Zozo Championship betting preview: Wolff on the prowl in familiar territory
Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New to golf betting? Check out theScore's PGA Tour wagering guide here. All odds listed are courtesy of theScore Bet and are subject to change.

The PGA Tour is in Thousands Oaks, California this week for the Zozo Championship: A 78-man tournament with no cut, originally scheduled to be played in Japan before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the relocation.

Sherwood Country Club will host the event, marking its return to the PGA Tour rotation for the first time since 2013. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course previously hosted Tiger Woods' World Challenge for 14 years before moving to the east coast.

The course

  • 7,073 yards, par 72
  • Five par 5s all under 600 yards
  • Bentgrass greens
  • Water in play on eight holes
  • Similar venues include Muirfield Village (The Memorial Tournament) and Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage)

Past winners at Sherwood

2013: Zach Johnson (-13) over Tiger Woods
2012: Graeme McDowell (-17) over Keegan Bradley
2011: Tiger Woods (-10) over Zach Johnson
2010: Graeme McDowell (-16) over Tiger Woods
2009: Jim Furyk (-13) over Graeme McDowell
2008: Vijay Singh (-11) over Steve Stricker
2007: Tiger Woods (-22) over Zach Johnson

Betting on Tiger

Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Woods will be defending his Zozo Championship title at Sherwood - a course he's won five times during his career. However, this is his first start since missing the cut at the U.S. Open and he's likely looking to shake the rust off ahead of the Masters.

Betting outlook: Red light. His odds are +4000 to defend his title, which are some of the longest odds you'll ever find on Tiger. But there is far too much uncertainty to feel confident about backing the 44-year-old.

The favorites

Player Odds
Jon Rahm +1000
Justin Thomas +1200
Rory McIlroy +1400
Xander Schauffele +1400
Webb Simpson +1600

Jon Rahm tops the betting board for the second straight week at +1000. His performance at the CJ Cup was nothing to write home about as he leaned heavily on his elite driving ability to finish tied for 17th. It's going to be a pass on Rahm with no clear signs he's deserving of being the favorite.

We're also passing on the next three in the top tier - Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and Xander Schauffele - simply due to their prices. It's the same story as most weeks with this group: They are all extremely capable of winning but their odds do not provide enough value given the rest of the talent in the field.

If forced to choose from one player from the top, it's Webb Simpson. Sherwood does not favor bombers and has produced several crossover winners with the RBC Heritage, which Simpson took down in June.

The next tier

Player Odds
Collin Morikawa +2000
Patrick Reed +2500
Tyrrell Hatton +2500
Hideki Matsuyama +2800
Daniel Berger +3000
Tony Finau +3000
Bubba Watson +3500
Matt Fitzpatrick +3500
Patrick Cantlay +3500
Scottie Scheffler +3500
Harris English +4000
Jason Kokrak +4000
Matthew Wolff +4000
Tiger Woods +4000
Viktor Hovland +4000
Tommy Fleetwood +4500

This tier hosts a large group of players with some presenting as much more intriguing options than others, starting with Collin Morikawa at the top.

The 23-year-old California native ranked third last week at the CJ Cup in strokes gained: approach - a telltale sign his game is rounding into form. His lack of distance won't be an issue but he will need to figure it out on the greens. With that said, history shows Bentgrass greens are his preferred putting surface.

Patrick Reed and Daniel Berger are viable options at +2500 and +3000, respectively, but the next two players, Bubba Watson and Patrick Cantlay - both at +3500 - should garner your attention. More on these two later.

Matthew Wolff is a Sherwood member and grew up in the Thousand Oaks area. He played poorly last week in Vegas but previously came second in back-to-back events. Now, instead of being priced at +2000 like he was for the CJ Cup, his cost has drastically moved to +4000 and screams value.

The long shots

Due to the number of enticing options priced below +5000, we won't waste too much time covering a bunch of long shots who don't provide as much winning upside. However, if you are feeling risky or looking for a player with reasonable odds in the top-10 market, here are some names to consider:

Joaquin Niemann (+5000): The young Chilean continues to impress with two straight top-15s in Vegas. He gained 7.6 strokes tee-to-green last week and now transitions to Bentgrass greens, his preferred putting surface.

Sungjae Im (+5000): Im struggled on and around the greens at Shadow Creek but did gain three strokes through approach shots in the final round last week. Sherwood is a short course that should benefit the South Korean native's precision-over-power style of play.

Cameron Champ (+12000): The two-time PGA Tour winner gained 6.4 strokes on approach shots last week but gave it all back with poor short-game and putting efforts. However, if the ball-striking continues, Champ is worth the risk at triple-digit odds or +1000 in the top-10 market.

Picks to win

Patrick Cantlay (+3500)

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Cantlay contended two weeks ago at the Shriners Open and proved his game is in great shape. He finished outside the top 30 last week but gained over three shots off the tee while he lost just as many on the greens.

What's interesting about the Southern Califonia native is his success at similar venues. He's won at Muirfield Village - another Jack Nicklaus creation - and has two third-place showings at the RBC Heritage. Getting an undervalued Cantlay at a course that should suit his game is a rare buying opportunity.

Bubba Watson (+3500)

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Watson continued his recent run of immaculate ball-striking by ranking second in the field last week with 11 strokes gained: tee to green. He's now gained in that category in eight straight tournaments following his tied-for-seventh result at the CJ Cup.

Additionally, Watson plays well in California. Four of his 12 career wins came in the Golden State (three of those victories were at Riviera Country Club) and he placed tied for third the last time PGA Tour pros visited Sherwood in 2013.

"I think it's quite defined," McIlroy said of Sherwood.

"I think Sherwood, all the holes are framed so nicely and you can see shots there so easily."

Few players are better than Watson at shaping the ball with how the hole is framed.

Matthew Wolff (+4000)

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Wolff - whose game has matured significantly in recent months, resulting in fewer missed cuts and far more winning opportunities - is by far the favorite bet of the week at +4000.

After back-to-back runner-up finishes - including a tough playoff loss to Martin Laird at TPC Summerlin - Wolff was clearly off during last week's CJ Cup, where he lost an uncharacteristic 4.4 shots off the tee and somehow nearly eight strokes around the green. Chalk it up to failing to maintain focus during a no-cut event with guaranteed money.

The 21-year-old has a chance to rebound on a course he knows very well - the Sherwood Country Club member also went to high school less than seven miles away.

Finally, unlike last week when you had to buy high on Wolff at +2000, you can buy low on him in a very similar field.

Comments
Zozo Championship betting preview: Wolff on the prowl in familiar territory
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox