PGA Tour Betting Picks: Byron Nelson Classic

PGA Tour Byron Nelson Classic - Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka

After a week at the very difficult Quail Hollow down in Charlotte, NC last week, the Tour makes the in-between stop in Dallas for the Byron Nelson Classic before heading back north to Long Island for the PGA Championship.

Because of this, most of the world’s best will not be in attendance this week.

If you don’t believe me, you have to realize that if it weren’t for “Big Poppa Pump” Brooks Koepka and the youthful Japanese sensation Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth would be the favorite.

The field of golfers is strung rather thin of talent this week, but that’s okay. We have compiled a list of athletes, yes I said athletes, to include in your betting spread this week as there are some rather valuable odds available.

Let’s talk a little about the course and this week’s Texas weather forecast first.

Trinity Forest is a links-style course with fairways wider than a good Al Bundy shoe store joke. The bombers like heavy favorite Brooks Koepka should play very well here.

The weather is looking rather gloomy and wet as the April showers have made their way into the month of May. Wednesday-rain, Friday-maybe, and rain Saturday.

Koepka has been known in the past to save his best for the bigger tournaments as he won two majors last year and as I’ve said, the PGA Championship in New York is just a week away. He does, however, likely want any FedEx Cup points he can get as Tiger Woods is once again threatening the entire field every time he tees it up.

I’m not completely sold on Koepka yet and it’s not because of his overwhelmingly low payout to win compared to the entire rest of the field including Hideki Matsuyama who is nearly a full 10 points behind him on the betting board at (+1650) compared to Brooks at (+650) according to BetOnline.

That is one of the largest gaps between the top two favorites I believe I’ve ever seen!

More on these two later.

It will be difficult to use one of our major prediction parameters to gauge the potential success of each golfer this week as this is only the second year the former Dallas Open and current Byron Nelson Classic will be played at Trinity Forest.

2018 Rookie of the Year, A-A-Ron Wise won here last year so we at least have our eyes on him.

Didn’t get the A-A-Ron joke?

That one never gets old for me.

Back to golf now.

South African Branden Grace, American Keith Mitchell, and the Aussie Marc Leishman are three notable top five finishers from a year ago that will be in the field this time around.

The British Masters is also going on this week with Tommy Fleetwood as the favorite so that’s another reason the talent will be low.

However, I don’t see this as a negative. There will be plenty of mid-range and maybe even long-range golfers with highly valuable odds that can take home the trophy this week.

Couple that fact with some of the world’s best potentially looking ahead to the PGA Championship next week and we could make some really good money with the right choice.

Let’s get to it!

Aaron Wise to Finish Inside the Top Ten: +225

Hey, I love the top twenty finishing bets just as much as anyone. If you’ve read my blogs or picks before then you are well aware of this.

This week, though, with most of the world’s top golfers taking a week to rest before next week’s Major in the Big Apple, Vegas and the sportsbooks would most likely get eaten alive and we know they aren’t having that.

As I mentioned before, Aaron is just in his second year on the PGA Tour being voted top Rookie in 2018.

He’s the defending champ at Trinity Forest and he did so by shooting 23 under par over four rounds of golf and finishing 3 shots ahead runner up Marc Leishman and the rest of the pack.

He is hitting the ball rather well as of late with 3 top 20 finishes in his previous 5 starts including last week’s Wells Fargo Championship and the previous week at The Masters.

Born in South Africa, educated a Duck in Oregon where he won a National Title, and currently living in the great city of Las Vegas, Nevada, Aaron doesn’t fold under pressure.

He was tied with veteran Henrik Stenson after 54 holes at last year’s Nelson Classic when he shot a final round 65 out-dueling the Swede for his first and only PGA Tour victory.

The likelihood of him sipping that spiked Arnold Palmer this Sunday (weather permitting) is, of course, rather thin-(+2200) but he’s the only one in the field who has done it before.

His confidence has to be high playing here as the defending champ plus a 17th place finish and the very best final round in the field at (-5) at Augusta National.

Here’s a matchup bet with fellow American Patrick Reed that I like as well.

Aaron Wise (-110) vs Patrick Reed (-110)

Aaron is top 30 in driving distance averaging over 304 yards with his big clubs and top 20 in shots gained off the tee. Both statistics should play a massive role this week as Nicolas Cage could land a 757 full of convicts on some of these fairways.

Wise, however, has struggled with the flat stick like many of the other favorites this week ranking 145th in shots gained-putting.

Somehow, though, he has managed a birdie average of 4.65 in 2018 which is good enough for 6th on the PGA Tour!

As far as former 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed goes, well, since then we haven’t heard much from him at all.

He has shown to be a better player around the green and an average putter. The Trinity Forest course doesn’t suit him as well as Wise and the chunky monkey from San Antonio hasn’t finished inside the top twenty at a PGA Tour event in going on 3 months.

My Pick
Wise to Outplay Patrick Reed

Scott Piercy to Finish Inside the Top Ten: +500

The Las Vegas-native is now 40 years old but seems to be playing some of the best golf of his career as of late.

