The layup. All you have to do is lay the basketball into the hoop – from a foot away. The empty-netter. All you have to do is shoot the puck into the net – without a goalie. The gimme. All you have to do is – nothing. Your putt is good.
In this space last week, we discussed carnival game bets, the wagers that seem super and pay superbly – and lose swiftly. Your plastic ring didn’t fit onto the soda bottle. Sorry. Better luck next time. That’ll be one dollar.
The opposite kind of bet almost automatically will pay a dollar. And only that dollar. These wagers are layups. These wagers are empty-netters. These wagers are gimmes. These wagers are simple – and pay simply. You made the shot. Here’s your dollar.
Our Zephyr Melton hasn’t been missing the hoop, the net or the hole.
No albatross in a tournament. At -10,000 odds. Sometimes -5,000.
Or his $100 bet will pay a buck or two.
The odds are as good as the odds of actually making an albatross are bad. The PGA of America’s website, citing the Double Eagle Club, wrote that the chances of making one – either a one on a par-4 or a two on a par-5 – are 6 million to 1.
Collin Morikawa was 9 inches away from one on Sunday during the fourth of the Memorial.
“Got the heart rate up there for a second,” Melton wrote in our Slack channel.
No albatross went off -5,000 last week. Melton is two dollars richer in our game.
This week, the PGA Tour is playing the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn. We’ll give Melton the floor to see if he can win with smaller odds, too. Who does he like?
Matthew Wolff, the defending champion, at +2,800.
“He was the winner here last year during a dynamite rookie season,” Melton wrote. “Here’s to a repeat in the Twin Cities.”
A quick refresher on our game. Fourteen members of our staff will make three $100 bets — to win, top 10 and a prop bet of choice — for each tournament from the Charles Schwab Challenge through the Masters in November. Each member starts with $4,000, and the odds will come from the DraftKings website. The first-place finisher will play a round of golf when it’s all said and done, and the last-place finisher is on the bag for the winner.
Our primary goal, of course, is to help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.
The picks (in order of money total)
Jessica Marksbury ($6,151)
To-win: Matthew Wolff, +3,300. I like these odds for last year’s champ!
Top 10: Henrik Norlander, +550. T6 last week, T12 at the Rocket Mortgage. Norlander is playing well, so trying to strike while the iron’s hot. (Pun intended, haha.)
Prop: Top five, Tommy Fleetwood, +450. I have high hopes for Tommy’s first appearance stateside since the canceled Players Championship.
Tim Reilly ($5,600)
To-win: Tony Finau, +1,400. It’s hard to overstate how due for a victory Finau is. He came out of the gate hot before withering over the weekend at Muirfield. I can’t hold that against him given that the entire field struggled Saturday and Sunday. Overall, it was a strong top 10 showing, and it’s time for Finau to get that overdue win.
Top 10: Matthew Wolff, +300. Coming off a win here last year, I’m looking for a solid showing from Wolff in Minnesota.
Prop: Winning margin, three strokes, +600. I’ll take those odds for someone to get hot and run away with it on Sunday.
Josh Berhow ($4,638)
To-win: Tony Finau, +1,400. He’s proven his game is in a good spot and should be one of the favorites in a weaker field this week.
Top 10: Erik van Rooyen, +400. He’ll be a fan favorite without actually having any fans on the golf course to cheer him on. The former Gophers star will have a solid week.
Prop: Straight forecast, 1, Tony Finau, 2, Tommy Fleetwood, +22,000. Finau is hot, and Tommy will be refreshed. Time for a big-paying flier here!
Sean Zak ($3,847.30)
To-win: Luke List, +4,000. Guy has quietly played really well since the shutdown. Maybe he strikes gold this week?
Top 10: Doc Redman, +550. Was on a slight heater entering Detroit. I’m back on the train this week.
Prop: To make the cut, no, Brooks Koepka, +275. Feels like the best time there ever has been to bet on a BK MC.
Josh Sens ($3,588)
To-win: Tommy Fleetwood, +1,700. This guy is too good to not win someday on the PGA Tour. Why shouldn’t this be the week?
Top 5: Matthew Wolff, +600. This one came to me in a quarantine fever dream, which is how I do all my best thinking. Plus, he’s the defending champ, so good vibes all around.
Prop: Best finishing position, Harris English over Russell Henley, -110. For a second there, I confused Russell Henley for Don Henley, and I thought, wow, this is the lock of the century. But even when I realized that we were talking about a Tour pro and not a yacht rock legend, I still liked the bet.
