ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Betting Odds & Picks: 15 Best Bets, Including Outrights, Sleepers & Props
Getty Images. Pictured: Will Zalatoris (left) and Collin Morikawa.
- The PGA TOUR returns to Asia for the first time in almost two years for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.
- Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele headline the field, with Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris not far behind.
- Our GolfBet staff breaks down their favorite picks from Narashino Country Club below.
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Odds
Click here to see the full odds board, courtesy of DraftKings.
|Si Woo Kim||+3500|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+4000|
|Kyoung Hoon Lee||+5000|
For the first time since November 2019, the PGA TOUR leaves North America.
The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP returns to Narashino Country Club in Japan after being housed in Southern California last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The field isn’t as strong as Narashino hosted back in 2019, but there is still a host of top talent.
Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele went straight from the CJ CUP in Las Vegas to the Far East, as did reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama.
Our GolfBet team is all over it this week, laying out their favorite picks below.
(A reminder that this tournament will take place 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time. Coverage will begin on Wednesday-Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel)
2021 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Betting Picks
C.T. Pan (+4500)
Jason Sobel: There’s always a bit of a give-and-take whenever making an outright pick for an event. Is it the one player I absolutely think will wind up with the trophy? Or the player whose pre-tourney odds make him the most appealing play?
I usually go with the former, but I’m answering with the latter this week.
Full admission: Life on the line, one pick to win this week, it’d be really tough to not choose Schauffele or Morikawa, easily the two best players in this event. (Although I’m still wondering why, as of Wednesday night, Schauffele’s odds are a notch lower than those of Morikawa, who is fresh off that runner-up finish, at most books.) Even in a top-heavy, shortened field, though, I just can’t get too excited about chasing either of these guys at a mid-single digit price.
Instead, I landed on the continually underrated Pan, who has finished T-11 and T-6 in his first two starts of this season, earned a bronze medal the last time he competed in Japan and generally plays well on shorter tracks which require plotting and precision. He didn’t fare all that well when he played here two years ago, an opening-round 68 undone by a second-round 75 that eventually led to a 59th-place finish, but just the mere fact that he’s seen the course before — more than many of his peers can say this week – should offer a slight advantage.
There are weeks when I’m more confident in this selection than others and this week certainly qualifies as one on the lower end of that scale, but there are a few favorable assets for Pan that make him more attractive at 45/1 than one of the big names at 6/1 or 7/1.
Will Zalatoris (+2000)
Chris Murphy: I really came into this week not expecting to go anywhere near the top of the leaderboard. As I started putting everything together, though, Will Zalatoris continued to check all of the boxes. I always want a better number, but in this field it’s really not that bad considering all of the factors.
Zalatoris has the right combination of ball striking and elite iron play to win this event. We also saw in 2019, albeit on soft putting surfaces, that some of the lesser putters on TOUR had success during the week. Zalatoris certainly fits that description with his short game.
In my eyes it’s a matter of when Zalatoris wins, not if, and this is lining up to be a good opportunity where he is one of the best players in this small field.
Rickie Fowler (+3000)
Matt Vincenzi: There is no denying that Rickie Fowler has been extremely inconsistent since his last PGA TOUR victory in January 2019. Last week, we saw a glimpse of vintage Rickie en route to his third-place finish at the CJ CUP. It is absolutely fair to expect him to come back down to earth this week and show more of the inconsistency we have grown accustomed to.
However, I do think we saw some signs last week that show he may be figuring his golf swing out and making a resurgence.
The most substantial reason why Fowler’s performance may not have been a fluke was his statistical performance from tee to green. An absolutely stacked field made the trip to Las Vegas last week, and Fowler ranked first among the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green gaining a whopping 8.9 strokes. He also gained 8.3 strokes on the field in “Fairways Gained,” which should translate quite nicely to what he will need to do this week in Japan.
Narashino Country Club is a tight tree-lined golf course that makes accuracy off of the tee essential. Fowler was in total control of the golf ball last week and I expect that to carry over to the ZOZO Championship.
