Bombs & Values Zurich Classic

2021 Zurich Classic Bombs & Values: The 3 Best Value Plays For Your DFS Lineups and Betting Cards

Welcome back to Bombs & Values! This week is a modified version from the usual 5 Values and 5 bombs down to 3 of each, as we’re limited to a field of 80 options versus the usual 140 or so. And honestly even if it was a full field, I needed to restrain myself and my sanity from diving too deeply into a gimmicky event like the Zurich Classic. Plenty of people will say “Not a normal Stroke Play event, I don’t get it, I’m out.”, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But personally I think when the Tour throws us a curveball like this, it’s a really great opportunity to gain an edge on the general public, whether it be scooping odds early before they dip further, or building out some optimal DFS lineups that aren’t pure guesses, likely plenty others will assuredly still be doing.

I’ve kept busy on Twitter this week with some new charts I whipped up to rank the teams on their average SG: TOT and Birdie or Better stats, but beyond those charts and everything I included in the Tournament Preview, I’m not diving any further into the stats this week. For Rounds 1 & 3, Best Ball format will reward the teams that can make the most Birdies and/or Eagles. For Rounds 2 & 4, Alternate Shot is going to benefit the teams with the least weaknesses, which is why I think SG: TOT should be more than enough to handicap teams with the best and worst chances to contend. Combine SG: TOT and Birdies or Better Gained together, and you’ve got my formula for picking teams at the Zurich Classic.

No need for models, no need for advanced stats, I don’t really even care all that much about Course History given how partner-dependent this event is, and how frequently the team pairings have cycled over the years. So all that to say, let’s all keep it simple this week, not sweat this event too hard, and consider the below Bombs & Values to keep things interesting until our regularly scheduled Individual Stroke Play events return next week.

DFS Values

Meet the rookies: Matthew NeSmith

Pricing from Draft Kings

Chase Seiffert & Matthew NeSmith ($7,500)

I wrote up Chase Seiffert in last week’s RBC Heritage Bombs & Values article, and he makes a return here again at the Zurich Classic alongside his partner, the Ball Striking machine himself, Matthew NeSmith.

I really like this as a complimentary balance of styles, as NeSmith ranks 12th in this field T2G, 8th in BS, and 4th in APP, while Seiffert has shown the ability to get hot with both the putter and wedges.

This group ranks out 20th in average Birdies or Better Gained and 11th in average SG: TOT between them. That combination of Birdie making for Best Ball and all-around game for Alternating Shot is going to be unmatched in this price range, and you’re definitely going to need the salary relief this week to squeeze in one of the top teams. I don’t think I’ll bet this group, but there is plenty of upside and raw talent here to make a T10 push.

Akshay Bhatia & Scott Piercy ($6,900)

Buckle in folks, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this pairing. If you’ve ever read an article on this young website, I’m sure you’re familiar with my love affair with Akshay Bhatia. He is the true stick-like, young, phenom-talent, bursting onto the scene this 2021 season, but he’s being over-shadowed by another player of the same profile just because he doesn’t look like Happy Gilmore’s caddy. Okay fine, maybe the fact that Will Zalatoris has two T10s in his first two career Major appearances and Akshay has 3 MCs in his last 5 starts is why the two are not being compared. But as an unwavering Akshay Bhatia supporter, I’ll remind everyone that the kid is still just 19 years old and has only been given a handful of sporadic chances to compete on Sponsor Exemptions in his young career, so with that comes a lot of pressure to make the most of his chances. Look for an opportunity at a Team event like this to lighten nerves a bit. Akshay has shown he can make birdies in bunches, as last we saw him at the Valero Texas Open, he was pushing to be First Round Leader until his back 9 completely unraveled. Those up-and-down tumultuous rounds are exactly what I’m looking for in a value player at this week’s event though, as the blow up holes will be mitigated/offset by his partner in Best Ball, so Akshay can continue to be aggressive and fire away at pins.

Speaking of his partner, let’s talk a bit more about the enigma that is Scott Piercy. There are only 6 former winners of the Zurich Classic Team Stroke Play format, and Piercy is one of them, taking the title down with Billy Horschel in 2018. He then followed that up the next year with a solid T13 showing with the same playing partner. On the spectrum of my most loved and most loathed players on Tour, you’ll be hard pressed to find a larger gap than that which separates Akshay Bhatia and Billy Horschel, and if Scott Piercy’s sentiments are anywhere near the same as mine (I’m sure they aren’t, I haven’t helped Scott Piercy win $1M), then I’m sure he went running to Callaway to pony up a Sponsor Exemption for Akshay to get Billy Horschel out of his presence. There were some reasons to be apprehensive about Piercy’s health, as he needed to withdraw from the Honda Classic after testing positive for COVID-19. But he played and made the cut at the RBC Heritage last week, so 4 rounds on a Pete Dye track and good health are reason enough for me to get onboard with Akshay Bhatia’s partner.

