2021 ZOZO Championship Prop Bets: 3 Picks With Betting Value at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Sung Kang
The PGA TOUR goes international this week, with the ZOZO Championship returning to Japan after a year where it was played stateside due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TOUR returns to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, where the ZOZO Championship was held in the fall of 2019. That tournament feels like it happened a lifetime ago, with Tiger Woods triumphantly returning to the winner’s podium that week.
The golf world has changed drastically since then, leaving bettors with a difficult time sorting things this weekend. Only 24 players from the field in 2019 return to Japan to play again this week, joined by a host of the biggest names in the sport.
Within all of those storylines, there are some intriguing plays on the board this week, particularly in the props market.
Joaquin Niemann (-110) vs Cameron Tringale (DraftKings)
Niemann is one of the players returning to Japan after playing in the event in 2019. He played well Thursday through Saturday that week, carding three rounds in the 60s, before sliding down the leaderboard with a final round 74.
The wiry young Chilean would not be the first name you might think of as a factor on this course, given its length. The scorecard lists the course at just over 7,000 yards, among the shorter tracks faced by Tour pros.
Action Network contributor Justin Ray dug into recent events on shorter courses, dating back to the 2018-19 season, and Niemann fairs well.
Some of those players, like Brendon Todd and Ryan Palmer are shorter hitters who can capitalize on a less lengthy set-up, but Niemann has shown the capability to bomb his way safely around shorter courses. He’s also playing strong golf, having not missed a cut since The Memorial in June.
Matched up with Cameron Tringale, who hasn’t earned a top-10 finish since May, Niemann is a smart pick here.
Sung Kang to be the Top Asian Player (+2000, DraftKings)
This could be a popular bet this week, with a larger number of Asian players in the field on their home continent. Masters champ Hideki Matsuyama is the favorite here in his homeland, with a second-place finish behind Tiger here in 2019 to boot.
Kang played well at that event as well, placing in a tie for 17th. He also enters this week playing some of his best golf, with five straight made cuts under his belt. According to the true strokes gained numbers from DataGolf, Kang has been one of the ten best putters in the world over the past three months.
If his flat stick can stay hot, Kang could be a presence on the weekend leaderboard. If you’re worried about Matsuyama or the recently red hot Sungjae Im, Parx is offering Kang at +400 to be top three among Asian participants.
Hideki Matsuyama (-145) vs Rickie Fowler (DraftKings)
Fowler’s pricing here is likely inflated due to excellent play last week. At the CJ Cup in Las Vegas, Rickie Fowler recorded his first top five finish since the pre-pandemic days of January 2020.
Even if he found something that will help him return to his ceiling, it’s asking a lot of him to carry his game thousands of miles away to another continent, on a course he has never played competitively before. If you tried to write up a scenario for slowing down a golfer’s momentum, you might not even be able to concoct this situation for Fowler.
It’s an even tougher task when matched up with man who finished runner-up at this course two years ago and has been playing even better golf since then. Matsuyama on home soil makes too much sense against Rickie’s chances to stay hot in the toughest of circumstances.
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