Betting on Golf: The Honda Classic

Betting on Golf: The Honda Classic

This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.

The Honda Classic Betting Strategy

The Honda Classic is the final stop in the Florida Swing this year, and many top players are taking the week off with the event being sandwiched between last week's PLAYERS Championship and next week's WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event. Daniel Berger – a winner earlier this year and a former runner-up here – headlines this week's field. Last year, Sungjae Im (30-1 odds) overcame a three-shot deficit to start the final round en route to his first career PGA Tour victory, defeating Mackenzie Hughes by one stroke.

PGA National plays as one of the most difficult courses on Tour year-in and year-out, with the winner reaching double-digits under par only once in the last eight years. Windy conditions usually play a factor, and driving distance isn't of much importance this week, with several holes forcing golfers to keep the driver in the bag and lay up off the tee. The host course is a Jack Nicklaus design that is best known for "The Bear Trap," a three-hole stretch on Nos. 15-17 in which the players would gladly take three pars and head to the 18th tee if given the choice. Holes 15 and 17 are dangerous par-3s over water that will require precise iron shots, and the par-4 16th forces a layup off the tee and a long-iron approach over water.

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 2:00 PM ET Tuesday.

A Feel for the Course

The following five players, with a minimum of eight rounds, have the lowest scoring average at The Honda Classic since 2016: 

Fowler has had his share of success at The Honda Classic, winning the event in 2017 and finishing runner-up two years ago. He comes into the event in poor form, however, as his last top-10 result came over a year ago and his Official World Golf Ranking has dipped to 81st – his lowest mark since 2010. Fowler would be an unlikely winner at 45-1 odds, but he's an intriguing daily fantasy sports option. Scott (30-1 odds) is another horse for the course, having finished top-10 in Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green in three of his four appearances since 2016.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

The following golfers gained the most strokes on approach on a per-round basis over their last 20 rounds:

Of the players in the field this week, NeSmith comes in playing the best with his irons, and that will be a key factor on a course that can't be overpowered. Although the second-year Tour player only has three top-10s in his career, two of those have come this season, and he also notched three top-20 results over his last five events. Meanwhile, Davis appears to be on the edge on breaking through, and his iron play has been elite in 2021. He should come into the event with good memories, having ranked third in SG: Tee-to-Green at PGA National last year.

Outright Picks

Russell Henley (30-1) 

A winner at PGA National back in 2014, Henley has had plenty of success here, including a top-10 finish last year. He's been knocking on the door of the winner's circle since the restart last summer, posting top-5s at The CJ Cup and ZOZO Championship, which both featured elite fields. He checks in at a reasonable number, and in a below-average field, this should be a great opportunity for him to get his fourth Tour win.

Cameron Tringale (45-1)

Tringale is a name we've seen on leaderboards a lot more often in 2021, as the Tour veteran is back to the form we saw him in when he was at his best in 2014-15. Although he's coming off a missed cut at last week's PLAYERS, it was a rare down week with his short game, and he was in contention heading into the weekend at last year's edition of this event.

Alex Noren (70-1)

If you're looking for a long shot this week, Noren should be a prime candidate, as his game fits PGA National well. On a course where avoiding bogeys is key, Noren has a great short game to bail him out when he misses greens, and his inaccuracy with the driver should be negated with most holes only requiring a three-wood or long iron off the tee.

Top-10 Picks

Wyndham Clark (6-1) 

I'd like to see a couple more top-15 results out of Clark before I bet on him to win, but he's a good top-10 candidate, having recorded one at Riviera last month and coming up just one shot shy of another at the Shriners event last fall. He's another player that fits the mold here, as his main issue has been keeping the ball in the fairway with his driver. He's one of just five players in the field with an under-par scoring average at this event since 2016.

Patton Kizzire (15-2) 

Kizzire has an impressive streak going with 12 consecutive cuts made, and he has posted two top-10s since that stretch began. He's gained strokes on the field with his approach play in three straight tournaments to boot. It's easy to forget that Kizzire won twice in a short stretch a few seasons ago, and he's having a resurgence after struggling a bit afterward.

Peter Malnati (12-1)

Malnati has cooled off a bit after nearly winning twice last fall, but that's created some nice value as a result. His struggles have mainly been off the tee, where he's lost 1.16 strokes over his last two tournaments. Without having to rely too much on driver this week, Malnati should be able to use his solid approach and putting play to his advantage. As a result, he's a sneaky under-the-radar sleeper.

Head-to-Head Matchups

Luke List (-125) over Lucas Glover

List seems to be play some of his best golf here, with two top-10s in his last four appearances, including a playoff loss to Justin Thomas in 2018. Glover looks like a shell of himself lately, with a best finish this year of T39 at the alternate-field Puerto Rico Open. He also missed the cut at last year's Honda Classic. It does feel a little odd putting my 12-2 record on the line with the long-hitting List, but the matchup is too appealing.

Richy Werenski (-103) over John Huh

The golf world was introduced to Werenski on the Golf Channel's "Big Break," in which he won the competition that was held at PGA National. Having finished top-20 last year, he certainly knows his way around the track, and he is a reliable head-to-head pick, having finished inside the top 25 in half his 2021 events. Huh may have the better career resume, but he checks in at -125 in this matchup, and he doesn't deserve to be that big a favorite.

Kevin Streelman (-120) over Zach Johnson 

Streelman's the much better golfer in this matchup, and I'm willing to lay the number, as he's only a slight favorite. In Johnson's lengthy history at The Honda Classic he's never recorded a top-10, and he has been trending in the wrong direction in 2021, having lost 1.27 strokes on approach per-round over his last eight rounds.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Pohle
Ryan Pohle breaks down golf bets and covers college basketball for RotoWire.
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