Memorial 2021 picks: Why we’re betting against Bryson DeChambeau this week
Gamblers are a funny bunch. Last week in this space, one of our “experts” gave out Jason Kokrak as their sleeper pick (45-1). The rest of our crew cleaned up on matchup bets—and we hit a few of our top-10 bets, too—so anyone who followed us made a nice chunk of change.
Rubbish, we say. As gamblers, we care very little about "last week." The above is the extent of our celebration. You're here to make cash this week, and that's what we’re motivated to help you do. Sure, we’ve had our share of nice Ws in 2021 … but like a field-goal kicker in the clutch, we’re only as good as our latest prediction. And if you bet on golf regularly, you know how damn hard it can be.
We’re armed with the best collection of golf handicappers in the industry, with Pat Mayo of Mayo Media Network; Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com; Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel; Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports and an anonymous caddie giving their insights each week. Plus our two co-authors, who break down this week’s Memorial Tournament in this week’s “Be Right” podcast. Our version of philanthropy is this betting column—and it gives us eternal happiness when we can hit a winner for the people.
Read on to see who our betting panel likes this week at Muirfield Village.
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Memorial 2021 picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions (Odds from William Hill)
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Collin Morikawa (16-1) — Jack demands precision at all of his courses—and Morikawa is consistently one of the best iron players in the world. Yes, the Workday played easier last year … but it was still the same course. Don’t forget that Concession—site of Morikawa’s most recent win—is also a Nicklaus design. The kid will be in the mix again this week.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Hideki Matsuyama (25-1) — He’s won here before and has actually been playing better post-green jacket than the results indicate. Despite a T-23 finish at the PGA Championship he ranked in the top 10 tee to green and just couldn’t buy a putt. That’s not anything new for Hideki, but he’s had plenty of success on these fast bentgrass greens in the past, and the last time he saw similar putting surfaces he won the Masters.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Corey Conners (30-1) — Conners gained strokes tee to green in both starts at Muirfield Village last year. While he does struggle around the green, he is rarely dreadful in that department. With the odds drifting again, there’s expected value on Conners this week.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Tony Finau (22-1) — After a small slump, we are starting to see Finau’s game turn around. He’s gaining strokes off the tee again and piling them up on approach. He battled to a T-8 at the PGA Championship and followed it up with a T-20 last week in Fort Worth. Most people don’t realize how good his around-the-green play has been, ranking first in the category over the past 24 rounds. That will certainly come in handy around Muirfield Village.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Tony Finau (22-1) — I was close to putting some weight on Jon Rahm, but I have convinced myself yet again that this will be Finau’s week. Follow at your own risk. But I wouldn’t want to miss out on the Finau victory. My colleague Chris Powers said Finau “choked” last year at the Memorial en route to his T-8 finish (a final-round 78 was not great), but he started the day four back of Rahm, who had one of the most impressive rounds of the year at last year’s Memorial. Finau has figured out the ball-striking, as Rick discussed above, and Finau doesn’t get enough credit for his short game. It should (hopefully) all add up to a banner week for all of us Finau stans.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Patrick Reed (33-1) — A lot of bettors might pass on Reed this week because A) a lot of bettors always pass on Reed, which is why he’s always 30-1 or longer, and B) because he’s coming off a missed cut. The Colonial MC makes me like him even more. The last three times he’s missed the weekend this season, his very next results are: Win (Torrey Pines); 22nd (Players), sixth (Wells Fargo). The guy knows how to fix whatever his swing issues are very quickly, and I have no worries about his short game showing up, which will be key this week.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (16-1) — For me, it’s a case of hoping the third time’s the charm with Spieth this week. He came so close when I was on him at last week’s Charles Schwab, I need to ride it out. He comes into this event ranked first for SG/tee to green over the past two months and eighth for total strokes gained at Muirfield Village. One of the biggest reasons he performs so well here is his excellent putting on bentgrass greens. He ranks third in the field for SG/putting on bentgrass over the past two years.
Results from last season: Golf Digest's betting panel has been red-hot the past two seasons. Our experts have now predicted six of the past 16 winners—after going up 225.30 units last season. Our Stephen Hennessey predicted Jason Kokrak’s victory at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge (at 45-1)! He also picked Jordan Spieth (11-1) at the Valero Texas Open. That continued a strong 2021—at The Players, Christopher Powers and Rick Gehman called Justin Thomas’ victory (18-1). That was each of their second accurate predictions of 2021, with Powers hitting Koepka (50-1) and Gehman calling Daniel Berger at Pebble Beach (14-1). Pat Mayo nailed Collin Morikawa at the WGC-Workday three events ago at 33-1 in addition to Koepka at the WMPO. And Brandon Gdula also called Berger’s win at Pebble Beach. We’ll stop there! Be sure to check this column every week for picks from the hottest betting panel in golf!
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "Be Right," (below) 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!
Memorial 2021 picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win (Odds from William Hill)
Caddie: Sam Burns (45-1) — I’m not sure why books are still offering these types of odds on Burns, who has proven to be one of the top 10-15 players in this field in 2021. Don’t outthink yourself here, and just remember the talent.
Mayo: Cameron Smith (40-1) — I can’t quit Cam now. The blueprint of long irons, chipping, sand play, and putting is all there. It’s just whether or not the driver will take him out of the tournament. It happens semi-regularly for the Aussie. Fortunately, Muirfield’s fairways are some of the widest on tour. If he figures that out, he’ll be lurking.
Gdula: Cameron Tringale (80-1) — Tringale is one of the best golfers in the field once he leaves the tee bo: Only Tringale, Spieth and Xander Schauffele rate in the 75th percentile in adjusted strokes gained/approach, around the green and putting over the past year, per my database.
Gehman: Shane Lowry (40-1) — Lowry has been piling up great results and doing it in a way that is very sustainable. His recent run of golf is highlighted by an eighth-place finish at The Players, a T-9 at the RBC Heritage and a T-4 at the PGA Championship. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, he’s gained strokes on approach in seven consecutive events.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Kevin Streelman (50-1) — I can’t say I’ve placed an outright bet on Kevin Streelman in at least three years, perhaps ever. But I think he’s live this week. Streels’ SG/approach numbers from his past three events: 5.6 (Wells Fargo); 2.9 (PGA) and 1 (Colonial). He comes to Muirfield Village, where he ranks third in the past five years in SG/total, per Fantasy National. I’m betting Streels and Keegan in this range, and I’m holding my breath while I do.
Powers, Golf Digest: Jason Dufner (300-1) — This bet is either glory or a violent missed cut and no in between. He’s got great course history, plenty of win equity as a five-time tour winner and he did briefly pop at Kiawah. If you got four or five bucks laying around, Duf at 300-1 at MV is absolutely worth a dice roll.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Gary Woodland (50-1) — Woodland is edging very close back to his very best. He enters this event ranked 20th in Fantasy National’s Opportunities Gained stat over the past two months and 14th for SG/tee to green over the same period. He also ranks in the top 40 for every key stat I'm looking at this week.
Memorial 2021 picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Billy Horschel (55-1) — Billy has been playing a lot of golf recently. You may not have noticed, but he just made a caddie change—and looked a bit lost at Colonial.
Mayo: Corey Conners (30-1) — Much like Ancer last week, the odds just don’t reflect his win equity in this field. I like him as a top-20 play, but to win? It’s a big ask.
Gdula: Bryson DeChambeau (18-1) — Assuming the renovations don’t eradicate what we know about Muirfield Village, DeChambeau’s current game doesn’t suit it that well—at least compared to other favorites. I’d rather go with Morikawa or Thomas at the top of the board.
Gehman: Justin Thomas (16-1) — It’s always terrifying to fade a player of this caliber, but there’s one red flag I see from Thomas right now: his approach play. Usually he’s one of the best players in the world but over his last two starts, he’s been pedestrian. If that trend continues, it will be much more difficult for him to make up ground on the field.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Bryson DeChambeau (18-1) — I can talk myself into most of these favorites—Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay … but not Bryson. The approach play has been BAD over the past 24 rounds, ranking 57th in this field, per Fantasy National.
Powers, Golf Digest: Louis Oosthuizen (35-1) — I love betting Louis at odds like 80-1, like he was at the PGA Championship. I hate betting Louis when he starts getting priced properly, especially in a non major, where he could withdraw at any second if he’s not feeling up for it.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Bryson DeChambeau (18-1) — Not only has Bryson got himself a brand-new distraction in the whole Brooks Koepka saga, he actually doesn't suit Muirfield particularly well. He ranks just 47th for SG/total at similar courses, and his form recently is very hit or miss.
Memorial 2021 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Jordan Spieth (-120) over Rory McIlroy (Bet365) — The fairways are wide here, perhaps masking Spieth’s one flaw at the moment (consistency off the tee). More importantly, Spieth’s putting and iron play are levels ahead of Rory right now.
Mayo: Keegan Bradley (-122) over Billy Horschel (DraftKings) — Per any sort of short-term statistical modeling, Keegan is one of the top rated players in the field. If he doesn’t five-putt himself out of the tournament he should cruise here.
Gdula: Tony Finau (-108) over Hideki Matsuyama (FanDuel) — Finau has a really good wedge game and bests or matches Matusyama in ball-striking stats. He’s also a better putter and has done well at Muirfield Village.
Gehman: Jordan Spieth (+120) over Jon Rahm (William Hill) — Since the start of 2021, Spieth has gained 2.07 strokes per round on his competitors. Do you know who has been better? No one! The best player on tour right now is the underdog here—and that alone is worth making an investment. In his past 11 starts, Spieth has eight top-15 finishes, and it doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down anytime soon.
Hennessey: Collin Morikawa (-128) over Bryson DeChambeau (FanDuel) — Morikawa continues to be scorching hot with his ball-striking, and we know Muirfield Village remains a second-shot golf course. Bryson, on the other hand, has STRUGGLED with his irons—he’s 57th in this field in SG/approach over the past 24 rounds, per Fantasy National. K.J. Choi has been better on approach shots than Bryson over that stretch. If Bryson hits his approaches like that, he’ll be watching the weekend from Muirfield Village’s clubhouse … he can make some memes as he sips on the club’s famous milkshakes.
Powers: Kevin Streelman (-114) over Shane Lowry (DraftKings) — This just doesn’t seem like the type of course Lowry thrives at. Streelman, on the other hand, actually plays these long, hard courses pretty well despite his lack of driving distance.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Gary Woodland (+100) over Scottie Scheffler (Bet365) — Woodland ranks top 40 in every key stat I’m looking at this week including 14th for SG/tee-to-green. Scheffler on the other hand is struggling for form right now and ranks just 93rd for SG/putting on bentgrass over the last two years.
Matchup results from the Charles Schwab Challenge: Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Charley Hoffman (+100) over Brian Harman); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Jason Kokrak (-102) over Gary Woodland); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Jason Kokrak (-110) over Justin Rose); Powers: 1 for 1 (Brandt Snedeker (-120) over Phil Mickelson). Caddie: 1 for 1 (Corey Conners (-120) over Joaquin Niemann); Mayo and Hennessey pushed their matchups.
Matchup Results this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Alldrick: 19-13-1 (up 4.43 units); Hennessey: 17-12-2 (up 4.35 units); Gdula: 18-14-1 (up 2.81 units); Powers: 15-14-4 (down 0.08 units); Gehman: 14-17-2 (down 3.08 units); Mayo: 14-16-2 (down 3.14 units); Caddie: 12-18-3 (down 5.75 units).
Memorial 2021 picks: Top 10 (Odds from William Hill)
Caddie: Russell Henley (+550) — You’re getting strong value on one of the top-10 iron players of the past year. And Henley is also top 10 in scoring average this season.
Mayo: Kyle Stanley (+800) — Coming off leading the field in approach at Colonial, a late entry into the field, Stanley merely needs a solid putting week to stay in contention. That’s a big ask for a guy who has lost on the greens in six of seven starts, however in six career starts at Memorial he’s posted three top 10s, all in the years he gained with the flat stick.
Gdula: Louis Oosthuizen (+320) — Oosthuizen is playing really well—when he does tee it up—and he has an elite short game, which should benefit him at Muirfield Village despite mixed results at this course in the past.
Gehman: Keegan Bradley (+375) — It’s possible that Bradley has unlocked something. Over his past seven measured starts, he’s gained a total of 2.21 strokes with the putter. That doesn’t sound like much, but he lost 25.73 strokes over the seven prior starts. If he can continue that trend, he’s going to be making plenty of noise at the top of leader boards.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Marc Leishman (+475) — Leishman has the fourth-best SG/total record at the Memorial over the past five years, leading to a fifth-place finish in 2019; a T-15 in 2017 and a T-11 in 2016. His cut off the tee plays nicely at Muirfield Village, and his brute strength comes in handy hacking it out of this thick, four-inch rough.
Powers, Golf Digest: Jordan Spieth (+163) — He’s in full Spieth mode right now, aka contending every time he tees it up. I don’t see that changing this week at Muirfield Village, where he has five top 20s in eight career starts.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Stewart Cink (+800) — Old Man Cink has turned back time this season. He has a win to his name and comes into this event ranked 19th for SG/tee to green over the last two months and sixth for Opportunities Gained. He is also one of the best putters on bentgrass greens in the field over the last two years, ranking 16th for SG/putting.
Top-10 results from the Charles Schwab Challenge: Hennessey and Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Charley Hoffman, +350). Everyone else: 0 for 1.
Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 7 for 30 (up 11.85 units); Powers: 5 for 30 (down 2.5 units); Hennessey: 5 for 30 (down 2.5 units); Gdula: 3 for 30 (down 11.5 units); Tour caddie: 5 for 30 (down 11.85 units); Mayo: 2 for 30 (down 15 units); Alldrick: 2 for 29 (down 19 units).
Memorial 2021 picks: One and Done
Gehman: Billy Horschel — Horschel has certainly found something in his game, making seven consecutive cuts while earning a victory and a top-five finish during that stretch. Now he heads to Muirfield Village, where he has earned four top-15 finishes in his past six trips.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Joel Dahmen; U.S. Open: Jon Rahm; Corales: Denny McCarthy. Sanderson: Sebastian Munoz. Shriners: Matthew Wolff. CJ Cup: Xander Schauffele. Zozo: Bubba Watson. Bermuda: Rasmus Hojgaard. Houston: Lanto Griffin. Masters: Rory McIlroy. RSM: Webb Simpson. Sentry TOC: Patrick Reed. Sony: Abraham Ancer. AMEX: Patrick Cantlay. Torrey: Jon Rahm. Waste Management: Webb Simpson. AT&T Pebble Beach: Jason Day. Genesis Invitational: Rory McIlroy. WGC-Workday: Tyrrell Hatton. The Players: Bryson DeChambeau; Honda Classic: Sungjae Im. WGC-Match Play: Patrick Reed. Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth. The Masters: Dustin Johnson. RBC Heritage: Daniel Berger. Valspar: Paul Casey. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sam Burns. PGA Championship: Collin Morikawa. Charles Schwab Challenge: Charley Hoffman.
Hennessey: Collin Morikawa — I’ve used Finau and Spieth, so Morikawa is the next most logical play to me, since I’m saving Rahm for Torrey.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Phil Mickelson; U.S. Open: Hideki Matsuyama; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Harris English. CJ Cup: Kevin Na. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Doc Redman. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Tyrrell Hatton. RSM: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Justin Thomas. Sony: Ryan Palmer. AMEX: Scottie Scheffler. Torrey: Sungjae Im. Waste Management: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach: Francesco Molinari. Genesis Invitational: Tony Finau. WGC-Workday: Xander Schauffele. The Players: Jordan Spieth. Honda Classic: Adam Scott. WGC-Match Play: Patrick Reed. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Dustin Johnson. RBC Heritage: Webb Simpson. Valspar: Charley Hoffman. Wells Fargo: Max Homa. AT&T Byron Nelson: Will Zalatoris. PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele. Charles Schwab Challenge: Abraham Ancer.
Powers: Jon Rahm — Have to imagine everybody is saving Rahm for Torrey in their respective OAD contests. Based off what we’ve seen from him in the majors recently, I probably will go with someone else that week, so Memorial is the next best spot to use him in my opinion.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Brendan Steele; U.S. Open: Louis Oosthuizen; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Jason Kokrak. CJ Cup: Daniel Berger. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Bubba Watson. RSM: Brian Harman. Mayakoba: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Harris English. Sony: Zach Johnson. AMEX: Matthew Wolff. Torrey: Tony Finau. Waste Management: Sungjae Im. AT&T Pebble Beach: Jason Day. Genesis: Hideki Matsuyama. WGC-Workday: Tyrrell Hatton. The Players: Tommy Fleetwood. Honda Classic: Adam Scott. WGC-Match Play: Matt Fitzpatrick. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Jordan Spieth. RBC Heritage: Kevin Kisner. Valspar: Patrick Reed. Wells Fargo: Patrick Cantlay. AT&T Byron Nelson: Will Zalatoris. PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy. Charles Schwab Challenge: Joaquin Niemann.
By The Numbers:
Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:
+2.007 — The scoring average, to par, last season for this event -- making it the second most difficult course on TOUR behind Bay Hill.
7,543 — The new scorecard yardage, about 100 yards longer than last year, thanks to a year-long renovation that touched nearly every hole on the course.
23 — The number of times that Stewart Cink has played the Memorial, the most of anyone in this field. He’s made the cut in 21 of those events and returned six top-10s.
17 — The number of times that Charles Howell III has played this event, the most starts at any tournament in his career without a top-10 finish.
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.