2021 AT&T Byron Nelson Sleeper Picks: Our Favorite Longshot Bets at TPC Craig Ranch
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Keith Mitchell
With the second major of the season just around the corner, the PGA TOUR heads to a new venue this week for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson. One of the great things about betting on golf is that every week is different. No two fields, courses or tournaments are the same week to week. It's like you get to be a bite-sized sports season every seven days. It's truly beautiful.
Without any course history to go off of this week, bettors are flying a bit blind. But while some may look at that as a disadvantage, it could also be viewed as an opportunity to take some shots down the board. We don't really know how anybody will take to TPC Craig Ranch and that could lead to some bedlam on the leaderboard.
Here are our favorite sleeper picks and longshot bets for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson:
Keith Mitchell (+6600)
I don’t usually like chasing non-superstars after title contentions. There are a finite number of times that these players will contend in a given season and chances aren’t great that they’ll happen in back-to-back weeks.
That said, I can’t resist this number for Mitchell, who held the 54-hole lead at Quail Hollow and finished in a share of third place. I love how he’s driving it right now. In fact, during the weekend telecast, Jim Nantz quoted Brandt Snedeker, who was Mitchell’s partner at the Zurich Classic and said he put on the greatest driving exhibition he’d ever seen that week, then added that Mitchell would’ve won by 10 if it was an individual event.
That’s undoubtedly some hyperbole, but we get the point. On a TPC Craig Ranch course which should play relatively easy for its first run as host venue, I want players who make birdies in bunches. Mitchell totaled 20 of ‘em just a week ago, second in the Wells Fargo field.
I expect him to step on the gas pedal and keep it going this week.
Satoshi Kodaira (+40000)
This is a play solely off what we saw last week. Kodaira had no business being near the top of the board at Quail Hollow, but he managed to gain strokes both off the tee and on approach for the event. The irons deserted him on Sunday, but overall, it turned out to be a solid event for the former Harbour Town winner.
He’s shown he can come through at long odds when everyone is recovering from a major. Maybe he can duplicate that with everyone looking ahead to one.
Sebastian Munoz (+10000)
I have a soft spot for Munoz, I seem to go back to him at every opportunity I get. I will again this week for his potential fit at the course and an added Texas narrative.
Munoz is one of the top birdie-makers on TOUR when he’s on — and if we catch him on the right week — he can finish well in top-flight fields. He is a player that I don’t put too much stock in week to week because he seemingly flips the switch on and off without much notice.
I’ll take a flyer on the North Texas grad with the hopes he’s got his sharp game this week at a place where his game is long enough and has the scoring ability to contend throughout the weekend.
Cameron Champ (+8500)
Cam Champ is a guy who will just show up and win a PGA TOUR event every few years.
A few years have passed since his 2019 win at the Safeway Open, and the time has come for him to hoist another trophy.
He is flashing some form recently with a 34th-place finish at the Valero Texas Open and a 26th-place finish at The Masters. He also made a run at the Zurich Classic with Tony Finau as a running mate.
This is low-risk, high-reward bet that presents excellent value this week.
Carlos Ortiz (+7000)
I was going to write up Sebastian Munoz in this spot but Mr. Chris Murphy already illustrated why he’s worth backing this week, so instead we’ll go back to the Ortiz well. I don't know why I have such an affinity for this man, but I do believe he’s a much better golfer than what he’s shown of late and that we won’t be getting 70/1 prices on him for very much longer.
Ortiz ranks 34th on TOUR in BoB% and as we know is one of the better putters on the planet. I like to target him at birdie-fests, which is what we should have this week with the wide open fairways and large greens. He finished T-12 at this event in 2019 back when it was at Trinity Forrest, but that was also a course with pretty wide fairways and prime scoring conditions, so I’ll take my chances that he plays well again this week at a really nice price.
Talor Gooch (+8000)
As I wrote for my own Sleepers at PGATOUR.com, I love that he’s pegging it this week. It’s his fourth straight week on the road and there’s no urgency to compete, so there’s no reason to think that he’ll look past it for next week’s PGA Championship.
His athleticism plays everywhere, but in the winds of Texas on a new track, it doesn’t hurt having a native of Oklahoma taking aim in a shootout. The non-winner also has a little history on his side as the last two winners of the AT&T Byron were first-timers.
Jhonattan Vegas (+12500)
Sticking with the profile here of guys who bomb it and then score it, Vegas is one of the few players in this field that ranks top-20 in both driving distance and birdie or better percentage over the last 50 tracked rounds. He’s quietly put together a very solid season, highlighted by the solo second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open in February.
If you’re looking to take a shot further down the board this week, I think Vegas is a worthwhile gamble at +12500.