2021 Houston Open Betting Odds & Picks: How to Back Patrick Reed & Marc Leishman
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed.
- The PGA TOUR is back this week in the United States at the Houston Open.
- Multiple former major winners are in the field, including Patrick Reed.
- Chris Murphy sees value in Reed and two other players, laying out his picks below.
Viktor Hovland captured the win in Bermuda over the weekend, becoming the first player to successfully defend a title since Brooks Koepka went back to back at PGA Championships in 2019. The Norwegian was truly dominant once again, never really letting anyone within shouting distance of his lead down the stretch Sunday as he captured his third TOUR victory.
This week, golfers head back stateside for the Houston Open, which will have an intriguing field of its own that’s headlined by Koepka. You will hear throughout the week that he was involved in the redesign at Memorial Park Golf Course two years ago, resulting in its current 7,412-yard, Par 70 layout. This will be the second edition of the event at this track, as Carlos Ortiz held off Dustin Johnson in the final tune-up before the 2020 November Masters.
Ortiz captured his first win on TOUR by being sharp throughout his bag during the week. He stood out as the fifth-best player in the field in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, but also rolled it well ranking in that same position in Strokes Gained Putting.
An additional aspect that stood out both in stats and player comments was the importance of play around the greens at Memorial Park, as a missed green almost always left a tough up and down. It seems the short game is a much bigger factor than play off the tee this week, though we have to be careful buying in too heavily with just a one-year sample.
Now, let’s get a winner.
2021 Houston Open Full Odds
Click here to see the full odds board as of Monday
|Harold Varner III||+5000|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+6000|
|Dawie Van Der Walt||+25000|
Patrick Reed +4000 (DraftKings)
Outside of a strong second-place finish at the Bermuda Championship a couple of weeks ago, it has been a rough start for Patrick Reed. He hasn’t taken advantage of his starts in these weaker fall swing fields, as his ball striking was woeful to start the season. That’s the bad news. The good news is he’s starting to show signs of turning it around.
His high finish in Bermuda was due to a great Sunday, where he fired a 65 to close out a week of four rounds in the 60s. I thought that might carry over to Mayakoba, but an ugly opening-round 73 put the breaks on that thought. Reed was able to bounce back Friday with another 65. I lay this all out because often at this level, volatility is a sign of an elite player starting to put it all together.
Reed is a player who will often have struggles right before a win, and I think he could be headed toward that this week in Houston. He has the game to fit with his elite short game and bermudagrass preference, just needing the ball striking to show a bit more consistency for him to push to the top.
We get a nice discount on the former Masters Champion due to his struggles, and at +4000 he’s got a lot of things aligning for a potential big week.
Marc Leishman +4100 (FanDuel)
There are very specific courses where I like targeting Marc Leishman and it’s usually on courses where I think he can get away with spraying it a bit off the tee (because he will). Memorial Park seems to be that type of track, as Ortiz hit just half of his fairways, while two other top-5 finishers barely eclipsed the 50 percent mark in the category.
Leishman will be able to get away with his squirrely driver and has shown signs of his elite iron play over the last few events. When I add in the fact he has the short game and an extreme preference for bermuda greens, he becomes an easy play alongside Reed at +4100 on FanDuel. I am pretty pumped to start my card with these two proven winners on TOUR at solid odds.
Branden Grace +9500 (FanDuel)
I was ready to write Grace up for a top-10 play, but then I came across his number on FanDuel and he became an easy longshot pick for me. Most other books have him listed 20 points or more shorter, so I’ll grab the value here and take a chance he puts it all together.
The South African has shown flashes of elite play this year, which started with his emotional win in Puerto Rico in February. He followed that up with three Top 10s in four TOUR events over the summer, including a T7 at the US Open. Grace would match that seventh-place finish again a few weeks ago at the ZOZO Championship, allowing him to carry some good momentum into Texas, where he will play a similar Par 70 track with five Par 3s and three Par 5s.
He certainly can contend on a course like this that mitigates his weakness off the tee, and will play on his preferred Bermuda putting surface, making him a solid value at nearly triple-digit odds.