Hero World Challenge Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 2, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

This week features the Hero World Golf Challenge in The Bahamas. It isn’t an official PGA Tour event, so whomever wins this event will not receive 500 FedEx Cup points in the standings. However, there is still a $1 million prize for the winner, and $3.5 million to be spread upon just 20 golfers in the field.

Last season’s event, like many, was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. The players return to Albany Golf Course in New Providence, Bahamas for the first time since Dec. 2019, when Henrik Stenson edged Jon Rahm by one stroke to claim victory with an 18-Under 270. Stenson is back in the field of 20 sniffing around for another mil, but Rahm is not included in this year’s field.

The Albany Golf Course plays at 7,309 yards, which is a Par 72, and like courses in the tropics, we have Bermudagrass putting surfaces, similar to last week’s RSM Classic, the Bermuda Championship, Mayakoba, etc.

Golf Betting Resources
Hero World Challenge

  • Date: Thursday Dec. 2 - Sunday Dec. 5, 2021
  • Venue: Albany Golf Club
  • Location: Albany, New Providence, Bahamas
  • Par-Yardage: 72, 7,302 yards
  • Defending Champion: Henrik Stenson (2019)
  • TV: NBC, Golf Channel
  • Vegas Expert Picks
  • Betting Odds

Hero World Challenge Picks and Predictions

For this particular event, with a super shortened field, it’s a good idea to look at a few things. One, has the golfer played at this event before? Course familiarity is super important, but especially so with a field of just 20 players. However, two, we’ll try and pair that course familiarity with someone who has been playing well on Tour recently. What someone was doing two years ago is great, but if they’ve been stinking it up on the links lately, the recent history washes out that good past history.

Driving distance at this fairly wide course is a good stat, as the bombers will prevail, but you also need to pair that brute strength with someone who can handle the steel on the dance floor, too. If you get to the green, but then blow it with the putter, it evens out. We’ll focus on putting stats from the swing season to guide us.

Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns, Harris English, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler are the nine golfers in this 20-man field who have never teed it up at the Albany Golf Course, at least for a tournament setting.

Rory McIlroy enters the Hero World Challenge as the co-favorite to win (+750) with Collin Morikawa. (AP)

However, while Morikawa is a first-timer in this event, he was second at The CJ CUP at The Summit Club, and seventh at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, so his recent hot play in October has to carry some weight. And Morikawa checks in 10 th in SG: Putting at .961 in eight rounds.

In addition, Ancer was seventh in his most recent event in his native Mexico at Mayakoba, turning in a 15-Under 269. However, Ancer is 29 th in SG: Putting at just .648.

As far as English is concerned, while it’s a small sample size at just seven measured rounds, he has a negative 1.012 SG: Putting mark, which ranks him 223 rd on the PGA Tour. And while Justin Thomas has been a regular combatant at this event, posting a T5 in 2019, T12 in 2018 and T11 in 2017, he enters with a -.743 in SG: Putting, albeit in just eight measured rounds. Still, he has had issues with the putter during swing season.

Hero World Challenge Betting Odds

According to BetMGM, three golfers have winning odds at or under +1000, with Collin Morikawa (+750) and Rory McIlroy (+750) listed as the chalk, with Justin Thomas (+1000) on their heels. Bryson DeChambeau (+1100), fresh off his lost at The Match at the Wynn is next, followed by Viktor Hovland (+1100), Jordan Spieth (+1400), Sam Burns (+1400) and Xander Schauffele (+1400).

Next is Abraham Ancer (+1600), Daniel Berger (+1600) and big hitter Tony Finau (+1600). The longer shots range from Webb Simpson (+2000), Brooks Koepka (+2200), the winner of The Match last week, Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2500), Harris English (+2800), Justin Rose (+2800), Tyrell Hatton (+2800), Patrick Reed (+3000) and the most recent winner in this event, Henrik Stenson (+6600).

Hero World Challenge Contenders

  • Collin Morikawa +750
  • Rory McIlroy +750
  • Justin Thomas +1000
  • Bryson DeChambeau +1100
  • Viktor Hovland +1100
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Hero World Challenge Golfers to Avoid

Koepka did well to absolutely tattoo DeChambeau in The Match in Las Vegas last week. It wasn’t even close, so perhaps he’ll get some confidence from that. But he has missed the cut in his two most recent events, including at Mayakoba, and he has limped home with a 67 th at the Shriner’s and 38h at The CJ CUP. He is a big bomber, but just too inconsistent right now.

I mentioned English and Thomas, and their putting woes, albeit a small sample size. But leave them off your betting tickets, and avoid Finau, too. His best attribute is his driving distance, but he checks in just 83 rd in 10 measured rounds at just 302.4 yards. He missed the cut last time out in Houston, and had a pair of 45 th in his first two events, including at Mayakoba.

Hero World Challenge Favorite to Back

  • Rory McIlroy +750

It’s difficult actually not difficult to pick between the top three on the board. I eliminate Thomas immediately, as I don’t like his putting, albeit on a small sample size. And if I am choosing between Morikawa and Rory McIlroy (+750), I’ll take the Northern Irishman every time. Rory checks the boxes, blasting the ball off the tee at 321.4 yards, ranking fourth in Driving Distance, while topping the charts at 1.361 in SG: Off-the-tee.

And, oh yeah, he is fourth in SG: Putting at 1.504, although he has just four rounds under his belt, so that could be a bit misleading. Still, in 106 total putts in four rounds, he is sixth at 26.50 per round, absolutely crushing it in his win at The CJ CUP in his only PGA Tour event in swing season.

Hero World Challenge Mid-Range to Back

  • Sam Burns +1400

I don’t think a lot of people are talking about this guy, but Sam Burns (+1400), well, burned it up during swing season. While he is a first-timer, going against one of the things I said above, he had four events under his belt on the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, winning the Sanderson Farms Championship, posting a 14 th at the Shriner’s, a strong Top 5 at The CJ Cup, and a seventh-place showing in Houston.

In 16 measured rounds he has a 307.4 yard Driving Distance number, and at least he is in the positive in SG: Putting at .115. He is second on Tour in scoring average at 69.064 right now, and perhaps no one is hotter. In fact, he has been T21 or better in eight consecutive events. At this price he is a great value.

Hero World Challenge Long Shot to Back

  • Justin Rose +2800

Justin Rose (+2800) is another one of those value play picks. He is coming off a solid 12 th -place showing at The RSM Classic, handling his business on the Bermudagrass greens at Sea Island Resort. He should be able to carry that over into this international event.

He is just so-so off the tee at 300.9 yards in driving distance, while checking in 78 th in SG: Off-the-tee, but he ranks favorably with the putter at 54 th in SG: Putting with a .427. But more importantly, this is where the course familiarity blends in with the recent decent history. Rose was T5 in 2019 at Albany, third in 2018 and T5 in 2017.

Hero World Challenge Prop Bets to Back

Burns (+175) and Rose (+350) are worth a roll of the dice for a Top 5 finish at this price level, too, as you still have a chance to go plus-money on them, and they don’t even have to win. I also like the putting I’ve seen from Tyrrell Hatton (+300), as he ranks 23 rd in SG: Putting (.725).

He isn’t heavy off the tee, but he gains plenty of strokes around the game with a top-notch short game. I think he could sneak up for at least a Top 5, and for a chance to triple up? Sure, let’s do it.

For Top 10, Burns (-200) is a little more risky at this price level, but I think he is a sure-fire play to finish in the top half of the leaderboard. Rose (-120) is a bit more of a value, and Hatton (-135) also should settle in at the top end of the charts.

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2021 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.

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