Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM
Honda Classic Betting Odds & Best Bets
Honda Classic Betting Odds & Best Bets
The month of March is on the way which means that the PGA Tour is out in Florida for the first time this year as the next few weeks of action take place in the great Sunshine State. And while it will be The PLAYERS Championship that's the gem of this four-tournament Florida circuit over the next month, this week's Honda Classic is a strong event in it's own right.
The depth of this field has lust some of its weight since the PGA Tour revamped their schedule, as guys really start to prioritize tournaments around this week. There is the aforementioned PLAYERS, but the Arnold Palmer Invitational next week always receives loyalty from some of the biggest names in the game, and with a WGC Event last week, the Honda Classic tends to get left out by those superstars who aren't interested in playing four straight weeks. It's a shame, but it is what it is.
Venue: PGA National
Par-Yardage: 70, 7,125 yards
When the Tour shifts over to Florida this time of year, you know that there will be a shift in the volume of water that's in play for these guys on this course. There may be no better tune-up for The PLAYERS at TPC Sawgrass then a trip to PGA National, as 15 of the 18 holes contain worrisome water for the players to deal with, and the closing stretch of holes 15-17 – known as the Bear Trap – is as tough as they come. This venue regularly finishes as one of the toughest non-major events on Tour, and with only three of the previous 13 winners of this event since it moved to PGA National finishing double digits under par, guys better not let a bad hole or two spiral into a disastrous round.
PGA National is a course where bogey is going to be a decent score at times after a loose shot or two, and guys have no choice but to take their medicine and move on. With so much water in play, it's rare guys run away from this field, as only twice in the 13-year history at PGA National has the winner won by more then two strokes over the field. The field tends to be congested throughout the four days here, which means that plenty of guys will have a shot. Just keep the golf ball as dry as possible and don't be shy about knocking down some critical par putts.
As I discussed earlier, the location of this tournament within the overall PGA Tour schedule means that the quality of this field will always tend to take a hit, and for the first time in a few weeks, the favorite(s) to win this week aren't in the sub-10/1 range. Right now you've got only three players even below the 20/1 barometer, as Brooks Koepka (12/1), Tommy Fleetwood (12/1), and Rickie Fowler (14/1) are those three names.
Recent history of this event would suggest that staying in this odds range isn't a horrible option, as four of the last eight winners all closed with better than 20/1 odds, however, the other four winners were all 200/1 or better. Defending champion Keith Mitchell was in the 225/1 range a year ago when he edged out Koepka and Fowler by a single shot, with both Koepka and Fowler being in that sub-20/1 range a year ago. Definitely something to keep in mind as the week goes on.
So after a near hit with Bryson DeChambeau last week, let's get right to this week's selections and see if we can scratch out another victor.
Top 10 Betting Choices
- Brooks Koepka 12/1
- Tommy Fleetwood 12/1
- Rickie Fowler 14/1
- Justin Rose 25/1
- Gary Woodland 25/1
- Louis Oosthuizen 25/1
- Viktor Hovland 25/1
- Sungjae Im 30/1
- Billy Horschel 30/1
- Daniel Berger 30/1
Golfers to Watch
Favorite: Gary Woodland (25/1)
Woodland is just outside that favored range of past winners, but among the guys at the top, he's the name I consistently gravitate towards. The price is definitely more then fair, as Woodland's recent form mirrors that of the names ahead of him, and it's not like any of them have been playing light's out golf. He's a guy that had a runner-up finish at the Honda back in 2017, and having been a regular entrant here the past four seasons, this is a tournament Woodland clearly has some sort of affinity for. That can't be discounted in a week where most guys would prefer to take off.
As is usually the case with Woodland, he'll need to get the putter going at this venue to have a shot, although historically it's not like the greatest putters out there have found success here. Defending champion Keith Mitchell isn't exactly known for his putter – outside of how streaky he gets with it in both directions – and last year he was on the hotter side of that equation. It's not like Woodland can't follow a similar script this week.
Woodland is among the best overall ball strikers in this field though, and as long as that's working as per usual, he should be able to find his name among the first page of two of the leaderboard come the weekend.
Mid-Range: Luke List (80/1)
List is another guy who's got a previous runner-up finish at this event to fall back on in terms of experience, but he does kind of fit the same profile of last year's winner Keith Mitchell. List is a guy who can bomb it off the tee, is known for his ball striking, and just can't seem to find long-term answers with the putter, and sometimes the entire short game. When he can put it all together for four days, List gets finishes like the 2nd here back in 2018, as he had a 10th here as well back in 2016.
It's his overall ball striking ability that will especially be the key at PGA National, as the more water he avoids, the better his chances should likely be. It's one thing to be a guy dropping bombs on the greens all the time, but if the better ball strikers in the field can continually plod their way from station to station on each hole and go from there, with the typical winning score range being around -8 to -10, there really is no need to overdue it. The birdies will come, and you've just got to avoid disaster.
For List, it's more about avoiding disaster as throughout the course of four days, there usually is a rough stretch or two that ultimately eliminates him from contention for the outright win. But those few weeks a year where List gets the short game heated up, he can be a force to deal with, especially in an overall weaker field like this one. There are numerous names ahead of Luke List in the odds this week that don't deserve to be priced like they are in my view, so grabbing List at this price is not hard to do.
Longshot: Kyle Stanley (100/1)
With the history of long shot winners priced at 200/1 or greater, I might not be going far enough into the long shot range with this selection. For those of you interested in a 200/1 or better player this week, a name like Brandon Hagy (200/1) comes to mind. But backing Kyle Stanley at this price is just as suitable of an option as well.
For one, Stanley's found some decent form to his game again, ending a bad run of missed cuts two weeks ago, and then following that up with a 3rd in Puerto Rico last week. His two career wins on Tour have come in tight golf tournaments with a one stroke and playoff victory for Stanley in those events, as he's another one who can see his results skyrocket when his ball striking game overall is on target.
Lately this year, there have been more struggles off the tee for Stanley and if that persists here, you can rip up this ticket pretty quickly. But for a guy who usually gets “priced out of the market” because of a lack of overall length in tournaments where you need to be long and go super low, none of that is a concern this week. Get the putter going and keep the ball in play. Stanley is very good at that when things are going well, and he showed plenty of those positive signs last week in Puerto Rico.
PGA National hasn't always been his favorite place with three missed cuts here in his last four tries, but prior to that he had two Top-24 finishes in three years, so it's not like he hasn't played well here in the past, it's just been some time for him. But we've hit the part of the year where current form fro guys should really start to be considered more, and there is a lot to like with Stanley in that regard right now.
72 Hole Matchup to Take: Sungjae Im (+105) vs Viktor Hovland
Finding more reasons to play against a guy rather then on someone else worked quite well when the full fade of Dustin Johnson worked out well as fatigue clearly caught up to him. Well, same line of thought is in play here, although this time it's not potential fatigue for Hovland this week, it's how the young rising star will react after winning his first career event.
Any PGA Tour player coming off their first career win tend to be great fades, but when they are younger guys, that method of action is hard to not jump on board with. Guys are always going to be jacked up to get that first win, and who knows how and for how long they choose to celebrate it, but with the younger guys – Hovland is only 22 – there is always that concern of maturity in knowing when it's time to move onto the next week, and playing the following week often has rough results.
Make no mistake, this is by no means a knock on Hovland, I am very high on the talented Norwegian golfer overall, it's just a bad spot for him to be in this week in terms of backing him by any means, and getting a plus price to fade him is too juicy to pass up.