2023 Zurich Classic Odds, Picks: Our Best Bets for Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, More
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele (left) and Patrick Cantlay.
When people think back to the days when Tiger Woods was at his peak atop the golf world, they say, “We’ll never see odds for a favorite like that ever again. No one will ever be that dominant.”
Enter the reigning PGA Tour World Tag Team Champions: Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. The dynamic duo is +300 at most sportsbooks this week to retain their titles in a no-holds-barred, four-day slobberknocker of a tournament known as the 2023 Zurich Classic. The 2023 team of Cantlay and Schauffele is the modern-day version of 2005 Tiger.
Our staff has laid out its betting strategy and Zurich Classic picks for you below.
Favorites We’re Backing
- Jason Sobel: Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele
- Chris Murphy: Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele
- Matt Vincenzi: Sam Burns & Billy Horschel
- Spencer Aguiar: Sungjae Im & Keith Mitchell
Best Long Shot
- Sobel: Eric Cole & Sam Saunders
- Murphy: Ben Griffin & Ryan Gerard
- Vincenzi: Seung-yul Noh & Michael Kim
- Aguiar: Brendon Todd & Patton Kizzire
- Sobel: Matt Fitzpatrick & Alex Fitzpatrick
- Murphy: Sam Burns & Billy Horschel
- Vincenzi: Sahith Theegala & Justin Suh
- Aguiar: Luke Donald & Eduardo Molinari (To clarify, I am not sure I buy the early ownership projections for DFS, but I was surprised to see a total over 8%. If that ends up holding as accurate, it’s a wild number.)
Contrarian Team To Target
- Sobel: Aaron Rai & David Lipsky
- Murphy: Hayden Buckley & J.J. Spaun
- Vincenzi: Thorbjorn Olesen & Nicolai Hojgaard
- Aguiar: Taylor Moore & Matthew NeSmith
Trend That Guides Your Betting Strategy
Sobel: Since this event became a two-man format in 2017, a team with shorter pre-tournament odds has won every time – from 100/1 that first year to 40/1 the next year to 16/1 then 12/1 and finally 9/1 last year. What does this tell us? The better teams are figuring out how to find success here, essentially making two strong players tougher to beat than just one in a regular stroke-play event. Don’t be surprised if that trend continues this week.
Aguiar: What is the optimal way to build a model for this event? There are a few different strategies to consider. However, I took the most basic approach of turning the duos into one name on my sheet to understand what each tandem would be looking at metrically. None of that delivered too many surprises in expected pricing, but this is one of those events where both players need to hold up their end of the bargain.
Our Best Bets
Sobel: Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele (+300)
A fun week for the competitors ranks as perhaps the least fun week for bettors during the entire PGA Tour season. What better way to buy into this lack of fun than eating the chalk? The defending champions are this week’s prohibitive favorites not only because they’ve done it before, but based on their strong recent play. I don’t like any part of taking this number and I won’t play any massive bets on them, but I dislike the idea of fading them even more.
Murphy: Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele (+300)
This is a “don’t overthink it” and frankly don’t over play it type of week. I am totally fine with firing a single bullet at the defending champions, Ryder Cup and President’s Cup partners, and clearly the best team in the field. Both players are carrying great form into the week and know each other’s game as well as their own. I’m eyeing a back to back win for this duo as they will try to help it build some momentum into the rest of the season as it did last year.
Vincenzi: Sam Burns & Billy Horschel (+1800, Caesars)
Burns and Horschel are the team that I feel are the best value relative to the field this week.
The pair finished in solo second place last year and in a tie for fourth place in 2021. Horschel got his first PGA TOUR victory at TPC Louisiana in 2013 and then won the team event here in 2018 alongside Scott Piercy.
Burns has also proved to be a fantastic fit for TPC Louisiana. The former LSU Tiger is an outstanding putter on Bermudagrass and has a strong track record of winning in the south. His Bermudagrass putting of late has been outstanding. In his past three starts on the putting surface, he’s gained an average of 4.1 strokes putting on the field per event.
Horschel’s form has been discouraging in 2023. He’s missed five out of nine cuts on the season and his ball striking has been remarkably poor. However, I feel that the format change and the chance to be picked up by his partner at a course he’s loved throughout his career could be enough to get him back on track.
Aguiar: Robby Shelton & Lee Hodges 33rd or Better (-120, bet365)
Shelton and Hodges possess one of the more intriguing combinations this week because of their high-end returns for “team” output totals in weighted tee-to-green and weighted proximity inside my model. Their seventh-place grade for tee-to-green should begin to generate a profile that has some upside built into the mix, and I tend to believe safety can play into the equation for them, which we see with four straight made cuts from the two when we combine their recent form.
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