Of course, I can’t write up Scott Piercy and not mention the Q-ANON stuff. And of course, I can’t bring up Q-ANON without reminding everyone that my day job is to promote new shows on HBO and that all 6 episodes of Q: Into The Storm are available to stream now on HBO Max. So yeah Scott Piercy is a weird dude, he’s homophobic, and he’s a conspiracy theorist. This article can fill you in on all the juicy Piercy background. He’s not exactly the best influence for young Akshay to be hanging around, so hopefully they can both collect their winnings this week and Piercy can go back to partnering with Billy Horschel and spamming reddit comment boards again for the rest of time.

Hank Lebioda & Bronson Burgoon ($6,300)

Pricing is surprisingly extremely tight on Draft Kings this week, so while I’d prefer to not go any lower than Team Akshay & Piercy at $6.9K with my lineups this week, it does seem like I’m going to need to dip even lower than that to fit in all my guys at the top. So while I’m not emphatically endorsing a bet on Bronson & Hank, I do believe they have the complimentary styles and Birdie-making upside to make a T20 run.

The last time this event was contested in 2019, Hank Lebioda finished T5 paired up with a gentleman by the name of Curtis Luck. Luck no longer has his Tour card it seems, so I’m willing to bet Burgoon is an upgrade this time around. Bronson Burgoon doesn’t have the most polished game on tour, but he’s a guy I’ve trotted out for a FRL more than once this year because he has the ability to go low. Recently however, the game has started to round itself out, as he’s made the cut in 6 of his last 7 starts. That steady play should help carry this crew through the cut line.

Lebioda on the other hand, has been a guy I’ve loved playing in the near-minimum price range on Draft Kings, thanks to his steady Approach play. He’s gained strokes on Approach in 4 of his last 5 measured starts, which is good for 34th in this Field SG: APP. It’s pretty slim pickings down in this price range, so finding a player with good event history who is also an approach specialist on a Course that puts a premium on that area is tough to pass up on here.

Betting Bombs

Wyndham Clark takes outright lead at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic

Odds from Draft Kings Sportsbook

Doug Ghim & Justin Suh (+7000)

Mainstream coverage of the Zurich Classic will tout Team Morikawa & Wolff as the exciting “Future of Golf” group to watch, as they should, but Ghim and Suh are not far from joining the same class amongst the game’s brightest next generation of stars. Ghim was in the penultimate pairing at THE PLAYERS last month and fired a vicious birdie streak on the front 9 Sunday at the RBC Heritage in what looked like a T5 bid before fizzling back to reality on his back 9. Suh, like many other young players looking to hit their stride on Tour, just hasn’t had many opportunities to play in Tour events, but when he has, he’s taken advantage. He was the 36-hole co-leader in his last start at Corales and fired a T8 at the Safeway just 5 starts ago.

The combo of Ghim & Suh rank out 9th in this Field in average Birdies or Better Gained, which makes sense when we look at their respective hot stretches in tournaments that haven’t necessarily translated to high finishes. But that scoring potential is exactly what makes them dangerous to go low in Best Ball. It’s also encouraging to see them rank 13th in SG: TOT weighted between them, as the balance between their games should lead to solid scoring in the Alternate Shot rounds as well.

Erik van Rooyen & Wyndham Clark (+9000)

If we’re taking the weighted Team BoB Gained and SG: TOT ranking charts to heart (and I very much am), then EVR & Clark are a must bet at +9000. This duo ranks 4th in BoB Gained and 9th in SG: TOT, and yet there are 31(!) teams posted with better odds ahead of them. Note that I am posting DK Sportsbook odds, but if your book is still valuing 30 other teams ahead of these guys, I think you need to bet it regardless of the number.

Van Rooyen has been trending in the right direction recently having made the cut in 4 consecutive events, highlighted by a T14 last we saw him at Valero. He’s been piecing the game together, gaining and losing strokes in different categories week to week, but his ability to gain multiple strokes in all T2G categories gets me excited to play him in Best Ball format.

Wyndham Clark is a bomber with a great short game, which should complement EVR’s game well in Alternate Shot. His distance will also give him a leg up on the field on this 7,400+ yard track, setting up to reach the 4 Par 5s in 2 and create Eagle and Birdie opportunities for his team.

Doc Redman & Sam Ryder (+12500)

Doc Redman isn’t too far removed from his illustrious NCAA career, where I presume he dominated his share of Team Stroke Play competitions, so why not take a shot here on a great young talent who’s proven over his early career that he can get hot and go low. His partner, my man Sambitionz az a Ryder, is coming in with hot recent form thanks to 2 T10s in his last 3 starts at the Honda and Corales.

The Red Ryders, as I’m calling them now, rate out #24 in the field SG: TOT, and that’s despite Redman’s recent cold spell, however he is slowly showing signs of returning to his old form. At these odds, this is a bet on the raw talent in this group, relative to those around them at this range.