The Zurich Classic, the only team event on tour, is upon us and we’re breaking down our PGA Tour expert picks for the golf at TPC Louisiana this week.
If you’re tired of the same 72-hole stroke-play events and the Match Play didn’t do it for you, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans has you covered. The annual trip to TPC Louisiana is the only team even we see on the schedule which adds some intrigue but, at the same time, does make our PGA Tour expert picks and best bets a little tougher to come by.
The format for the Zurich Classic is simple. Two-player teams are assembled and will compete in two separate formats across 72 holes. On Thursday and Saturday, we’ll see low scores with the best ball format while the battle will be on Friday and Sunday with alternate shot. 80 teams are in the field and the top 33 after the first two rounds will make the cut for the weekend.
Before we dive into this event, though, we have to be transparent in looking back at last week. We easily cashed Harold Varner III in the Top 20 at +240 and got $83,920 from Daniel Berger as our One and Done pick. Outside of that, though, we whiffed quite a bit. For the Zurich Classic, I recommend lowering your unit size a bit just because the team format can be a bit more difficult to handicap.
That won’t stop us, though. Let’s dive into our best bets and PGA Tour expert picks for this week’s Zurich Classic.
PGA Tour expert picks for Zurich Classic: Winner, Top 10, One and Done
One and Done pick for Zurich Classic: Harold Varner III and Bubba Watson
Full disclosure, I would’ve gone a different route for my One and Done this week but I’ve already used one-half of several of the teams I would’ve chosen. That’s what leads us to HV3 and Bubba this week.
With that said, this is a duo that has proven they can score, particularly at a course where Watson has good feels and high comfort-level, which is what TPC Louisiana is for him. This team is also one of BetSided’s Iain MacMillan’s picks to win this week and here’s what he had to say:
"Harold Varner is sneakily having a fantastic season on the PGA Tour. He’s coming off a T3 finish at the RBC Heritage, and even more importantly, he ranks 11th on the Tour in birdie average.Bubba Watson hasn’t exactly played his best golf to date, but he’s more than comfortable at TPC Louisiana. He won the event back in 2011 before it was a partnered tournament, and he hasn’t finished worse than 34th since then. He was eighth here last year when he was partnered with Scottie Scheffler."
I’m quite good taking this duo to finish high on the leaderboard and bring home a little cheddar for a One and Done league.
Top 10 pick for Zurich Classic: Joaquin Niemann and Mito Pereira (+200)
The fact that you’re getting +200 on this team to finish in the Top 10 of an 80-team event seems absolutely wild but is also something you should take full advantage of.
In terms of team averages, Niemann and Pereira rank fourth in this field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and, while Niemann has been the better overall player, Pereira’s ball-striking has been phenomenal, gaining over 1.2 strokes per round tee-to-green in his last 50 rounds. They’ll need the putters to at least be average to make sure to score with the top teams but, on the whole, you have to love the upside of this team and the value they present on the odds board.
Pick to Win Zurich Classic: Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa (+800)
We’re going out on a limb and picking one of the co-favorites for this event to win but, really, how can you not? Hovland and Morikawa are both Top 5 players in the world right now with elite ball-striking and complete arsenals when it comes to playing off the tee and approach. There are weaknesses with Hovland’s chipping and Morikawa’s up-and-down putting. However, this is a duo that combined to shoot a best ball 59 when they faced off at the Ryder Cup last year. That type of upside and talent is too great to pass up and this could be an unstoppable force in this format.
PGA Tour best bets for the Zurich Classic
Iain MacMillan and I break down the PGA Tour expert picks and best bets for every week on Green on the Greens for the BetSided YouTube channel. You can check out this week’s picks and watch us live every Monday at 6 p.m. ET.
Adam Hadwin and Adam Svensson to finish Top 20 (+140)
As always, my default is to target ball-strikers who can get into position to score. That is extremely pertinent in this event, so I like the Canadian Adams to get it done for a Top 20 — just the top 25 percent of this field — in this tournament. Hadwin has been playing phenomenal golf this season and, while Svensson is a bit more inconsistent, he gained over 5.0 strokes on approach last week, showing his ball-striking prowess. I worry about their lack of distance off the tee and Svensson’s short game but, for just a Top 20, this feels like solid value to bank on.
Talor Gooch and Max Homa to finish Top 10 (+225)
Much like Niemann and Pereira, these two players are just being underrated. Gooch has been playing incredible golf, particularly from tee to green, this season and Homa has been a steady presence on the PGA Tour all season. Homa’s improved ball-striking has yielded results and both players have shown the ability to get hot with the putter. In a field that is top heavy, getting this team at +225 should be a great opportunity for bettors to get after it.
Longshot pick to win: Sam Ryder and Doc Redman (+150000)
In our video preview up above, we have our new Closest to the Win segment where we have a longshot pick going head-to-head. For that, I took Tom Hoge and Paul Barjon at the same odds. However, I’m pivoting a bit here to Ryder and Redman.
Again, ball-striking is always going to catch my eye. This team has been showing good approach play as of late and, while not particularly long off the tee as a whole, they are solidly accurate and can be in good spots. The team is also gaining strokes on the green over the last 24 rounds. At these longshot odds, I’ll take a bite at the upside of this team and what they could potentially do.