Zurich Classic Picks and Predictions

After the hectic finish to last week's RBC Heritage in which Matt Fitzpatrick prevailed over defending champ Jordan Spieth in a nail-biter of a playoff, we head down to Avondale and TPC Louisiana, which hosts the team event Zurich Classic.

Before we really dive into this week, we should break down how this event works. The field is 160 players split up into 80 teams of two, and it's technically the biggest field the PGA has seen all year. Teams will play Best Ball on Thursday and Saturday, while playing Alternate Shot on Friday and Sunday.

Best Ball is where both plays play the hole as normal, both playing their own ball. At the end of the hole, the player who records the lower score of the team will use that score on their scorecard. For Alternate Shot, a team will have a designated player to tee off on both odd and even holes. After both players tee off on their respective holes, the teammate will hit the second shot, and so on and so forth.

Now, this tournament is not that flashy. Most of the top players are taking this week off, and who could blame them for doing so after two grueling weeks of a major and a designated event back to back as well as numerous designated events in the past couple months.

Thus, the Zurich Classic provides a needed break for both the golfers themselves as well as the lot of us who do our best to handicap this game and try to predict who will win each week. In the case that you're like me and can't help yourself though, come join me as we break down this week's event!

Golf Betting Resources
2023 Zurich Classic

  • Date: Thursday Apr. 20 - Sunday Apr. 23, 2023
  • Venue: TPC at Louisiana
  • Location: Avondale, Louisiana
  • Par-Yardage: 72, 7,400 yards
  • Defending Champion: Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele
  • TV: CBS, Golf Channel

There isn't a whole lot of mystery to TPC Louisiana, as even when it hosted its annual tournament as a single's event prior to 2017, guys still found a way to go really low here.

Winning scores for individuals weren't in -20's often like they've been every year in the team format, but it's a course where a lot of guys will be playing fairway-to-green for most of the round.

Green speeds can run quicker at TPC Louisiana, and with more than 100 bunkers scattered around the property, guys better deal with sand on their misses. It's an authentic Pete Dye design in that regard, and it's joined in that aspect by many water hazards and tough Par 3s.

Two opportunities at shots for each team is going to minimize any teeth TPC Louisiana really has a chance to show this week, but at 7,400 yards, it's still a track that's going to give guys with length a bit of an upper hand. Drive for show and putt for dough really is a phrase that works for this event.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Betting Odds

Like we noted above, the top dogs really aren't here this week, and that's why the defending champions, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (+300), come in very highly regarded. They have played together on Ryder Cup and President's Cup teams, they won here last year, and they have both been in solid form recently. There's really not a whole lot to nitpick here.

After the favorites, we come to a new pairing this season: Collin Morikawa and Max Homa. The two are stars in their own right, but at +700, are still pretty costly to trust as a first time pairing. Both are very solid ball-strikers though, and shouldn't be counted out at all in this tournament.

We have two groups in similar brackets up next, and both are new pairings for this event as well. The first team is Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell (+1300), and they figure to be a very solid team at a good price point. After them comes the team of Tom Kim and Si Woo Kim at +1500 odds, and if you're wondering if these two have played together before, they have: they defeated Schauffele and Cantlay at last year's President's Cup, 1 up.

Rounding out the top 5 odds is the team of Sam Burns and Billy Horschel, and this team is no stranger to this event, logging a T2 and T4 finish the last two times they played together here. Horschel has also won this event twice, with different partners, and his fiery style meshes with Burns' quiet, calm demeanor very well. Look for them to contend once again.

Zurich Classic Contenders

  • Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay +300
  • Collin Morikawa/Max Homa +700
  • Sungjae Im/Keith Mitchell +1300
  • Tom Kim/Si Woo Kim +1500
  • Sam Burns/Billy Horschel +1800
  • Sahith Theegala/Justin Suh +2200
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Top Picks and Predictions

Zurich Classic - Contender to Back
Sungjae Im/Keith Mitchell +1300

This may be a new grouping, but I'm not afraid to take a swing here. Im is playing some of the best golf of his career -- He doesn't have a finish worse than T21 in any of his last five starts -- and Mitchell isn't playing too shabby either, with a T5 at the Genesis Invitational elevating him to 44th in the world and apparently onto Sungjae's radar.

Mitchell previously reached out to Im after playing a round with him at the 2019 Honda Classic, but Im declined as he was already partnered up with another player. However, with Mitchell's rising star, Im took the initiative this year, leaving a prom-style invite in Mitchell's locker as his way of asking Mitchell to be his teammate.

Looking at the stats, it makes sense. Both players currently rank in the top 11 from this field in Birdies or Better Gained, a skill desperately needed ona relatively simple course such as TPC Louisiana. Both hit it well off the tee, and both are solid putters. If you want to play a single bullet but don't want to spend up on either of the two triple-digit favorites, this grouping makes a lot of sense as an alternative.

Sungjae Im takes on the Zurich Classic with a new partner (Getty)

Zurich Classic - Mid-Range Value
JJ Spaun/Hayden Buckley +3300

I was a little surprised to see Spaun and Buckley sit this low on the board. Both are playing relatively decent golf. Spaun is coming off of a solid weekend at the WGC Match Play event where he made it out of the group stages, and Buckley just finished in a tie for fifth at last week's RBC Heritage, both in absolutely loaded fields against the best players in the world.

It makes sense to some degree. Spaun did not play this event last season, and Buckley missed the cut while playing with Alex Smalley. Even so though, both players enter this week carrying some pretty solid form, and I'm especially intrigued when it comes to the Par 3s with them. They both rank in the top 30 of Strokes Gained on Par 3s, and if they can get hot there, should be able to contend this week.

Zurich Classic - Long Shot Pick
David Lipsky/Aaron Rai +7000

The team of Lipsky and Rai is a very intriguing one to me. Rai is coming off a solid week where he took the opening day lead with a 63 at the RBC Heritage, and you can compare this Louisiana course a little bit to Harbour Town by way of some of the design characteristics. Lipsky is having an up-and-down season but seems to like this course, as he and Rai finished T4 here last season.

Lipsky ranks 8th in Opportunities Gained, which will be a big boon on this course where as noted above, you really have to create scoring chances if you're to keep up with the high-powered teams in the Best Ball format. For Alternate Shot, Rai's iron skill will undoubtedly come in handy as he has one of the best mid-iron games on the Tour.

This team likely won't win, as there are too many talented players in front of them, but they have great placement odds, and I would recommend a Top 10 placement at +400.

Zurich Classic - Placement Bet to Take
Sahith Theegala/Justin Suh Top 10 +187

This grouping could be special, to be honest. You're mixing a very talented young golfer in Theegala who has been on an absolute tear recently, finishing T5 last week and inside the top 20 the week prior at Augusta National, with a solid ball-striker in Suh who has gained strokes tee-to-green in each of his last eight starts, along with being one of the best putters in this field, something that Theegala sometimes struggles with and will surely be a massive help this week.

This duo has played together before, back in 2018 in the collegiate Palmer Cup before either turned pro, but nothing since. Suh finished T11 here with Doug Ghim a couple years back, but Theegala missed the cut last season and will undoubtedly be looking to build off of that. He is playing the best golf of his career right now and you know he is determined to go out and get that first Tour victory.

Sahith Theegala looks to improve on his missed cut here from 2022 (Getty)

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.

2023 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.