Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: We're betting on one of golf's next stars
In three of the past four weeks, the eventual winner of each fall swing event has been one of the top favorites, with Hideki Matsuyama (Zozo), Rory McIlroy (CJ Cup) and Sam Burns (Sanderson Farms) all with odds of 16-1 or shorter. Man, this golf betting thing is easy, huh?
It most certainly is not, but those of you who have rolled with one (or multiple) of the above trio must be feeling like it’s been a cool autumn breeze of late. History says that won’t last, particularly at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, where a pair of deep longshots have won in the only two installments of this tournament in 2019 and 2020.
Does that mean we’re automatically due for another? Of course not. Just because the roulette wheel landed on red or black five times in a row, it doesn't affect the odds for the next turn. In fact, our experts are actually leaning pretty hard with another one of the favorites in former Korn Ferry standout Mito Pereira. Don't worry, we like some deeper odds plays, too.
Read on to see who we like this week at the 2021 Bermuda Championship.
Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Seamus Power (30-1, Caesar’s Sportsbook) — This is a guy who won’t kill you with distance, but he’s a damn good competitor. I was in one of the final groups at the Barbasol and saw his grittiness upclose. He’s rightfully one of the favorites in this field—he’s on the verge of stardom.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Patrick Reed (20-1, DraftKings) — Look, I know he’s in awful form, but it's Patrick Reed over 20-1 in what’s really a second-rate Korn Ferry Tour event. If we’re not on this, what are we doing?
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Chad Ramey (31-1, FanDuel) — Ramey’s PGA Tour sample size is still pretty small, but he has gained strokes on approach in all three of his recent starts and ended the Korn Ferry Tour season with four consecutive top-18 results. He ranked 13th on the Korn Ferry Tour in ball-striking, too, so we can probably believe in the irons.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Mito Pereira (22-1, Caesar’s Sportsbook) — Pereira is proving to be an accomplished winner, entering the winner’s circle four times in his last 42 starts (all on the Korn Ferry Tour). Since earning his PGA Tour card last season, Pereira has been one of the better ball-strikers on tour and now he will face a field that will offer little resistance towards the top of the leaderboard. This is one of the most likely spots for Pereira to earn his first win on this circuit.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Mito Pereira (22-1, Caesar’s Sportsbook) — Once again like last week, there are a couple big favorites, then a heavy drop-off. You basically have to choose: Load up your card with one of the heavy favorites, or sprinkle on the longshots. Brian Gay (200-1) and Brendon Todd (100-1) are past winners here, so odds are, it’ll be a longshot—but I just can’t quit Mito. As my guy @PGATout shared on Twitter, Mito is No. 1 in so many important metrics this week: Good Drives Gained; SG/approach; SG/total … there are six other categories where he’s No. 1 over the past 24 rounds. We might be discussing one of golf's next stars. And I will not miss out on the Mito coronation.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Patrick Rodgers (45-1, DraftKings) — You wanna get nuts, let’s get nuts. My fixation on P-Rodge is well-documented, but it seems others in the gambling community are coming around, too. Probably because he’s been very solid since popping at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, where he ultimately finished 31st. But since then he’s picked up a pair of top-six finishes and gained at least 3.3 strokes tee to green in five of his last eight starts. Helping his case is his record on comp courses like El Camaleon (Mayakoba), Sea Island (RSM), Corales and Pebble.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Adam Hadwin (35-1, DraftKings) — Hadwin comes into this event ranked seventh for SG/total over the past seven months. His razor sharp short game and putting ability on Bermuda greens means he ranks 14th in the FanShare Sports’ course-suitability ranking.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. We’re already off to a hot start in the new season, too, with Rick Gehman hitting Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship and Stephen Hennessey hitting Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "Be Right," (above) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "Be Right" wherever you get your podcasts!
Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Mark Hubbard (70-1, PointsBet) — Mark Hubbard is incredibly accurate and can get hot with his irons. This is a good top-20 bet in a field of this quality.
Mayo: Brian Stuard (90-1, DraftKings) — No, Stumanji hasn’t been good at this event the past two years. However, he shares the common traits with the two victors (Brian Gay and Brendon Todd): Fairways, wedges and Bermudagrass putting.
Gdula: Alex Smalley (65-1, FanDuel) — Smalley ended the KFT season with two top-15 finishes and then finished 47th at the Shriners and 31st at the Sanderson Farms after a MC in Napa. Smalley ranks 12th over the past six months in datagolf’s true strokes-gained metric.
