2021 Zozo Championship odds, picks, field, bets: PGA insider says back Xander Schauffele, fade Tommy Fleetwood

Many of the PGA Tour’s best golfers will be playing in Japan for the first time in two years when the 2021 Zozo Championship tees off Thursday at Narashino Country Club. The event was held at Sherwood Country Club in California last year because of the pandemic. Now it returns to the course outside Tokyo where Tiger Woods got his 82nd and most recent PGA Tour victory in 2019 to tie Sam Snead’s all-time mark. Collin Morikawa, No. 3 in the world, is the highest-ranked golfer scheduled to compete, and Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele and local hero Hideki Matsuyama are among the other notable names in the 2021 Zozo Championship field.  

Caesars Sportsbook lists Morkiawa and Schauffele as the 13-2 co-favorites in its latest 2021 Zozo Championship golf odds. Among the many other notable players expected to contend from the 2021 Zozo Championship field are Matsuyama (14-1), PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris (18-1) and Rickie Fowler (25-1). Before you consider any bets on the 2021 Zozo Championship or make any PGA Tour predictions, you need to see what proven golf insider Sal Johnson has to say.

The media legend and esteemed golf insider has a strong track record on picks, and he knows what it takes to win. Before the inaugural Zozo Championship in 2019, he tabbed Tiger Woods as a solid contender.

“Now that his physical problem is solved, I can see him doing very well this week,” Johnson told SportsLine before the tournament. “The course is good for him because he thinks so well.”

Woods simply went out and fired consecutive 64’s to kick off the new event and finished at 19-under to beat Hideki Matsuyama by three strokes. 

Johnson also is off to a strong start this season. Before the Shriners, he tabbed both Sungjae Im and Matthew Wolff among his players to watch. Im shot a 9-under 62 in the final round for a comfortable four-shot win, and Wolff finished as runner-up, his first top-10 finish in almost exactly a year.

The previous week at the Sanderson Farms Championship, Johnson nailed Sam Burns as his winner. Anyone who has followed Johnson’s advice has cashed in huge.  

Now Johnson, the first producer of “Inside the PGA Tour,” a longtime ABC Sports golf producer who worked with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, and founder of the world’s top golf stats database, has released his highly confident 2021 Zozo Championship golf picks, and they will surprise you. You can only see Johnson’s expert PGA Tour picks at SportsLine.

Top 2021 Zozo Championship golf predictions

In a major eye-opener, Johnson is fading Tommy Fleetwood, who is among the betting favorites at 22-1. Oddsmakers like that the Englishman has finished in the top-15 in three of his past four worldwide events, including a tie for the runner-up spot at the Italian Open last month. But he tied for 38th at last week’s CJ Cup, his sixth finish outside the top-25 in his past seven PGA Tour events. He might not have the distance to contend this week, and he was 145th in strokes gained off the tee last season. Johnson has several other golfers you can’t afford to overlook.   

On the other hand, the stats guru knows Schauffele is due for a victory and should have some confidence heading back to Tokyo. He became the first American to win gold since 1900, and he went 3-1-0 in his Ryder Cup matches to help lead Team USA to a 19-9 victory over Team Europe. The 27-year-old has only five worldwide wins, but has finished in the top-10 in all four majors, including ties for second at the Masters and British Open. The California native was seventh in scoring average last season and fifth in strokes gained total (16th in putting).       

Johnson also wants to see how Fowler follows up his tie for third at the CJ Club last week. The former phenom has been in a rut for a couple of years but held the lead after 54 holes. He couldn’t match winner Rory McIlroy’s 66 or Morikawa’s 62 in the final round, but he was under par in all four rounds, including a 63 on Saturday. The 32-year-old is third in greens regulation (82.41 percent) through his two events this season, and he finished last season 12th in strokes gained around the green. He has nine worldwide wins, the last one coming in February 2019.         

How to make 2021 Zozo Championship golf picks

For this week’s event in Japan, the golf expert is backing a huge long shot who comes in at well over 40-1. This veteran has been near the top of the leader board in both editions of this event and has a handful of tour wins to his credit. He has a strong all-around game and could pull off a shocking result this week. Anyone who backs this underdog could cash in huge. You can only see this Zozo Championship pick and the rest of Johnson’s PGA analysis at SportsLine.

Who wins the 2021 Zozo Championship? Where do Xander Schauffele and Rickie Fowler finish? And which huge long-shot is a must-back? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson’s full leaderboard, picks and analysis for the 2021 Zozo Championship, all from the insider who knows what it takes to win on the PGA Tour, and find out.

2021 Zozo Championship odds, field, top contenders (via Caesars):

Collin Morikawa 13-2
Xander Schauffele 13-2
Hideki Matsuyama 16-1
Paul Casey 18-1
Will Zalatoris 18-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
Joaquin Niemann 28-1
Cameron Tringale 30-1
Rickie Fowler 30-1
Keegan Bradley 35-1
Alex Noren 35-1
Maverick McNealy 35-1
Si-Woo Kim 35-1
Emiliano Grillo 40-1
Jhonattan Vegas 40-1
C.T. Pan 40-1
Erik Van Rooyen 40-1
Charley Hoffman 40-1
Branden Grace 50-1
Lanto Griffin 50-1
Carlos Ortiz 50-1
Adam Schenk 50-1
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 50-1
Matt Wallace 50-1
MacKenzie Hughes 50-1
Chris Kirk 50-1
Takumi Kanaya 50-1
Ryan Palmer 50-1
Luke List 60-1
Harry Higgs 66-1
Garrick Higgo 66-1
Sebastian Munoz 66-1
Brendan Steele 66-1
Henrik Norlander 66-1
Brendon Todd 66-1
Doug Ghim 66-1
Roger Sloan 80-1
Matt Jones 80-1
Robert Streb 80-1
Pat Perez 80-1
Tom Hoge 80-1
Chan Kim 80-1
Troy Merritt 100-1
Andrew Putnam 100-1
Scott Vincent 100-1
Doc Redman 125-1
Matthew NeSmith 125-1
Sepp Straka 125-1
Chesson Hadley 125-1
Kyle Stanley 125-1
Sung-Hoon Kang 125-1
Jimmy Walker 150-1
Brandon Hagy 150-1
Adam Long 150-1
Shugo Imahira 150-1
Wyndham Clark 150-1
Sam Ryder 150-1
Ryosuke Kinoshita 150-1
Satoshi Kodaira 150-1
Peter Malnati 150-1
James Hahn 200-1
Tomoharu Otsuki 200-1
Hiroshi Iwata 200-1
Kramer Hickok 200-1
Rikuya Hoshino 200-1
Jinichiro Kozuma 200-1
Keita Nakajima 200-1
Kazuki Higa 250-1
Ryo Hisatsune 250-1
Wesley Bryan 250-1
Tyler McCumber 250-1
Ryutaro Nagano 300-1
Tomoyasu Sugiyama 300-1
Naoto Nakanishi 400-1
Ryuichi Oiwa 400-1
Naoyuki Kataoka 400-1
Bill Haas 400-1
Ryuji Imada 500-1

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