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AT&T Byron Nelson Betting Preview
The PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch just outside of Dallas.
This will be the final tune-up before next week's PGA Championship, and Scottie Scheffler headlines the field as the overwhelming favorite at less than 4-1 odds. He is one of four players in the top-25 of the Official World Golf Ranking, which is one less than it would have been had Jordan Spieth not withdrawn with a wrist injury.
Last year, K.H. Lee successfully defended his title at long-shot 100-1 odds with a one-stroke victory over Spieth.
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Craig Ranch is hosting for the third straight year, and the track has proven to be one of the easiest courses in its brief tenure on Tour, with Lee reaching 25- and 26-under-par in his victories. That may be more difficult to hit this year with the 12th hole now being a long par-4 instead of a short par-5 and the course playing as a par-71 at 7,414 yards. We don't have as much data as usual with only two tournaments to draw upon, but the top two finishers in each edition finished top-10 in Strokes Gained: Approach, and that will be a key statistic to hone in on. Driving play hasn't been a big factor, and the course doesn't tend to favor longer or straighter hitters as the fairways are slightly wider than average and the rough slightly thicker. I'll mainly be focusing on those who approach it well from 200+ and can take advantage of the par-5s, as well as players with a solid short game.
The Proper Approach
The following golfers gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds.
- Scottie Scheffler: 1.23
- Tyrrell Hatton: 0.91
- Sam Stevens: 0.68
- Aaron Rai: 0.65
- Jason Dufner: 0.64
Scheffler returns to action after skipping last week's designated event. The Dallas native has elected to stay home and work on his game in a competitive format prior to the second major of the year. Scheffler -- looking for his third win of the year -- has been as consistent as they come this season, with just one finish outside the top 15 through 13 starts. That is in no small part due to his stellar iron play. Scheffler has finished T47 and T15 in his two appearances at Craig Ranch. Much further down the board we find Rai at 75-1. His irons have also been sharp, and he could be a sneaky option at the betting window as well as in DFS contests. Rai ranks an impressive 35th in SG: Tee-to-Green this season and eighth in driving accuracy. He will look to improve upon his T46 in his debut here a year ago.
AT&T Byron Nelson Bets: Outright Picks
Stephan Jaeger (40-1)
At first glance, Jaeger probably doesn't feel like he should be tied for the 10th choice on the board. He has just three top-25 finishes this season, but he's played better than his results would indicate. He's 27th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 13th in greens in regulation. A birdie-fest should suit him well.
Tom Hoge (45-1)
Hoge is too good to not to win again soon, and it would be fitting for him to do it at a place where he has ties thanks to his collegiate run at nearby TCU. Hoge has a couple of top-3 finishes this year, including at THE PLAYERS, where he was second in SG: Approach. He leads all PGA Tour players in that category this season.
Aaron Wise (60-1)
Wise is ready to return after taking several weeks off to focus on his mental health. It's difficult to know what form he is in, but at this price I'm willing to take the chance. He's shown to be a top-25 player when everything is clicking, and hopefully the time off will set him up for a strong summer.
AT&T Byron Nelson Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (5-1)
Bezuidenhout made his debut here last year and did what he does best, finishing second for the week in SG: Putting en route to a T12. He was in the mix for a top-10 in each of his last two designated events, finishing top-20 each time.
Mackenzie Hughes (15-2)
Hughes is one of the best putters on Tour on a yearly basis, and that will play a factor on the large greens that will lead to more three-putts than usual. I know he hasn't had the greatest year, but he did reach the quarterfinals in the Match Play event and won last fall. This will be just his second non-designated event or major of the season, so I expect a better week against weaker competition.
Ryan Palmer (9-1)
I'm going with another player who has ties to the state, and also one who notched a top-5 finish at this event last year. Palmer's results have been lacking lately, but he's gaining strokes off the tee and on approach, so he could be a factor with an average week on and around the greens.
AT&T Byron Nelson Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
It's interesting that the odds are even on this matchup, as Day bested Kim in five of the last seven tournaments they played in together. I'm not putting much stock into Day's subpar results at Craig Ranch because he's playing at a much higher level this time around and is eighth on Tour in SG: Total.
Joseph Bramlett (-110) over Davis Riley
Bramlett is having his best season on Tour and I view him as the better player of the two. He's longer off the tee, a superior iron player and better around the putting surface. Riley's inconsistent nature makes him a risky play in matchups -- he has made just 4-of-11 cuts in stroke play events this year.
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