Zurich Classic 2023 betting guide: PGA expert handicaps the best bet to win a team event

The Zurich Classic reinvented itself on the tournament schedule six years ago when it became the only team event on the PGA TOUR calendar. We’ve witnessed three specific events over the past eight weeks, THE PLAYERS and The Masters. If these guys aren’t exhausted on 72 holes of stroke play, I sure am.

TPC Louisiana is the host course and our fourth Pete Dye designed golf course on the TOUR in the last seven weeks. Needless to say, we prefer the current form when it comes to determining our best bets. Three of the last four Elite Events have involved Dye architecture. The best thing about the bayou is a large course. At 7,425 yards, the par-72 scorecard is covered with 106 bunkers and strategic water penalty zones.

TPC Louisiana is one of the 10 longest courses these guys play year-round on the TOUR. Considering the different challenges, the New Orleans environment and the team format, the venue and the tournament really are a perfect synergy. Let’s dig deeper and see what else the French Quarter has in store for 16 of the top 50 golfers in the world.

Zurich Classic 2023: Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings and DraftKings Nation

golfer 1 golfer 2 winner
Xander Schauffele Patrick Cantley +300
Collin Morikawa Max Homa +800
Sunjae Im Keith Mitchell +1100
Si Woo Kim tom kim +1400
Sam Burns Billy Horschel +1400
Taylor Montgomery Kurt Kitayama +1800
Justin Suh Sahith Teagala +2000
Matt Fitzpatrick Alex Fitzpatrick +2200
Beau Hoessler Wyndham Clark +2500
Victor Perez Thomas Detry +2800
Nick Taylor Adam Hadwin +2800
Thorbjorn Olesen Nicolai Hojgaard +3000
Harris English Tom Höge +3000
Byeong Hun An SH Kim +3000
JJ Spaun Hayden Buckley +3500
Denny McCarthy Joel Dahmen +3500
Will Gordon Davis Thompson +3500
Matthew NeSmith Taylor Moore +4000
Davis Riley Nick Hardy +4000
Callum Shinwin Matt Wallace +4000
Robbie Shelton Lee Hodges +4500
Brendon Todd Patton Kizzire +4500
Ben Griffins Ryan Gerhard +4500
Scott Stallings Trey Mullinax +4500
Ben Martin Chesson Hadley +5000
Doc Redman Sam Ryder +5000
Brandon Wu Joseph Bramlett +5500
Akshay Bhatia Harry Hall +5500
Eric van Rooyen MJ Daffue +6000
Aaron Rai David Lipsky +6000
Luke’s list Henrik Norlander +6500
Scott Piercy Ryan Palmer +7000
Michael Kim SY No +7000
BenTaylor Callum Tarren +7000
JustinLower Dylan Wu +7500
Sam Saunders Eric Cole +8000
Hank Lebioda Tyler Duncan +8000
Doug Ghim Kramer Hickok +8000
Vincent Normann Matthias Schwab +9000
Tyson Alexander Karl Yuan +9000
Sean O’Hair Brandon Matthews +9000
Max McGreevy Sam Stevens +9000
Kevin Roy Brent Grant +9000
Harry Higgs Austin Smotherman +9000
Fabian Gomez Augusto Nunez +9000
Andrew Novak Trevor Cone +9000
Michael Gligic Taylor Pendrith +9000
Scott Harington Austin Eckroat +10000
Matthew Schmid Dylan Frittelli +10000
Harrison Endycott Aaron Baddeley +10000
Tano Goya Trevor Werbelo +11000
Jason Dufner Kevin Chappell +11000
Cody Gribble Paul Haley II +11000
Greyson Sigg Brice Garnet +11000
Edoardo Molinari Luke Donald +11000
Zecheng Dou Zac Blair +13000
Kevin Way Kelly Kraft +13000
Cameron Percy Gregory Chalmers +13000
Bill Hass Jonathan Byrd +13000
Zach Johnson Steve Stricker +13000
Ryan Brehm Mark Hubbard +15000
Nick Watney Charley Hoffman +15000
DA points Jimmy Walker +15000
Chad Ramey Martin Coach +15000
Ryan Armour Jim Herman +18000
Robert Streb Troy Merritt +18000
David Linmerth Jonas Blixt +18000
Austin Koch Andrew Landry +18000
Kyle Westmoreland carson young +20000
Grayson-Murray Wesley Bryan +20000
Scott Brown Richie Werensky +25000
Brian Stuard Russel Knox +25000
Michael Thomas Paresh Amin +35000
Chris Stroud William McGirt +35000
Sangmoon Bae Sung Kang +40000
Ricky Barnes KyleStanley +40000
Derek Ernst Robert Garrigus +60000
ChadCollins DJ Trahan +60000
Kevin Stadler Geoff Ogilvy +100000
John Daly David Duval +100000
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Zurich Classic: format and weather

This is the largest tournament field on the PGA TOUR. Eighty two-player teams will compete for $8.6 million. The two winners will share $2,485,400 and the title of Best Team on the 2023 TOUR. Both players must contribute across all four days of this format. To reach the weekend, the field is reduced to the top 33 and a tie. One of the toughest weekends considering the field starts with 160 players!

