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TWO PICKS FOR THE TEAMS EVENT FROM TPC LOUISIANA

We’re treated to a pairings tournament this week from just outside New Orleans. 80 teams will play better-ball followed by alternate-shot in hope of making the weekend before the same format across Saturday and Sunday.

At the top of the outright betting the talent is stacked, however it thins out pretty quickly. Schauffele & Cantlay (+400) are the ones to beat but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the winner coming from the top three at the odds. Debutant McIlroy and good friend Lowry offer value at +750 as the outsider of the trio, Zalatoris & Theegala are a touch shorter at +700.

The shorter odds awarded justifiably to that set push out some nice pairings to reasonable odds in the top finishing position markets and we’re betting two pairs to make a good run of it and be in contention on Sunday.

TOP 5 FINISH: BRICE GARNETT & SEPP STRAKA (+700, DraftKings)

Behind 10 others at the odds is a little unfair on this pair and this is a great value play at +700.

Straka has really got his game together in recent weeks, on the biggest of occasions he’s hit T16 at THE PLAYERS, T16 at the Masters and T5 last week at the RBC Heritage. Similar can be said of Garnett with the American registering a T18 at the RBC Heritage and a T35 at THE PLAYERS, which came a week after he landed victory at the Puerto Rico Open. Not many pairs in this field boast that combined level of recent form against top class opposition.

These two very accurate players will look to dominate the fairways hit and GIR stats. If the breeze picks up, the elite accuracy will only help their assault of a top five finish. As the star in this pair, Straka being allowed the freedom to attack could be pivotal, providing Garnett can keep up the careful side of proceedings. Those incredible three rounds at the Austrian’s John Deere Classic win last summer showed what he can do when the shackles are off and he really gets going.

Garnett missed the cut narrowly on his last two appearances here but the experience will aid the challenge with his far better debutant partner.

We concede that it’s perhaps difficult to be confident on this pair having the power and edge to win it but their skillset will see them steadily notch up a score over the four days with both formats providing no issue.

TOP 5 FINISH: RYAN FOX & GARRICK HIGGO (+850, DraftKings)

This international pairing is intriguing. There’s a lot to like about both players, whilst there are obvious concerns too. In Fox and Higgo we’re playing a pair that will attempt to outdrive the course, possible with the forgiving rough, so scoring on days one and three does not trouble us.

Individually, the pair have excellent birdie rates, integral to doing well here at a tournament that’s attracted winning scores of -30 and -29 in the last two seasons. A strong scoring start will build the confidence going into Friday’s alternate-shot.

Day four caught out Higgo on his last appearance here, when he played with Branden Grace, scoring over par to still finish T4. The quality and maturity of 37-year-old Fox, as seen recently at the Masters and all last season on the DP World Tour, will hopefully settle 24-year-old Higgo on Sunday.

The right-hander/left-hander combo can also tackle the course intelligently to take on opportunities that don’t quite present themselves to other pairings. A team-first, tactical approach could catch attentions of the President’s Cup selection committee.

It’s also interesting to look at the nationalities of this pair. Fierce sporting rivalry runs through South Africa and New Zealand. Unlike many pairs of friendships and family, these will have teamed up with only one goal in mind; winning. Expect a level of ruthlessness from these two and a very professional way of going about things on the course between them.

All odds listed from DraftKings, as of Wednesday April 24.

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