Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, May 12
Cutoff time for this event is May 13 at 7:50 AM EST.
Streaming Subscribers: Watch on Sky Sports Golf Channel in the UK Sports group or the Sky Sports Group beginning at 8:30 AM EST on Thursday and every day thereafter.
Byron Nelson Classic Preview
It’s out with the old and in with the new this week. Trinity Forest has been deemed a bit too easy a course for a PGA TOUR event, and so that layout will make way for TPC Craig Ranch to take on hosting duties. The Dallas track was designed by Tom Weiskopf and has only hosted a couple of noteworthy events – the Nationwide Tour Championship on the Korn Ferry TOUR in 2008 and 2012, and also the KFT’s Q-School tournament, thus, it’s something of a leap into the unknown, although two factors immediately stand out when analyzing the layout. First, it’s a whopping 7,438 yards for its Par 71, which means that there are only three Par 5s (and thus some lengthy Par 4s). Secondly, the fairways are described as ‘generous’, and so this may be a week for the bombers to thrive.
However, Rowlett Creek – an expanse of water that features throughout the course – is said to be a factor on as many as 14 holes, and so hitting bombs off the tee without some care may not be advised. Note too that the grass is unusual for a Texan track – the fairways are the rare Zoysia breed while the greens are pure Bentgrass, which is something of a surprise. Some of the holes are exposed to the elements, whereas others are sheltered by thick tree lines, and so picking which holes to attack and which to be more conservative on figures to be crucial.
What We’re Looking For:
When we have no evidence to work with from prior tournaments, we simply have to stick with the basics when shortlisting our picks. We’re expecting TPC Craig Ranch to play very long, and with wide enough fairways this could be a second straight week in which the bombers hold sway. The green complexes look fairly straightforward on the radar images, and so approaching from as close as possible should facilitate plenty of birdie putts – those comfy on Bentgrass are, of course, favored.
The wind could well pick up over the weekend – that’s another angle to consider, but otherwise it’s a case of making educated guesses as to who could thrive at TPC Craig Ranch until we see the course first hand. Still, it makes for an intriguing week because of the unknown, which is accompanied by some great prices on many pros.
To Win Outright: These are played at BET365 because of their cashout option.
Wesley Bryan 250-1
Excruciatingly frustrating for the very few who get behind him, there is definitely a big performance in the locker of Wesley Bryan. Long, but wild, off the tee, Bryan should enjoy the expanses of fairway at TPC Craig Ranch, and if he can hit the short stuff more often than not then his efficient iron game can thrive. Four of his last eight rounds have been played at 68 or better, so Bryan is doing plenty right at the moment and looks to be a great value proposition. We’re going to play him to win outright for 0.2 units and also to finish top-5 at ⅕ the price at 50-1 (Total risk is 0.4 units).
Patton Kizzire 140-1
Another player who has been knocking on the door of better performances lately is Patton Kizzire. T9 at the Texas Open, he opened with a round of 66 at the Valspar Championship and a disappointing final round of 77 at the Wells Fargo prevented Kizzire from building on a promising start. When he connects four rounds together, Kizzire should go close, and TPC Craig Ranch could be an ideal venue for the two-time PGA TOUR champion. He is long but erratic off the tee – some extra room might help – but he is strong when dialed in with his irons and always seems to putt well, so Kizzire looks to be a more-than-fair price. Kizzare ranks 23rd ON TOUR in SG: Putting and 46th in Birdie Average. We’re going to bet him to win and for a top-5 finish also at ⅕ the price, which is 35-1 (Total risk is 0.4 units).
Sepp Straka 150-1
Now in his third season on the PGA TOUR, there is a display of majestic ball-striking from Sepp Straka that we see from time-to-time. His iron is usually nothing short of extraordinary, and if he can find that form and marry it to his typically very good driving, Straka can far outperform the expectations of others here. In his first two seasons, he went a collective 23-for-50 but still qualified for the Playoffs in each. In 2020-21, he’s 16-for-21 with a pair of top 10’s among five top 25s. He arrived at TPC Craig Ranch having strung together six paydays and sits a comfortable 92nd in the FedExCup. There isn’t much gloss on the back of his trading card but it’s also devoid of a significant weakness. His price doesn’t reflect his talent, as he has a better chance of winning than many pros in the 60 to 100-1 range. We’re going to bet him to win and for a top-5 finish at ⅕ the price, which is 37.5-1 and of course to win for 0.2 units also. (total risk is 0.4 units).
John Catlin 150-1
John Catlin is not a known name but keep him on your radar because he’s very likely to be known soon. That’s the cost of winning so often. When he debuted on the PGA TOUR at the 2018 CIMB Classic, he appeared as a recent three-time champion on the Asian Tour. He delivered on the promise with a T22 in Kuala Lumpur. He went on to make another five starts on the PGA TOUR that season but his name wasn’t mentioned once because he didn’t fare too well. Later in 2019, he prevailed in Thailand, a place he now calls home. Since a four-month break due to the pandemic in 2020, he’s picked off three victories on the European Tour, the most recent of which the Austrian Golf Open in mid-April. Two weeks ago, he finished fifth at the Tenerife Open. The AT&T Byron Nelson opens a fortnight of competition as he’s poised for his major championship debut at Kiawah Island next week. He’ll be among the leaders in fairways hit at TPC Craig Ranch, which cannot be a bad thing. Dude is good but nobody knows about him. Let’s see if we can sneak one in. We’re going to bet him to win and for a top-5 finish at ⅕ the price, which is 37.5-1 and of course to win for 0.2 units also. (total risk is 0.4 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for the RBC Heritage
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUP below is for 72 holes:
Talor Gooch +100 over Doug Ghim (available at BET365)
Over the past few months, Talor Gooch has recorded a T5 at TPC Sawgrass, T12 at Riviera and opened with a round of 66 at Torrey Pines. There’s a great chance that this track will actually suit a young man who is solid off the tee and excellent with irons in hand. With his second start in the PGA Championship looming and without a break in four weeks, the commitment to the AT&T Byron Nelson for Talor Gooch cannot be overstated. Gooch is entrenched in that sturdy seam of talent between the elite and the rank and file. It’s an extension of the pedigree he brought when he broke onto the PGA TOUR in 2017-18 and we get him at this track at a steal of a price over Doug Ghim. To further emphasize the value, Pinnacle Sports has Gooch as -148 over Keith Mitchell and -114 over Carlos Ortiz while Ghim is -112 over Jonathan Vegas (Risking 2 units).
