Shriners Children's Open 2021 picks: Our consensus fade on Brooks Koepka
The Shriners Children’s Open is one of the marquee events of the fall season. Aside from the CJ Cup and the Zozo, this will be the best field before 2022, with 11 of the top 25 in the world rankings teeing it up at TPC Summerlin. Accordingly, our Golf Digest betting panel is pumped to profit off the start of the Vegas Swing.
Our Rick Gehman cashed his Sam Burns outright ticket in this space last week, keeping the hot pace we ended the 2020-’21 season on (predicting 14 of the last 28 winners correctly on the PGA Tour). Gehman joined us on the Golf Digest “Be Right” podcast this week to give his insights on the course, having played there multiple times recently and attending the event this week. Give the podcast a listen (below), and read on for the analysis from our entire betting panel, which includes an anonymous caddiel Pat Mayo of Mayo Media Network and DraftKings; Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel; Gehman of RickRunGood.com and Lee Alldrick of FanShareSports.com.
Read on to see who we like this week at the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open.
Shriners Children’s Open 2021 picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Scottie Scheffler (23-1, FanDuel) — The stats guys aren’t good enough to where they can measure momentum yet. But Scottie comes into Vegas on an absolute high from the Ryder Cup. His confidence was high before Whistling Straits, but it must be through the roof. He will win in his next six or eight starts. I will keep betting on it.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Patrick Reed (40-1, DraftKings) — While statistically not the premier play on the board, a motivated Patrick Reed is tough to pass on—especially at a number we get in majors. This field is good, but it’s not close to major-like. If you bet Reed at this number in every event in his career, you’d be up a lot of money.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Paul Casey (35-1, FanDuel) — Casey’s profile is really promising for TPC Summerlin, which requires birdies. Casey’s putting is almost always problematic, but his splits on bentgrass greens are much more promising than on other surfaces, too, so this is just too long a number for Casey.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Viktor Hovland (22-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Hovland makes his season debut this week, looking to pick up where he left off a month ago. Hovland finished T-5 at the Tour Championship, which marked the 10th consecutive measured event that he gained strokes on approach, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He’s likely the best ball-striker in the field and now he gets to putt on bentgrass, one of his better surfaces.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Webb Simpson (30-1, FanDuel) — The narrative on Webb is that he’s been struggling of late. Maybe, but he ranks 10th in this field in SG/total over the past 24 rounds, per Fantasy National. He’s second in this field in SG/total at TPC Summerlin—if you can catch this 30-1, I think it has some nice value.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Patrick Reed (40-1, DraftKings) — His most recent results do not portend to victory, but he’s had plenty of time off to get right. During that time, he watched the American team dominate the Ryder Cup, and he wasn’t a part of it. He should be highly motivated, and on TPC Summerlin’s bentgrass greens, he can fill it up with the putter. If he comes in sharp from the get-go, he’s going to contend, making this 40-1 number wildly disrespectful for a nine-time tour winner.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Webb Simpson (30-1, FanDuel) — Webb has the form to combine with his great history in Vegas. He ranks seventh over the past two months in SG/total.
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. Of course, the gambling gods don’t care about last season. As Bill Belichick says, “We’re on to 2021-’22.” We got the new season off right with Rick Gehman hitting Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
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!
Shriners Children’s Open 2021 picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Taylor Moore (150-1, FanDuel) — PGA Tour fans saw his game on display at the Sanderson. It ain’t a fluke. This kid has game to stay on tour for the next decade. His simple, repeatable swing will rack up a bunch of top-25s—and a ton of cash.
Mayo: Mito Pereira (50-1, DraftKings) — Mito Week didn’t happen for us at Sanderson Farms, but I see no reason to quit at a better number. TPC Summerlin has been a breakthrough spot for young players in the past, so he fits a narrative (always fun!), but it’s really the numbers which point us toward to the Chilean. After a T-3 in Napa to kick off the season, his T-31 in Jackson last week was actually much better than it appeared. He was second to only Sam Burns in ball-striking and was sunk by losing 4.7 strokes/putting. The worst mark in this career on the PGA Tour.
Gdula: Ian Poulter (130-1, FanDuel) — The number at FanDuel Sportsbook is super long on Poulter, so I’m willing to take advantage with another European Ryder Cupper here as a longshot. Poulter should benefit from a course where he doesn’t need to be long, and his birdie tendencies are probably better than most realize.
Gehman: Rickie Fowler (100-1, PointsBet) — This is a rare opportunity to attempt to be “early” on Fowler at a long number. It’s been nearly two months since we’ve seen him play, but there were some encouraging signs down the stretch of last season. He made the cut in five of his last seven starts, with a T-8 at the PGA Championship and T-11 at the Memorial. His tee-to-green game is slowly coming around and with two months to “get right,” you’d expect to see the best out of Fowler this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Maverick McNealy (60-1, DraftKings) — For those of you who bet McNealy in Napa, you have to go back to him here, right? TPC Summerlin requires precision off the tee, which is what’s required in Napa, and that’s McNealy’s strength. He also ranks 29th in this field in SG/putting on bentgrass, per Fantasy National, which is a nice stat in what might be a birdie fest. Finally, the narrative play for the adopted Vegas kid—I’m going back to McNealy.
Powers, Golf Digest: Talor Gooch (80-1, FanDuel) — In his 2021-’22 season debut, Gooch finished fourth at Fortinet, gaining 8.8 strokes tee-to-green. That plays at any course on tour, and it shows you he was grinding away in the offseason. A lot of sharper folks in the golf gambling industry are high on Gooch this year, and the reason for that is he does just about everything well except for one key ingredient to winning on the modern tour - gaining strokes off-the-tee. However, he did gain 0.7 in Napa. Progress! If he continues to progress in that area, he’ll continue to close in on a maiden tour win, something I’m willing to bet on as long as he’s north of 50-1 each time he tees it up.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Kevin Streelman (80-1) — Streelman comes into this event ranked second in the field for Opportunities Gained over the past two months. Streelman has a runner-up finish here, so if the putter warms up, he could contend.
Shriners Children’s Open 2021 picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Paul Casey (25-1, DraftKings) — His game was lucky at the Ryder Cup. He looked better on Sunday, but it was bad all week. I would wait to see some positive signs before betting him.
Mayo: Brooks Koepka (16-1 DraftKings) — I almost always pick the favorite in the fade spot. Even if a few of them win over the course of a year, best you’ll do is probably break even if you’re betting favorites in PGA Tour events.
Gdula: Brooks Koepka (20-1, FanDuel) — Koepka, a co-favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook, is always hard to project, and he’s actually been a lot better in non-majors recently than in years past. However, his win odds still lag behind the necessary rate in my simulations to want to get exposure to him at 20-1.
Gehman: Paul Casey (25-1, DraftKings) — It’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong with Casey’s game right now. We saw him fail to earn a single point in four matches at the Ryder Cup, and his game didn’t pass the eye test in the process. When you combine that with his T-64 at The Northern Trust and a T-38 at the BMW Championship, he’s been leaving us wanting more. This will be his second trip to TPC Summerlin after a MC last year.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Brooks Koepka (16-1 DraftKings) — This week has been circled on Jena Sims’ calendar; I’m not so sure about Brooks. Brooks and Jena don’t pass up a week in Vegas. I don’t think he cares at all whether he wins or loses. I’d fade him in most matchups.
Powers, Golf Digest: Paul Casey (25-1, DraftKings) — I’d be out on Casey anyway at 25-1, but I’m definitely out on him after that brutal performance at the Ryder Cup.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Brooks Koepka (16-1 DraftKings) — Koepka’s strong finishes here are sandwiched within three MCs. I see this event as being one of those that Koepka doesn’t care about.
Shriners Children’s Open 2021 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Scottie Scheffler (-120) over Paul Casey (DraftKings) — If you watched the Ryder Cup, you would take this bet, too.
Mayo: Adam Scott (-120) over Charley Hoffman (DraftKings) — In a battle of UNLV guys, I’ll side with Scott, who is returning to form, against Hoffman, who just rarely does much of anything at this event. In his past six starts at TPC Summerlin, Hoffman had four MCs, a 74th and an outlier T-18.
Gdula: Adam Scott (-108) over Erik van Rooyen (FanDuel) — EVR is hotter right now, but the longer sample puts the value on Scott in this matchup, especially when it comes to putting.
Gehman: Webb Simpson (-120) over Brooks Koepka (DraftKings) — Simpson’s course history at TPC Summerlin is rarely discussed. We talk up his records at the Wyndham, Waste Management and the RBC Heritage, but his showings in Las Vegas deserve to be in that conversation. In his nine trips, he’s never once lost strokes from tee-to-green and he has seven top-20 finishes, including his win in 2013.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Webb Simpson (-120) over Brooks Koepka (DraftKings) — My pick to win against my fade … enough said.
Powers, Golf Digest: Patton Kizzire (-120) over Emiliano Grillo (DraftKings) — Shriners week is one where putting reigns supreme, as it so often does in PGA Tour birdie-fests. Are you going to trust Grillo, who has lost strokes putting in eight consecutive events, or Kizzire, who can run hot with the putter and has done so at TPC Summerlin before, with a pair of top-four finishes? It’s Kizzire for me all day here.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Harris English (+100) over Will Zalatoris (Betfair) — English recorded a fourth-place finish here in 2016 and is vastly better player now. He ranks third in this field for SG/total over the past two years and fifth for SG/putting. Zalatoris on the other hand is a poor putter on bentgrass greens. Statistically Zalatoris will be giving up over one shot per round with the putter to English this week, giving this strong value.
Matchup Results from the Sanderson Farms Championship: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Im (+100) over Garcia); Mayo: 1 for 1 (Pereira (-120) over Power); Powers: 1 for 1 (Wise (+100) over Davis) Gdula: 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Alldrick: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Caddie: 2-0-0 (up 1.91 units); Mayo: 2-0-0 (up 1.83 units); Powers: 1-1-0 (even); Gdula: 0-2-0 (down 2 units); Gehman: 0-2-0 (down 2 units); Hennessey: 0-2-0 (down 2 units); Alldrick: 0-2-0 (down 2 units)
Shriners Children’s Open 2021 picks: Top 10s
Caddie: Ryan Palmer (+750) — Palmer has a top 10 at TPC Summerlin in 2018 and a T-16 the time before that. He has four straight missed cuts here, too. For a player with his consistency off the tee, he should give himself chances to contend if his iron game is up to his standards.
Mayo: Joseph Bramlett (+1300, DraftKings) — He’s sort of like a low rent Mito this week. The driving and putting have been immaculate in his first two starts, he just can’t chip or putt. This is nothing new, but it also means he doesn’t have to gain many strokes around the green to vault up the leader board. If you catch him on the right week, like when he won the KFT Championship last month, the putter can certainly be good enough. He’s currently striking the ball well, you just need him to get lucky around and on the green.
Gdula: Cameron Tringale (+310, FanDuel) — Tringale’s top-10 odds are very bettable this week. He was 19th here last year and is coming off of a T-11 a week ago. Tringale is one of six golfers in the field to rank in the 80th percentile or better in adjusted SG/tee to green over the past year and in bentgrass putting over the past 100 rounds, joining Sam Burns, Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson, Kevin Na and Patrick Reed.
Gehman: Sam Burns (+350, FanDuel) — Why wouldn’t we go back to the guy who hoisted the trophy last week? Burns lost strokes putting in his victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a rare feat that shows how well he’s hitting the ball right now. He gained 14.81 strokes from tee-to-green last week, six more than anyone else in the field. The last time he won, the 2020 Valspar Championship, he backed it up with a runner-up in his next start.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Abraham Ancer (+350, FanDuel) — There’s a disparity in FanDuel’s outright odds on Ancer (tied for second lowest) and his top-10 odds (11th lowest). For someone with the consistency of Ancer at TPC Summerlin, that screams value and opportunity to me.
Powers, Golf Digest: Scott Piercy (+1100, DraftKings) — If you’re looking for a Las Vegas narrative, look no further than Piercy, who was born in Sin City and still lives there. And, according to our Las Vegas correspondent Rick Gehman, Piercy plays TPC Summerlin regularly, which makes sense considering he has four top 20s in this event in nine appearances. His recent form is good, too, with two top-15s in his past four starts.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Ian Poulter (+750) — Despite a disappointing Ryder Cup, Poulter will take confidence away from winning his singles match. Despite having only ever played here once (back in 2005) Poulter should still go well as he is an excellent putter on bentgrass greens. He comes into this event ranked 14th in the field for SG/total over the past two months.
Top-10 results from the Sanderson Farms Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Henrik Norlander +1400); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Mayo: 1 for 2 (up 13 units); Powers: 1 for 2 (up 11 units); Caddie: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Gdula: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Gehman: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Hennessey: 0 for 2 (down 2 units); Alldrick: 0 for 2 (down 2 units)
Shriners Children’s Open 2021 picks: One and Done
Gehman: Abraham Ancer — Ancer doesn’t have a “natural fit” or a tournament that you’re waiting to save him. He’s now one of the favorites and has two fourth-place finishes in his past three trips to this event. Ancer finished his 2021 season strong, with a win at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude and two top-10s at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. This feels like the perfect spot to deploy Ancer.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira.
Hennessey: Abraham Ancer — Coming off two MCs for my one-and-done picks, I will tail Rick with the consistency of Ancer.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz.
Powers: Aaron Wise — I’d really like to bet on Wise this week but I can’t trust his putter. If it gets hot, though, he can contend with the way he’s hitting the ball right now.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira.
Rick joined us on this week's episode of "Be Right," Golf Digest's weekly betting and DFS podcast. Be sure to listen for his complete analysis—with some inside tidbits having played TPC Summerlin multiple times in the past few months. And make sure to subscribe to "Be Right" wherever you get your podcasts!
By The Numbers:
Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:
7,400 — The average size, in square feet, of the greens at TPC Summerlin. These are the fourth-largest greens of any PGA Tour stop in the last year.
48.21 — The average finish for Kevin Na in his 14 starts at TPC Summerlin. That includes two wins and a runner-up finish but also includes three MCs, one WD and one DQ. (Note: Na withdrew on Tuesday.)
1.68 — The average strokes-gained putting, per round, by Rickie Fowler at TPC Summerlin (14 rounds). It’s the best mark of any golfer with at least five rounds.
29.52 — The combined strokes gained on approach for Webb Simpson in his 36 rounds at TPC Summerlin. He’s gained strokes on approach and tee-to-green in each of his nine starts here, including a win in 2013.
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.