Golf Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for the 2019 Byron Nelson

Credit:

Jim Dedmon, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Pat Perez

May 09, 2019, 09:05 PM EDT
  • Brooks Koepka is the betting favorite to win this weekend's AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, Texas.
  • The Byron Nelson features a weak field playing on a relatively easy course the week before a major, so expect longshots to contend.
  • Here are our staff's favorite bets for this weekend's PGA event.

The PGA Championship at Bethpage Black is on the horizon but this week is all about the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

Brooks Koepka is the consensus favorite at +650 and is the only golfer shorter than 10-1 at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Tx. Hideki Matsuyama is the second favorite at 16-1 and Jordan Spieth is right behind him at 18-1.

Trinity Forest isn’t a difficult course. Last season, the links-style track played nearly 7,400 yards for a par 71 and really didn’t give the pros much trouble. Aaron Wise won this event last year at 23-under par.

The field for this weekend’s tournament may leave a lot to be desired from a star-power, but that just adds to the fun. A weak field playing on an easy course the week before a major means there could be some longshots that make some noise.

Here are our golf staffers’ favorite bets for the 2019 Byron Nelson.

Jason Sobel

The Bet: Rory Sabbatini: First-Round Leader (+5000)

I hate FRL bets. Hate ‘em. The odds are usually very similar to a player’s outright number, but there are so many more guys who are in the mix for a single-round lead than a tournament victory that it’s truly a sucker bet.

And yes, I’m a sucker for playing it.

Look, we’re going to bet on everything anyway, so we might as well go into this one armed with a little intel.

Prior to last week’s opening 76, Sabbo had posted scores of 67-69-69-70-68-67-71-69-72-68-68-69-70-67 on Thursdays this season. And that doesn’t even include the best-ball 60 alongside Brian Gay at the Zurich Classic which cashed that week’s FRL bet.

Since I offered a very tame recommendation of Rory McIlroy for a top-10 last week — which just barely cashed when he limped to a final-round 73 — I’m going with a much more aggressive play this week.

It’s a sucker bet. But at least it’s an educated one.

Dr. Lou Riccio*

The Bet: Henrik Stenson Top-10 Finish (+290)

Everything is coming together for Stenson stats-wise. His iron play is back to elite Stenson level, and on these huge, undulated greens at Trinity Forest, placing your iron shots in the correct place is key to playing well.

The Swede at nearly 3-to-1 odds to finish in the top-10 is very appealing, given his form and the weak field.

Dr. Lou Riccio, a PhD senior lecturer, teaches rational decision making at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and has served on the USGA’s handicap research team for three decades. More of his predictive analysis can be found over at Golf Digest.

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