Betting news, trends, odds and predictions for Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from various handicappers and websites
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PGA Tour Betting Preview
Zurich Classic of New Orleans
TPC Louisiana – Par 72 – 7,425 yards
With the PLAYERS Championship still two weeks away, the PGA Tour continues to trek through the doldrums of the year between the 1st and 2nd Majors of the campaign.
Thankfully the Tour decided to change up the format of the Zurich Classic at New Orleans last year by making it a team event, renewing excitement in the tournament from both inside and outside the ropes.
Many of the game's biggest names are taking a crack at the second instalment of this being a team play event and with defending champs Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith (+3300) looking to revamp some of their good vibes here, the Zurich Classic is a must watch event again.
As far as the course goes, it's not a new one to many of the players as this tournament has been held at TPC Louisiana since 2007 and it's one that's relatively easy for anyone that's a card carrying member of the PGA Tour.
Sand traps and water do present plenty of trouble, but with extremely generous fairways, and the wining score being -15 or better eight of the 10 years in was a regular singles event since 2007, and the Blixt/Smith team winning with -27 a year ago, you'd better be able to go low if you want to hoist this trophy.
The format consists of two rounds of four-ball (ie best ball) and two rounds of alternate shot, with the former being switched to Rounds 1 and 3 this year. I think making that subtle switch is a nice addition to this tournament as guys really do have to work as a team and have success on Sunday in the alternate shot format.
But you've got to be in contention first to really make a run at this title, so let's get right to the teams I'm looking at this week:
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Golfers to Watch:
Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer (+1200) – Spieth and Palmer are among the favorites to win this event as they look to rekindle the success they had here a year ago. This team was paired together because of a bet they made during a practice round of another event – if Palmer's caddie beat Spieth, they'd pair together at Zurich, which all happened – and now they are looking to improve on the 4th place finish they had here a year ago.
Spieth has been off since the Masters, but the Sunday charge he put on at Augusta was the stuff of legends and I'm not sure he has cooled off much since then. He is in fine form with consecutive 3rd place finishes in his last two events, and with his skills in iron play and the short game, almost anyone can partner with Spieth and find some level of success. Palmer will be looking for some of Spieth's form to rub off on him with two missed cuts and a 76th in his last three starts, but sometimes taking all the pressure off yourself and having a guy who you've done well with in the past is all it takes for things to flip. Returning to a place where these two came quite close a year ago, and lead after Round 1, is something I've got no problem supporting this week.
Brendan Steele/Jamie Lovemark (+3300) – Steele and Lovemark are an interesting pairing for this event, and with both of them coming off a T30 last week at Texas, they are hoping to link up their skill sets en route to victory this week in New Orleans.
Steele's T30 came because he couldn't make a put at the Valero, losing about 4 strokes to the field on the greens. His ball striking has been exceptional for some time now and considering Lovemark's struggles typically come off the tee (121st in strokes gained), the alternate shot format could be right up these guys alley. If it's Steele going off the tee, Lovemark will be fine with the approach game, and conversely, Lovemark's length in general, should give Steele plenty of opportunities to stick it tight to the pin and not worry so much about the upcoming putt. One of these two is going to have to get hot with the putter though to end up being the last team standing, but at 33-1, the price is definitely right. We can't forget that Lovemark is also just two years removed from a T2 as an individual at this event, losing in a three-man playoff back in 2016.
Emiliano Grillo/Peter Uihlein (+5000) – A littler further down the odds list comes the team of Grillo and Uihlein and similar to the Spieth/Palmer team, you've got one guy in solid form (Grillo) paired with another who's looking to find a spark in his game again. But these two are plenty comfortable with one another having spent the bulk of their young careers on the European Tour, and while they weren't involved in this tournament a year ago, the talent is definitely there for them to be contenders on Sunday.
Grillo has made every single cut in the events he's played during this 2017-18 wraparound season (12) and has two Top 10's and three Top 20's in his last five starts. His form can't be ignored here and with such a strong all around game outside of his strokes gained around the green this year, Grillo is a guy that's likely going to break through in 2018 sooner than later.
Uihlein hasn't been good around the green all season which is a bit troublesome for this team, but quite frankly, Uihlein hasn't been good since 2018 has hit. The talent is definitely there though and with the level of comfort he should have playing alongside a good friend for four rounds (hopefully) this week, like Palmer, maybe that's all it takes for Uihlein's talent to shine through. This is a team that should be completely under the radar given the names involved in New Orleans this week, but I expect them to be contenders heading into the final day.
Odds to win Zurich Classic - per Sportsbetting.ag
Cabrera Bello/Garcia 20/1
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