Betting on Golf: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Betting on Golf: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

This article is part of our Golf Picks series.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans Betting Preview

The lone team event of the year will take place this week, as pairs of two head to New Orleans to compete in the Zurich Classic.

This tournament transitioned from a typical stroke play event to one featuring 80 two-man teams in 2017. The top 33 pairings and ties will advance to the weekend. While the unique format isn't everyone's cup of tea, five of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be teeing it up, including world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who will be playing with Ryan Palmer. We will see several duos featuring compatriots and others college teammates. The first and third rounds will be four-ball, or best ball, and the second and fourth will be alternate shot. Last year, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, at 12-1 odds, outlasted Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel on the first playoff hole for Leishman's sixth career PGA Tour title and Smith's second win in the team event.

Players will see a Pete Dye design for a second straight week at TPC Louisiana, which plays as a traditional par-72 at a lengthy 7,400 yards. Combine that with playable rough and you can see driving distance will be a big benefit, particularly in this format. Longer hitters don't have to worry about spraying it off the tee in four-ball with a partner to rely on, and the ability to make birdies – and eagles – is an important skill for Thursday's and Saturday's rounds. In alternate shot, consistency is paramount, and finding pairings that complement each other and hide each other's weaknesses will be key. The longer hitters should tactically play the even-numbered holes with the better approach players tackling the odd holes, where all four par-3s come into play. All are over 200 yards and water is in play on three of them.

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 8:00 ET Tuesday.

Course History

The following golfers have recorded multiple top-5s since this became a team event.

Kisner and Brown are the only team on the list to record a top-5 multiple times, losing in a playoff in 2017 and finishing T5 in 2019. They come in with long shot odds at 90-1, as Brown's level of play has dropped and has him alternating between the Korn Ferry and PGA Tour. Nevertheless, if you like the course history angle, they're a dark horse pick with Kisner in great form. Near the top of the odds board we find Palmer, who after two years with Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm as partners is now joining forces with the hottest player in the world in Scheffler. Palmer hasn't played quite as well as usual this year but his ball-striking numbers and length are still above average and with Scheffler's affinity for making birdies, they make for a good choice at 9-1 if you're looking at one of the favorites.

Outright Picks

Tommy Fleetwood/Sergio Garcia (16-1)

Fleetwood and Garcia skipped the event last year after finishing runner-up in 2019, when they were unable to chase down Palmer and Rahm despite getting to 23-under. Fleetwood finished T4 in 2018 playing with Chris Paisley, so he clearly likes the format and course. Garcia is certainly well-versed in team-play as the all-time European leader in Ryder Cup points.

Joaquin Niemann/Mito Pereira (25-1)

The young Chilean duo will be making their first start together in the event and I think a big debut is in the making. Pereira is the wildcard as the weaker player of the two but he's one of the better second-best players on his team in the field. He received a promotion to the PGA Tour after his second Korn Ferry Tour win in a row last summer and reeled off four top-10s in a six-tournament stretch. He hasn't recorded such a result since but does rank 14th in strokes-gained approach this season. Both players are great ball-strikers with no real weaknesses in their games.

Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele (45-1)

Bradley and Steele rejoined forces after missing the cut in 2017, playing with separate partners in 2018 and 2019 and dominated the fourball portion last year to the tune of 17-under en route to a top-5 finish. Steele is driving it a whopping 10 yards farther than he was a season ago and ranks fifth in strokes-gained off-the-tee, which should be a big boost in both formats to their chances this year.

Top-10 Wagers

Adam Hadwin/Adam Svensson (4-1)

The Canadian duo will pair together for the first time, having each previously played in only 2019 and will both get partner upgrades. Hadwin is one of the hottest players in the field this week, with seven top-30s in nine starts this year including three top-10s over the last four weeks. The duo should play well in foursomes considering their similar styles – accurate off the tee and precise with their irons.

Jason Day/Jason Scrivener (7-1)

Day will team up with fellow Aussie Scrivener and we've seen teams have success even when one of the players isn't a regular PGA Tour player. Despite Day's struggles this season, he's making birdies 24 percent of the time and comes in well-rested. Scrivener is known for his precision off the tee and that should free up Day to be aggressive. This is good value for what should be a motivated squad.

Hank Lebioda/Chase Seiffert (11-1)

Former Florida State teammates will pair together for the first time and Lebioda has had success in the event previously, managing a top-5 with Curtis Luck who is currently on the Korn Ferry Tour. Seiffert's starts this season have been limited as he's playing on conditional status, and he's played well having made three consecutive cuts with a pair of top-25s. He's also gaining over half a shot per round on approach this season.

Head-to-Head Matchups

Shane Lowry/Ian Poulter (-110) over Talor Gooch/Max Homa

Coming off a 2-0 head-to-head week at the Heritage, I'll look to keep the momentum going with a first time pairing in Lowry and Poulter. Neither played last year but Poulter had a top-10 with Sam Horsfield in 2019 and certainly has a lot of team experience with his Ryder Cup history, while Lowry has played like a top-10 player in the world this year with three top-3 finishes. Gooch and Homa finished T17 last year but struggled in four-ball, playing the two rounds in just nine-under.

Tyrrell Hatton/Danny Willett (-110) over Will Zalatoris/Davis Riley

I'm surprised Hatton and Willett aren't bigger favorites coming off a top-10 in this event last year, especially considering Riley is the weakest player of the four. He did break through with a runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship but has mostly been inconsistent in his rookie season, and neither has played the team event before. The other team won't be lacking in experience, the team format should help Hatton, and Willett has rounded back into form a bit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Pohle
Ryan Pohle breaks down golf bets and covers college basketball for RotoWire.
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