2021 Houston Open Best Bets, Odds: 13 Picks, Including Outrights, Props & More
Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka (left) and Patrick Reed.
- After three weeks abroad, the PGA TOUR is back in the United States with the Houston Open.
- Sam Burns is favored, with Scottie Scheffler among the players not far behind.
- Our GolfBet staff lays out their best bets for the week in Houston below.
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|
After three weeks abroad, the PGA TOUR is back stateside, deep in the heart of Texas.
A strong field has assembled for the 2021 Houston Open at Memorial Park, which is hosting the tournament for the second time since its dynamic remodeling.
Last week, we saw Viktor Hovland claim his second straight win at Mayakoba. Carlos Ortiz, the reigning champion in Houston, had to withdraw after a strong performance in Mexico because of a shoulder injury.
Our GolfBet team has assembled their best bets for the week, laying out their outright picks, longshots, favorite props and matchups for the Houston Open.
Houston Open Betting Picks
Matthew Wolff (+3000)
Jason Sobel: I’m going back to one of last week’s prop winners for my favorite outright in Houston.
For everything that was troubling Wolff earlier this year, both on and off the golf course, he appears in a much better state of mind these days — and that’s reflected in his results, as well. Last week at Mayakoba, he opened with a 61 to grab FRL honors and closed with a 65. If the two middle rounds hadn’t included seven bogeys, he might’ve challenged his former Oklahoma State teammate Hovland down the stretch.
“I’m really confident in my game right now and I’ve proven over time when stuff goes well and I am confident, I can kind of carry it over,” he said last week. “So right now my swing feels really good, my head’s in a good spot and I’m just happy to be out here, regardless of the result.”
That performance does serve as a microcosm for his game, though. When he’s on, Wolff is a birdie machine who can rack ‘em up in a hurry. I’ve always cringed at the cliche, “He’s not afraid to go low,” because that literally describes every single player who’s competing at the highest level. I do understand, though, that the premise of that statement fits some better than others. There are those who get to 7-under in an opening round, then simply play to “protect” that number coming to the clubhouse, while Wolff is a guy who tends to step on the gas pedal when it’s going right, as evidenced by matching 61s in his last two Thursday rounds.
The problem with Wolff’s game, as epitomized last week, is that it can similarly go south in a hurry, making him the proverbial high-ceiling/low-floor play — not just from week-to-week, but within the constraints of an individual tournament or even a single round.
That makes him an ideal match for live outrights. We can take advantage of a drifting price after a few inevitable bogeys, comforted by the fact that he owns so much bounce-back-ability. One of these weeks, though, I really believe he’ll be all ceiling and no floor, cruising to a Sunday coronation much like Hovland this past weekend.
Based on his low opening rounds lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes wire-to-wire at some point, keeping his foot on that aforementioned pedal. Against a middling field, on a course which should suit his style, this could very well be the week off a pair of recent top-five finishes. Watching his college teammate triumph can only serve as greater motivation for a player who looks like he’s all the way back from some dark times.
Patrick Reed (+4000)
Chris Murphy: 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 Bermuda grass 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 potentially big week.
Tyrrell Hatton (+3100)
Matt Vincenzi: One of the most important aspects of competing at Memorial Park Golf Club is being able to scramble around the greens, and few on TOUR do that better than Tyrrell Hatton. The course has an abundance of steep run off areas that can cause some real trouble on the scorecard if a player isn’t careful. Last year, Carlos Ortiz gained almost seven strokes around the green and Hatton has the crafty know-how to replicate that this week.
While his finish last week in Mexico was just average, the Englishman has played some good golf recently and finished in a tie for second at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship five weeks ago and 18th at the CJ CUP in October.
Hatton’s tendency to get a little loose off of the tee is most definitely a concern this week, but Memorial Park may suit his eye as he finished tied for ninth in the field last season here in Greens in Regulation Gained. The 30-year-old also seemed to like the undulating green complexes and gained 5.8 strokes putting which ranked seventh in the field.
Currently the 19th-ranked player in the world, Hatton hasn’t had a win on TOUR since March 2020 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I am a firm believer in Hatton’s overall talent and believe he has the right type of game for Memorial Park, especially if it plays a bit difficult.
Scottie Scheffler (+1800)
Rob Bolton: With so many board favorites and other projected contenders taking down titles this season, it stands to reason that Houston will yield another.
The field of 132 is almost as strong as last week’s field of 132, which saw Hovland defend his title. It’s understandable if you can’t get away from Sam Burns, who has the shortest odds and is back to avenge snatching defeat in the jaws of victory here last year, but Scheffler is ready and I want to call it.
Scheffler’s 58 at Royal Oaks in Dallas made the rounds on social media ahead of his trip to Mayakoba where he finished fourth. It fulfilled the expectation after separating from a grueling run that awarded him with a Ryder Cup berth and its hangover.
The native Texan is one of 71 in the field who pegged it at Memorial Park last year. Experience always is invaluable but it’s likely that he couldn’t wait to return since he concluded his week with a 5-under 65.
