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Betting Analysis

CJ Cup Byron Nelson picks 2024: It's officially longshots SZN again

April 30, 2024
AVONDALE, LOUISIANA - APRIL 26: Mark Hubbard of the United States reacts after missed putt on the eighth green during the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 26, 2024 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Remember earlier this year when it was nothing but longshot winners on the PGA Tour? Ever since early March, the pendulum has swung back to the top of the odds board, much of that due to the dominance of Scottie Scheffler.

Even last week, though, tournament favorites Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry got it done at the Zurich Classic. Has golf become easy to predict? We kid, we kid. Longshots SZN should be back in full swing this week at TPC Craig Ranch, where the field is leaving quite a bit to be desired. That's good news for folks who like to bet a little to win a lot, though.

Our betting panel is comprised of a caddie reporting anonymously from the grounds of Memorial Park, Pat Mayo of Underdog/Mayo Media Network, Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel, Andy Lack of RunPureSports.com, your two authors and Keith Stewart, the CEO of Read The Line. Stewart, our newest member of the panel, is our new betting content partner as well.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson:

CJ Cup Byron Nelson picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Alex Noren (22-1, FanDuel) — Noren's on the verge of a breakout PGA Tour win, and this week could be the week. He always hits it great with his irons, and he can get scorching hot with the putter. With this course benefiting iron play and putting over driving, he will be in contention this weekend.

Pat Mayo, Underdog/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Adam Schenk (40-1, BetMGM) — Schenk dropped an incredible 7.7 strokes to the field on and slightly off the green at Heritage—two aspects of his game where he’s been positive for well over two years. Both totals rank in the bottom five performances in his career in both strokes gained/around the green and SG/putting. He either lost it overnight or it’s an aberration. I’ll bet him thinking it’s an aberration as he gained off the tee for five consecutive events and three straight with his irons. Overall, he’s finished in the top 15 in two of his past three starts.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Alex Noren (22-1, FanDuel) — Only Noren and Spieth rank inside the top 50 in all four strokes-gained stats over the past 50 rounds, via datagolf, and Noren’s actually inside the top 15 in iron play in that span, too. He’s played here twice, finishing top-25 each year.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Thomas Detry (40-1, FanDuel) — The winner this week will need to make 25, perhaps 30, birdies, with soft conditions. Thomas Detry has a scorching hot putter at the moment. Detry is gaining an average of four strokes on the field over the past five starts with his flatstick. Fresh off an eighth-place finish at the Zurich Classic, Detry is used to seeing circles on the scorecard. I realize last week was a team event, but building scoring momentum comes from watching the ball go in! Fourth at Pebble, 17th at Valspar, and runner-up in Houston, the Belgium bomber is ready to drink from the CJ Cup.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Keith Mitchell (40-1, Bet365) — I’m pot-committed on Mitchell this year, but I’m happy to jump back on this week. Mitchell’s ball-striking might be best in this field—he’s fourth in SG/off the tee and third in SG/approach in 2024, per RickRunGood.com, plus he’s 10th in Birdie or Better percentage. The distance and iron play gives him a leg up … give us an above average putting week and we are live.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Sungjae Im (28-1, DraftKings) — We’ve done this dance one too many times before with Sungjae Im, and yet I can’t stay away. After back-to-back missed cuts at Valspar and the Masters, Im bounced back with a very sneaky top 15 at Harbour Town and an even sneakier win on the Korean Tour last week at the Woori Championship, where he defended his title. You can go back to last year and see I probably picked him the following week after that Woori win too, and he definitely didn’t win. But screw it. The guy can make a million birdies and while that victory likely came against a weak field last week, it must be a nice little confidence-booster coming into the CJ Cup.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Byeong Hun An (28-1, BetMGM) — Byeong Hun An has quietly put together a strong season that includes six top-25 finishes in 11 starts, with great performances at the Sentry, Arnold Palmer and the Masters. All those courses are driver-heavy, which plays into An’s strengths as one of the longest players in this field. I would not be overly concerned with a poor showing at Harbour Town, as An now returns to a golf course where he can bomb away with reckless abandon.

Past results: The boys are officially HOT. Following Andy Lack’s correct prediction of Stephan Jager’s victory at the Houston Open (50-1), three of our experts—Stephen Hennessey, Pat Mayo and our anonymous caddie—hit on Akshay Bhatia (65-1) at the Valero Texas Open. That’s now our biggest hit of 2024, and it gives Mayo and our anonymous caddie their second wins of the year. Let’s keep it rolling in Texas.

CJ Cup Byron Nelson picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Justin Lower (90-1, BetMGM) — Like I said above, the good mid-range putters will succeed this week. I firmly believe Justin Lower is one of the best putters from 15-to-25 feet on tour, and he thrives in birdie fests, like Corales where he was on. He has been knocking at the door of his first win, and at nearly 100-1, this is worth a flier.

