2021 Zurich Classic Betting Picks: Our Favorite Props & Matchup Bets
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Wolff
The PGA TOUR brings bettors a different challenge this week at the 2021 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana.
Rather than a traditional stroke-play event, this tournament features pairings playing both best ball and alternate shot formats throughout the weekend. That’ll provide a different experience for both viewing and betting.
Teams will play best ball on Thursday’s opening round, which means both players will use their own shot throughout the round. However, only the lowest score on the hole will count for the scorecard. For example, if one player pars a hole and the other birdies, the birdie will go on the official scorecard.
On Friday for the second round the format changes to alternate shot. Players on each team will alternate who tees off on each hole with his partner taking the next shot and switching back and forth from there. For example, if one player tees off on the first hole, his partner will take the second shot and the player who teed off takes the third shot. On the next hole, whoever didn’t tee off will take the tee shot on hole No. 2.
The top 35 teams plus ties will make the cut. There are 80 teams in the tournament.
Saturday’s third round goes back to best ball. The final round on Sunday will be played as alternate shot.
Here are our favorite props and matchup bets for the 2021 Zurich Classic:
Josh Teater & Sepp Straka First-Round Leader (+7000)
There are a whole lot of variables involved when trying to pick a two-man team for low score during the first round of the best-ball format, so let’s go with one that has a bigger price next to its name. Teater ranks 17th in R1 scoring average this season; Straka is 42nd. They can each make a handful of birdies, as well, without worry that a big number will hurt the team. You’re going to have to take some chances this week and this feels like one worth pursuing, both for FRL and maybe top-20 props.
Akshay Bhatia & Scott Piercy Top-20 Finish (+300)
It’s only an 80 team field this week, with the top-35 and ties making it through to the weekend. This makes the odds for everyone a bit shorter than normal, but +300 for a top-20 finish with all of those factors is a good-looking number on Bhatia and Piercy.
They are a bit of an odd team in this event, but there is no doubt that their ball-striking abilities should pair well, and give them a solid opportunity to play all four rounds. I’ll take the good number and look to bet this pair all the way up the board.
Keegan Bradley & Brendan Steele Top-5 Finish (+650)
One thing I am looking for in this event is a pairing that has a similar skillset, and few in this field fit that better than Bradley and Steele. Both guys are elite ball-strikers who have a hard time making putts.
In the four-ball format, they will have double the chance of getting their putts to fall and should get themselves more opportunities than much of the field due to their outstanding tee-to-green prowess.
In the foursome format, making birdie putts won’t be so crucial, as scoring should be difficult; and the recipe of hitting greens in regulation as a pairing should be enough for them to contend.
Rahm/Palmer (-114) over Cantlay/Schauffele
There is just no way I could trust Patrick Cantlay right now. He’s looked completely disinterested these past few events, missing three straight cuts for the first time in his career. While Schauffele seemed to have found his game at Augusta, it’s still not enough for me to side with them at what’s basically a pick’em.
Rahm and Palmer won this event back in 2019 and both have been playing great this year. Rahm ranks fourth in this field in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 12 rounds and Palmer has two additional top five’s at this event with a different playing partner.
This price should be higher in my opinion and I like the defending champs to win this matchup quite handily.
Matthew Wolff & Collin Morikawa to miss the cut (+215)
Wolff needs this more than his fellow young stud because he’s been lost since suffering the injured right wrist at Torrey Pines early this year. Meanwhile, Morikawa proved how bad putters can hide at Harbour Town where he placed T7. (He co-led the field in GIR but ranked 57th in Strokes Gained: Putting.)
TPC Louisiana doesn’t offer the same curtain and this format demands that they go low to survive the cut. I’d tiptoe into this wager but it has merit rooted in quantifiable logic.
Matthew NeSmith & Chase Seiffert Top-10 Finish (+500)
Ranking sixth out of the 80 groups in my ball-striking stat model, NeSmith and Seiffert are definitely in position to compete this week. They both rank top-20 in SG: Approach in this field over the last 12 rounds, and have the upside needed in this team event structure to be a factor come Sunday.
I love the value at +500 for this pair to finish in the top 10, and definitely don’t hate a sprinkle on the outright if you’re feeling a little frisky.