Betting Analysis

Houston Open picks 2024: Can someone not named Scottie Scheffler get it done in Texas?

March 26, 2024
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 10: Will Zalatoris of the United States hits a tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course on March 10, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

Just when we figured we'd start to get hot, another out-of-nowhere, mega longshot in Peter Malnati won the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. Unless Scottie Scheffler is in the tournament, it's become an impossible-to-predict PGA Tour week in and week out in 2024.

The Best and Worst Value Bets for the 2024 Houston Open

Scheffler is back in the mix this week in his home state of Texas, and our entire panel, some would say foolishly, is going in a completely different direction. At +250 odds, Scheffler is veering into Tiger Woods territory, but none of us are quite ready to start betting on him like he's actually prime Tiger Woods. Let's revisit this one at Augusta National.

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. His insights will help our betting content immensely, though Mayo remains on a bit of a heater—hitting Knapp outright in Mexico and going on a 10-2-0 run on matchup bets thus far.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 Houston Open.

Houston Open picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Tony Finau (22-1, BetMGM) — This course is perfectly suited for Finau to pick it apart with his length. Scottie will be tough to beat, but Finau can hang with him if Scottie brings his B game.

Pat Mayo, Underdog/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Will Zalatoris (18-1, BetMGM) — I thought it was a pretty generous number considering what he’s been with Scottie and all the other best players on tour in the field the past month. Yes, his Players was a disappointment, but Sawgrass will do that on any given year. You primarily want Zalatoris at longer, more difficult courses, and Memorial Park fits that bill. He’s currently averaging over a stroke per round on approach in his past 12 rounds, one of only a handful of players better than Scheffler over that time.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Sahith Theegala (16-1, FanDuel) — Theegala’s odds are shortening, but he’s really one of two names in the second tier (way behind Scottie Scheffler) with solid win odds in my model, along with Wyndham Clark. Theegala’s irons, though, are trending up in a big way, and he’s 14th in the field over the past 50 rounds, via datagolf, with his approach play. Pair that with great putting and good driving, and Theegala stands out in a week where most don’t.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Sahith Theegala (16-1, FanDuel) — When the odds board dropped on Monday, Sahith Theegala was 25-1. As of writing this, he’s already dropped to 18-1. Theegala finished sixth at API and ninth at the Players. His ball-striking and putter have helped him gain an average of six strokes on the field over his last five events. The combination of putter skill and power have him well positioned to take down Scottie Scheffler and capture career victory No. 2.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Keith Mitchell (40-1, BetMGM) — I had such FOMO as Keith Mitchell took the lead into Sunday at the Valspar. I had bet Mitchell a number of times in 2024 but didn’t last week. Though he didn’t get it done in Tampa, I love what I’m seeing. He’s building toward the W. He’s tied for sixth out of all players in Total Driving this season and is third in this field in SG/approach over the past six months, per BetSperts.com. That’s an insane improvement—Mitchell was 160th on tour in SG/approach last year. This is a perfect place for him to get his second PGA Tour win.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Will Zalatoris (18-1, BetMGM) — Like Pat said, we’ve got to just chalk up Willy Z’s bad Players to the volatility of that golf course. I was unfortunately on Willy Z that week and I don’t want to jump off the train so quickly. He was on a roll before then and I fully expect him to get back on that role in his current home state.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Si Woo Kim (30-1, FanDuel) — Coming off of a sixth-place finish at the Players where he gained over a stroke in all four categories, Si Woo Kim is playing some excellent golf right now. Quietly one of the most consistent players on Tour, Kim has made every single cut this year, and he now travels to a course where he gained 8.8 strokes on approach in his last appearance. Kim is a great overall mid-to-long iron player, and he possesses one of the most underrated short games in this field, a skill I expect to pay tremendous dividends this week.

Past results: Ding, ding, we have another winner. Our anonymous caddie hit on Scottie Scheffler (+550) at the Players Championship. That’s our second outright cash of 2024, with Pat Mayo correctly predicting Jake Knapp’s win at the Mexico Open (40-1). Now it’s time for us to get HOT.

Houston Open picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Taylor Pendrith (200-1, FanDuel) — Finau and Pendrith have similar skillsets—elite length off the tee and the ability to gouge it out of the thick rough. They dueled at the Rocket Mortgage a few years ago, and though Pendrith has been inconsistent in 2024, we keep seeing longshots come through—and Pendrith has more game than most players near the bottom of the field.

Mayo: Taylor Moore (70-1, FanDuel) — I rode with Moore a week ago and I’m not giving up after a T-12 in his tee-to-green performance since winning at Copperhead the year previous. He gained over five strokes on approach for the second time in four starts and picked up strokes around the greens for the fourth time in five events. The driving reverted to its early-year mediocrity, but Moore still possesses plus distance, and now gets a course with one of the lowest amount of fairways hit by the field, evening things out for him a bit.

Gdula: Doug Ghim (70-1, FanDuel) — Ghim’s ball-striking has kept me interested in him week in and week out lately. He’s the sixth-best golfer in SG/tee to green over the past 50 rounds, per datagolf, and his putting splits are actually above average from within 15 feet.

Stewart: Mackenzie Hughes (55-1, FanDuel) — Mackenzie Hughes has been playing some very solid golf. Hughes has finished inside the top 30 in each of his last three starts. He’s also finished top 30 in all three visits to Memorial Park. Just like his Sanderson win, you must drive the ball well and putt well. The Canadian can do both, and his iron game continues to improve all while his putter stays hot. Tail Hughes’ history in Houston and witness him learn from last week as he takes the Texas Children’s title.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Kurt Kitayama (55-1, BetMGM) — Kitayama proved at Bay Hill last year he can excel at tough driving tests with heavy rough and a ton of long-iron approaches. He’s finding his game again, too. He was eighth in Phoenix and finished 19th at The Players. This number’s nice and worth taking a shot on.

Powers, Golf Digest: Cameron Champ (125-1, BetMGM) — Chandler Phillips called Memorial Park a “bomber’s paradise” in his pre-tournament press conference this week, and my mind instantly went to his fellow Texas A&M Aggie, Cameron Champ. Champ now quietly has a pair of top-26 finishes in his last four events, both times pairing together his elite off-the-tee game and some hot putting. Based off of what a number of guys have said about the difference in how the course will play in March as compared to November, that seems like it could be a recipe for more success this week. Hit it as far as possible, go find it, knock it on and make some putts. The Champ Motto.

Lack: Stephan Jaeger (50-1, FanDuel) — Stephan Jaeger always deserves a look on longer golf courses that emphasize carry distance and mid-to-long iron play, and it should not come as a surprise that his best two results of the season came at Torrey Pines and Vidanta Vallarta. Jaeger now returns to a course where he finished ninth at in his most recent appearance. Given his power off-the-tee and touch around the greens, I expect the German to continue to shine at Memorial Park.

Houston Open picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Beau Hossler (40-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Hossler has missed two cuts in a row after changing caddies at the Cognizant. It could click for him again soon, but at a course where he’s struggled in the past, this is an easy pass.

Mayo: Alex Noren (25-1, BetRivers) — Noren as a top-10 favorite to win an event in 2024 simply makes no sense considering the plethora of players behind him in the outright market who possess far higher win equity. Bad price for the Swede.

Gdula: Jason Day (25-1, FanDuel) — Day’s success at Houston and his putting-fueled recent results have his odds shorter than they should be. He’s definitely still a contender, but this is a classic spot where the odds are just too short for me with how bad the irons have been.

Stewart: Tony Finau (22-1, BetMGM) — We faded him last week and he missed the cut in Tampa. Tony Finau returns to defend his 2022 Houston title. A championship where he gained 7.9 strokes on the field with his flat stick. Finau hasn’t gained a cumulative seven strokes with the putter in his last 18 events. Last week, the ball-striking started to show signs of collapsing to the pressure his putting has created. Take another week off from big Tony and be assured there’s better value to buy at the top of the board.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tony Finau (22-1, BetMGM) — It’s been a weird year for Finau. He had the close call at Torrey Pines, and top 20s in Mexico and Riviera, but other than that, he’s had nothing to show for some good ball-striking. The short game remains rough. I know it’ll be good vibes for him back in Houston, but I’ve just seen more consistent greatness this year from the rest of the elites.

Powers, Golf Digest: Alex Noren (25-1, BetRivers) — As a longtime Noren bettor, I know better than anyone that he has no business being 25-1 to win a golf tournament, especially one with Scottie Scheffler in it.

Lack: Jason Day (25-1, FanDuel) — While Jason Day has played well at this golf course in the past, I’m just not sure if his game is sharp enough right now to justify a bet at these odds. Day is coming off a 35th at the Players where he lost strokes both on approach and off-the-tee. Of the players in this odds range, Day is by far the worst long-iron player, and with reports that the course will play longer and softer, I have considerable concerns that his approach play will put him behind the eight ball.

Houston Open picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Tony Finau (-110) over Si Woo Kim (DraftKings) — There are a lot of landmines at Memorial Park for Si Woo, so I’m fine going against him with Finau—who I’m big on this week.

Mayo: Thomas Detry (+100) over Davis Thompson (DraftKings) — It’s always a fear of mine that Detry will simply quit on a tournament if he feels out of it, but I expect him to be firmly entrenched into the weekend with his ball-striking and elevated ball flight in Houston. While Thompson has shown iron upside, his driving, chipping and putting especially has been putrid the last month.

Gdula: Ben Griffin (-115) over Andrew Novak (FanDuel) — Griffin’s putting really elevates him in this matchup, and the overall skill gap shows Griffin as a value here in my simulations. He also finished T-16 here last year.

Stewart: Si Woo Kim (-110) over Tony Finau (DraftKings) — Si Woo Kim has five top 25s in eight starts this year. Although the putter has been intermittent at times, the ball-striking has gained an average of five strokes over the last five starts. Tony Finau’s putter would love to be intermittent or even to show up at all. Memorial Park requires great skill on the greens to contend. With Tony’s terrible touch as of late, I love Si Woo to grab this full-tournament matchup on Friday.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mackenzie Hughes (-110) over Beau Hossler (DraftKings) — These are two players going opposite ways at the moment. Hossler’s coming off two straight missed cuts, and he’s also missed the cut in his two appearances at Memorial Park. Hughes is coming off a third-place at the Valspar and has two other top-30 finishes the past two weeks. Hughes also has good history at Memorial Park, so I’ll ride with the form and the course history.

Powers, Golf Digest: Will Zalatoris (+140) over Wyndham Clark (DraftKings) — Wyndy’s on one right now, but if I believe Zalatoris is going to win the tournament, he’s going to have to go through the reigning U.S. Open champ (and Scottie, too. Gulp).

Lack: Stephan Jaeger (-130) over Jake Knapp (DraftKings) — Stephan Jaeger is my favorite longshot of the week, and I have considerable concerns that Jake Knapp is on the wrong side of a good run. Knapp is coming off a 45th-place finish at the Players where he lost over a stroke in both ball-striking categories and has never played Memorial Park either. I’ll gladly lay the juice with the more experienced and complete player.

Matchup Results from the Valspar Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Straka (-130) over Berger); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Ghim (-175) over Rodgers); Lack: 1 for 1 (Harman (-140) over M.W. Lee); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Glover (-105) over Hossler); Stewart: 1 for 1 (Bezuidenhout (-110) over Rai); Gdula: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 10-2-0 (up 7.74 units); Caddie: 7-4-0 (up 1.83 units); Lack 7-5-0 (up 1.63 units); Gdula: 6-4-2 (up 1.3 units); Powers: 6-5-1 (up 0.97 units); Hennessey: 5-4-3 (up 0.26 units); Stewart: 6-6-0 (down 0.46 units)

Memorial Park Golf Course
Public
Memorial Park Golf Course
Houston, TX
3.8
34 Panelists
A significant renovation was completed by Tom Doak (in collaboration with Brooks Koepka) to transform the old municipal course at Memorial Park—which hosted the first Houston Open in 1947 and then again from 1951 through 1965—into a layout worthy of being a PGA Tour venue. Originally built in 1912 at a hospital near Camp Logan for recovering soldiers to use, architect John Bredemus redesigned the course in 1935 and added a second nine. Now with signature Doak green complexes and tour-level conditioning, Memorial Park is once again a must-play in the state and averages 60,000 rounds a year.
Explore our full review

Houston Open picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Tony Finau (+250, FanDuel) — I’m very high on Tony this week as you can see.

Mayo: Jason Day (+250, DraftKings) — The irons flipped to the dark side for him in Florida, but fortunately, the Sunshine State is in the rearview mirror for 2024. The short game remains elite, and Day most definitely has an affinity for Texas. He broke his winless drought at Craig Ranch a year ago and has churned out two top-20 finishes in three starts at Memorial Park.

Gdula: Beau Hossler (+450, FanDuel) — Hossler’s irons are just OK of late, but he’s a really good golfer other than that (datagolf has him ranked third in SG/average over the past 50 rounds). He has yet to find success at Houston in two starts, but his odds are a bit longer than they should be after two straight MCs.

Stewart: Keith Mitchell (+360, FanDuel) — I thought about picking Keith Mitchell to win last week. His pre-tournament odds were 40-1 and he was in great form. He played much better than 40-1 finishing second in SG/tee-to-green and held the 54-hole lead. It was a ball-striking display in Tampa by the cashmere king. He starts this week with the same odds. With Mitchell’s driving, Memorial Park is a better fit than the Copperhead in Tampa. Killa Keith will contend again and bring us a nice reward for getting 10 places.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Stephan Jaeger (+425, Bet365) — Jaeger has added a ton of power off the tee, and that has translated to top-three finishes at Torrey Pines and Mexico. Length is huge at Memorial Park, and I think that’ll help him improve upon his ninth-place finish here in Houston last year.

Powers, Golf Digest: Tony Finau (+250, DraftKings) — Finau mentioned that he believes he’s hitting it just fine on Tuesday, it’s just that the results aren’t showing that because he’s not scoring well. That’s usually a good indicator of a guy who is ready to turn it around at any second. Finau’s a prime candidate for that to happen at Memorial Park, where he claimed a five-stroke victory the last time the tournament was played there in 2022.

Lack: Joseph Bramlett (+800, DraftKings) — I know this is a bit of a dart throw, but I love the way this golf course sets up for Joseph Bramlett. Coming off a 17th-place finish at the Valspar where he gained 3.8 strokes on approach and five strokes around-the-green, Bramlett now returns to a golf course where he finished ninth in his most recent appearance. Bramlett is one of the longest drivers of the ball in this field, one of the best long-iron players out of the rough, and he sneakily boasts a strong short game as well. Don’t be surprised to see the veteran find his way into the mix come Sunday afternoon in Houston.

Top-10 results from the Houston Open: Everybody: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Mayo: 3 for 12 (up 4 units); Lack: 3 for 12 (down 0.2 units); Gdula: 2 for 12 (down 1.5 units); Hennessey: 2 for 12 (down 2 units); Stewart: 1 for 12 (down 7.67 units); Powers: 1 for 12 (down 9.1 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