Mayo: Kevin Yu (90-1, BetMGM) — The only player in the field who rates top 10 in the field in driving and approach over the past 12 rounds. That includes sitting No. 1 in proximity from 200 yards and out, where a plurality of approach shots will come from at the Bunny Ranch. If he just putts like an average PGA Tour player, he’s live to be near the top of the leaderboard.

Gdula: Mark Hubbard (55-1, FanDuel) — Hubbard is someone I look to often when driving distance isn’t a prerequisite, and that’s the case this week. He’s a great iron player and—statistically speaking—is due for putting regression in his favor.

Stewart: Mark Hubbard (55-1, FanDuel) — Hubbard finished third at Zurich and has successfully navigated every cut in 2024 (eleven straight). Hubbard could always score, but now with a new level of consistency, he’s capable of winning. Need more? Hubbard has more FedEx Cup points than your tournament favorite Jordan Spieth this season. If the tour journeyman was ever trending toward a win, now is the time.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Hayden Springer (200-1, BetMGM) — My guy John Haslbauer is on this one, and for good reason. Springer was one stroke out of a playoff in Puerto Rico, and this should be another great course for him. He’s 13th in Driving Distance in this field this year, per RickRunGood.com, and in the all-important birdie ranges this week, he’s second in putting from 10-15 feet and fourth from 20-25 feet. Let’s hit a bomb!

Powers, Golf Digest: Jake Knapp (100-1, BetMGM)Bombers and birdie-makers, you say, Andy? Knapp checks both those boxes.

Lack: Maverick McNealy (55-1, BetMGM) — Maverick McNealy has rebounded strongly this year from an injury-plagued 2023, and I expect his ascent to continue. We know that the former Stanford Cardinal is one of the best putters on tour, but he also possesses sneaky power off the tee and his approach play has been improved of late as well. It’s a matter of if not when the inevitable breakthrough comes, and TPC Craig Ranch is the perfect venue for McNealy to collect his first PGA Tour victory.

CJ Cup Byron Nelson picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Jason Day (18-1, BetRivers) — Seeing K.H. Lee repeat here might lead some to think Jason Day is a good bet, but he hasn’t been in good form, so these odds are easy to pass on.

Mayo: Jordan Spieth (14-1, FanDuel) — Spieth might not be as far off as his numbers suggest, but he’s unbettable until he’s priced like the player currently on the course and not the player who was routinely at the top of the tour in irons and putting at his peak. There’s really nothing separating him and Mac Hughes right now, except 40 points in the betting market. In fact, Hughes may be better right now.

Gdula: Jordan Spieth (14-1, FanDuel) — Spieth is the betting favorite, has played well at this course and has the Texas narrative this week, but the odds are just too short for what his long-term play suggests. He also is dealing with a wrist injury.

Stewart: Jordan Spieth (14-1, FanDuel) — We all love Jordan Spieth. I travel and cover the tour 20-plus weeks of the year, and I always love to watch him play live. Even though the entertainment factor is always there, the results just have not. Spieth has only won twice in seven years! Jordan has missed three of his last five cuts and one of those was down Magnolia Lane where he always plays well. I’m not sure what changes are needed, but until they happen, and we see better long-term results, I won’t be betting the PGA Tour’s favorite son.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Min Woo Lee (22-1, FanDuel) — It’s been a disappointing start to Min Woo’s first campaign on the PGA Tour. He had a good finish at Augusta, but this is a different type of test. The irons have not been good, and he ranks in the bottom of this field in putting from 15-25 feet, so I’m doubtful he’ll make enough birdies to contend.

Powers, Golf Digest: Jordan Spieth (14-1, FanDuel) — Even at a place he loves in Harbour Town, he couldn’t keep it together all four days. He should not be the favorite. CrazyTown.

Lack: Jason Day (18-1, BetRivers) — I know that Jason Day is the defending champion, but there are far too many current concerns with his iron play to warrant this price. Day ranks 125th in this field in approach play this season, and his long-iron numbers are even more concerning. Day is in far worse form than he was when he won this event last season, yet still receiving the same type of respect on the odds board based on past performance. This one is an easy pass.

CJ Cup Byron Nelson picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Chan Kim (+115) over Maverick McNealy (DraftKings) — Honestly when it comes to matchups, I love any time you can get someone in decent form at plus money. Chan at +115 seems like great value considering this event can be a crap shoot.

Mayo: Keith Mitchell (+115) over Byeong Hun An (Bet365) — Mitchell and An are essentially the same guy. The biggest differences are that An can be elite around the greens while Mitchell may as well be me trying to get it up and down. However, scrambling has rarely come into play for Mitchell in 2024. His ball-striking consistency has been unrivaled by anyone in this field. An is a solid ball-striker; Mitchell is excellent. It’s how he’s finished top 20 in five of his last seven starts.

Gdula: Justin Lower (-115) over Kevin Yu (FanDuel) — While both golfers in this matchup are great iron players, Lower’s short game is markedly better than Yu’s. That—plus course knowledge for Lower— mitigates the distance edge for Yu.

