Zozo Championship expert picks: Who our staff thinks will win
Their score was the first number. Your potential score was the second.
Last week, during all four rounds of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, a PGA Tour telecast featured live odds for the first time. The Golf Channel showed golf graphics. It showed gambling graphics, too. Sometimes, like in the example above, they showed golf and gambling together.
In August, the Tour announced that BetMGM would become its “official betting operator,” and odds have been running on Tour’s online tournament broadcasts.
“The focus of our sports betting partnerships is to engage fans in new and creative ways,” Norb Gambuzza, Tour senior vice president, media and gaming, said in a release. “As an element of that strategy, we began integrating live odds onto Tour digital platforms in August, and now we look forward to learning from this first-time test in a live telecast.”
My take! I liked it. You couldn’t bet through the broadcast. But you could bet through the broadcast. The insight was good. It wasn’t over the top, either. It didn’t feel like you were sitting at the Bellagio sportsbook.
Let’s see if we can help your bets before this week’s broadcast.
This week, the PGA Tour is playing the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Our Josh Sens lives in California, so we’ll let him kick things off this week. Who does he like?
Patrick Cantlay, at +3,000.
“Picking the winner of a golf tournament in this ‘On any Given Sunday’ age is a total crapshoot,” he wrote. “But Cantlay is always a threat, and these are decent odds for a So. Cal kid who is due for a return to the winner’s circle.”
A quick refresher on our game. Twelve 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 ($9,074)
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +1,100. Going with the hot hand this week.
Top 10: Bubba Watson, +335. Here’s hoping all those years playing in the World Challenge will pay off this week.
Prop: Top 20, Tiger Woods, +100. The odds aren’t great, but given Tiger’s history at Sherwood, I’m confident.
Nick Piastowski ($6,618)
To-win: Viktor Hovland, +4,000. Hovland played well at Muirfield Village, another Jack Nicklaus design, and I think that carries over here.
Top 10: Tiger Woods, +300. Michael Bamberger wrote in Tour Confidential that Woods would top-10, and Michael is smarter than me.
Prop: Straight forecast, 1. Jon Rahm/2. Colin Morikawa, +19,000. I’ve wanted to try this bet all year. I’m gonna stick with the Muirfield theme and believe that its two winners this summer finish first and second.
Jonathan Wall ($6,078)
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +1,100. Even with a third-round 74, Xander nearly came through in Vegas. I have a weird feeling that he wins going away this week.
Top 10: Tyrrell Hatton, +175. Figured he wouldn’t be a factor after the win at Wentworth and transatlantic flight. I was wrong. Sure feels like he’s found a groove.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff? Yes, +400. Just take my money, Vegas.
Sean Zak ($6,002.30)
To-win: Tyrrell Hatton, +1,800. Playing better than just about everyone else on the planet!
Top 10: Tiger Woods, +300. The guy plays most courses well – and certain courses extremely well. This is one of the latter.
Prop: Top 5, Matthew Wolff, +600. He’s had a great summer/fall.
Josh Sens ($5,013)
To-win: Patrick Cantlay, +3,000. Picking the winner of a golf tournament in this ‘On any Given Sunday’ age is a total crapshoot. But Cantlay is always a threat, and these are decent odds for a So. Cal kid who is due for a return to the winner’s circle.
Top 10: Lanto Griffin, +700. Time is running out in our gambling season. If I’m going to make up ground on Jessica (The Greek) Marksbury, I need a couple of longer shots to come in. The way Griffin has been playing, this play sits well with me
Prop: To be decided by a three-man playoff, yes. +1,200. Hey, why not?
Zephyr Melton ($3,875)
To-win: Tyrrell Hatton, +1,600. He’s been sneaky good in 2020 and if he’s in contention, there’s sure to be some theatrics. Would love to see the hoodie make an appearance at the trophy ceremony.
Top 10: Matthew Wolff, +300. Before a letdown last week at the CJ Cup, Wolff had a pair of runner-ups in his past two starts. I see him righting the ship this week in L.A.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. Let’s see some bonus golf this weekend!
Josh Berhow ($3,799)
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +3,500. I need to change things up a bit, so I’m scrolling down the list of odds to find someone to help me break this slump. Scottie was one of the hottest golfers in the world not so long ago but has struggled as of late. I’m looking for him, and my picks, to rebound.
Top 10: Phil Mickelson, +500. Coming off another win on the Champions Tour, at a place I’m sure he’s familiar with, Phil stays hot.
Prop: Winner to birdie the 72nd hole, yes, +400. Drama! We love it. Let’s see it.
Tim Reilly ($3,250)
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +1,100. X was oh so close to getting the job done last week. He’s playing as well as anyone in the world right now. This week’s field is strong, and a W against stiff competition is what Xander could use to build momentum going into the Masters. He finishes what he started last week.
Top 10: Matthew Wolff, +300. This kid is too good to not think he’ll be looming on a leaderboard.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. A win doesn’t come easily for Xander. He gets it done in a playoff.
Andrew Tursky ($2,900)
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,200. It’s always only a matter of time until McIlroy gets hot and blows a field away; even a field this strong will have a tough time keeping up with McIlroy if he’s clicking. This could be one of those weeks.
Top 10: Daniel Berger, +550. Berger has cooled off a bit in his past couple starts, but I see him having a strong week and locking in a top-10.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. I really need a bet to hit this week. Here’s to hoping we have a tie at the top after 72 holes.
Alan Bastable ($1,860)
To-win: Patrick Reed, +2,500. Nothing gets his blood pumping harder than wearing Tiger’s Sunday red when Tiger’s in the field. Also trending up, with a T3 in his last start, at the BMW PGA.
Top 10: Matt Wolff, +300. Love his home-field advantage at Sherwood, where he’s said he has played a thousand times, give or take.
Prop: Leader after Round 1, Tony Finau, +3,300. One of the hottest starters in golf. Book it.
Dylan Dethier ($750)
To-win: Tiger Woods, +3,300. If I’m going down, I’m going down betting on the greatest golfer of all time.
Top 10: Tiger Woods, +300. It’s Sherwood! Tiger loves Sherwood!
Prop: Straight forecast, 1. Tiger Woods/2. Collin Morikawa, +50,000. Sure, power rules, but hitting it close rules harder. Let’s turn this whole season around with one very precise wager, shall we?