2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba Odds, Picks & Preview: Shane Lowry Trending Toward Next Victory

2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba Odds, Picks & Preview: Shane Lowry Trending Toward Next Victory article feature image
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Mark Runnacles/Getty Images. PIctured: Shane Lowry

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Golfer Odds
Justin Thomas +1400
Abraham Ancer +1400
Viktor Hovland +1700
Tony Finau +2500
Billy Horschel +3000
Aaron Wise +3300
Brooks Koepka +3300
Matthew Fitzpatrick +3300
Russell Henley +3300
Scottie Scheffler +3300
Tyrrell Hatton +3300
Patrick Reed +3500
Will Zalatoris +3500
Cameron Tringale +4000
Shane Lowry +4000
Brendon Todd +4500
Matthew Wolff +4500
Sergio Garcia +4500
Talor Gooch +4500
Joaquin Niemann +5000
Keegan Bradley +5000
Kevin Streelman +5000
Rickie Fowler +5000
Alexander Noren +5500
Emiliano Grillo +5500
Maverick McNealy +5500
Brian Harman +6000
Ian Poulter +6000
Justin Rose +6000
Mito Pereira +6000
Russell Knox +6000
Chez Reavie +6600
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +6600
Harold Varner III +6600
Joel Dahmen +6600
Seamus Power +6600
Gary Woodland +7500
Carlos Ortiz +8000
Chris Kirk +8000
Jhonattan Vegas +8000
Patrick Rodgers +8000
Charley Hoffman +9000
Pat Perez +9000
Ryan Moore +9000
Adam Hadwin +10000
Brendan Steele +10000
Brian Stuard +10000
Brice Garnett +10000
Charles Howell III +10000
CT Pan +10000
Henrik Norlander +10000
Henrik Stenson +10000
Matt Kuchar +10000
Taylor Pendrith +10000
Tom Hoge +10000
Adam Long +12500
Adam Schenk +12500
Danny Lee +12500
Danny Willett +12500
Garrick Higgo +12500
Kyle Stanley +12500
Lucas Herbert +12500
Luke List +12500
Martin Laird +12500
Ryan Palmer +12500
Scott Stallings +12500
Stephan Jaeger +12500
Troy Merritt +12500
Aaron Rai +15000
Andrew Putnam +15000
Doug Ghim +15000
Dylan Frittelli +15000
Guido Migliozzi +15000
James Hahn +15000
John Huh +15000
Keith Mitchell +15000
Kramer Hickok +15000
Matt Jones +15000
Patton Kizzire +15000
Rory Sabbatini +15000
Scott Piercy +15000
Thomas Detry +15000
Tyler Duncan +15000
David Lipsky +15000
Charl Schwratzel +17500
Adam Svensson +20000
Davis Riley +20000
Francesco Molinari +20000
Graeme McDowell +20000
Hank Lebioda +20000
Hudson Swafford +20000
J.J. Spaun +20000
Jimmy Walker +20000
Peter Malnati +20000
Vincent Whaley +20000
Zach Johnson +20000
Brandt Snedeker +25000
Denny McCarthy +25000
Doc Reman +25000
Greyson Sigg +25000
Joseph Bramlett +25000
JT Poston +25000
Michael Thompson +25000
Nate Lashley +25000
Nick Watney +25000
Roger Sloan +25000
Sam Ryder +25000
Sepp Straka +25000
Andrew Landry +30000
Anirban Lahiri +30000
Brian Gay +30000
Camilo Villegas +30000
Curtis Thompson +30000
Nick Taylor +30000
Richy Werenski +30000
Sung Kang +30000
Trey Mullinax +30000
Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra +40000
Kevin Tway +40000
Luke Donald +40000
Roberto Diaz +40000
Andrew Novak +40000
Camilo Aguado +40000
Bill Haas +50000
Jonas Blixt +50000
Juan Carlos Benitez +50000
Juan Diego Fernandez +50000
Kelly Kraft +50000
Martin Trainer +50000
Samuel Del Val +50000
Willie Mack III +50000
Braden Thornberry +50000

Among our guests last week on “Hitting the Green,” the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio show that I co-host along with Michael Collins, was longtime pro Brendan Steele, whom I’ve become friends with, even caddying for him at the BMW Championship a few years ago.

During the interview, Steele and I commiserated over some lost NFL bets this season, with him concluding, “We need football season to just end.”

We laughed about this and compared some fantasy football notes, then I threw out, “You think [betting] football is hard, you should try golf.”

I didn’t really expect him to start offering golf betting advice from a player’s perspective, especially considering he obviously doesn’t (and can’t) bet golf himself, but that’s exactly what he did – and it was enlightening.

“You don’t know what’s going on with players,” Steele began. “You don’t know who’s making changes, you don’t know whose wife is yelling at them, you don’t know who’s got an injury. Sometimes guys’ stats look terrible, but they’ve been missing one little piece and they find it on Wednesday night, right before they go out and they win the tournament. There’s no way to handicap that.”

He continued with a very logical recommendation.

“The best advice that I can give for people who are doing fantasy golf or betting on golf is to pick guys whose games you like and think are really solid – and then just stick with them.

“You always make fun of me, because you’ll be like, ‘Who do you like this week?’ And I’ll say, ‘Xander [Schauffele] and [Patrick] Cantlay.’ I’ve played a lot of golf with them and they always blow me away with how good they are. I think they’re both going to win a major. I think they’re both going to do great things. They can both get to No. 1 in the world at some point. So, just stick with them.

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“If you zig-zag and say, ‘I’m not taking Xander, because he didn’t play well last week,’ he could probably win this week just as easily. I think you’ve got to stick with those guys, the guy who are consistent, that are always really good.”

If you’re a regular golf bettor, you’re likely nodding your head right now. There’s definitely a player whose game you really like, a guy you play all the time, who at some point wasn’t hitting it great or wasn’t a good course fit. And so, you faded the player that week, only to have that decision burn you in the end.

Or conversely, there’s been a player you never bet, one whose game you don’t like or whose odds are traditionally way too low, and so he’s usually a non-starter, until that one week when it looked like the stars were aligned and you played him, only to – once again – get burned in the end.

So, there’s your advice: Be consistent. If you like a player, stay on him, because your instincts are likely going to pay off at some point.

I think that recommendation is even more appropriate during the fall part of the schedule, when there are so many more variables for players. From top-heavy fields to inner motivation to perhaps less course history in these events, it’s tougher to put all of those puzzle pieces together each week. One thing you can rely on, though, is consistency. Pick the guys you really like, the ones who have value because they haven’t quite popped yet.

This week’s event has a new name, the World Wide Technology Championship, but it’s the same tourney in the same place at Mayakoba that’s been on the schedule since 2007. It’s not exactly the same field, however, as Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Abraham Ancer, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Billy Horschel, Patrick Reed and Scottie Scheffler are among the OWGR top-25 who are competing. While some of those players have also played here in the past, this one should have a little more luster than in previous years.

Much like last week’s venue, El Camaleon is a coastal, short track (just over 7,000 yards) where accuracy and ball-striking should take precedence over power and distance. Each of the previous eight editions of this event on the par-71 have been won by a score of at least 17-under, with five at 20-under or better.

We should expect something in that same range this week, as well, which means it should take four rounds in the mid-60s to come out on top.

Let’s get to the picks, starting with an outright selection who seems ready for another win.

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Outright Winner

One player to win the tournament.

Shane Lowry (+4000)

One thing I’m looking for this time of year – besides recent form and course correlations and all of the usual metrics we use to try and prognosticate leaderboards – is what the analytics community refers to with the oxymoronic phrase “positive regression.”