Patton Kizzire +111 over Erik Van Rooyen
We discussed Patton Kizzire above as another player who is enjoying a low-key return to better form. Ranking third for GIR at the Texas Open, he banked a top-10 there which franked a much-improved ball striking performance at TPC Sawgrass just prior. A winner of the Sony Open and the Mayakoba Classic, Kizzire is very capable of a decent showing here but this one is more about fading Van Rooyen. Erik Van Rooyen has been trying desperately to fit in with the big boys but it’s been a no-go since he left the European Tour for the Main Tour. Dude ranks 169th in GIR, 142nd in Driving Accuracy and 119th in SG; Putting. He’s just as likely to miss the cut as he is to make it, as his six cuts in his last 12 events on the Main Tour will attest to. Dude is a European talent that is way overpriced here against a better golfer than he is. Van Rooyen’s confidence must be short these days, as he’s coming off back-to-back missed cuts as well (Risking 2 units to win 2.22).
Will Zalatoris -114 over Brooks Koepka
Steal of a price here on Zalatoris, who now has the weight of expectations off his shoulders after a great performance at the Masters that put him on the map. Now that the hyperbole has diminished dramatically, Will can get back to just playing golf without reporters wanting to talk to him. A month removed from finishing second at the most prestigious golf tournament on the planet, Will missed the cut last week at the Wells Fargo. Expect a much stronger showing this week.
One cannot just flip a switch in this sport. Given Brooks Koepka’s latest setback (surgery for a dislocated right kneecap with ligament damage), not to mention a missed cut at the Masters, this is nothing more than a glorified practice for Koepka. Why is he playing? Well, the promise of at least two rounds is better than none in advance of the PGA Championship (Risking 2.28 units to win 2).
Others to Consider for DFS:
Wes Roach 400-1
Quietly going about his business juggling the PGA TOUR on conditional status with spot-starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, Roach is 8-for-10 with three top 20s across both circuits in 2021. He’s slipped into a groove before, connecting for four top-11 finishes in six starts in the summer of 2019, three of which came on the PGA TOUR. Roach is closer to qualifying for the KFT Finals via the FedExCup for which he’s ranked 200th, but he’s also knocking on the door on the KFT where he’s 91st in points. His strength is keeping his ball in play from tee to green, so even an average week with a putter at TPC Craig Ranch would yield tee times on the weekend.
Aaron Wise 66-1
Only Abraham Ancer hit more greens in regulation at Quail Hollow than Aaron Wise, and that shows how well he played tee-to-green in occasionally challenging conditions. Another who favors room off the tee, Wise will send his bombs out free and easy this week and set himself up for more mid-range approaches – those were an area of real strength in Charlotte. Ironically, his sole PGA TOUR win came in this event in 2018, albeit at a different course, but who knows, maybe that will inspire a further improvement on his T9 at Quail Hollow.
Cameron Champ 90-1
It’s a surprise that Cameron Champ hasn’t teed up since the Zurich Classic given that his form was seeing an upswing at the time. T34 at the Texas Open, Champ followed up with a very handy T26 at The Masters, and so the indication is that he is getting back to the kind of form that saw him land a pair of PGA TOUR titles in barely a year at the start of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Packing the requisite length off the tee, maybe now is the time for Champ to return to the winners’ circle.
Sung Kang 350-1
While we wouldn’t advise cramming all of your lineups full of Sung Kang plays, the small price on him in DFS does have one very strong theme going for him. TPC Craig Ranch is the Korean’s home course, and he will have an intimate knowledge of a venue that most in the field will never have seen before. How much of an edge is that? Perhaps not much, but it might be enough of a catalyst to propel the defending champion to a better performance – at his best, Kang can really play.
Total risk is 7.48 units and we'll update this once the event is officially over.
Straka, Catlin, Bryan to win or finish top-5 for 0.4 units each = -1.2 units
Patton Kizzare to win or finish top 5 = 28-1 at 0.4 units = +5.6 units - 0.4 for the bet = +5.2 units
H2H Talor Gooch +100 over Doug Ghim ✔ +2 units
Will Zalatoris -114 over Brooks Koepka ✔ +2 units
Patton Kizzire +111 over Erik Van Rooyen ✔ +2.22 units
6.22 +5.2 units = a NET PROFIT of 11.42 units for this event
Join myself and @matthewfinnie on Thursday, May 13th for a LIVE BETTING broadcast on our Twitch channel. We’re also going to show you an amazing parlay wagering strategy that actually works. https://twitch.tv/sherwoodsports
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Byron Nelson Classic (Risking 7.48 units - To Win: 0.00)