He has five top 10 performances in 2019 and recently had a 13th place finish at the Zurich Classic as well as a 3rd at the RBC Heritage event in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago.

This one is kind of a reach at (+500) but he plays very well in the wind which is likely on Friday and Saturday.

He also thrives on links-style courses quite similar to Trinity Forest this week down south of Dallas.

I still can’t even say the name of that city without cringing.

Hail to the Redskins!


Don’t try to get rich here. We just have some decent value here with Scott and we know how well he is playing. He’s also well-rested and shouldn’t be too stressed as he didn’t participate in The Masters or at Quail Hollow last week at the Wells Fargo Championship down in the Queen City.

Marc Leishman to Finish With the Lead After the First Round: +4000

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.

I just gave you a bit of a longshot with Piercy to finish his play after 72 holes inside top ten.

Why waste more money on a 40-1?

Well, Marc is notorious for bursting out of the gate like a Bob Baffert trained horse…

I won’t even go into that right now…

On the first day of a brand new tournament and course on the PGA Tour at this course last year, he opened up play with a 61 on Thursday. Either he got down to Texas a few days early or rather this course just suits him well.

I’ll take the latter because who wants to stay an extra day in Dallas?


He’s also a great wind player like Piercy but even better, really.

Now for a more likely scenario.

Marc Leishman To Finish Inside The Top Ten: +250

The 35-year-old Australian was having a better 2018 at this point in the season last year but he is still ranked 22nd in the world, 15th in earnings, and 13th in the FedEx Cup standings in 2019.

He is a guy who relishes the opportunity to play on a links course and as I mentioned previously in this article, he was tied for the lead going into Sunday here a year ago only to fall a few strokes short to the future Rookie of the Year, A-A-Ron Wise.

He has proven to play well here as well as other courses that are very similar, and he has quietly been having a very solid season with 5 top ten finishes including one victory where he dominated the CIMB Classic down in beautiful Kuala Lumpur last Fall out-golfing the rest of the field by five strokes.

Branden Grace To Finish Inside The Top Ten: +325

Hey, it’s rather windy in South Africa and the few trees there are on the land they used to create this course will be blowing at several knots for at least two days of the tournament.

Grace is a very capable golfer. At the 2017 Open Championship, he became the first golfer to ever shoot a sub-63 round in a Major tournament.

The odds are long and I’m not going to say it’s probably going to happen but at (+325), the value is there considering in the last PGA Tour round played at Trinity Forest, he had the best score at 9 under par.

That’s quite the positive adjustment after going 10 under through the first three rounds combined.


Brooks Koepka To Finish Inside The Top Ten: -120

Okay, so minus money for a top ten bet isn’t something that screams value like that collared shirt at Ross or Marshalls but the 29-year-old from West Palm Beach is, of course, accustomed to playing on coastal courses with potential windy conditions.

Trinity Forest is in Dallas, TX, yes, but it has a links feel to it so I expect Koepka to play well.

I did mention in the introduction that he may pack it in early and not try as hard as he normally would at a Major tournament like the one coming up next week from Long Island.

He did show up for this one, though, so maybe he sees it as an opportunity to rack up some FedEx Cup points with the majority of the world’s best like Tiger Woods, DJ, JT, and Rory who are all resting up and practicing at the Bethpage Black Course in New York.

He is in good form. We have to remember that. He was one stroke away from taking Tiger Woods to a playoff at the Masters…

Fate got ‘em…but it got us all.

Right in the feels.

Sniff sniff…

His low payout for a win at only (+650) is not very inviting nor is it valuable when you have guys like Leishman and Matsuyama with much longer odds.

But just giving ⅕ of a point for easily the best golfer in the field to bomb these wide open fairways and birdie his way to a top ten finish is much more likely and valuable in my eyes.

Hideki Matsuyama To Finish Inside The Top Ten: +135

The young Japanese superstar has been a tee to green savage this year leading the rest of this week’s field by an average of over 3 strokes gained.

Now, if he could just make some putts that would be great, thanks.

He’s had a pretty good year despite 31st and 33rd at the Wells Fargo and Masters. He has two top 20’s, two top 10’s, and 2 top 5’s since late January and hasn’t missed the cut at all.

His statistics and most predictor models have him #1 this week, so I really like him with plus money in the top ten.

In Conclusion

Yes, this is a new course that not many people know about. It should not be very low scoring as the fairways are as wide as, well, my Nicolas Cage joke earlier was good enough I suppose.

With most of the greats healing up nagging injuries and/or dialing in their game for next week’s PGA Championship, it’s wide open in Dallas.

Too bad Tony Romo could never hit an open receiver in the playoffs!

He will, in fact, be in the field this week.

Hey, I’ll be pulling for the guy. He’s a great announcer with better insight than Troy Aikman has ever been able to give us in the decade+ he’s been at the helm.

Tony was also my MVP as he always found a way to screw it up for my hated Cowboys.

Anyways, this tournament should be fun and there is plenty of money to be made.

Tune in, turn up, and bet hard!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.