2021 Fortinet Championship picks, odds, field, bets: PGA insider says back Jon Rahm, fade Hideki Matsuyama

A new PGA Tour season begins, and world No. 1 Jon Rahm is looking to improve on his last one starting Thursday at the 2021 Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif. Rahm dominated statistically last season and was the U.S. Open champion and FedEx Cup runner-up, but he won just the one tournament despite contending nearly every week. He faces a Fortinet Championship field that includes two other major winners from last season in Phil Mickelson (PGA Championship) and Hideki Matsuyama (Masters) and a bevy of rookies. Will Zalatoris makes his debut as a PGA Tour member after a strong season, and 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson hopes to be in the mix.    

Rahm is the 9-2 favorite in the latest 2021 Fortinet Championship golf odds from Caesars Sportsbook, followed by Simpson at 14-1. Matsuyama is listed as the 20-1 third choice from the 2021 Fortinet Championship field, ahead of Kevin Na (22-1) and Zalatoris (28-1), with Mickelson a 60-1 long shot. Before you lock in any bets on the Fortinet Championship 2021 or make any PGA Tour predictions, you have 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 on the PGA Tour. He comes off a stellar season where he showed his uncanny knack for gauging momentum and how players fit the courses.

Before the U.S. Open, he pegged Rahm among his best bets to win and touted Louis Oosthuizen at 45-1 as his top long-shot candidate. Rahm and Oosthuizen battled to the finish, with Rahm surging to his first major title.

Before the Tokyo Olympics, he had Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama among his top five golfers. Schauffele won the gold medal for Team USA, while the other three made the playoff for the bronze.

He also was one of the few experts to say 55-1 long shot Kevin Kisner had a legitimate chance before he got his first stroke-play win in more than four years at the Wyndham Championship. 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 Fortinet Championship golf picks, and they will surprise you.

Top 2021 Fortinet Championship predictions

Shockingly, the golf expert is fading Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama. The world’s 18th-ranked player is one of the notable names in the field and the third favorite at Caesars Sportsbook. However, he hasn’t finished in the top 25 in his past three events, and his game doesn’t set up well for Silverado. His stats last season were average across the board: he ranked 48th in scoring average, 69th in greens regulation, 80th in driving accuracy and 62nd in driving distance. He’s a player to avoid, and Johnson has several better under-the-radar options.

Meanwhile, Johnson is still on the Rahm bandwagon and doesn’t expect anything less than success this week. The Spaniard is clearly the most talented player in this field, and he wants wins to show for his statistical dominance. He finished in the top 10 in 15 of his 22 tour events last season, five of those in the top three, but he had trouble closing things out. He led the tour in scoring average (69.300) and was second in greens in regulation (79.3 percent) and strokes gained tee-to-green. He finished T-15 in his only appearance at Silverado in 2016.    

The guru also has seen the grit Zalatoris brings to the game and expects him to impress. He had a win and 10 top-10 finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 and was on especially temporary status last season. He finished in the top 10 in the 2020 U.S. Open and the PGA Championship and was the runner-up at the Masters. The 25-year-old made the cut in 21 of his 25 tournaments and would have been in the top 25 in points if he was eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. He finished ninth in strokes gained tee-to-green and 18th in scoring average (70.065).

How to make 2021 Fortinet Championship picks

This week in Napa, the golf expert is backing a long shot who comes in at well over 60-1. This veteran has experience playing all over the world and comes in on a scorching run. He is a superb putter who makes a lot of birdies and could easily pull off a stunner in Napa Valley. Anyone who backs this underdog could cash in huge.

Who wins the 2021 Fortinet Championship? Where do Jon Rahm and Will Zalatoris 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 Fortinet Championship, all from the insider who knows what it takes to win on the PGA Tour.

