It’s a fight or flight week for PGA TOUR betting and DFS, as we venture into the enigma of Team Stroke Play at the 2022 Zurich Classic with some help from various online sportsbooks including DraftKings.
There are some who view sports betting as an investment to grind weekly research, beat the books, and turn a profit; those people are likely not a fan of this event and will skip along to the Mexico Open next week. I, however, am someone who likes to bet on sports and play DFS for entertainment purposes that will hopefully also result in me winning money, so I welcome the idea of a quirky change of pace event.
Even if you don’t care about this event whatsoever, it’s not a bad idea to hoist a bunch of 100-1 longshots bombs, given the random nature of the format. Last year, Peter Uihlein and Richy Werenski finished one stroke outside of the playoff.
Uihlein was playing on a sponsor’s exemption from the Korn Ferry Tour, and Werenski entered with four consecutive missed cuts leading into the Zurich Classic. In its short history, Jonas Blixt and Scott Piercy have claimed victory, which goes to show that really anything can happen here if a team can ride a hot streak.
2022 ZURICH CLASSIC PICKS | DFS VALUE PLAYS & BETTING LONGSHOTS FOR TPC LOUISIANA
The 2021 Zurich Classic ended up being a showdown between the Aussies and South Africans, as Team Leishman & Smith ultimately prevailed over Team Oosthuizen & Schwartzel in a playoff. In the Team Stroke Play format, which alternates between Four Ball (Best Ball) and Foursomes (Alternate Shot), there’s a lot to be said about camaraderie and comfort with your teammate.
Of course, it also helps that both members of the team are trending well heading into the tournament, but there will be plenty of instances where a player needs to hit a clutch birdie or par save to pick up his partner to build momentum in both formats, which is a competitive wrinkle unique to team golf.
Unfortunately in an 80-team field where only the top 33-and-ties make it through the cut, it’s not easy to identify true vale players in the $7K and $6K pricing ranges on DraftKings who check all the boxes of Recent Form, Team Stroke Play Experience, and Course History/Fit.
As I look down the DFS board this week, there’s a notable talent disparity between the top and bottom halves, so I don’t see myself jumping to play anyone in the $6Ks. If I do, it would be to consider a pure $6,000 punt play if it allows me to afford another elite group at the top of the board, assuming that a top-33 cut means a low 6/6 percentage anyway.
From a betting perspective, there’s much more value in longshot bombs this week, with top groups like Hovland/Morikawa and Cantlay/Schauffele eating up all the win equity from the sportsbooks. So with that in mind, here’s a look at my favorite value leverage plays for the 2022 Zurich Classic.
*Betting odds & DFS pricing from DraftKings are subject to change after writing. Stats pulled across the last 36 rounds unless otherwise noted.
Sahith Theegala & Beau Hossler (+10000, $7,500)
This group reminds me of a younger, American version of the 2021 Zurich Classic champions. Both are negligible off-the-tee, can spike with their irons, and are amongst the most crafty in this field when it comes to short game.
Sahith Theegala’s coming-out party came at the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, one of the better comps to TPC Louisiana, where he finished 3rd. He then followed that up with another solid T7 finish at the Valspar Championship and has since rattled off a streak of four consecutive cuts made, proving the theatrics in Scottsdale were no fluke.
Like Theegala, Hossler also has a pair of recent T10 finishes this season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Valero Texas Open. He was an escape artist at both events, scrambling from impossible positions to save pars. That is exactly what you want to be able to deliver as a partner in this format.
I’m looking at the simple stats of SG: TOT (15th) and Birdies or Better Gained (6th) to profile for success in both the Four Ball and Foursomes formats this week, and this group has snuck their way into the 7th overall spot in this field when combining those two stats. I love the outright potential of this group at long odds, and think they have the aggressive birdie-making ability to go low in Four Ball and contend in this format.
Russell Knox & Brian Stuard (+9000, $7,500)
Going purely off the basic stats of SG: TOT (11th) and Birdies or Better Gained (40th), I have Team Knox & Stuard rated as the 20th overall team in this field, which presents great upside to at least make it through the cut at this price.
Stuard picked up the only win of his PGA TOUR career at the 2016 Zurich Classic in its last year as a traditional individual stroke play event, so we know he has some fond memories and positive vibes walking around this course.
Russell Knox, on the other hand, has been rock solid in 2022 with eight T40 finishes already this season. His best result of the year came on another TPC Pete Dye course, when he finished T6 at The PLAYERS, so we know he has the ability to thrive in similar conditions.
Both players share a similar game of accuracy off the tee and precision on approach at the expensive of distance and short game. That’s not a perfect recipe for TPC Louisiana at 7,400 yards, and may cap their ability to post a number low enough to win, but as a value consideration, I like Team Knox & Stuard to hand around for the weekend and push for a T20 bid.
Tom Hoge & Paul Barjon (+15000, $7,000)
There is nothing calling my name below $7,000 on DraftKings this week, but I see enough signs of hope to back the Hoge-Barjon duo at this price. Any reason for optimism in this group lies solely on the shoulders of Tom Hoge.
He ranks 5th overall in SG: TOT and 16th in Birdie or Better Gained, which makes him the 8th best player in this field by those two standards alone, a steal at $7,000. Hoge was also able to achieve a T10 at this event in 2018 when partnered with JJ Henry, so we know he has the ability to thrive in this format without much help on his side.
Of course, with Hoge, you are also paying for Barjon as a package deal in a format that will quickly expose your team’s weakest link in Foursomes. But Barjon hasn’t been that bad of late to justify a full fade of this group.
Barjon’s best result of 2022 came on another Pete Dye Course which favored driving distance and mitigated the need for driving accuracy when he finished T10 at The AmEx.
Barjon is a bomber, ranking 23rd in this field in Driving Distance. He’s a reliable ball-striker, having gained in SG: BS in six of his first eight events of 2022, he’s just struggled to find consistency with his short game. I like the prospects of pairing up Tom Hoge with a longer hitter in this format and think this group has the most upside of any other priced around them.
Sportsbooks For 2022 Zurich Classic Betting