Brooks Koepka (+3000)
Landon Silinsky: The whole “bet Koepka when he’s 20/1 or higher” bit has gotten old. However, there are certain spots where we can likely pinpoint when he will show up, rather than mail it in like he does most weeks. He’s playing for a second week in a row after teeing it up in Mexico last week, his brother Chase is in the field this week, and finally, he actually helped with the renovations at Memorial Park.
Put all those things together and it certainly makes sense backing the four-time major champion this week.
This is a big boy track, measuring more than 7,400 yards despite being a par-70. This event is likely not going to be won by some random player, so betting the top of the board in this spot is plus-EV. Koepka finished T-5 here last year and with his showdown looming against Bryson DeChambeau in a few weeks, you know he will want to get right.
Keith Mitchell (+15000)
Jason Sobel: Over his past few appearances, Mitchell is a guy I’ve identified as critically undervalued in every marketplace. He came through with a T-3 at the CJ Cup, then faltered to a T-56 at Mayakoba, but really, I’ve just been waiting for him to get back to a longer track, one where his advantage off the tee should offer a major edge.
Mitchell hits it long and straight; he ranks 27th in strokes gained off the tee this season after finishing 11th last season. He owns some win equity and tons of value this week, making him one of my favorite plays on the board.
Branden Grace (+9500)
Chris Murphy: 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.
Grace 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.
Ian Poulter (+10000)
Matt Vincenzi: When discussing golfers who have had excellent results in the state of Texas, you’d be hard pressed not to mention the name Ian Poulter.
In 2018, Poults willed his way to victory at Golf Club of Houston by defeating Beau Hossler in a playoff, which earned him a trip to Augusta National the following week. Last season, Poulter showed once again that he loves a Texas Track by finishing in a tie for third place at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
In his four most recent trips to Texas, Poulter is averaging more than three strokes putting on the field per event. The Englishman feels more than comfortable on fast bermudagrass greens and should be up to the challenge once again in Houston.
A tough test where scrambling is key really suits Poulter’s game, as evidenced by the fact that he gains about 0.6 strokes per round on the field in difficult conditions. Additionally, he ranks eighth in the field in Scrambling Gained which will absolutely play a factor on these tough green complexes.
Mito Pereira (+8000)
Landon Silinsky: Last week was not kind to the Chilean, who shot a second-round 78 for his worst daily total since being promoted to the PGA TOUR a few months ago.
Pereira is not someone we should be targeting at resort courses, which tend to be birdie-fests, since his putting still needs major work. Weeks like this one should be right up his alley, though, as his elite ball-striking should shine through and give him a distinct advantage on the field.
Pereira earned his TOUR card by winning three times on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, one of only 12 to ever accomplish that feat. He is a winner and this is the perfect setup for him to post his first of likely many PGA TOUR victories.
Jimmy Walker — Top 40 (+275)
Jason Sobel: Five years ago, Walker won his first and (so far) only major championship title, culminating a few stellar years with a PGA Championship victory at Baltusrol. Since then, his career has largely been derailed due to illness and injury, as that win remains his most recent, but there are signs that he is slowly returning to form.
Walker counts a T-11 and T-24 among his last four results and finished in a share of sixth place at the Memorial back in June. There’s certainly a chance he doesn’t reach the weekend – he’s MC’d in three of his last six starts – but he’s worth a conservative wager in this field back in his home state of Texas.
Denny McCarthy — Top 10 (+1400)
Chris Murphy: One of the more consistent things across the results for players at the Houston Open from last year was the requirement of a hot putter. All of the top-eight finishers were within the top 15 in Strokes Gained: Putting on the week, so I’ll line up one of the best putters in the world on his favorite surface for a top-10 finish.
It’s not all putter for McCarthy, though, as he carries some good form throughout his bag into this week fresh off of a top-15 finish in Mexico last week. If he can continue his ball striking, especially with his irons this week and give himself enough looks to score, McCarthy could be a surprise name in the mix over the weekend in Houston.
Marc Leishman — Top 5 (+800)
Matt Vincenzi: Leishman has gotten off to a hot start in 2021 with two top-five finishes in his last three starts. He also putts very well on Bermuda greens, gaining about 0.3 strokes per round on the surface. Additionally, Australians have fared very well on golf courses in Texas and Leishman is no exception. A longer and tougher track should be a nice fit for the 38-year-old.
Adam Long — Top 30 (+210)
Rob Bolton: If this isn’t sexy enough for you, then it’s time to be reminded that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
In my world of fantasy, Long just a guy. He’s a rank-and-filer who plugs a gap in deeper leagues. However, in this world of betting, this is exactly the line that you want.
See, since the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February, Long has made 26 starts and missed 17 cuts. All — all! — of his other nine starts resulted in a top 30. It includes his last two – a T-25 at the ZOZO and a T-22 at Mayakoba.
If you were willing to go back 30 starts, then add another four paydays of which three were top 30s, including a T-11 at Memorial Park in Houston.
The secret? He ranked second in third-round scoring average last season, while he was outside the top 150 in each of the other three rounds. It’s almost as if he’s freed to rely on his talent after the pressure of getting to the weekend and delivers on the opportunities.