There will be skepticism about his ability to actually win when he hasn’t done so in so long, but if there were ever a time to take a chance on Rickie, it is a week after he played his best golf in years and at a course that should perfectly complement his skill set.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1200)
Rob Bolton: Despite the possibilities, it doesn’t make any sense to me to endorse someone other than Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa or Matsuyama to win. To no one’s surprise, they are on every board with the three shortest odds, but Matsuyama is the consistent longest of the trio.
Matsuyama came close to winning gold in Tokyo at the Summer Olympics, and that would’ve been something, but this is all business and the strength-of-field rating (234) as determined by the Official World Golf Ranking is lower than the Games (319), so he stands taller by comparison.
Even though it’s been five years, he’s also no stranger to success in his homeland with seven titles on the Japan Golf Tour. Perhaps best of all as it concerns support among locals this week is that he’s the reigning Masters champion, and he truly can bask in that career-defining achievement in the country that knows him best.
Will Zalatoris (+2000)
Landon Silinsky: With all the attention being paid to both Morikawa and Schauffele this week, we’re left with a very palatable 20/1 number here on the golf wunderkind Zalatoris. He’s one of the brightest young stars on TOUR and this type of event should lead to success for him, being that approach play will be paramount.
Zalatoris ranks sixth in that department over his past 48 rounds in this field, while also sitting sixth in Strokes Gained: Total. He has a slight edge in that he did not play the CJ Cup last week, like both Morikawa and Schauffele did, so maybe he got to Japan a little early to get acclimated to the time change.
We have been waiting for Zalatoris’ breakthrough win, which can easily come this week as the competition outside of the top few guys is very weak.
Sung Kang (+13000)
Jason Sobel: I didn’t mention Keith Mitchell as my favorite sleeper in this space last week, but I did speak on the pod about him being wildly mispriced prior to last week’s CJ CUP. All he did was race out to the 36-hole lead and finish in a share of third.
Looking at this week’s board, the one player who stood out as again holding massive value is Kang, who isn’t exactly a world-beater but is being treated by oddsmakers like an also-ran. With a bigger number than Tom Hoge or Jinichiro Kozuma, Kang has finished between 15th and 47th in four of his last five starts, including a share of 32nd last week.
With an inferior (and limited) field, if the top names slip up, this one could be wide open, so it’s worth taking a shot on a player who has won before.
Luke List (+6000)
Chris Murphy: When I looked at the leaderboard from 2019, it was littered with players like Corey Conners, Keegan Bradley and Emiliano Grillo, all of whom are known for their elite ball striking and poor putters. Luke List is that exact mold, and ranked as one of the best players on par 3s last season.
List is still seeking his first win on TOUR, though he has come close a number of times including three top-10 finishes last season. He seems to have found his game again, and I really like him in this no-cut format where he can be aggressive to score throughout the week.
Carlos Ortiz (+5500)
Matt Vincenzi: Carlos Ortiz really struggled on Thursday last week in Las Vegas, but was excellent in the following three rounds and bounced back to finish in 25th place.
The turnaround was due to a superb week statistically from tee to green. The 30-year-old gained 6.1 strokes on the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green for the week. Additionally, he gained 4.6 strokes on approach, which was good for fourth in the field. The only part of his game that was subpar on the week was his putting, where he struggled and lost 3.4 strokes on the field with the flat stick.
A reason to believe in Ortiz’s chances at Narashino Country Club this week was his recent performance in the Japan Olympics. Representing Mexico, Ortiz was in first after round two of the event and looked like a strong challenger for the Gold medal. Although he fell apart on Sunday, he certainly showed enough comfortability playing in Japan to believe he could be a threat once again this week at Narashino Country Club.
Doug Ghim (+8000)
Landon Silinsky: I love getting this elite of a ball striker at 80/1 in this spot.
We do not have to worry about Ghim’s putting woes forcing a missed cut this week, so banking on his iron play shining through over the course of four rounds is very appealing here. Ghim is actually a better putter on bent grass compared to other surfaces, which is another feather in his cap.
Ghim should contend this week in this bad field and if he simply gets a few putts to drop he has final group potential, which is all you can ask for at this price. I will gladly take a flier.