In layman’s terms, I’m looking for those who have played well this year and haven’t quite gotten enough out of their results. In more layman’s terms, I’m seeking players who have played well enough to win, but haven’t yet, for whatever reason. In the most layman’s terms possible, I’m trying to identify guys who have maybe gotten a little screwed.

I don’t know that this last one necessarily describes Lowry, who this year hasn’t posted a top-three result in an OWGR-sanctioned event for the first time in over a decade. That might sound like he simply hasn’t performed well enough, but that isn’t exactly true, either. The reality is that Lowry’s ball-striking has been as good as just about anyone’s since early-summer and his results have just seemed to fallen a bit short of any lofty expectations.

In his last 18 starts, dating back to March, the former Open Championship winner owns a dozen top-25s and five top-10s, including a bevy of solid results at the big ones – T-21 at the Masters; T-4 at the PGA; T-12 at The Open — but nothing better than that finish at Kiawah. It’s funny: Most elite players will insist that they’re striving for consistency over everything else, but I find it hard to believe that Lowry wouldn’t gladly give up some of this consistency for another trophy on the shelf – not that he has that choice, of course.

At some point, I do believe that high-level consistency often yields greater success, as the player eventually chases down that carrot he’s been going after for so long. There might be better reasons to pick a player to win a tournament, but armed with excellent ball-striking and short game numbers, plus solid trends, I like Lowry to follow his Ryder Cup teammate Hovland into this event’s winner’s circle, based partially on that idea of positive regression.

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Other OADers

Potential selections for one-and-done options.

Joaquin Niemann (+4000)

Speaking of Hovland, the young Niemann owns some very similar parallels to the Norwegian last year – essentially, a very talented up-and-comer who could use another win to perhaps give him the confidence to make that leap into the next echelon of players, a leap which seems inevitable at some point.

After some struggled in his first two starts at this one, he posted four under-par rounds for a T-23 finish last year and could be ready to seriously contend this time around.

Gary Woodland (+6600)

Here’s a lesson in how numbers don’t have to lie in order to still distort the truth a bit. We can easily say, “Woodland has struggled recently, missing the cut in five of his last 10 starts,” and not be wrong about that statement. But we can similarly insist, “Woodland is really coming around recently, posting three top-11 finishes in his last six starts,” and not be wrong, either.

The reality is that the former U.S. Open champion hasn’t been great, but is rounding into some sort of form, though he remains a high-ceiling/low-floor play due to those ups and downs.

That said, I like the big hitter on shorter courses, where he’s tended to thrive over the years. 

Brian Harman (+8000)

There aren’t too many players I believe are wholly undervalued on a consistent basis, but I do think Harman is one of ‘em – and certainly this week. Initial odds show him twice as long as a player like Rickie Fowler, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially on a shorter course which has surprisingly never yielded a top-25 result for him in eight previous starts.

There’s got to be a reason he keeps coming back, though, and I think at the very least, he’ll post his best result this week.

Boehmer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Abraham Ancer.

Top-Five

One player to finish top-five.

Abraham Ancer (+350)

There are no floodgates. Remember this the next time a specific player wins and the entire golf community is discussing whether the “floodgates” will subsequently open for that player. It doesn’t really happen that way – not anymore, at least.

That said, I do think that the lid is off for Ancer now, which alleviates the massive monkey from his back that had been lingering in the form of zero career PGA TOUR wins. Since his WGC victory in Memphis, he’s posted three finishes of 14th or better in five starts.

That should continue on a course where he’s been 21st or better in each of the previous four years.

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Top-10

One player to finish top-10.

Matthew Wolff (+350)

Despite his noted struggles both on and off the golf course this year, Wolff remains at 31st on the OWGR and is fresh off a runner-up finish in Las Vegas in his most recent start – his best result in a full year.

There’s reason to believe he’s not just back on track to play stellar golf once again, but happy and motivated and hungry to make up for some lost time.