Gehman: Brian Stuard (90-1, DraftKings) — There’s only a handful of courses where you feel comfortable firing up Stuard, and Port Royal is one of the best for his game. This course doesn’t require distance off the tee and rewards accuracy instead. Stuard has hit over 75 percent of fairways over his past 50 rounds, the second-best rate of anyone on tour, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Graeme McDowell (80-1, PointsBet) — There are good cases to be made for so many players in this range (and beyond). I will buy into the Mayakoba narrative, being that Todd and Gay each won in Mexico previously before Bermuda. Gay also won in Harbour Town, making that a good comp, too. McDowell has won at each of those venues, so I think there’s a scenario where the Northern Irishman is very live to win here. If you bet this like I already did, you are rooting for the gusts to be strong all week at Port Royal. If they are, the 2010 U.S. Open champ is in play.
Powers, Golf Digest: Camilo Villegas (100-1, DraftKings) — During Villegas’ renaissance of sorts over the last year, his best weeks have all come on Bermudagrass greens, including an eighth-place finish at the Honda and an 11th at Valspar. He also finished sixth almost exactly a year ago at the RSM Classic, which is held at Sea Island, a similar seaside comp course to Port Royal, which also has Bermudagrass greens. Follow the signs, folks.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Denny McCarthy (50-1, DraftKings) — McCarthy is not only the best putter in the field on Bermuda greens, he also ranks eighth in the FanShare Sports’ course-suitability ranking this week. He’s trending up, too—ranking 20th in SG/total in this field over the past two months.
Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Matthias Schwab (33-1, BetMGM) — I’ve seen the European Tour results, but when he’s teed it up on the PGA Tour, he hasn’t done anything. So why are these odds so short?
Mayo: Taylor Pendrith (35-1, DraftKings) — We just haven’t seen the bomb-and-gauge tactics prove fruitful here in the past. Maybe the Canadian can make enough putts to cover up his wayward irons, but that’s far too big of a maybe.
Gdula: Matt Fitzpatrick (10-1, FanDuel) — My win simulation model understandably has Fitzpatrick as the most likely winner, but the odds aren’t quite close to the 10-1 asking price to bet Fitzpatrick. He’s a great course fit, but the accuracy-friendly course injects a lot of variance into this type of event, so it’s not a week for me to want to go after a favorite.
Gehman: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (12-1, DraftKings) — The South African has been impressive, notching a fifth-place finish at the BMW PGA and a third-place finish at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in his last two starts, but I worry about his price and skill set. Bezuidenhout has never been described as an accurate driver of the ball, which can get you in trouble at Port Royal. Additionally, we are being asked to pay a staggering price for Bezuidenhout at 12-1. To date, his shortest odds in a PGA Tour event have been 66-1 at the 2021 RBC Heritage and he was 33-1 at the Olympics. If he wins at this price, I’m happy to tip my cap to him.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (12-1, DraftKings) — I would be so happy if Bez earned his first PGA Tour victory this week—his story is phenomenal. But I will not be betting on Bez at anything north of 25-1 until he shows he can lift a trophy on the PGA Tour.
Powers, Golf Digest: Matt Fitzpatrick (10-1, FanDuel) — Everything about this week points to a maiden PGA Tour win for Fitzy, I just can’t bet it at 10-1.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Mito Pereira (22-1, Caesar’s Sportsbook) — It might only be a small sample, but Pereira ranks just 83rd in FanShare Sports’ course-suitability ranking this week. One of the main reasons for this is his poor putting record on Bermuda greens. Statistically he loses 0.8 shots to the field when putting on Bermuda.
Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Chad Ramey (+100) over Matthias Schwab (Bet365) — Like I said, I’d wait to see Schwab do something on the PGA Tour before betting him. Now given the chance, I’d love to bet against him—and Ramey provides a ton of consistency over his past couple months on the Korn Ferry Tour and he’s impressed so far with the big boys.
Mayo: Adam Hadwin (-120) over Taylor Pendrith (DraftKings) — One Canadian over another. Hadwin’s fairways and putting strategy trumps Pendirth’s bomb and gauge this week.
Gdula: Ryan Armour (-102) over Scott Stallings (FanDuel) — Armour and Stallings are virtually identical in my long-term adjusted strokes-gained data, but Armour fits better from an accuracy and putting standpoint. He’s also been good here (T-8 both years), better than Stallings (T-26 and T-18).
Gehman: Mito Pereira (+115) over Matt Fitzpatrick (DraftKings) — Pereira shouldn’t be a dog to any golfer in this field! That’s an exaggeration but he’s got the metrics, the recent form, the ball flight and everything you could want from a golfer playing in Bermuda. Fitzpatrick is coming off a win, making the trip back from Spain and will need to quickly adjust to a different style of play.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mito Pereira (-108) over Patrick Reed (FanDuel) — What do the books know that we don’t? Cover up the names of these two players and just look at the stats on Fantasy National over the past 24 rounds, and objectively, you might make the line something like -160 or -170. I truly hope that Reed has recovered from his illness and gets back to playing better golf, but the short-term metrics are really bad for him, whereas Pereira has been one of the best players in this field.
Powers, Golf Digest: Patrick Rodgers (-110) over Stephan Jaeger (DraftKings) — Obviously, I like Rodgers to contend to win, so at the very least I can expect him to beat a guy in Jaeger who has missed three of his last four cuts and struggles both in the wind and on Bermuda greens.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Patrick Reed (-118) over Mito Pereira (FanDuel) — As you can see above, I think Pereira struggles this week. Reed on the other hand ranks 13th in the FanShare Sports course-suitability ranking and is the top player based on world rankings and SG/total over the past two years.
Matchup Results from the Zozo Championship: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Higgs (+105) over Fowler); Mayo: 1 for 1 (Morikawa (+105) over Schauffele); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Matsuyama (-120) over Fleetwood); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Hughes (-110) over Palmer); Powers: 1 for 1 (Kirk (+100) over Grillo) Gdula, Alldrick: 0 for 1.
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 5-0-0 (up 4.57 units); Caddie: 3-2-0 (up 0.96 units); Powers: 3-2-0 (up 0.91 units); Gehman: 2-3-0 (down 1.26 units); Gdula: 1-4-0 (down 3.07 units); Hennessey: 1-4-0 (down 3.09 units); Alldrick: 0-4-1 (down 4 units)
Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: Top 10s
Caddie: Sahith Theegala (+490, FanDuel) — His game will be a fixture on tour for a long time: He’s deadly with the driver and has some laser-like irons. We know from watching Collin Morikawa mature that the short game can come later.
Mayo: Camilo Villegas (+800, DraftKings) — I worry about Villegas’ ability to hit enough fairways but a short, windy track on Bermuda greens is exactly the type of event he can contend in.
Gdula: Hank Lebioda (+450, FanDuel) — Though Lebioda keeps missing cuts, the data is pretty strong, and this field is a lot weaker than, well, most fields on the PGA Tour. Lebioda ranks ninth among this field in long-term strokes-gained average (weighted for recency and field strength), according to my stats database. I liked him as a longshot, but he’s moved from 65-1 to 41-1 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Gehman: Russell Knox (+550, DraftKings) — Port Royal is only 6,828 yards, one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour. Knox has thrived on short courses in recent years, gaining 1.23 strokes per round on courses that are 7,000 yards or shorter since 2018. Only Scott Stallings has a better average with as many rounds played as Knox.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Patrick Rodgers (+550, FanDuel) — As I said on this week’s podcast, I bet on Patrick Rodgers only a few times a year. This will be one of those weeks. It’s a weak field where he could actually contend and he has great recent form combined with good corollary course history.
Powers, Golf Digest: Kramer Hickok (+800, DraftKings) — Over the past two years, Kramer Hickok has just four finishes of 15th or better on the PGA Tour. Half of them have come in this event.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Nick Hardy (+450, DraftKings) — Hardy has made both cuts in his two first PGA Tour events and ranks eighth in the field this week for SG/total over the past two months and third for Opportunities Gained over the same period, per Fantasy National. More interestingly though, he ranks fourth in the FanShare Sports course-suitability ranking this week.
Top-10 results from the Zozo Championship: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Hideki Matsuyama +170); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Powers: 2 for 5 (up 14 units); Mayo: 1 for 5 (up 10 units); Caddie: 1 for 5 (down 2.3 units); Gdula: 0 for 5 (down 5 units); Gehman: 0 for 5 (down 5 units); Hennessey: 0 for 5 (down 5 units); Alldrick: 0 for 5 (down 5 units)
Bermuda Championship 2021 picks: One and Done
Gehman: Seamus Power — It’s easy to overlook just how good Power has been on the PGA Tour this year. In his last 50 rounds, he gained 1.21 strokes per round, the 12th-best average of anyone on tour. Of those 12 golfers, he’s one of only five golfers to hit at least 62 percent of his fairways, which is going to be a valuable skill set in Bermuda this week.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama.
Hennessey: Seamus Power — Power gained nearly seven strokes on approach last week and ranks 11th in this field over the past 24 rounds in Good Drives Gained, per Fantasy National. He’s a good bet to contend, and odds are, you won’t be tempted to play Power elsewhere this year.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya.
Powers: Patrick Rodgers — Oh yeah, we’re going all in on P-Rodge this week.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann.
By The Numbers
6,828 - The yardage for Port Royal, the longest course on Bermuda, but the second shortest course on the PGA Tour schedule behind Pebble Beach.
$1,170,000 - The winner’s share of the purse this week, a staggering increase from previous years. In the first two years of existence this event paid out $540,000 and $720,000 to the winner.
7 - The number of European Tour wins for Matt Fitzpatrick, including last week. He is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory and is the favorite this week (10-1).
76 percent - The percentage of tournaments (38 out of 50) that Patrick Reed has gained strokes on the field since 2010 on courses that are 7,000 yards or shorter.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.