PGA Hot Picks for the AT&T Byron Nelson

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PGA Hot Picks for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Rory Mcllroy held on to defeat Abraham Ancer by one stroke at the Wells Fargo Championship last Sunday at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. The PGA Tour now turns to Texas once again for one last warm-up before the PGA Championship at the AT&T Byron Nelson. The event has been held at Trinity Forest for the past two seasons, but the event has been moved to TPC Craig Ranch, which will be hosting its first PGA Tour event this week.

Course Breakdown and Weather
Although TPC Craig Ranch will be making its PGA Tour debut, the Korn Ferry Tour has seen this course quite a few times, including the junior circuit’s championship event in 2008 and 2012, respectively. The course resides just outside of Dallas and is roughly a 7,500-yard, par-72 layout.

Korn Ferry winners here (Matt Bettencourt, Justin Bolli) exhibited great iron play and elite short games when they brought home the hardware. The winner of this event is likely to eclipse 20-under par, so make sure you are betting on someone who can string together birdies. It will be mostly sunny throughout the event, excluding Sunday which should have scattered thunderstorms and winds ranging around 15 miles per hour. If the inclement weather is projected for early in the morning, the golfers will go off late.

Vice versa, if the storms are for the late afternoon, we will see them go off earlier in the morning than originally scheduled.

The Favorites

World No.1 Dustin Johnson was the original favorite this week, but the odds board has shifted since he announced his withdrawal on Monday afternoon. Bryson Dechambeau (+800) and Jon Rahm (+800) are now co-favorites for this event. Jordan Spieth (+1000), Daniel Berger (+1600), and Scottie Scheffler (+1800) follow them up on the board.

Spieth is a Texas native with a win in the Lone Star State already this season, but the University of Texas alumnus actually more worthy of a bet is Scottie Scheffler. Scheffler was close to his first Tour win earlier this year in Texas, when he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel at the WGC Dell-Technologies Match Play. 

Please Note:
This week has loads of big names in the field, but it could be the perfect place for a first-time winner (the past two winners were first-timers in Sung Kang and Aaron Wise) and Scheffler is certainly due at this point of his career. Scheffler has played this course before, albeit being 15 years ago in a youth event when he was just 9 years old. But maybe that is the mojo he needs to get it done this week.

Behind Scheffler on the odds board is Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (+2000). However, it is the Masters runner-up we will be taking a look at this week in Will Zalatoris (+2500). Zalatoris is coming off his first missed cut in 14 events, which might actually produce the perfect chance to buy low on him. He moved to Plano, Texas before his 10th birthday and has been coming to the Byron Nelson event ever since. Zalatoris has displayed the iron play and short game to win at a course like this, and like Scheffler he could be the perfect candidate to become a first-time winner this week.

MyBookie Pick:
Scottie Scheffler
Will Zalatoris

Best Value Plays

The middle tier features prominent golfers like Marc Leishman (+2800) and Sam Burns (+2800), but the first golfer worth a bet is Ryan Palmer (+4000). Palmer has the ability to go low and displayed some hot putting earlier this season that, if repeated again, could earn himself a win this weekend. Over the last 50 rounds on the PGA Tour, Palmer ranks ninth in birdie or better percentage, which displays his ability to light up the leaderboard in short spurts.

The next golfer in this range worth a wager is the veteran out of Georgia Tech in Matt Kuchar (+6000).

Kuchar has not been very consistent over the past year, but he has three top-20 finishes in his last four starts. He finished 12th at the Valero and third at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, so he has posted some great finishes in Texas thus far this season. The return of his approach and short games make him a great play to return to victory this week at 60-1.

MyBookie Pick:
Ryan Palmer
Matt Kuchar

The Longshots

This event has never hosted a PGA Tour event, which is precisely the type of course that oftren produces longshots who shock the golfing world. Everyone is on the same playing field and that opens the door for some smart longshot bets, starting with Talor Gooch (+8000).

The Oklahoma native would love to steal an event from the large number of Texas natives in the field, but his style of play really makes him worth a look. Gooch has been known for his iron play in his time on the Tour, but over the past month he is putting better than he has in his entire career.  He has played this course before on the Korn Ferry Tour. Add in the fact that he has made seven of his last eight cuts, and Gooch appears to havethe form to win this week.

The second outright longshot worth a bet is Sebastian Munoz (+11000), who certainly has the birdie-making ability to reach 20-under this week. The North Texas graduate typically matches all of his birdies with a fair amount of bogeys, but at 110-1 he is easily worth a bet to limit the bogeys and win the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson.

MyBookie Pick:
Talor Gooch
Sebastian Munoz

Top-10 Play of the Week

The best play to finish inside the top 10 this week is Carlos Ortiz (+7000).

Ortiz has been known for struggling with his driver and approach games at times, but no one can doubt that he is one of the best putters on the entire Tour. He has one win on the PGA Tour, but with this semi-loaded field, the best bet is to look at him to finish top 10 at 5-1. Ortiz finished T-12 at this event in 2019. It was then played at a different course, but the layouts are similar enough to make this a great bet.

Bovada Pick:
Carlos Ortiz Top-Ten Finish

Matchup Play of the Week

The Matchup Play of the Week is Matthew Fitzpatrick (-140) over Brooks Koepka. Fitzpatrick has been knocking on the door for his first PGA Tour win for quite some time now, but he plays his best golf in tougher conditions, which is why he should be avoided for an outright bet this week. His recent form is too solid to ignore and he is very consistent.

Consistency is something that Brooks Koepka has struggled with and this mostly appears to be because of his lack of real rounds on the PGA Tour due to injuries.

He claims to be healthy, but with the PGA Championship on deck next week, he mainly will be working on ironing out his weaknesses more than actually aggressively pursuing the Byron Nelson trophy. Fitzpatrick is more hungry for a win and that should lead to a higher finish this week.

MyBookie Pick:
Matthew Fitzpatrick Over Brooks Koepka

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie and Bovada.

Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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