The best betting props for the Zurich Classic
Growing up in the 1990s I was lucky enough to get into wrestling at a time when the tag-team division was at an all-time high. The Hardy Boyz didn’t need an excuse to climb a ladder and hurl themselves off, while if there was a table nearby you could guarantee the Dudley Boyz weren’t far away. Edge and Christian were the comedy villains, while the APA where the beer-drinking, cigar-smoking, poker-playing bodyguards for hire. And how could you forget Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty’s run as Too Cool?
Basically, anyone exposed to wrestling in the late 90s knows the importance of a good tag team – and that’s going to be crucial as we head to New Orleans on the PGA Tour for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
This unique event essentially transformed into tag team turmoil in 2017, and since then golfers have been paired up for the week. Whether through being good friends, former enemies, sponsored by the same companies, players team up in this one-off Tour event.
80 teams start off and the best 33 make the cut on Friday. There are two rounds of fourballs (where each player plays the hole as they would normally, and the team take the best score of the two) and two rounds of foursomes (where players use one ball and take alternate shots).
Heading into the tournament I'm looking for in-form players who have shown they can perform in this kind of team event. Any kind of course form in Louisiana is a bonus. Here are the best four prop bets of the week for the 2021 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Zurich Classic of New Orleans odds
Top 5 Finish: Smith and Leishman (+220)
Cameron Smith first tasted success on the PGA Tour in this event back in 2017 – when he paired up with Jonas Blixt, so he’s certainly ticking the box for experience in this format and on this course. Now he comes into this event on a serious run of form. Since missing the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January, he has finished fourth, 11th, 17th, 10th, and ninth in his last five tournaments. That 10th was at Augusta in the Masters, and he followed that up with a solid performance in the RBC Heritage last week.
Now he gets to team with fellow Aussie Marc Leishman who finished fifth in the Masters and then took last week off. Leishman hasn’t played in this event since it became pairs, but he has played the course before, and finished 20th in the individual competition in 2016.
These guys clearly like playing together as they finished second in the 2018 World Cup for Australia, and teamed up again last year for the QBE Shootout. They are a tag team who can excel in New Orleans.
Tournament Matchbet: Rahm and Palmer to beat Schauffele and Cantlay (-110)
The Diaper Dimension is hopefully in full swing for Jon Rahm who finished fifth in the Masters just days after the birth of his first child, and has since had some time off to spend with the family. Now back and in a more relaxed Tour event, Rahm could shoot the lights out.
He's paired up with Ryan Palmer courtesy of a bet between caddies. This duo won the event in 2019, so there is no fear about their course experience or ability to play in a pair.
Palmer finished 34th in the Masters, but put together a string of three top 20 finishes in a row before that. Rahm’s ability could carry the team though.
Cantlay and Schauffele played well as a team in the 2019 Presidents Cup, but both come here with problems. Cantlay’s purple patch at the start of the year has come to a crashing halt as he’s missed three of his last four cuts, while Schauffele is going to be dealing with the mental strain of Augusta, where he got to within touching distance of Hideki Matsuyama before hitting a triple-bogey on the 16th.
Top 20 Finish: Castro and Tringale (+135)
Castro and Tringale sounds like it could be a thrilling police drama on HBO, but more importantly these guys are an excellent duo on the golf course. They finished fifth together in this tournament in 2019 and that’s a solid showing, particularly when you consider Cameron Tringale was outside the world’s top 500 in the rankings at the time.
Now Tringale comes into this tournament in some really nice form, having finished 13th in the Honda Classic before coming in ninth in the Texas Open two weeks ago. His iron play is red-hot and that could complement Castro nicely as he is fantastic off the tee. Castro has had injury worries of late, but finished 39th in the Puerto Rico Open in February, and followed it up with an 18th place finish in the Corales Puntacana Championship at the end of March.
These pair are good friends and hopefully can bring the best out of each other on a course that holds fond memories for both.
To Make The Cut: Grace and Varner III (-210)
Branden Grace finished with an eagle-birdie finish to win the Puerto Rico Open at the end of February and that’s a nice piece of winning form this season coming into this event. Tally that with some nice form in this event, and he packs plenty of appeal. Grace finished 32nd in 2019 playing with Justin Harding, but dig a little deeper and the duo were second going into the final round, so it’s probably a bit better than it looks.
Harold Varner III played exceptionally well last weekend to finish a good runner-up behind Stewart Cink in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. That course is designed by Pete Dye, as is TPC Louisiana, and with both courses having small greens and favouring a good short game it could be right up Varner’s street.
While I don’t fancy this pair to challenge the top of the leaderboard, making the cut seems like a safe bet.