Top-20

One player to finish top-20.

Russell Henley (+180)

Much like Lowry, Henley is a guy who just hasn’t gotten “lucky” so to speak, with a bunch of really consistent performances, but no wins to show for it. The former UGA standout has been a top-25 machine, posting nine of ‘em in 21 starts this year, but remains winless over the past four-and-a-half years.

That long-awaited title might not be imminent, but I do think it’ll happen at some point – and his consistent play will continue, as he’s sort of a poor man’s version of Finau or Ancer before their recent wins. 

2021-john deere classic-odds-picks-predictions-longshots-outrights-props-matchups
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Jhonattan Vegas

Top-30

One player to finish top-30.

Jhonattan Vegas

For months, I’ve been writing up Maverick McNealy as my favorite no-brainer top-20 play – and I don’t dislike him at all this week, either – but Vegas is creeping into similar territory now, too. He’s now posted seven top-20s in his last dozen starts, perhaps finally realizing the potential that he’s had for so long.

I still believe Vegas can be a top-25 player in the world – he has all the tools – and this type of consistency will continue to be rewarded. I’ve listed him for a top-30 here, but I don’t mind a top-20 or even top-10 ticket. 

Top-40

One player to finish top-40.

Brian Stuard (+200 for top-40)

I listed Stuard in my preview last week, as well, and he made a valiant effort to make the cut, only to post a bogey on his final hole Friday afternoon to miss the weekend. A two-time runner-up finisher at Mayakoba, his results haven’t been quite as strong lately, but I still think a conservative play here makes some sense.

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Tony Finau

The masses might flock to tourney favorite JT in the DFS space, which is never a poor plan. I’d prefer to save a little salary, though, and load up on Finau, whom I believe is on the verge of taking a next major step in the progression of his career. He’s posted results of T-7, T-8 and T-16 in his five previous starts at this one and he’s a more well-rounded player now than ever before.

Like Woodland, Finau is another big hitter who tends to play some of his best golf on shorter tracks where he can dial it back a bit, so this one should be right up his alley. 

DFS ‘Dog

A lower-priced option for DFS.

Pat Perez

A winner here four years ago, Perez owns four other finishes of 16th or better at this event in nine career starts. His volatility makes him a tough guy to pin down on a weekly basis, but his low floor remains offset by an atypically high potential ceiling, especially on courses he likes, and this one certainly fits. 

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Talor Gooch

First-Round Leader

One player to post the low score Thursday.

Talor Gooch (+4000 for FRL)

Dammit. You know that whole thing from the intro about habitually continuing to bet the same players, because you like their games and think they’ll win at some point? Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel about Gooch – except apparently so do a lot of people, which has forced the oddsmakers to lower his outright number to an almost unplayable price.

Instead, I’ll grab him for FRL, as he’s opened with totals of 67-64-69-69-73-68-69-64 in his last eight Thursday rounds. 

Matchup Man

One player who should beat comparable players.

Aaron Wise (+3300)

Last year’s runner-up finisher at this one, Wise is a lot of bettors’ favorite pick for a breakthrough campaign – and I’m fully aboard that bandwagon, as well. Like Gooch, his outright odds have gotten a little too short for me to chase right now – especially in a field that’s loaded with some pretty solid talent – but I like him in matchup bets and other formats, whether it’s as an OAD play or in DFS. 

The Big Fade

One top player to avoid at this tournament.

Will Zalatoris (+3300)

Don’t look now, but the can’t-miss kid has been missing a bit lately, with just a single top-10 in his last 11 starts and two in 15 starts since his runner-up finish at the Masters.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be bullish on Willy Z. long-term – he’s got the ball-striking skills to be a top-10 player and tends to show up at the biggest events – but something hasn’t been quite right with his game lately and I’m not so sure that this is the place where he’ll find it.

At this number, I’d much rather have a ticket on a guy like Wolff instead.

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