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Oct 06, 2021

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Picks and Predictions

Oct. 7, 2021

Golf Expert

Now that two events from the new PGA Tour season are officially in the books, we will start to see more big names pop up in a few fields before the holiday break in the winter. That's the case this week, as the Tour spends the next two weeks in Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the CJ Cup.

Spending time in Vegas as one of the selling points for these events is never going to hurt the field quality, and next week's CJ Cup as a limited field, no-cut event will have plenty of the world's best names involved. But with last year's FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup in the rear view mirror by a couple weeks now, it's time to get back to work for many of these guys.

Golf Betting Resources
2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

TPC Summerlin is really not a whole lot different than your typical PGA track that you know guys are going to go low on, emphasizing those shots into the green (approach) and what's done with the putter afterwards. It's an event that has seen a wide variety of winners in terms of overall skill set, but you'd better have a hot week with either the irons or the putter to get to that -20 or higher level that's usually needed to win here.

Last year's champion – Martin Laird – finished fourth best in SG: Approach for the week of guys who made the cut, and the three names ahead of him, and four names behind him in that category all finished in the Top 20, with five of them finishing in the Top 10, including the two guys Laird beat in the playoff – Austin Cook, Matthew Wolff.

2020 champion Kevin Na absolutely dominated the greens that week finishing with a +3.54 SG: Putting number for the week, more than a full stroke better than the next guy. Bryson DeChambeau (2019) was the Shriners champion before that, and he was third best in SG: Approach during his winning week. Cantlay won in 2018 in rough conditions (-9 was the winning score ) where he did break the trend a bit by not having a great week with the irons or putter, but Rod Pampling did in normal conditions back in 2017 when he won the the strength of finishing second in SG: Approach.

Birdies and even eagles could come in bunches this week as guys take advantage of stretches of holes on this course where they can really build momentum, so the task of trying to blend the approach and putting game's is the goal with the selections once again this week.

Cameron Tringale is considered a top dark horse for this weekend's event, with odds to win around 35/1. (AP)

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Betting Odds

After not having any members of the US Ryder Cup team in action last week, we've got three playing in Vegas this week, with Brooks Koepka (+1600) coming in as the full field favorite. Scottie Scheffler (+2200) and Harris English (+2500) are the other two US Ryder Cup members in the field, while Team Europe also has two names among the favorites with Viktor Hovland (+2000) and Paul Casey (+2500) in the field as well.

Sprinkled in among those Ryder Cup names are the likes of Louis Oosthuizen (+1800), Webb Simpson (+1800), Abraham Ancer (+1800), Will Zalatoris (+2200), last week's winner Sam Burns (+2500), Hideki Matsuyama (+2800), and Sung-Jae Im (+2800).

That entire group of names speaks to how much deeper this week's field is than what we've seen in the first two events of the year, but more importantly, many of those favored names were great in the SG: Approach category last year. Casey was second for the season, Zalatoris 7th, Hovland 15th, Matsuyama 17th, Ancer 23rd, Koepka 25th, Oosthuizen 29th, Burns 30th, and Simpson 38th to round out those in the Top 40 of SG: Approach last year.

And if you shift over the stats to SG: Putting from a year ago, you've got Oosthuizen 1st, Burns 9th, English 12th, Simpson 22nd, and Ancer 29th, so the idea of trying to marry approach and putting statistics has been done to a degree with these prices on guys all at the top.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Contenders

  • Brooks Koepka +2000
  • Viktor Hovland +2000
  • Scottie Scheffler +2300
  • Abraham Ancer +2300
  • Sam Burns +2500
  • Will Zalatoris +2800
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Golfers to Watch - Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Top Picks and Predictions

Contender to Back
Scottie Scheffler +2200

Scheffler doesn't have the greatest numbers in the approach game or on the greens, but this tournament has a knack for producing first-time winners or guys that haven't won in a long time. Cantlay's win here was his first on the PGA Tour, and Pampling's win at the Shriners the year before was his first in a decade on Tour.

I'm hoping for the former for Scheffler this week, as he's been on the cusp of breaking through for months now, and maybe a post-Ryder Cup victory is that extra boost Scheffler's needed to get over the hump.

Off-the-tee work is where Scheffler gains most of his advantages over fields, and with SG: Scrambling stats being his second best individual category from last year, he's not a name that seems like the best fit this week. But he ranked seventh on Tour in birdie average last year – third best in this field behind Sam Burns and Viktor Hovland – so going low on a track where everyone is expected to shouldn't be a problem for Scheffler.

