Predictions and Picks for the 2021 Zurich Classic
80 two-man teams make up the field this week in New Orleans. The defending champs (Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer) headline the betting sheet along with a star-studded American duo (Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele) that played four matches together at the 2019 Presidents Cup.
Before I unleash my top Zurich Classic picks, here’s a quick refresher bringing you up to speed on the format.
- Thursday – Fourball (Best-Ball)
- Friday – Foursomes (Alternate Shot)
- Saturday – Fourball (Best-Ball)
- Sunday – Foursomes (Alternate Shot)
The top 35 teams (plus ties) will qualify for weekend play in what marks the fourth edition of “team competition” in Avondale.
|Zurich Classic Winners Since 2017 (Start of Team Play)|
|Year||Winning Team||Runners-Up||Winning Score||Winning Margin|
|2019||Jon Rahm & Ryan Palmer||Tommy Fleetwood & Sergio Garcia||262 (-26)||3|
|2018||Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy||Jason Dufner & Pat Perez||266 (-22)||1|
|2017||Jonas Blixt & Cameron Smith||Scott Brown & Kevin Kisner||261 (-27)||Playoff|
Onto this week’s festivities.
Zurich Classic Sleeper Picks for 2021
After scoping the Zurich Classic odds at all of the top golf betting sites, here are a couple of off-the-radar teams that could make some noise over the weekend.
Graeme McDowell & Matt Wallace (+6000)
Graeme McDowell has had a forgettable year on the PGA Tour, although a T4 in Puntacana at least got his blood flowing on a Sunday. Coming back to a place he’s familiar with should help – McDowell finished T22 with Henrik Stenson here in 2018 and T18 with Ian Poulter in 2019.
One way to jolt some energy into the 41-year-old Irishman is to pair him with another fellow European – specifically one who’s been surging as of late.
Matt Wallace parlayed his momentum from beating Sergio Garcia Friday at the Match Play into a solo-3rd the following week at the Valero Texas Open. Wallace was T4 through 54 holes this past week in Hilton Head before a Sunday 73 dropped him into a tie for 18th.
Matt has been extremely vocal about his desire to play in the Ryder Cup – a good showing this week playing four-ball and foursomes could go a long way into making that dream turn into a reality.
Russell Knox & Brian Stuard (+6600)
If there’s ever a time to back Brian Stuard, this would be the week.
Stuard’s lone victory on the PGA Tour came right here at TPC Louisiana (2016) in the final year the Zurich Classic was played as an individual event. He’s made the cut in all three trips back to the Big Easy since (11th-28th-22nd), including in 2019 when he and Russell Knox tied for 22nd. Stuard’s coming off shooting four red numbers at Harbour Town that propelled him to his first top-20 since Pebble Beach in February.
Knox has struggled as of late mainly due to an inconsistent short game, but find solace knowing this duo really gels well on the links.
After opening with 62 the last time out in NOLA, Stuard and Knox fired a bogey-free 69 during Friday’s alternate-shot portion. Russell finished T7 at the 2018 Zurich Classic with fellow Scotsman Martin Laird.
Matchup Bet – Horschel/Burns to Beat Kirk/Todd (+115)
On paper, Chris Kirk and Brendon Todd should mesh well. The former teammates in Athens have similar style games and can each make a ton of birdies. However, betting on the Zurich Classic isn’t done “on paper.”
Once you do some digging, backing Kirk in this format becomes a bit frightful.
Chris is 0-3 at TPC Louisiana since the Zurich Classic switched to a team format. Brendon Todd was his partner in 2017; they missed the cut by four.
Flip the coin and Billy Horschel has won the Zurich Classic twice and Sam Burns is a Louisiana native who was a standout at LSU. Horschel is riding a ton of confidence after winning the WGC Match Play; Burns has three top-10s this season and ranked 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green last week at the RBC Heritage.
I think *upside* is huge this week for the Zurich so I filtered all the rounds this season in which a golfer has gained 4+ strokes on the field.— Rick Gehman (@RickRunGood) April 19, 2021
Burns & Horschel – 12 rounds
Im & An – 9
Hatton & Willet – 8
Note: Im has 8 for his team and Hatton has all for his team. pic.twitter.com/B8XBbrBtaF
Joel Dahmen & Lanto Griffin to Finish Inside the Top 20 (+150)
Joel Dahmen and Lanto Griffin are surely looking forward to chowing down on some Creole cuisine and throwing back a few beverages in the French Quarter. Look for them to play some pretty good golf, too.
Griffin has made seven of his last eight cuts finishing 26th or better four times during that stretch. Nothing in particular stands out about Lanto’s game – other than the fact that he’s sound across the board.
Dahmen’s victory at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship should free him up for the remainder of the season, plus he’s got a solid track record in the Crescent City (25th at the 2018 Zurich Classic, 18th at the 2019 Zurich Classic).
Time to round out my Zurich Classic predictions with the two guys I’m pegging to be the last two standing.
2021 Zurich Classic Pick to Win
There are tons of intriguing pairs teeing it up this week. Among the most formidable duos, Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler have my attention. Priced at +1200 and +1400 at the first two sites I encountered, their +1600 number at BetOnline has me rolling the dice.
Bubba placed 5th in the 2018 Zurich Classic with an erratic J.B. Holmes by his side – Watson is set to do some serious damage paired with an on-form Scottie Scheffler
Rested since his T18 at Augusta, Scottie’s proficiency off the tee (ranked 1st in Total Driving) should help blend with Bubba’s extraordinary creativity. I’m especially fond of this pair in the best-ball format – taking a stab on the FRL (first-round lead) makes some sense as well.
Bubba Watson & Scottie Scheffler+1600