Houston Open picks 2022: Can this former tour winner cash as a longshot once again?
The Houston Open returns to Memorial Park in Texas for the third time, and if the first two iterations were any indication, golf fans are in for a real treat when it comes to the golf course. As for the field, that's not too shabby either.
Scottie Scheffler, the now former World No. 1, leads the way as the solo favorite, with his best bud Sam Burns close behind. Scheffler is coming off an impressive finish at Mayakoba, ending the so-called slump he was briefly mired in. As for Burns, his seventh-place finish in his most-recent start at the CJ Cup might indicate we're in for a two-horse race.
But, as always, our experts are looking a bit further past the two favorites in search of a juicy outright, which a number of folks finally got last week in Russell Henley after the recent run of favorites. With just two events left before the mini winter break, it's time we get back in the win column.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open.
Cadence Bank Houston Open picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Hideki Matsuyama (22-1, DraftKings) — I love the fact that Hideki’s coming off some extended time off. He should be rested and chomping at the bit to come back to a course where he finished runner-up in his only other start here.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Taylor Montgomery (20-1, DraftKings) — Usually I back the elite iron players who I just need to flip the putter for a chance, but Montgomery is different. He bombs it and putts the lights out … maybe he can flip his irons for a week and run away from the pack. I’ll even bet on it.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Tony Finau (16-1, FanDuel) — While I’m not trying to imply that Finau has eye-popping value, I’m having a hard time with the fact that he’s the same odds as Aaron Wise. Finau is a top-tier ball-striker, and the putter is good, too. SG/around-the-green can help separate at Memorial Park, and Finau—guess what—is good there, too.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Scottie Scheffler (+550, DraftKings) — Scheffler hasn’t won in 14 starts, which might as well be a “slump” considering his historic 2022 campaign. Despite not hoisting a trophy, Scheffler has five top-three finishes during that stretch and has been horrid on the putting surfaces. His tee-to-green game is elite and he flew up the leaderboard on Sunday last week, carding a 62 and finishing T-3. He made the switch back to his blade-style putter on the weekend in Mayakoba, which might be the spark he needs to get across the finish line.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Tony Finau (16-1, FanDuel) — I’m with Gdula here … Finau has been far and away the best player in this field over the past 36 rounds, per FantasyNational.com. He’s first in SG/tee to green, seventh in SG/putting and ninth in SG/around the greens. I’ve seen some make the comparison of Memorial Park to Riviera, and while I don’t think that’s a perfect apples and apples, I do think the precision needed into these greens is similar … and we know Finau has enjoyed success there.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Davis Riley (45-1, DraftKings) — Did we find something last week at Mayakoba? Sure seems like we did. The T-21 finish wasn’t all that sexy but sometimes the results right before the breakthrough aren’t. Let’s try and be early on Riley, who has a stellar record in the Lone Star state, including a fourth at Colonial and a ninth at the AT&T Byron Nelson this past May. In his only career start at Memorial Park a year ago, he finished inside the top 30, too. We know the irons will be cooking, it’s just a question of whether or not he can just be a mediocre driver of the golf ball this week to get over the hump.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Denny McCarthy (40-1, BetMGM) — McCarthy is the best player in the field this week for SG/putting over the last few years on Bermuda greens. This plays a big part in him ranking 16th for SG/total on similar courses to Memorial Park and 13th for SG/total at Memorial Park. His form has been decent, too, having finished top 40 in six of his last seven events, which includes a sixth-place finish last week.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel caught fire at the end of the summer, correctly predicting the winner in five of the final six events of the season. We picked our first winner of the new season at the CJ Cup, with Lee Alldrick correctly predicting Rory McIlroy’s victory at Congaree at 7-1. There’s plenty more where that came from.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "The Loop," 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 "The Loop" wherever you get your podcasts!
Cadence Bank Houston Open picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Keith Mitchell (60-1, FanDuel) — Mitchell plays his best golf on Bermuda, which is what we find at Memorial Park. His length should be a real asset on this long par-70 layout. He’s been quietly working on his game, and these odds against a mediocre-ish field are not unreasonable.
Mayo: Davis Thompson (80-1, DraftKings) — The ball-striking has been among the best during the Fall Swing, meaning the former world No. 1 Amateur could be on the cusp of a breakout. Or, at least a moment in contention.
Gdula: Keith Mitchell (60-1, FanDuel) — Mitchell has five top-10 finishes over the past year, is a great driver, and a solid putter. He should be a good course fit even though the two finishes haven’t been there so far (cut and T41).
