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Handicapping

AT&T Byron Nelson Classic Predictions

AT&T Byron Nelson Classic Preview and Picks to Win the Tournament
When: May 18-21, 2017
Where: TPC Four Seasons Ė Irving, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com

There are just a few names throughout the history of the PGA Tour that have risen to a level to be synonymous with a single event. Bobby Jones has his legacy with the Masters, Arnie and Jack have their own spots on the calendar and Byron Nelson gets his run this week with the Byron Nelson Classic. The TPC Four Seasons has played host for Nelsonís event for several years but this will be the last hosting duty for the TPC with a planned moved to Trinity Forest next season. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and defending champion Sergio Garcia are here to send off Four Seasons as is local favorite Jordan Spieth. Last weekís PLAYERS champion Si Woo Kim will not tee it up this week due to back spasms but guys like Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and Jason Dufner are and the field strength is strong overall as players have just one more week to gain the auto-exemption for the U.S. Open.

TPC Four Seasons has been a tough egg to crack in many years but has also been a fast scoring environment on more than one occasion. Winning totals have ranged from just 3-under par to 19-under with many scores in the low teens under par good enough to win over the last several years. Keegan Bradley was able to card a course record 60 in 2015 but there were only 14 players able to card four rounds in the 60ís during last yearís tournament. There is plenty of unpredictability waiting at this 7,166 yard, par-70 course and as always, the Texas winds will have a lot to say about the way things play out this week. Overall, it seems that the better iron players have a bit of an advantage in navigating this winding, rolling layout. High skill around these undulating greens will prove helpful and getting the right reads on these greens is absolutely necessary.

Each week, we take a look at Bovada Sportsbook (50% bonus up to $250 FREE and your credit card will work there!) and highlight the best bets. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that are most commonly featured at the various golf betting outlets. Here are our picks to win the 2017 Byron Nelson Classic.

Louis Oosthuizen (33 to 1 odds to win)
You saw a ton of Louis this past week at the PLAYERS and while he didnít have a good enough weekend to net the win, he was clearly one of the better players at what proved to be a very tough Sawgrass. I think that good play will continue and Louis is going to be able to use his top-notch ball striking to gain an edge on the field. He enters the week as the 27th best player off the tee, 17th in overall tee-to-green performance and 10th in strokes gained total. He is a fantastic sand player and he makes very few mistakes at all while turning the 119th birdie average into a top-30 scoring average. He had what amounted to a bad weekend in going two-over at Sawgrass but that isnít really bad at all when you look at the amount of guys that carded 80 or more at the PLAYERS. I think this is a little less of a grind and that should mean more birdies and another contending run for Oosty.

Ian Poulter (50 to 1)
It has been a strange couple of years for one of the more colorful personalities on Tour from the last decade. Poulter battled a foot injury last year and was able to log just one top-25 finish in just over a dozen starts. He thought he lost his exempt Tour status just a couple of weeks ago but an error in the way the Tour balanced points for major medical players allowed Ian back in the mix. He parlayed that good fortune into a T2 last week at the very tough PLAYERS Championship and was the only player to not card a bogey on a devilishly tough Saturday. His last win came in 2012 so he is either very overdue for a win or he just blew his best chance last week. I think he can continue to play well based on his short game that is still very strong against the field average. Poulter is 9th overall scrambling and 3rd in those short scrambling chances coming right around the green. He is still a good putter no matter where he plays with a top-40 putting average and a top-3 rank in three-putt avoidance. Iím not sure Poulter has the gear to contend if this turns into an absolute shootout but he does have a top-35 scoring average built on an uncanny ability to save pars. I think this event is back in that 12 or 13-under range and that puts Poulter in the mix if he duplicates his effort from last week.

Smylie Kaufman (50 to 1)
The 2016 Shriners champ is about as mercurial as it gets on Tour when it comes to his finishes. The third year Tour pro missed eight of ten cuts from January to mid-April but he has come out with T5 and T12 finishes since returning from vacation with the Spring Break crew. His age and relative inexperience are a big part of his struggles but his short memory and immense talent give him the ability to turn it around and go on a hot streak. He is one of the longest players on Tour and that is going to help him shrink the course. His 2017 stats are dragged down by that cold streak but he should be able to put up numbers more in line with his 2016 ranks that saw him in the top-40 in putting average, birdie average and total birdies. He is certainly a boom-or-bust play but I like sticking with guys on a run.

Head-to-Head Matches

Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your 5Dimes Sportsbook for the best array of single round matches and a the best variety of prop bets.

Jason Dufner v. Ryan Moore (pick to win: Dufner)
These guys have razor thin margins on all relevant scoring statistics, especially for a place like Four Seasons so this is a tough match to call. I like Dufner as he has won here before and has the slightly better metrics in the tee-to-green department. The putting stats are near identical so that small edge in ball striking gives Jason the slightly better scoring average. Moore is a grinder and a tough guy to beat in head-to-heads but Dufner should hit a few more greens through the week and that should have him the winner by a stroke or two come Sunday.

Charley Hoffman v. Matt Kuchar (pick to win: Hoffman)
Kuchar is a trendy pick this week among the handicappers and fantasy sites. Matt was 3rd last year and has another top-10 in 2014 to make for one of the better short term records here. The issue with this pairing however is that Hoffman was 12th last year and 2nd in 2015. Both men also have similar 2017 season performances so the books have done well here again to find a close pairing. I like Hoffman based on his top-35 rank in overall tee-to-green. He has an advantage there over Kuchar and is also the better putter to this point. Matt is likely going to be in the fairway a bit more often based on the metrics but he hasnít really done much with it. Kucharís birdie average has slipped to 165th and that doesnít leave a lot of meat on the bone to put four good rounds together. Kuchar will get it back together at some point this season but I think he is just off his game enough right now to go Hoffmanís way.

Good luck and good golf.

2017 AT&T Byron Nelson Classic Odds

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