5 smart bets for the 2021 Houston Open, according to a professional gambler

Matthew Wolff plays tee shot during 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

Matthew Wolff is one of our expert's top picks to win the 2021 Houston Open.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Erick Lindgren is a star of the professional poker circuit, with more than $10 million in career earnings. But he has proven to be a shark at golf wagering, too. Over a torrid stretch of making PGA Tour picks for GOLF.com last summer and fall, Lindgren picked five outright winners, among other spot-on picks. That sparkling track record inspired us to re-up with Lindgren as our gambling guru for the 2021-22 campaign, and he picked up right where he left off by choosing Hideki Matsuyama to win the Zozo Championship two weeks ago.

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The ground rules are the same as they were last season: Every week, we’re giving Lindgren a $1,000 gambling budget (just play money!). In return, he’s giving us — well, you — his five best bets for that week’s event. Here’s Lindgren’s playlist for the 2021 Houston Open, which kicks off Thursday at Memorial Park.

(Looking to place any of these bets yourself? We teamed with BetMGM, and the online sportsbook is offering a “Risk-Free Bet” of up to $1,000.)

1. Matthew Wolff to win, 28-1 (wager: $200)

Wolff made birdies in bunches last week. When the big-hitter starts flashing that kind of form, Lindgren says, “I’m ready to hop on.”

2. Sungjae Im to win, 22-1 (wager: $100)

Most of us know Im as a metronomic ball-striker with one of the game’s most languid golf swings. But Lindgren says there’s lots to love in his short game, which should be at a premium this week.

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3. Patrick Reed, Top 10 finish, 4-1 (wager: $200)

Always a short-game clinician, Reed is playing a home game this week. Lindgren sees a strong finish in the cards.

4. Jason Day, Top 10 finish, 6.5-1 (wager: $200)

Day’s back has been an issue for, well, about as far back as anyone remembers. But after a long off-season, he should be tan, ready and rested for an event in which he finished tied for 7th last year.

5. Cameron Davis, Top 20 finish, 3.5-1 (wager: $300)

Davis started fast here last year, only to fall apart. But Lindgren loves the Aussie’s game on a course that Davis himself says reminds him of the tracks he plays at home.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.