Gehman: Lee Hodges (80-1, DraftKings) — Hodges is proving to be an accomplished ball-striker on the tour. That skill set has allowed for a run of success dating back to the Charles Schwab Challenge. In those 15 events, he’s made the cut in 12 while earning a top-25 finish on five occasions. His stat profile indicates that he’ll continue to make strides in the right direction.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mackenzie Hughes (66-1, PointsBet) — It’s the return of Mack season! He plays his best on tough golf courses where putting is vital, so Memorial Park should be up his alley. He’s got the win already this fall, so I’ll bet on this being a little Brendon Todd-esque fall run from the Canadian.
Powers, Golf Digest: Matthew NeSmith (50-1, BetMGM) — NeSmith hasn’t done anything for a month … literally. We last saw him at the Zozo, where he had just collected his third consecutive top-10 finish on the PGA Tour thanks to his usual exceptional iron play and a surprisingly hot putter. Unless he completely lost his game during his mini offseason, I don’t see why we won’t see more of the same in Texas from the former Gamecock.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Harris English (80-1, DraftKings) — English has finished top 40 in four of his five events which includes a ninth-place finish at the Fortinet. Although he has not played at Memorial Park before he does have the game to excel here. He ranks 11th for SG/putting on Bermuda greens over the last two years, so it’s not surprising to see that he ranks seventh for SG/total at similar courses.
Cadence Bank Houston Open picks 2022: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Tony Finau (16-1, FanDuel) — I don’t love the missed cut last week in Mexico. There are some big numbers to be made at Memorial Park … so if the confidence is waning, it might not end well for Tone this week.
Mayo: Maverick McNealy (20-1, DraftKings) — The four straight top 20s are great and everything, but I just can’t put my money behind someone who is only putting right now. He has lost strokes tee-to-green in both measured events during the swing and was able to putt his way out of it. That just doesn’t persist for long no matter how good he is with the flat stick.
Gdula: Maverick McNealy (26-1, FanDuel) — McNealy’s number is shortening because of some great finishes recently: T-10, T-12, T-18, T-10. However, the ShotLink data we have on him is actively worrisome with the iron play, and he’s rarely a difference-maker off the tee. He’s doing a lot of this with the putter. Montgomery is similar—but better with driver, wedges and putter.
Gehman: Hideki Matsuyama (22-1, DraftKings) — Though an appealing number, it’s impossible to understand the state of Matsuyama’s game. He’s lost strokes off-the-tee in eight of his last nine measured starts and he’s gained a total of 4.02 strokes on approach over his last seven measured events. That’s not the version of Matsuyama we’ve seen for the last decade. I’d prefer a wait-and-see approach at this point.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Russell Henley (22-1, FanDuel) — I had Henley in this space last week, and we know how that turned out. He can’t prove me wrong two weeks in a row, can he?! (Yes, he can, by the way.)
Powers, Golf Digest: Maverick McNealy (20-1, DraftKings) — McNealy might be one of the handful of golfers on the planet who could literally putt his way to a win. I just need way better odds on that occurring if I’m going to bet on it.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Hideki Matsuyama (22-1, DraftKings) — On paper, Matsuyama loses too many shots to this field when putting on Bermuda greens to be the price that he is. His form also hasn’t been great either. He has just one top 20 finish in his last eight events.
Cadence Bank Houston Open picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Taylor Pendrith (+100) over Davis Riley (DraftKings) — Riley’s a very talented player, buthe’s struggling with his putting right now. Pendrith’s playing the best golf of his life and has distance for days … I’ll happily take plus-odds here.
Mayo: Taylor Montgomery (+100) over Maverick McNealy (DraftKings) — My pick to win at plus odds over my fade? Easy one here.
Gdula: Taylor Pendrith (-126) over Wyndham Clark (FanDuel) — These odds probably aren’t short enough for Pendrith. There’s a full stroke-per-round differential between these two over the past calendar year. The gap tightens in more recent months, but it’s still Pendrith coming out on top.
