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Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele in the outright at +300 with bet365
Billy Horschel/Sam Burns in the outright at +1400 with bet365
Thorjborn Olesen/Nicolai Hojgaard to bt Harris English/Tom Hoge over 72 holes at -110 with bet365
Many of the world’s best followed the grueling Masters week at Augusta National by contesting the RBC Heritage at picturesque Harbour Town.
This week’s pairs event is finally a chance for many to put their feet up but not great friends and Ryder Cup colleagues Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffle.
The United States duo won this event in record-breaking fashion 12 months ago, shooting a tournament-low 29-under to win by two from Sam Burns and Billy Horschel.
They’re back to defend and are clear market leaders to do so.
The tournament became a team event in 2017: 80 pairs mean 160 golfers are on-site at TPC Louisiana in Avondale.
A reminder, it’s a stroke play format with an alternate shot (foursomes) in rounds one and three and a better ball (fourball) in rounds two and four.
Before Cantlay and Schauffele hoisted the silverware in 2022, Aussie duo Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman won a playoff in 2021 while newly-crowned Masters champ Jon Rahm teamed up with Ryan Palmer to take the title in 2019.
TPC Louisiana is a 7,425-yard par 72 and is the creation of design legend Pete Dye.
The layout was built on former swap land and features Bermuda grass greens.
Birdies have to be bagged at a fast rate to keep pace and the five winning totals since this became a team event are -29, 20, -26, -22, and -27.
Stats aren’t kept which isn’t ideal but the course also staged the Zurich Classic as a standard strokeplay event prior to 2017.
Looking at stats from that era, winners tended to boast strong Greens In Regulation numbers while a hot putter was also required.
Cantlay and Schauffele cruised to victory last year and this is their third appearance following 11th place in 2021.
As well as course form, the duo boast strong current form after finishing third (Cantlay) and fourth (Schauffele) in last week’s RBC Heritage.
Collin Morikawa teams up with Max Homa this year and will be hoping to find more chemistry than he did with Viktor Hovland in 2022.
Morikawa and Hovland were the favorites but could only manage tied 29th. Homa was 21st in tandem with Talor Gooch, who isn’t playing this time following his move to LIV.
Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell - a new pairing who are both former winners of the Honda Classic - are third best in the odds lists.
Im was tied 14th with Byeong Hun An in 2022 while Mitchell posted tied fourth in partnership with Brand Snedeker a year earlier so they’ve both done well at the course.
In theory, this could be an event where lower-ranked players have a chance to sneak a ‘W’.
But with Jon Rahm, Cam Smith, Cantlay, and Schauffele all victorious here in the last three editions, it pays to look at the class acts when trying to locate the winning duo.
And, after a brief glance at those top names, it’s a no-brainer to go with the defending champions and market leaders.
An extra clue can be found when looking at results from the PGA Tour’s silly-season QBE Shootout.
Okay, that’s only for 12 teams but Harris English and Matt Kuchar have won it three times and finished second twice.
Once a team is proven, it’s worth following them and Cantlay and Schauffele look to have a golden chance of repeating last year’s heroics given their strong recent form.
I’ll play a second pairing in the outright market and back Billy Horschel and Sam Burns.
Those two have both landed the WGC Dell Match Play Championship - Horschel 2021 and Burns this year - so can thrive under a different format.
And to prove they like this particular event, the American duo were runners-up last year.
Horschel, who made the last 16 of last month’s Match Play, has a fantastic course record.
He won this tournament in its individual stroke play days in 2013, captured this event with Scott Piercy in 2018, and has finished fourth and second in it with Burns alongside.
Burns was tied 15th at Hilton Head last week and has the makings of a future Major winner after five PGA Tour wins over the last three seasons.
Horschel and Burns are +1400 for the win.
For this week’s match bet, I’ll side with Danish duo Thorbjorn Olesen and Nicolai Hojgaard to beat Americans Harris English and Tom Hoge.
Olesen’s latest DP World Tour form shows 6-1-4 while Hojgaard was runner-up in the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana and tied 28th in the Texas Open.
Hoge and English have gone quiet of late and both have missed their last two cuts in this event.
Back the Danes to have a blast and win this -110 pick ‘em at DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Tournament: Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Location: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, LA
Date: THURSDAY APR. 20 - SUNDAY APR. 23
How to watch: THURSDAY-FRIDAY 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). SATURDAY-SUNDAY 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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