Zephyr Melton ($3,445)
To-win: Matthew Wolff, +2,800. He was the winner here last year during a dynamite rookie season. Here’s to a repeat in the Twin Cities.
Top 10: Henrik Norlander, +550. He’s made four cuts in five starts since the restart, with two top 15s, and he had a T6 finish on a brute of a golf course last week. I like him to keep that momentum rolling.
Prop: Winning margin, after a playoff, +400. Truly I have no rationale here. They just weren’t offering my usual albatross prop so I threw a dart at the board.
Jonathan Wall ($3,425)
To-win: Harris English, +3,500. Leads this week’s field in total strokes gained average over the past 50 rounds. Something’s gotta give.
Top 10: Doc Redman, +550. Three top-25 finishes in his past four starts. It feels like he’s primed for a big week.
Prop: Best finishing position, Paul Casey over Lucas Glover, -125. The putter betrayed Casey at Memorial. I believe he’ll bounce back from a missed cut and contend.
Alan Bastable ($3,350)
To-win: Lucas Glover, +$2,500. Been playing sneaky well of late. Five for five in cuts made since the restart. And likes this event (T-7 a year ago). If the Glover fits …
Top 10: Matthew Wolff, +275. Wolff has a little Phil in him. Hard to know if he’s gonna win or miss the cut from week to week. Coming off a solid T22 on a brutal setup at Muirfield and is only three weeks removed from his runner-up in Detroit. I like how he’s trending.
Prop: Leader after Round 1, Tony Finau, +2,800. Finau is a fast starter. Looking for a blazing 62 or 63 to give him the early lead.
James Colgan ($3,338)
To-win: Tommy Fleetwood, +1,700. Played his tune-up rounds in the U.S. at Shinnecock Hills. With all due respect to a certain Minnesotan on the GOLF.com staff, TPC Twin Cities should prove to be fairly easier than Shinny. The situation feels right for Tommy’s first profess–erm PGA Tour win.
Top 10: Harris English, +350. In a lighter field, give me English to do what he does best — play rock-solid golf and earn his way into contention.
Prop: Group C winner, Carlos Ortiz, +400. Feels like a good time for a strong finish from Ortiz, who’s played a lot of up-and-down golf as of late.
Andrew Tursky ($3,050)
To-win: Harris English, +3,500. He’s fresh off a T13 finish at the Memorial, and a T17 finish at the RBC Heritage before that. In other words, he’s trending and will likely win this week. Free money.
Top 10: Sepp Straka, +700. I went with Sepp last week to finish top 10, but he struggled over the weekend (79-75) during tough conditions. I ain’t turning my back on him yet, though. I also may take Sepp to finish top 10 every week until he does. Stay tuned.
Prop: Top 20, Charley Hoffman, +300. This feels unfair. They could play this event 100 times, and Hoffman would finish top 20 every time. Book it.
Nick Piastowski ($2,693)
To-win: Lucas Glover, +2,500. He’s played well since the PGA Tour return, and he played well here last year, shooting a 62 in the final round.
Top 10: Erik van Rooyen, +400. He’s one of the better ball strikers on Tour, and he went to college at Minnesota.
Prop: Group C winner, Carlos Oritz, +400. He played well at the Memorial before a final-round 80, and he tied for fifth here last year.
Luke Kerr-Dineen ($2,450)
To-win: Tony Finau, +1,400. One of the best players in the field in terms of pure ability, on a course that should suit his new free-wheeling power driving, in an event with a weaker field, a week after registering a solid finish. Is this finally the week Finau breaks the curse of the Puerto Rico Open?
Top 10: Patrick Rodgers, +1000. See below…
Prop: Leader after Round 1, Patrick Rodgers, +6,600. A long driver of the ball whose final-round 77 at the Memorial I’m largely chalking up to a difficult setup. Nevertheless, he finished in the top 15 in both SG: Driving and SG: Putting on the week and is primed for a hot start in Minnesota.
Ashley Mayo ($2,250)
To-win: Erik van Rooyen, +4,500. He’s bound to break through and win at some point soon, and I just have a gut feeling it’ll be this week.
Top 10: Patrick Rodgers, +550. Patrick hasn’t had the greatest season so far, but his play last week proved that his game is headed in the right direction.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. Van Rooyen will win in overtime.
Dylan Dethier ($2,200)
To-win: Tommy Fleetwood, +1,700. Rust, schmust. Send Tommy to the top!
Top 10: Sam Burns, +500. He’s been sneaking up on a top 10 these past few starts — it’s time for Burns to break through.
Prop: Group A winner, Tommy Fleetwood, +450. That’s over Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Paul Casey. C’mon, Tommy!