Rounds one and three are played in Fourball or Better Ball of Partners format. Each player competes by playing their own ball into the hole. The low score for that team on each hole counts. In rounds two and four, one player selects the odd holes to tee off and the other selects the even ones. Once the ball is in play at any hole, the two players take turns until the ball is holed. This sum counts as the team result.

Strategy plays a big part in your success with alternate shots. Dealing with the weather this week could also be troublesome. In the last two weeks we have had rain and more is in the forecast. Thursday begins with temperatures in the 80s. From Friday afternoon a front will move through the region. Temperatures will drop to the low 70s on Saturday and Sunday while nearly 1.25 inches of rain will hit the track. The wind picks up at the weekend too.

Eight holes have areas where water comes into play. Also, 600 trees have been added to the property since Hurricane Ida. Dye’s design should encourage accuracy, but don’t forget length. Outside of the format changes, this tournament gets complicated very quickly. Teams that have played here before have a significant advantage.

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Zurich Classic: A successful partnership

Let’s lay out the skills required to fight and win this week. The first factor is scoring. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele won last year with a winning score of 29 under par. They were 25 under par on the better ball and four under for the alternate shot. Competitors need an impressive yardage percentage to keep up. Our best chances are guys who can go deep.

The average winning score over the five years that the team format has been used is 25 under par. The greens are littered with Poa Trivialis. We’ve seen the same combination on tour and at Dye courses multiple times since February. Teams that play well on Pete’s courts are of great interest. Pete loves to reward solid forwards and punish the rest.

In order to compete with your team, T2G play must be consistent. It’s one thing to hide behind a hot partner in fourball, but when the fours happen you have to hit every other shot. Because of this, the average pre-tournament win rate since the inception of the team format is +3400 (34-1). You need two great players to win this event and they both need to be in great shape.

TPC Louisiana has an interesting combination of approach shots. Thirty percent of iron shots into the green come from more than 200 yards. Another 30% are from 125 yards or less. Both guys must be great wedge players. You have to be a good bunker player and close-range goalscorer. Four of the par 4s are over 470 and each of the par 3s is over 200 yards. If you have a par 5 or short par 4 and a wedge in hand, birdie is mandatory.

These greens can be challenging from within ten feet. One reason is that you take turns putting with your partner. Without a good flatstick rhythm, weaker putters will stand out. The greens are smaller than average at 5,225 sq/ft. Long iron approaches to these small areas that are at fun angles to the fairway make a great test. For yardage productivity and ball-playing, I look for teams that have partners who play similarly. To truly understand your teammate’s game, you need to play like them. Xander and Patrick make a great team because their games are so well rounded.

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Putting a bomber and a wedge type together didn’t lead to success. To truly work as a team, you must play as a team. When the dust settles on Sunday, don’t be surprised if the winning pair play the same game. These are my keys to winning the Zurich Classic. Team events are hard to handicap, so this week we’re shuffling the best bets. Just look.

Zurich Classic: Best bets

Best bet to win: Justin Suh and Sahith Theegala (+2200 Bet MGM)

Sahith Theegala just finished top 10 in the Masters and fifth in the Pete Dye-designed Harbor Town at RBC Heritage. He plays well on Dye and other TPC courts. Justin Suh is fourth in the field for yardage percentage or better, has navigated nine straight cuts with four top-25 finishes. This dynamic pairing works really well as a team. I love her putting power, which is needed to make 30+ birdies in the bayou.

Best bet to win: Hayden Buckley and JJ Spaun (+3300 PointsBet)

Hayden Buckley drives the ball like a superstar. JJ Spaun is also a superior ball forward and together her team hit 63% of their fairways and 69% of their greens. Consistent T2G play like these two creates an endless number of birdie opportunities. Everyone plays well on difficult dye courses. Buckley just finished fifth in Harbor Town and Spaun finished ninth in the WGC Match Play. They are probably the only team above +2500 that can keep up with the favorites.

Best Chance for Top 20: Buckley and Spaun (+120 draft kings)

These two are one of the best teams in this field. T2G they are complete and have both played well over the past few weeks. Of the mid-range, I love their ability to blend well and fight for victory. Hitting close to 70% of her GIRs puts her iron game close to her elite driving. Finishing in the top 20 is a great bet with positive odds.

For a full list of my betting predictions for LPGA and PGA TOUR winners, standings and H2H matches, visit read the line and subscribe.

Read The Line is the premier golf betting information service headed by five-time PGA award winning professional Keith Stewart. Read The Line has amassed 15 overall wins in the last year and covers the LPGA and PGA tours, helping you improve your golf betting sense week in and week out. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter and follow us on social media: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter.

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