2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Round 1 Odds & Picks: Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker Have Value

2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Round 1 Odds & Picks: Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker Have Value article feature image

Pictured: Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

You won't get any argument from me when discussing the difficulty of modeling this event. However, something must be said about the unique nature of this tournament and the possibilities it presents — if given suitable options.

I won't be overly exposed to a board that leaves a ton to be desired, but if we are struggling to find an edge in spots, I generally assume books are more likely to make minor mistakes that can be exploited from a long-term perspective.

The question then becomes how much leeway will shops give us on a slate where they don't want tangible action themselves? I assume it will be minimal, but let's talk about a Thursday offering that caught my eye and see if we can start fast in this highly volatile team contest.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans Round 1

Zach Johnson/Steve Stricker -120 over Edoardo Molinari/Luke Donald (DraftKings)

A matchup like this helps explain why I believe the projected enhanced DFS popularity surrounding Molinari and Donald might be correct. I can't say I understand the intrigue from a numerical perspective, but it does open a possible edge for two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum.

My model placed these two squads in a unique situation with Stricker/Johnson grading as a top-20 tandem at the Zurich. However, the more significant concern came into play when I dove into Molinari/Donald.

My numbers believe Donald/Molinari are the 70th-best squad (80 total teams) teeing it up in New Orleans this week. Donald's recent improvement has caught some attention from bettors, but it's hard to find the upside as Donald/Molinari didn't eclipse the top 30 of any category I ran this week.

Four-ball on Thursday will neutralize this head-to-head battle marginally since the more prominent edge comes into play when we are faced with an alternate shot format. Still, my totals have this battle appropriately priced closer to the -145 range in round one, making this a number-grab situation that will pit two groups who leave a lot to be desired in birdie-or-better percentage against each other.

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