2021 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Odds, Picks, Preview: 4 Have Betting Value in Japan
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: CT Pan
- After a one-year stop in California, the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP returns to Japan in 2021.
- Two of the world's top-10 are in the Far East this week, which means there is betting value down the board.
- Joshua Perry breaks down his four outrights picks for the ZOZO below.
Not much went our way at the CJ CUP.
Rory wasn’t really on the radar much for me heading into the week, so I was never close there. Tyrrell Hatton was within striking distance but stalled out on Sunday. Chris Kirk did enough to get inside the top 20 so the week wasn’t a complete loss.
Now the PGA TOUR heads back to Asia for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. After a one year stop in California due to the pandemic, Japan will host the event again.
Click to see the ZOZO odds via of DraftKings.
|Si Woo Kim||+3500|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+4000|
|Kyoung Hoon Lee||+5000|
Narashino Country Club measures out at a little more than 7,000 yards for a par 70, so it’s relatively short on paper. But this course has five par 3s under 200 yards, which masks some of the length here. All the par 5s are more than 560 yards, and there are also five par 4s of 480 yards or longer.
Narashino features fairly tight, tree-lined fairways, so total driving will be more important this week than simply bombing it out there. Each hole also has multiple small greens, which is something we’ve never seen on tour.
Tournaments in Japan are rarely birdie fests. We usually get around 12-under as a normal winning score. The talent will be better this week, so I’m expecting something in the mid-teens, even though Tiger did reach 19-under two years ago.
My focus will just be on ball-striking. We’ll need guys who can stay out of the trees but are also long enough to attack some of these par 4s and par 5s. Being dialed in with the irons will be key; there won’t be much room to miss on some of the putting surfaces. Tiger and Hideki showed that in 2019. They were both able to stretch away from the field and rely on their strength on approach.
Most of the big names are staying home, but Colin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele will make the trip and open as basically co-favorites at around +600. Morikawa’s game is ideal for the course, and he’s coming off a runner up finish to Rory. Schauffele will also have some good vibes heading back to Japan after winning the Olympic gold medal there a couple months back.
Hideki Matsuyama is next at +1200 and was second here two years ago. He’s another strong iron player who will be well suited to the conditions.
After that, we see Will Zalatoris, Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood and Joaquin Niemann at around +2000. All of them should be good fits as well given the strength of their iron play, although of the group, Fleetwood has hit a rough patch lately with the ball striking.
It will be a very light card for me this week. Those three names at the top are all great fits and in good form, so I could see any of them having a strong week and taking down this event.
I will take a shot with C.T. Pan here at +4500 on DraftKings. He’s got two strong results in the fall, finishing sixth in Napa and 11th at the Sanderson Farms. He was also the bronze medalist at the Olympics so he’s another player with some good memories in Japan recently. The iron play is dialed of late as well.
I’m going to take three chance down here and find a way to get some place money down, starting with Tom Hoge at 100/1 on DK. Hoge is a solid iron player but tends to struggle off the tee. He’s coming off a couple good weeks in Las Vegas with the approach game, so I’d expect that to help him here.
We’ll also go to Matthew NeSmith at 150/1 on DraftKings. NeSmith is another guy who thrives with the irons. The rest of the game can be hit and miss, but he’s another guy I’ll take a chance on at this type of course.
Finally, we’ll take our Japanese flyer on Ryosuke Kinoshita at 130/1, also on DraftKings. Kinoshita is the best ball-striker in on the JGTO right now, leading the tour in Total Driving and GIR. He’s also been an above average with the putter.
Kinoshita has won twice and has eight top-10s in 20 starts this year. He was also third last week, so the form is where it needs to be to have a chance to contend here.
The ZOZO Card
- CT Pan +4500 (.73 units)
- Tom Hoge +10000 (.33 units)
- Ryosuke Kinoshita +13000 (.25 units)
- Matthew NeSmith +15000 (.22 units)
Total Stake: 1.53 units
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