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Zurich Classic picks 2024: Our experts are betting on this sleeper team in New Orleans

April 23, 2024
AVONDALE, LOUISIANA - APRIL 21: Matthew NeSmith and Taylor Moore react on the 18th green during the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 21, 2022 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Finally, a golf tournament without Scottie Scheffler! Scheffler’s historic run has been compelling—unless you’re into betting golf winners. Though the Zurich Classic provides some volatility and a ton of randomness, it’s the only official team event on the PGA Tour—so we’re locked in on nailing another winner, especially without the Masters champion in the field.

Our betting panel has been hot over the past month or so, despite Scheffler making it tough on us. Three of us hit Akshay Bhatia at 65-1 to win the Valero Texas Open the week before the Masters, and the last time a golfer edged Scheffler in a tournament, Stephan Jaeger in Houston, Andy Lack hit the outright at 50-1.

We have two consensus plays this week—with three of our experts eyeing two particular teams to win in New Orleans. Scroll down to see our best bets from our betting panel, comprised of a caddie reporting anonymously from the grounds of TPC Louisiana, Pat Mayo of Underdog/Mayo Media Network, Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel, 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.

Best and Worst Value Bets for the 2024 Zurich Classic

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 Zurich Classic.

Zurich Classic picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Will Zalatoris and Sahith Theegala (+850, BetMGM) — Sahith and Will are a great duo. They both love to shape shots and play with creativity—so particularly in alternate shot, where this can be won, they should thrive. They’ve each been so close to winning this year—I think their elite ball-striking will give them enough chances to convert … and without the pressure of a comebacker in best ball, I think Willy can thrive.

Pat Mayo, Underdog/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Taylor Moore and Matt NeSmith (45-1, Bet365) — The duo have partnered in the past two years in this event, resulting in consecutive top-five finishes. Moore enters this year’s event in great form, just like last year while NeSmith has the same dismal form as 12 months ago. Still, their skills complement each other quite well. Moore excels with the driver and around the greens, and NeSmith, despite the lack of results, can be one of the better pin-seekers inside 150 yards on tour. If they can run hot on the greens they can most definitely win.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Collin Morikawa and Kurt Kitayama (11-1, FanDuel) — This team has top-five form over the last three months. So, the recent form is there, and their combined ball-striking ranks them fifth over the past 50 rounds, too, according to datagolf. They deserve to be a favorite; Kitayama is likely better than perception.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin (28-1, BetMGM) — The 2023 runner-up team of Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor possesses a great combination of ball-striking and scoring potential. Taylor has won twice in the past 11 months and ranks in the top 10 for approach statistics in this field. Hadwin is an efficient scorer. Adam is top 10 in birdies and top 15 for Birdie-or-Better percentage. Combined these two Canadians have great chemistry and a Presidents Cup team spot(s) to play for. A little extra motivation never hurts when they can help each other reach that important goal.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin (28-1, BetMGM) — I’m tailing Keith on this one after his epic Scottie/Nelly double last week. Let’s stay hot with the Canadians. I’m surprised this number isn’t lower. (I’ve also bet Mitchell/Dahmen, but that number has shot down from 40-1 on Monday to now 18-1, which I can’t give out.)

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Davis Thompson and Andrew Novak (40-1, DraftKings) — I’ve long been a Davey T stan and he has let me down time after time. But perhaps pairing up with Andrew Novak, who is quietly having a career year, can help him realize his full potential. Novak has been a tee-to-green stud in 2024, which resulted in three consecutive top 10s in late February and early March. He’s since had just one top 20 in four starts, but his ball-striking numbers have been fine during that stretch. As for DT, he’s coming off a top 20 at Corales, his best finish since the WMPO. I think this is a duo that’s being overlooked this week and I love that for them (and me, hopefully).

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin (28-1, BetMGM) — This all-Canadian duo has already proven their meddle in this event with a runner-up finish last year. I would argue that both are playing even better golf now and have more on the line in a Presidents Cup year. Both Hadwin and Taylor are great over-seeded Bermuda putters who raise their baseline in easier scoring conditions. Outside of their success on this golf course, Taylor won at TPC Scottsdale earlier this year, an over-seeded Bermuda TPC style course, and Hadwin is the number one player in this field in strokes gained total at PGA West, a driver-heavy Pete Dye, over-seeded Bermuda course. I expect this pairing to continue their strong play on these style of tracks.

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 NOLA.

Zurich Classic picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Taylor Moore and Matthew NeSmith (45-1, Bet365) — Two absolute flushers who finished fourth last year and can pull a Davis Riley/Nick Hardy. Moore’s putter can get super hot and should pair nicely with NeSmith’s elite iron play. 

Mayo: Parker Coody and Pierceson Coody (80-1, Bet365) — All the other brother teams are at the top of the betting board, except the Coodys. Who knows how many rounds they’ve played with and against each other, and to deep dive their stats from the past year, they actually have very complementary games. Pierceson can drive and putt while Parker can hit irons and chip. Big odds for a cohesive team at a course where accuracy hasn’t proven to be a determining factor.

