Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
The virtual pot is at €1000 from €1000 for 2021 entering this week's tournament of focus, the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour in Maryland.
We are dead even for the year!
This is the second of the PGA Tour's playoffs, which will finish at the Tour Championship.
This tournament is played at Caves Valley, a long par 72 golf course designed by Tom Fazio, which staged the 2002 US Senior Open and the 2017 US Senior Players Championship.
It's not a venue that has been used on the PGA Tour to date, so there's a bit of guesswork involved for both players and punters.
The greens are bentgrass and the track has been compared to both Muirfield Village in Ohio and Quail Hollow in North Carolina.
There are 69 players in the field and the event starts at 2.40pm Thursday, Irish time.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, SKY Bet, William Hill, Betfred, and Betfair offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top seven places.
Our headline selection is Justin Thomas for €4 each way at 20/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, William Hill).
American Justin Thomas is a born winner of golf tournaments. The 28 year old has won 14 times on the PGA Tour. His major championship win was earned at a Tom Fazio design - Quail Hollow - at the 2017 PGA Championship. The world number five showed great confidence to close out the Players Championship at Sawgrass in March, powering past the opposition with weekend rounds of 64 and 68. The world number five was an eye catching performer at the Northern Trust last week, regaining form following a quiet spell to end in a tie for fourth. A smashing iron player, he has the tee to green chops. It's just a case of whether his putter co-operates. What we do know is that Justin Thomas is a man to have on your side if he's in contention down the stretch.
Our second selection is Sam Burns for €3 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Paddy Power, Betfair William Hill).
Caves Valley might just suit big hitting American Sam Burns, who is showing sings of a player with a real future in the sport. The 25 year old won the Valspar Championship earlier this year, one of seven top 10's so far this season. He's 14th in strokes gained total, reflecting a golf game which is strong in all aspects. Burns lost a play off to Abraham Ancer at WGC St Jude Invitational earlier this month. The reason I want him on my side is that he learned from a near miss at Riviera earlier this year in the manner which he convincingly won the Valspar. I feel he's slightly under rated in the game at the moment. He was 154th in the world rankings at the end of 2020. He's now 25th. Go figure.
Our third selection is Corey Conners for €2 each way at 40/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, SKY Bet).
Canadian Corey Conners hails from a place called Listowel in Ontario, but that may be the limit of his Kerry connections. The 29 year old has been one of the most improved golf players in recent times. He's posted 17 top 25 finishes and 8 top 10's in 27 starts on the PGA Tour this year. Conners is 4th in ball striking and 8th in strokes gained approach this year. All it will take is a decent putting week for him to earn his second Tour victory, two years after he broke his duck at the Texas Open. Conners will have gained valuable experience from his strong displays at the Masters and Open Championship in 2021. Last week he fired a 62 on the way to a tie for 8th at the Northern Trust. He's due.
Our fourth selection is Brian Harman for €2 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, SKY Bet, Betfred).
American Brian Harman is an interesting contender this week. Not many of the field have experience of Caves Valley, but Harman does. He won all of his matches at the 2007 Palmer Cup at this course. Harman has also won at a Tom Fazio design - the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Harman is a tidy, consistent player who has five top 10's to his name this season and 12 top 25's. He hasn't shone since June, but perusing his career back catalogue reveals a golfer who can bounce back from moderate performances and contend. He is a lively outsider.
Our final selection is Emiliano Grillo for €1.50 each way at 150/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, SKY Bet).
One of the best ball strikers in golf, Argentina's Emiliano Grillo has been threatening to win all season. Recently, he exploded out of the traps at the Barracuda Championship, but just couldn't maintain the pace. That followed a tie for 12th at the Open. Grillo hits a mountain of greens (third on tour), but the putter is often stone cold. He missed the cut last week, but will be fresh - maybe it's not a bad thing. With ball striking the focus this week, my gambler's gut is telling me not to leave him out of calculations for some each way bounty at a price.
So that's €25 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!