It’s a change of pace week for betting PGA TOUR golf sleepers and playing DFS, as we venture into the enigma of Team Stroke Play for the 2023 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana.
There are some who view sports betting as an investment to grind weekly research, beat the books, and turn a profit; those people are likely not a fan of this event and will skip along to the Mexico Open next week. I, however, am someone who likes to bet on sports and play DFS for entertainment purposes that will hopefully also result in me winning money, so I welcome the idea of a quirky change of pace event like we have here.
Without further delay, let’s get to our 2023 Zurich Classic longshots and sleepers for your DFS lineups and betting cards.
It’s back-to-back Pete Dye courses on the schedule as the TOUR travels from Hilton Head to TPC Louisiana. Unlike Harbour Town, this 7,400 yard set up at sea-level and often soft conditions is generous off-the-tee and will draw a steady dosage of drivers and long iron approaches. However despite the yardage, plenty of accurate plodders have found success here over the years.
Unlike most weeks on the PGA TOUR, there’s not a ton of value in running a model for this event, as the subjective benefit of a comoftable team pairing has often trumped course fit. With that said, there is some value in longshots this week who have shown proven past results in this unique format, or who have had prior success playing with their partner.
For a deeper dive into the course, read my Zurich Classic preview. Let’s get to our Zurich Classic picks, with a focus on longshots and sleepers for your DFS lineups.
PGA TOUR GOLF SLEEPERS: ZURICH CLASSIC
As I look down the DFS board this week, there’s a notable talent disparity between the top and bottom halves, so it’s important to land on the right salary savers. Only the top-33 and ties will advance to the weekend, so landing on a 6/6 lineup will create a distinct edge this week.
From a betting perspective, there’s much more value in longshot bombs this week, with top groups like Cantlay/Schauffele and Morikawa/Homa eating up all the win equity from the sportsbooks.
Below, find my favorite value DFS sleepers and longshots for the 2023 Zurich Classic. Stats pulled across Last 36 Rounds unless otherwise noted.
Ryan Palmer & Scott Piercy (+11000, $7,700)
Ryan Palmer has been the butt of all the jokes this week, as the greatest recruiter in golf has followed up his four Zurich Classic appearances alongside Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, and Scottie Scheffler with…Scott Piercy.
On the merit of recent form, this duo would be dead on arrival. However there’s something in the air in Avondale, Louisiana for both of these players, who have each claimed victory in this Team Play format. Granted, Palmer and Piercy rode the coattails of Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel respectively in those victories, but it still takes two to win here.
The $7,700 price tag on Draft Kings is much steeper than I would have expected for this motley crew, but it’s sure to come with discounted ownership. I’m drawn to the long outright odds on this pairing, who carry double the win equity in this unique format.
Akshay Bhatia & Harry Hall (+8000, $7,600)
Every year at the Zurich Classic, I reduce my model to two factors: SG: TOT (L36 Rounds) and Birdies or Better Gained. It’s the most simplistic way to rank each team’s ability to go low in best ball and pick each other up in alternate shot. It seems straightforward, but there’s always one or two groups that pop unexpectedly. This week, it’s emphatically the Bhatia & Hall pairing.
This duo ranks No. 8 in SG: TOT, No. 5 in Birdies or Better Gained, and No. 5 Overall when combining the two. Akshay has already gained attention with his birdie making ability, highlighted by a second place finish at the Puerto Rico Open. His partner Hall has also flown under the radar with finishes of T28, T13, and T7 over his last four PGA TOUR starts. I don’t know the story behind how these two know each other, but if they can become fast friends, I love the value on their outright odds this week.
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Byeong Hun An & SH Kim (+5000, $7,100)
Draft Kings took their sweet time releasing pricing on Monday, and yet, they still managed to colossally botch this one with An and Kim. I usually will not write up a play if it’s an egregious misprice because it’s implied as a good value play. But, in this unique format, it’s easy to overlook some pricing mishaps.
An & Kim are consensus top-12 favorites this week, with odds as short as 30-1. For context, this duo is $600 cheaper on Draft Kings than Team Palmer & Piercy, who are listed by the same sportsbooks beyond 100-1 odds. Byeong Hun An has had his fair share of success at this event alongside fellow South Korean Sungjae Im, finishing T14 here last year. An should carry a bit of extra motivation this time around with Im ditching him for Keith Mitchell this year. SH Kim can’t exactly fill Im’s shoes, but he’s in very solid form at the moment with a T15 at the Valero Texas Open in his latest start. I’m not sure they have what it takes to win, but I love the value on Draft Kings with legitimate top-20 upside.
Charley Hoffman & Nick Watney (+40000, $6,300)
The $6K range is not a very enticing place to be on Draft Kings this week, so in a sea of recent MC’s, I like the idea of zagging for pure Event History.
Team chemistry and camaraderie are the immeasurable necessities that can help a team exceed their expectations. Few others in this field can compare to Hoffman & Watney’s chemistry, as they’ve played alongside each other in each of the first five Zurich Classic Team Stroke Play events since 2017. Over that stretch, they’ve posted three top-11 finishes in similar preceding form. Watney showed some life earlier this season with a T11 at the Bermuda Championship and Hoffman has also shown decent form with a pair of top-25 finishes over his last six starts. For this price, I see some value to make the cut and push for their fourth top-20 finish at the Zurich Classic together.
Best of luck if you choose to bet these PGA TOUR golf sleepers!