Gdula: Doug Ghim and Chan Kim (45-1, FanDuel) — This is a very similar team; both are moderately positive iron players and plus drivers while being neutral putters with solid underlying putting splits. I have them as a top-12 team in the field based on my stats model.

Stewart: Taylor Moore and Matt NeSmith (45-1, Bet365) — For two straight years, Taylor Moore and Matt NeSmith have finished fourth in the Zurich. Looking back, neither has really distinguished themselves in the weeks leading up to this event. Something clicks between these two and the combination of Moore’s scoring ability and NeSmith’s ball striking makes sense. Team golf is very different than individual stroke play. Knowing you have partner frees up some players far past their usual ceiling. I believe that’s the case with Matt when he partners with a solid teammate like Taylor.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Ryan Fox/Garrick Higgo (66-1, BetMGM) — I love this bomber group at TPC Louisiana, which boasts one of the lowest missed-fairway penalties on tour. Garrick Higgo is 13th on tour this season in driving distance, and Ryan Fox is 31st. Fox had a great showing at the Masters and is ready for the next step in his career. Higgo has a more concerning profile, but his putter can super-hot, like it did in his last measured start at the Valero, where he gained more than seven strokes/putting.

Powers, Golf Digest: Taylor Montgomery and Ben Griffin (50-1, DraftKings) — You have to hole a million putts to win this event, hence why Cameron Smith has won it twice with two different teammates. Montgomery and Griffin are by far the best two putters on Bermuda in this field, and they just so happen to be playing together. Good enough for me.

Lack: Beau Hossler and Sam Ryder (60-1, FanDuel) — Beau Hossler and Sam Ryder both have some solid experience at this event. Hossler finished third last year with Wyndham Clark, and Ryder finished 26th with Doc Redman. While they will playing together for the first time, both are two of the more prolific birdie-makers in this field who significantly raise their baseline in easy scoring conditions. I trust this duo to catch lightning on the greens and find their way onto the first page of the leaderboard.

Zurich Classic picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay (+400, Bet365) — I’m not sure if oddsmakers are tired of getting beat by Scottie Scheffler at these odds, but to win a golf tournament as dependent as this one on putting seems absurd to have the Ryder Cup bad boys at these odds. Xander’s on the precipice of a win, and Cantlay played better last week, but I still would rather take anyone else at higher odds.

Mayo: Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry (+750, Bet365) — Maybe the lack of pressure will work as a benefit to the Ryder Cup teammates, but they’ve just not shown enough down the stretch lately to think they can get low enough to win a putting contest in the clutch.

Gdula: Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin (22-1, FanDuel) — They were runners-up last year, but they’re dependent on their putters. They’re 17th in combined ball-striking over the last 50 rounds, via datagaolf —not where you want a 22-1 team to be.

Stewart: Matt Fitzpatrick and Alex Fitzpatrick (28-1, BetMGM) — The top of the betting board is comprised of two-man teams with a PGA Tour pedigree. Alex Fitzpatrick has more playing pressure than any other competitor surrounding him with similar (or less) odds. Matt Fitzpatrick is a U.S. Open winner, but to compete and contend both players must heavily contribute at TPC Louisiana. These two should make the cut, but taking home the trophy just seems like a heavy lift considering the depth of competition in their odds range.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry (+750, Bet365) — It’s scary to step in front of this Ryder Cup monster duo, but Rory needs to show me the approach play has improved before betting him at single digits.

Powers, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry (+750, Bet365) — Rory disappointed again last week, and Lowry continues to get way too much respect for a guy with only two PGA Tour victories, neither of them coming after 2019.

Lack: Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry (+750, Bet365) — I know the vibes will be strong for the Irish pairing this week, but neither are playing particularly solid golf at the moment. McIlroy and Lowry both failed to record a top-20 at the Masters and RBC Heritage. Particularly in the case of Lowry, those are two of his historically strongest tracks on tour, which raises serious concerns about the state of his game. This tournament is won every year on the greens, and I trust neither partner to roll in enough putts to win a golf tournament right now.

Zurich Classic picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Beau Hossler/Sam Ryder (+120) over Billy Horschel/Tyson Alexander (Bet365) — Hossler had a solid start to the year and has struggled late—but his short game will be an asset here along with Sam Ryder’s ball-striking. Billy loves this event, but this is more of a fade against his partner.

Mayo: Keith Mitchell and Joel Dahmen (-110) over Doug Ghim and Chan Kim (Bet365) — Something about this tournament and Keith Mitchell are a perfect match. Regardless of partner, Mitchell’s posted two top-six finishes over his past three starts. And combined, the pair come in ranked near the top of the field in ball striking over the past two months. 

Gdula: Justin Lower and Dylan Wu (-115) over Aaron Rai and David Lipsky (FanDuel) -- Rai and Lipsky are one of the worst putting teams in the field this week, and neither have particularly great wedges. Lower and Wu are in much better form as a team over the last three months.