2021 Fortinet Championship odds, field, top contenders

Jon Rahm 9-2
Webb Simpson 14-1
Hideki Matsuyama 20-1
Kevin Na 22-1
Will Zalatoris 28-1
Cameron Tringale 33-1
Cameron Champ 40-1
Harold Varner 40-1
Charley Hoffman 40-1
Emiliano Grillo 40-1
Marc Leishman 40-1
Si-Woo Kim 40-1
Sebastian Munoz 40-1
Max Homa 50-1
Maverick McNealy 50-1
Phil Mickelson 60-1
Mito Pereira 60-1
Brendon Todd 60-1
Brandt Snedeker 60-1
Chez Reavie 60-1
Doug Ghim 60-1
Roger Sloan 66-1
Talor Gooch 66-1
Aaron Rai 66-1
Chad Ramey 66-1
Stephan Jaeger 66-1
Charles Howell 70-1
Adam Hadwin 70-1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 70-1
Brian Stuard 80-1
Pat Perez 80-1
Ryan Moore 80-1
Sahith Theegala 80-1
Brendan Steele 80-1
Taylor Moore 80-1
Lucas Herbert 80-1
Harry Higgs 80-1
Peter Uihlein 80-1
C.T. Pan 80-1
Dylan Frittelli 90-1
Adam Svensson 100-1
Greyson Sigg 100-1
Taylor Pendrith 100-1
Danny Willett 100-1
Tom Hoge 100-1
Patton Kizzire 100-1
Lanto Griffin 100-1
Adam Schenk 100-1
Sepp Straka 100-1
Joseph Bramlett 100-1
Troy Merritt 100-1
Doc Redman 100-1
Nick Taylor 100-1
Luke List 100-1
Hudson Swafford 125-1
John Huh 125-1
Andrew Putnam 125-1
Scott Piercy 125-1
Patrick Rodgers 125-1
J.T. Poston 125-1
Ryan Armour 125-1
Matt Kuchar 125-1
Alex Smalley 125-1
Russell Knox 125-1
David Lipsky 125-1
Hayden Buckley 125-1
Michael Thompson 125-1
Joshua Creel 125-1
Scott Stallings 150-1
Dylan Wu 150-1
Kurt Kitayama 150-1
Chun-An Yu 150-1
Brice Garnett 150-1
Kyle Stanley 150-1
Kevin Tway 150-1
Andrew Novak 150-1
Denny McCarthy 150-1
Bronson Burgoon 150-1
Cameron Young 150-1
Vincent Whaley 150-1
Jason Dufner 150-1
Brandon Wu 150-1
Trey Mullinax 150-1
Hank Lebioda 150-1
Bo Hoag 150-1
Mark Hubbard 150-1
Chesson Hadley 150-1
Cameron Percy 150-1
Lee Hodges 200-1
Jim Herman 200-1
James Hahn 200-1
Justin Lower 200-1
Callum Tarren 200-1
Dawie Van Der Walt 200-1
Danny Lee 200-1
Ben Kohles 200-1
Adam Long 200-1
J.B. Holmes 200-1
Sam Ryder 200-1
Kramer Hickok 200-1
Kevin Chappell 200-1
Nick Watney 250-1
Bo Van Pelt 250-1
David Skinns 250-1
Brandon Hagy 250-1
J.J. Spaun 250-1
Sung-Hoon Kang 250-1
Seth Reeves 250-1
Andrew Landry 250-1
Tyler Duncan 250-1
Peter Malnati 250-1
Scott Gutschewski 250-1
Austin Cook 250-1
Jamie Lovemark 250-1
Davis Riley 250-1
Max McGreevy 250-1
Michael Gligic 250-1
Beau Hossler 250-1
Nick Hardy 250-1
Jared Wolfe 300-1
Aaron Baddeley 300-1
Sean O’Hair 300-1
Matthew NeSmith 300-1
Vaughn Taylor 300-1
John Augenstein 300-1
Ben Martin 300-1
Wyndham Clark 300-1
Austin Smotherman 300-1
Bill Haas 350-1
Trevor Werbylo 350-1
Turk Pettit 350-1
Tyler McCumber 350-1
Chase Seiffert 400-1
Seung-yul Noh 400-1
Paul Barjon 400-1
Curtis Thompson 400-1
Brett Drewitt 400-1
David Hearn 400-1
Nate Lashley 400-1
Kelly Kraft 400-1
D.J. Trahan 500-1
William McGirt 500-1
Scott Brown 500-1
Chris Stroud 500-1
Jim Knous 500-1
Jonas Blixt 500-1
Quade Cummins 500-1
Ted Potter 500-1
Jonathan Byrd 750-1
Martin Trainer 1000-1
Kevin Stadler 1000-1
Michael Duncan 1500-1

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