The PGA TOUR schedule brings us the ZOZO Championship this week, a tournament with a small field again at 78 players, the same number as last week’s The CJ Cup. There are less golfers but the talent certainly isn’t lacking, and Tiger Woods is back for the first time since he missed the cut at the U.S. Open. Tiger’s last win on tour was actually at the ZOZO Championship 2019, and while he didn’t miss any cuts in the 2020 season, he didn’t bring in any more wins either. He’s only played in seven events since January 2020, but he hasn’t been in contention in any of them and he’ll surely be looking to change that this week.
- 78 Players
- $8 million prize
- Course: Sherwood Country Club - Thousand Oaks, California (Par 72)
- Defending Champion: Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is the most popular golfer in terms of bet percentage this week, but the player with the highest handle percentage is none other than Matthew Wolff, who was easily the most popular bet at least week’s The CJ Cup. Wolff struggled out of the gate and ended up near the bottom of the field with a score of +11 for the tournament, but even with that rough performance there’s still plenty of optimism for a strong event. Wolff is generally just a name that bettors have been gravitating towards, and even with the dud last time out his recent performance looks very strong. Wolff had earned two consecutive 2nd place finishes and a top five finish in three of his last five prior to last week, so one bad tournament just doesn’t appear to be enough to dissuade too many people.
Wolff is atop the first round leader market for handle percentage as well, but number one in total bets is Xander Schauffele. Schauffele finished in 2nd place last week after faltering over the weekend, but his start to the tournament is probably what’s causing so much optimism. Schauffele was on fire in the early going, shooting a 66 and then a 64 to get to 1st place at 12 under par after Friday, and many bettors look to be hoping for the same sort of play for this event. Joaquin Niemann is also among the most popular first round leader bets, but it’s for a different reason than what we’re seeing with Schauffele. Niemann actually started slow at The CJ Cup but improved throughout the week, and was one of the best players on Sunday with a 6-under 66.
In Top 10 betting, Wolff, Niemann, and Woods are all among the most bet on players, but they all trail Justin Thomas in both bets and handle percentage. Thomas made headlines in the betting breakdown last week, getting 68% of the handle for the Top 10 market. He ultimately finished tied for 12th, but the close call is keeping the confidence for at least some of those bettors who are hoping for a better outcome this week. Thomas continues to routinely find himself at the top of leaderboards, and even with a short line at +120, there’s plenty of interest in him to do so again at the ZOZO Championship.
Outright winners are predictably the most popular market this week as they are most weeks, but after that it looks like bettors are primarily taking some stands in the head-to-heads for best finishing position. The most popular bet here is Collin Morikawa, who is a small favorite at -125 against Hideki Matsuyama. The leader for handle — Matthew Fitzpatrick — is especially interesting considering his opponent Matthew Wolff. Wolff is dominating the betting volume across the board this week, but Fitzpatrick is actually leading the way among all golfers in head-to-head handle. This line sits at pick ‘em (-110 each side) so even with Wolff being the most popular bet to win and Fitzpatrick not getting much traction, there’s plenty of money on Fitzpatrick to beat Wolff straight up.
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