In fact, Scheffler probably learned a nice lesson here last year on just how low you've got to go here, as he was one of the names who ended up missing the cut after shooting -6 through the first two rounds. A cut line of -6 is really absurd, but if that's how it's likely to be, I've got no problem with a guy who knows how to make birdies even if he's not got the purest statistical profile for this course.

But it's what Scheffler likely soaked in during that dominant US Ryder Cup win from both his own play and being in that team room with all the other great American players that I don't think can be accounted for in the line, and i's likely something that helps catapult Scheffler to his first PGA Tour win at some point this season.

This may not be the best course fit for that to happen, but he's one of the bigger fish in a relatively small pond in regards to the field this week, and if he can get his approach game and putting just a little sharper, the sky is the limit for him.

He finished last year gaining strokes in the approach in each of his last four starts (twice it was +1.00 or better over the field), and how he goes with the putter is where the best results come. Scheffler's only really had two poor putting week's since last year's PGA Championship (-1.47 SG: Putting at Charles Schwab, -1.22 SG: Putting at Tour Championship), and his best weeks with the flatstick show that improvement is coming.

It's the SG: Total where Scheffler routinely dominates the numbers in his starts though, and without a herd of top names to get by in front of him this week, I do believe that advantage will be magnified this week.

Mid-Range Value
Cameron Tringale +3500

A lackluster Sunday last week had Tringale staring up at a leaderboard and watching numerous names pass him by. A tough finish to a great week like he had (T11) is always a little tough to bounce back from, but he was T19 here a year ago, and TPC Summerlin really is a course that profiles well for Tringale.

He finished last year ranked 29th on Tour in SG: Approach, and 16 th in SG: Putting, the two things that are correlated to success here. His weak point off-the-tee shouldn't be a huge negative this week with it being a shorter course and his past success here, and there is plenty to like about his current form and ability to go low after what he did for three rounds last week. His game is one that has some signs of showing significant improvement this year in terms of the consistency of his quality resultss.

Four Top 30 finishes in his final five starts last season – and he's got to take full advantage of fields and courses like this that suit his game rather well so that he can build up a reserve of FedEx Cup points to aim to make it one step further in this year's playoffs than he did last year – the Tour Championship.

Liked everything I saw from him last week, and even though I'm sure there is a bit of recency bias potentially encouraging this play to the card, it's a comfortable position to have regardless.

Long Shot Pick
Ian Poulter +6000

Losing the Ryder Cup could not have felt good at all to Poulter with his history at the event, but with the pressure and intensity of that event now done with, I think Poulter's putter holds up much better this week. He was third on Tour in SG: Putting a season ago and needed all of it with his long game going through some hiccups.

Furthermore, I'm not always a fan of taking guys in their 40's to win a golf tournament, but it does happen (probably more than I think), and when length is an issue for a guy like Poulter, it's going to be these short courses that demand accuracy and a good putter where these guys have their best chance at getting another win.

Around and on the greens there are going to be few who are better than Poulter in this field, and if those skill sets hold true this week, at 60-1 I'll live with whatever inconsistencies come from his approach game. That was the method of victory for Kevin Na here a couple of years ago, and Poulter could end up following suit.

72 Hole Matchup to Take
Koepka +100 over Ancer

Probably should have had a piece of Sam Burns in the outright market as well last week, as he won his head-to-head matchup with Conners obviously, but I'm now 2-for-2 in having a name from these matchup plays finish second or better this year. A few weeks ago it was fading eventual runner-up Maverick McNealy in his head-to-head matchup that clearly didn't work out well, so maybe adding a small piece to both of these names on the outright market wouldn't be a bad idea. At least a Top 10/20 finish right?

But like last week, this is another play where I'm not too keen on taking the tournament favorite – Koepka – in the outright market, but have no problem taking him in a 72-hole matchup against almost anyone. Statistically he doesn't completely match up with Ancer, as the Mexican national put up great SG: Approach and SG: Putting numbers last season.

But considering that when I see an Ancer/Hovland 72-hole matchup priced at -110 each way, and Ancer/Simpson priced at -105/-115, I don't agree with the idea that the tournament favorite (Koepka) should be the one getting the worst price of the bunch vs Ancer.

An effort to understand why that is (outside of action moving the number) would have to be related to those SG: approach and putting numbers from last year, as Ancer's 29th rank in SG: Putting is where the big gap is – Koepka was 66th – as the two were separated by just two spots (23rd to 25th) in SG; Approach.

Guys still have to give themselves as many good birdie looks as they can, and if it turns out Koepka misses a few too many putts this week and loses this matchup then it is what it is. But giving me plus-money on the overall tournament favorite against a guy who's got basically identical approach numbers is philosophically something I can't turn down taking.

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2021 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.

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