Stewart: Seamus Power (-125) over Beau Hossler (BetMGM) — Beau Hossler has been off since The Players. Like Spieth, he has missed three cuts in his past five starts. The reason is simple: His approach game has been horrific. He’s losing over two strokes on average to the field with his iron game per start. Seamus Power is trending in the other direction, coming off a 12th at the RBC Heritage). Couple that with three straight top-20 results at TPC Craig Ranch, and this is one of those matchups that will cash come Friday afternoon.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Byeong Hun An (-110) over Min Woo Lee (BetMGM) — I explained above why Min Woo is my fade ... his putting has been below average from 15-to-25 feet all year. Benny An is having a career year on the PGA Tour and making a ton of birdies, which is what you need this week. In my RickRunGood.com model, An is fifth and Min Woo is 60th.

Powers, Golf Digest: Sungjae Im (-110) over Tom Kim (DraftKings) — Tom Kim has just been .. blah this season. I’d rather go with my pick to win in Sung, who has the ability to pop off at any moment. Kim’s just been posting middling finish after middling finish, and if the theory is that bombers thrive at Craig Ranch, then the short-knocking Kim likely won’t be in contention.

Lack: Byeong Hun An (+100) over Jason Day (DraftKings) — This is an easy one, as I am getting my pick to win at plus money against my fade. The ball-striking gap between these two players right now is far greater than the market suggests, and Day’s 2023 victory is doing a lot of work in his placement on the board. Day isn’t that player right now, and An has made leaps and bounds in the 2024 season.

Matchup Results from the Zurich Classic: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Hossler/Ryder (+120) over Horschel/Alexander); Powers: 1 for 1 (Hossler/Ryder (+120) over Horschel/Alexander); Mayo: PUSH (Mitchell/Dahmen (-110) over Ghim/Kim); Lack: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Stewart: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 12-4-1 (up 7.74 units); Caddie: 11-5-0 (up 4.68 units); Lack 10-6-1 (up 3.06 units); Powers: 8-7-2 (up 1.08 units); Gdula: 8-7-2 (up 0 units); Hennessey: 7-7-3 (down 0.92 units); Stewart: 8-9-0 (down 1.72 units)

CJ Cup Byron Nelson picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Sungjae Im (+320, FanDuel) — Fresh off a win over in Asia, Im seems like he’s finding his game. His world ranking has dropped a little recently, but the talent and work ethic are still there. He will continue to play well this week and scare that top 10, so +270 is great value for this in a “weaker field.”

Mayo: Ryan Fox (+700, Bet365) — While it doesn’t seem like he’s getting hot as of late, Fox (along with Garrick Higgo) surged to a T-4 at the Zurich last week, and the Kiwi was very much in the mix for 2.5 days at Augusta before some second-nine issues absolutely blew up his week. Fox is closer to peaking than you may notice; get on the wave early.

Gdula: Adam Schenk (+360, FanDuel) — Schenk’s irons are neutral long-term, but the rest of his game is strong (top 30 in the other three strokes gained areas over the past 50 rounds, via datagolf). He was T-19 at The Players, T-5 at Valero and T-12 at the Masters, which support his chances to top 10 in a field such as this one.

Stewart: Si Woo Kim (+220, Bet365) — Si Woo Kim should be a serious contender to win the Byron Nelson. Problem is that his putter probably doesn’t have enough heat to top the field. Over his last five starts, Kim is gaining over five strokes (on average) tee to green versus the field. In the same stretch he’s losing a stroke and half with his flatstick. The best tee-to-green player in this mediocre group will come very close, but in the end a top 10 looks like the ceiling.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (+550, Bet365) — Hubbard at 70-1 was one of my first bets on Monday morning. He’s been red-hot, leading him and Ryan Brehm to a great finish in New Orleans. He’s 10th in this field in SG/approach in 2024 and sixth in Birdie or Better percentage, per RickRunGood.com, so I like his chances of another top finish ... and hopefully his first PGA Tour victory.

Powers, Golf Digest: K.H. Lee (+500, DraftKings) — This guy is a plug and play at TPC Craig Ranch, where he failed to three-peat last year. He played fine, though. You may believe that because he finished in 50th, but that was due to him losing seven (!) strokes with the putter. Don’t be the dope who misses out on one of the ultimate “horse for the course” guys this week.

Lack: Keith Mitchell (+360, DraftKings) — Keith Mitchell has always been an elite driver of the ball, but his development into one of the best iron players on the PGA Tour this season has been critical in his success this year. Mitchell has now gained strokes on approach in seven straight starts, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. On a course that emphasizes power off the tee and features such a high plurality of long irons, expect Mitchell to play a major factor in Dallas.

Top-10 results from the Zurich Classic: Everybody: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 4 for 17 (up 2.65 units); Caddie: 4 for 17 (up 0.35 units); Mayo: 3 for 17 (down 1 unit); Lack: 4 for 17 (down 2.45 units); Powers: 3 for 17 (down 6.4 units); Gdula: 2 for 17 (down 6.5 units); Stewart: 3 for 17 (down 7.42 units)

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME. 

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for numberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13. 

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor for Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also the head of golf content for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports