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Byron Nelson Classic
Trinty Forest Golf Club – Par 71 – 7,380 yards

A week after Webb Simpson torched the Stadium Course at The PLAYERS, en route to a dominating victory, many of the PGA Tour's biggest names are on vacation this week (and probably next week too) as we've got two weeks until “Jack's Tournament” - The Memorial – and that's likely where we will see all the big names resurface again.

This week's stop on the Tour is the Byron Nelson as while it's a tournament steeped in the fabric of golf history in the Dallas, Texas area, this week we get a brand new course for the event and for the Tour.

Trinity Forest is a course that will look a lot like the links style courses we see for the British Open every year as it's a links course with zero trees, zero water, plenty of bunkers, and undulating surfaces the entire way. The fairways are very large and forgiving, while the greens tend to be bowl-shaped and will have plenty of guys frustrated with their shots continually running off the sides because of the slopes. They will be relatively slow greens for these Tour pros which could help, but if the wind kicks up (as it often does in Texas events) this will definitely be a tough test. If the wind is negligible, even with a “weaker” field, these guys shouldn't have a problem lighting this place up.

Jordan Spieth (+500) comes in as the overwhelming favorite here as not only is he the biggest name in the event, but he's also a member of this club. Spieth has gone on record to call this track an “American Links” course in the sense that it resembles many of the qualities links golf gives you, but you still need to attack the pins through the air with “American target golf,” as opposed to bumping and running etc that you see across the pond. Spieth claimed that Royal Birkdale – the site of his Open Championship in 2017 – would be the closest comparison in terms of how you have to attack through the air with your approaches, so keep that in mind as well.

Given that it's a new venue on Tour with zero course history to go by, there is more guesswork this week than most. It is a Par 71 track meaning that Par 4 scoring (and Par 4 birdie or better) stats are probably a good place to start, as is past leaderboards in Texas events this year (Houston Open, Valero) because those winds in Texas can be pretty unique and you'd rather be backing guys that have had some success in the past dealing with that style of golf.

With all that being said, it really is tough to ignore Spieth in this tournament, but at +500 there is simply no value here. Jordan did seemingly put it all together on Saturday at the PLAYERS which was a good sign, but if you like Spieth, it probably doesn't hurt to wait a bit and hopefully find him in a chase position come the weekend. Maybe then you'll be able to get a better price on him. There are some guys with much better odds this week in terms of value, so let's get right to a few of them I'm backing this week:

Odds per -

Golfers to Watch

Marc Leishman (+2500) – If we are going to take Jordan Spieth's comparison to Royal Birkdale at face value (and really how can we not with little information about Trinity Forest), it's hard to ignore Leishman this week at a much better price. Leishman finished T6 at the Open Championship last year, and if it wasn't for a 2nd round 76 on the scoreboard, he would have been pushing Spieth at the top (he shot 69, 66, 65 on the other three days).

Leishman has long been known as a great wind player on Tour and while it was at a different course, he did finish T13 at this event a year ago. He comes into the week ranked 27th in Strokes Gained – Approach, 8th in Strokes Gained – Around the Green, and his two biggest weaknesses are off the tee and putting. Both of those should be negated big time by the extremely wide fairways, lack of rough, and lack of pace on the putting surfaces. Leishman's length doesn't hurt as well, and his T11th on Tour in Par 4 scoring (3.98) is actually 2nd best behind Spieth in the field this week. Add it all up and I expect him to be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday morning.

Charles Howell III (+3300) – Howell is another guy that's solid at Par 4 scoring (T35th this year) and his recent form can't be overlooked. Howell finished T17 at the PLAYERS, but that result is on the heels of T21, T55, T18, and T14 finishes in his last six starts. The T18 came at the Houston Open so finding success in the state of Texas isn't foreign to him this year, and while Howell is known as a guy who's a Top 10 machine that doesn't win – he hasn't won since 2007 - backing him to get over that hump in a less than stellar field isn't a bad option.

Martin Laird (+4000) – Martin Laird ranks T35th in Par 4 scoring like Howell does this year, but Laird has Howell beat in terms of finishes in Texas this year with a T11 at the Valero Texas Open a month ago. He is a guy that can really get it going when his approach game is clicking, and outside of that he's solid in all the statistical categories you want at a track like this. Laird is 21st in Strokes Gained – Putting, 56th in Strokes Gained -Tee-to-Green, 13th in Strokes Gained – Around the Green, and 31st in Strokes Gained overall.

He had a ho-hum week at the PLAYERS last week (T57) as he never had a round worse than 72 but never better than 70, but with 20 birdies and an eagle made there, this guy knows how to go low. Without all the water trouble to deal with this week, Laird could easily watch his name climb up the leaderboard if he continues to make birdies at a solid rate.

Odds to win the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship -
Jordan Spieth 5/1
Matt Kuchar 14/1
Sergio Garcia 14/1
Hideki Matsuyama 18/1
Jimmy Walker 20/1
Billy Horschel 22/1
Adam Scott 22/1
Branden Grace 25/1
Marc Leishman 25/1
Beau Hossler 33/1
Aaron Wise 33/1
Charles Howell III 33/1
Brandt Snedeker 40/1
Martin Laird 40/1
Scott Piercy 50/1
Grayson Murray 50/1
Kevin Na 50/1
Ryan Palmer 50/1
Graeme McDowell 50/1
Peter Uihlein 50/1
Rory Sabbatini 50/1
Russell Knox 66/1
Joaquin Niemann 66/1
Bill Haas 80/1
Harris English 80/1
Satoshi Kodaira 80/1
J.B. Holmes 80/1
Maverick McNealy 80/1
Keith Mitchell 80/1
Sam Saunders 80/1
John Huh 100/1
Johnson Wagner 100/1
Daniel Summerhays 100/1
Seamus Power 100/1
Aaron Baddeley 100/1
James Hahn 100/1
Patrick Rodgers 100/1
Kelly Kraft 100/1
Tom Lovelady 100/1
Andrew Putnam 100/1

Odds Subject to Change

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