Keegan Bradley FRL (+3500)
Jason Sobel: Hey, not all “favorite prop” offerings have to be of the cautious, can’t-miss variety. We can take a chance with some of these, too, and I like taking a chance on firing up one of our favorite regular FRL plays.
Sure, fellow FRL-bet stalwarts Cameron Tringale and Joaquin Niemann are also in this field, but I like Keegan to go low on Thursday. Last year, he posted nine opening totals of 68 or better and finished in a share of 13th for opening-round scoring average. Two years ago, he started with a 69 at this event but followed with a 63, showing he can go low at this track.
Pat Perez — Top 10 (+600)
Chris Murphy: Pat Perez is in a similar mold to List in that we can generally expect him to come out with a sharp tee-to-green game. He is also an underrated putter, which is a nice change from the rest of my picks this week, as Perez ranked 37th in Strokes Gained: Putting last season.
The biggest concern for Perez is off the tee, which appears to be mitigated to some extent around this course. Many players found success in 2019 despite missing fairways since at just over 7,000 yards, length isn’t a huge factor.
I like the value we are getting for a top-10 finish in a short field, no-cut event on a guy like Perez that can be streaky on the course.
Tommy Fleetwood — Top 5 (+475)
Matt Vincenzi: Tommy Fleetwood seems to be a completely different player in tournaments that take place outside of the United States. This week in Japan, both the field and course have a bit of a European Tour style to it, which will suit him nicely.
This is a shorter course on which he should be able to club down and keep the ball in the fairway. Fleetwood also has familiarity with the course, which most of the field does not and should provide a clear advantage. In 2019, Fleetwood finished in 22nd place at Narashino Country Club.
Everything should line up for Fleetwood to get into contention in this smaller-field, no-cut event.
Xander Schauffele — Top 10 (-130)
Rob Bolton: Since they’re giving away free money, take it. You don’t even have to say, “Arigato.”
You don’t need me to tell you that Schauffele is a top-15 machine in full-field events, so this prop grades on the curve for a considerably top-heavy, limited field of 78 with no cut. You also don’t need me to tell you how much he’s thrived in these situations. It’s one of the reasons why he’s the favorite to prevail on most boards.
With that analytical out of the way, I’m leaning on the intangibles of his pride to play in front of extended family and as the recent gold medalist in Tokyo.
Collin Morikawa (+100) over Xander Schauffele
Jason Sobel: It doesn’t happen very often, but I truly believe the oddsmakers got it wrong this week: Xander Schauffele is the favorite in most books, but that honor should’ve gone to Collin Morikawa.
There are a few asterisks in there (the Olympics win, low 72-hole score at the Tour Championship), but Morikawa has won five titles since Schauffele’s last “official” PGA TOUR win. He also happens to be fresh off a runner-up finish after posting a final-round 62 at the CJ CUP in Vegas.
All of that said, I don’t think the prices here offer any sort of mismatch or value or an edge either way. If their outright numbers were switched this week — as I think they should be — they’re still extremely short for both of ‘em. The value instead comes baked into this matchup bet. While I can’t bring myself to play Morikawa outright at 7/1, I do think he’s positioned to win this tournament and I love him here at plus-money.
Take nothing away from Xander, who has all the narratives going — he loves limited-field events; he won the gold medal in Japan; he plays really well on shorter courses — but I think the wrong player is favored to win and the wrong player is favored in this matchup. There aren’t many situations in which I wouldn’t take Morikawa at plus-money and this one feels like a prime opportunity.
Collin Morikawa (+100) over Xander Schauffele
Matt Vincenzi: Schauffele is a great golfer, but he should not be priced as a favorite over Morikawa. While Schauffele could absolutely win the event, he is getting a price bump because of his performance in the Olympics which may not necessarily translate to the ZOZO Championship.
Morikawa has the perfect skill set for Narashino Country Club. The course requires accuracy off the tee due to the narrow fairways and penal tree lines. Approach play will also be a major factor as the greens at the course are heavily contoured and undulating. I believe Morikawa has an edge on Schauffele in these two key areas and therefore, I’m ecstatic to play him in this matchup as an underdog.
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