Johnson (16-1) and Jon Rahm (16-1). Sportsbooks peg Woods at 30-1, the 12th-lowest odds on the board. Before you make your 2019 Northern Trust picks, check out the PGA predictions from SportsLine's resident golf insider, Sal Johnson.

A media legend and consummate golf insider, Johnson is red-hot this year. He featured Woods in his best bets for the Masters, and Woods walked away with his fifth green jacket. Then, Johnson promoted Koepka in his PGA Championship best bets, and Koepka made a mockery of that major, building a seven-shot lead entering the weekend and cruising to victory.

At the Travelers Championship in June, Johnson promoted 50-1 long shot Chez Reavie as a possible winner, noting his game suited TPC River Highlands to a tee. The result: Reavie cruised to a four-stroke victory, finishing 17-under for his first PGA title in 11 years. Two weeks ago at TPC Southwind, Johnson again promoted Koepka as one of his PGA best bets. The result: Koepka won the WGC-FedEx Invitational at 16-under.

Now, Johnson -- the first producer of "Inside the PGA Tour," a longtime ABC Sports golf producer and the founder of the world's biggest golf stats database -- has issued his highly confident picks for The Northern Trust 2019 at Liberty National.

We can tell you he wants no part of Dustin Johnson, one of the top Vegas favorites at 16-1. In fact, he says Johnson doesn't even crack the top 10. "The story of his year is putting. He comes into this week 187th in putting inside 10 feet, and he also has been poor at scrambling, tied for 100th," Sal Johnson told SportsLine. "Since his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, he hasn't been better than 20th in his last five starts. His game just seems lost right now, so it's best to pass on him."

Sal Johnson also has a strong read on Woods, who will be playing just his fifth tournament since his memorable Masters win in April. Woods bypassed the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, instead going home to rest up for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Last year, he tied for 40th at The Northern Trust, tied for 24th at the Dell Technologies Championship and tied for sixth at the BMW Championship before his thrilling victory at the 2018 Tour Championship. "If we have learned anything with Tiger over the last 23 years, never give up on him," Johnson told SportsLine. "Look for Tiger to play well."

Johnson also has locked in the fate of McIlroy, the world's No. 3 player. He rates extremely high in advanced metrics but has endured a frustrating season. "He just gets self-destructive at some point," Johnson told SportsLine. "At the British Open it was the first round, at Memphis it was the final round.

"His stats tell us he can't be beat: he's first in strokes gained off the tee, third in par breakers," Johnson continued. "If he makes some putts like he did at the Players and Canadian Open he will win, but if he misses early like he did in Memphis he'll go down the tubes."

Strikingly, Johnson is high on a colossal long shot who's been surging in the FedEx Cup standings. This overlooked player has a game that's "perfect for Liberty National." Anyone who backs this underdog could hit it big. 

So who wins the first tournament of the FedEx Cup Playoffs 2019? Where do Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods finish? And which long shot stuns the golfing world? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson's full leaderboard, picks and analysis, all from the PGA Tour insider who nailed the Masters and PGA Championship among other tournaments this year.

Brooks Koepka 8-1
Rory McIlroy 12-1
Dustin Johnson 16-1
Jon Rahm 16-1
Justin Rose 20-1
Patrick Cantlay 20-1
Justin Thomas 20-1
Rickie Fowler 20-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
Webb Simpson 25-1
Rickie Fowler 25-1
Tiger Woods 30-1
Xander Schauffele 30-1
Jason Day 33-1
Francesco Molinari 40-1
Adam Scott 40-1
Collin Morikawa 50-1
Jason Day 50-1
Hideki Matsuyama 50-1
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
Billy Horschel 50-1

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