Gehman: Andrew Putnam (-110) over Wyndham Clark (DraftKings) — There might not be a better course on tour for Putnam, who loses strokes off-the-tee via distance despite being one of the most accurate drivers on the circuit. As he gets closer to the green, his short game exceeds most of his peers. He ranked 20th around-the-green last season and 39th in putting. He’s made 10 straight cuts and has two top-12 finishes already this season.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Adam Long (-110) over Brendan Steele (DraftKings) — There’s a slight edge for Steele on the ball-striking categories, but Long is still in the positive over the past 36 rounds, per FantasyNational.com. Why I really like it is Long’s putting and short-game advantage over Steele: Long is 13th in strokes gained/putting and Steele is nearly dead last (124th) in that 36-round sample. Tom Doak's greens at Memorial Park will test your putting, so I’ll happily fade Steele here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Mackenzie Hughes (-110) over Sebastian Munoz (DraftKings) — Munoz has made a bunch of cuts of late but doesn’t have any great results to show for it. Hughes, meanwhile, has taken a few weeks off to refresh after winning the Sanderson and then finishing 23rd at the Zozo. I’ll back him here at Memorial Park, where he’s finished 29th and seventh in two trips.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Denny McCarthy (-120) over Joel Dahmen (Bet365) — As you can see above, I really like McCarthy this week. Dahmen on the other hand comes into this event ranked just 66th for SG/total on similar courses. A big reason for this being the fact that he ranks just 58th in the field for SG/putting on Bermuda greens over the last two years. Dahmen also has just one top 10 finish in his last 10 events.
Matchup Results from the World Wide Technology Championship: Gehman: 1 for 1 (Day (-120) over K.H. Lee); Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1; Alldrick: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 5-2-0 (up 2.8 units); Gehman: 5-2-0 (up 2.48 units); Alldrick: 4-3-0 (up 0.38 units); Caddie: 3-4-0 (down 1.1 units); Powers: 2-5-0 (down 2.85 units); Mayo: 1-5-0 (down 4.1 units); Gdula: 0-6-1 (down 6 units)
Cadence Bank Houston Open picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Sam Burns (+165, Bet365) — It’d be a shock if Burns and Scheffler aren’t residing within the top 10 heading into Sunday … so I’ll take the guy with plus-odds here with Burns.
Mayo: Brendan Steele (+750, DraftKings) — Can he putt enough to win? Meh, probably not. But in this field the odds are too steep to overlook for a guy with a solid track record of Texas play.
Gdula: Taylor Montgomery (+320, FanDuel) — Montgomery’s putter just won’t cool off, and at a certain point, we've got to say that he’s just a great putter. Montgomery’s irons aren’t great, and although that’s typically a concern, he’s a great driver. It’s a great combination for him to keep running hot this week.
Gehman: Taylor Pendrith (+400, DraftKings) — Southern Hills was the only par 70 on the tour schedule last year that was longer than Memorial Park. Sitting at over 7,400 yards, this is a big course, and Pendrith’s distance will certainly be handy. We haven’t seen much from Pendrith, who has only played once since the Presidents Cup (T-44 at the Shriners). Despite any potential rust, his raw talent and upside is exciting at this golf course.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Jason Day (+275, BetRivers) — J-Day enters Houston on a nice little heater—gaining strokes on approach in every event since July, which he’s parlayed into an eighth-place, an 11th- and a 21st-place finish the past three weeks. Plus, he has a seventh-place finish here in 2020, which makes sense … his short game should allow him to eat here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Sepp Straka (+650, DraftKings) — Bermudagrass this week? Say no more fam.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Andrew Putnam (+600, Bet365) — Putnam has now made the cut in each of his last 10 events which includes two top-five finishes. The two times Putnam has played here at Memorial has been during his big slump of form but this course should really suit his game. He is a great putter on Bermuda greens and has a great around-the-green game which is why he ranks 14th in the field this week for SG/total on similar courses to Memorial.
Top-10 results from the World Wide Technology Championship: Gdula: 1 for 1 (Russell Henley +410); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Gdula: 2 for 7 (up 4 units); Hennessey: 1 for 7 (up 1 unit); Mayo: 1 for 6 (down 1 unit); Caddie: 1 for 7 (down 1.5 units); ; Alldrick: 1 for 7 (down 2 units); Gehman: 1 for 7 (down 3.75 units); Powers: 0 for 7 (down 7 units)
Cadence Bank Houston Open picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Aaron Wise — It’s impossible to look past how well Wise has been playing for the better part of a year. More recently, he’s made eight cuts in a row, which includes five top-15 finishes. Memorial Park will be a challenge this week, which is great for Wise. He gains 0.711 strokes per round on hard courses, the third-most in this field, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland.
Hennessey: Jason Day — It’s scary to be using Jason Day in a one-and-done format in 2022, but more than likely, you won’t need to use him once it’s 2023. So let’s capitalize on his hot stretch.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland.
Powers: Sepp Straka — The Big Austrian has been so good on Bermuda of late that you have to just blindly back him in this spot.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry.
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) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA 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 in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). 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 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. 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.