Stewart: Billy Horschel and Tyson Alexander (+105) over Austin Eckroat and Chris Gotterup (BetMGM) — Billy Horschel has won here as an individual and in the team competition. He also has two runner-up finishes. His Florida partner Tyson Alexander is a birdie machine ranking in the top 20 for Birdie-or-Better percentage and birdies gained. Austin Eckroat missed the cut here in 2023 and Chris Gotterup has not played in the Zurich before. Horschel’s history at TPC Louisiana gives him an edge in this matchup and against most of the field. Not to mention, his game is in great order having just won in Punta Cana last week.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tom Hoge and Maverick McNealy (-110) over Matt Fitzpatrick and Alex Fitzpatrick (Caesars Sportsbook) — I’m not sure Hoge and McNealy will make enough clutch putts to get a win, but I like their ball-striking to be a steady top-10 or top-20 option. Whereas Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick, nice story as they are, are question marks and shouldn’t be this near the favorites in the outright market.

Powers, Golf Digest: Beau Hossler and Sam Ryder (+120) over Billy Horschel and Tyson Alexander (Bet365) — Natural letdown spot for Horschel, and I love a great putter like Hossler teaming up with a strong iron player like Ryder.

Lack: Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (-150) over Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry (Caesars Sportsbook) — This is generally more juice than I like laying in a matchup, but Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are about as sure of a thing as it gets at the Zurich Classic. Schauffele has been a top-three player on the PGA Tour this year, and after a third-place finish last week at the RBC Heritage, Cantlay is rounding into form as well. On the other hand, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry have looked far less impressive over the past two weeks.

Matchup Results from the RBC Heritage: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Aberg (-110) over McIlroy); Lack: 1 for 1 (Kirk (-120) over Day); Powers: PUSH (Kim (+100) over Bhatia); Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Stewart: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 12-4-0 (up 7.74 units); Lack 10-5-1 (up 4.06 units); Caddie: 10-5-0 (up 3.48 units); Gdula: 8-6-2 (up 1 unit); Hennessey: 7-6-3 (up 0.08 units); Powers: 7-7-2 (down 0.12 units); Stewart: 8-8-0 (down 0.72 units)

Zurich Classic picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Sepp Straka and Brice Garnett (+260, Bet365) — This is a sneaky duo. Garnett won this year in Puerto Rico and is coming off an impressive 12th-place finish at the signature event at Harbour Town. Straka was in the final group with Scheffler and played great all year, showing that his complete game is on right now. Both guys can fill it up to give them a chance—plus I love that Straka has Dewey, aka Duane Bock, on the bag—as he has a ton of experience at TPC Louisiana with Kevin Kisner. 

Mayo: Matti Schmid and Alex Smalley (+333, Bet365) — For players with over one round of experience at Pete Dye courses there are only two in this field averaging over two strokes total per round over the past 12 rounds: Xander Schauffele (+2.45) and Matti Schmid (+2.41). Plus, the German’s recent results have been solid. Then, there is Smalley, who after seven straight missed cuts was resurrected last week in Dominican Republic posting a T-6. Maybe he can catch lightning in a bottle and roll it forward and look like the same player we were betting to win real tournaments two summers ago.

Gdula: Tom Hoge and Maverick McNealy (+210, FanDuel) — This team has elite irons with Hoge and elite wedges with McNealy. Both are good putters, too, so that’s a good sign for scoring in this setup. They should complement one another well.

Stewart: Tom Hoge and Maverick McNealy (+275, BetRivers) — Who wouldn’t want to have Tom Hoge hit approach shots for them in a team format like Foursomes. Conversely, I’d love to have Maverick McNealy putt those birdie opportunities. When I first read the team list, Hoge/McNealy really caught my attention. Both have been playing well, Hoge the 36-hole leader at RBC Heritage and McNealy a ninth-place at The Players. Together these two will contend for the title on Sunday with prefect combination of accuracy and scoring.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Pierceson and Parker Coody (+550, Caesars Sportsbook) — Mayo makes a good case for them from an outright perspective. I could see them having a great week with their chemistry and form.

Powers, Golf Digest: Kevin Tway and Kelly Kraft (+1200, DraftKings) — Tway very sneakily finished third at Corales, while Kraft has played just one tour event in 2024. He should be well-rested and ready to roll, then.

Lack: Andrew Novak/Davis Thompson (+375, Bet365) — This first time pairing immediately had my attention for the approach upside that they bring to the table. Novak has gained over 3.5 strokes on approach in four of his last seven starts, and while Thompson is a solid iron player as well, he can also pick up some of the slack off the tee and around the greens.

Top-10 results from the RBC Heritage: Lack and Stewart: 1 for 1 (Patrick Cantlay +175); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Ludvig Aberg +140); Everyone else: 0 for 1.

Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 4 for 16 (up 3.65 units); Caddie: 4 for 16 (up 1.35 units); Mayo: 3 for 16 (up 0 units); Lack: 4 for 16 (down 1.45 units); Powers: 3 for 16 (down 5.4 units); Gdula: 2 for 16 (down 5.5 units); Stewart: 3 for 16 (down 6.42 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, senior managing editor of FanDuel Research, 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