Golf Bets For This Week – The 2020 Honda Classic
Patrick Reed shut a lot of people up by winning the WGC Mexico last week. He seemed to do so without bending the rules, and now it’s just clear that he is fueled by hate. So, if you want Patrick Reed to win, all you have to do is write another article calling him a cheater. I was backing Justin Thomas at WGC, which made Sunday’s round a real horror show to watch. Could JT be starting a downward spiral like his buddy Jordan Spieth has been stuck in for over a year now? Let’s keep an eye on all of these top players as the Players Championship and the Masters grow nearer.
The Florida swing begins this week at the Honda Classic. PGA National Championship Course will host the event again this year. The home of the infamous ‘Bear Trap’ consistently ranks as one of the most difficult golf courses on Tour. Here are my picks for head to head matchups, top finishers and players who could win.
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PGA Picks – Head to Head Matchups
Joaquin Niemann vs Jhonattan Vegas:
Vegas has a decent track record at PGA National. T16 last year and T4 in in 2017. Niemann made his debut at the Honda last year and finished T56. I’m basing my pick in this matchup on recent form in key stat categories. The young star, Niemann is multiple strokes ahead of Vegas in Strokes Gained Approach over the last 36 rounds. Niemann is also far ahead of Vegas in recent putting form, overall short game, and tee to green game. This is one of the most difficult golf courses on the PGA Tour, and there is trouble everywhere. Vegas ranks 130th in bogeys avoided vs Niemann ranked 57th over the last 36 rounds. I’ll take Joaquin Niemann for -120 over Jhonattan Vegas.
Viktor Hovland vs Sungjae Im:
Hovland leads Im in almost every stat that matters this week. Sungjae hasn’t exactly rounded back into his 2019 form yet. We saw flashes of Im greatness at the President’s Cup, and I think its only a matter of time before Sunjae gets back on track. Also, he has one year of experience after at T51 at the Honda in 2019. Hovland will be thrown into the Bear Trap for the first time after his first career win last week at the Puerto Rico Open. This week it’s a real field and I suspect that Victor likes to party, and he won, in Puerto Rico. Let’s take Sungjae Im -110 over Viktor Hovland.
Shane Lowry vs Byeong Hun An:
Scrolling through the Open Champion’s career history, you can see that he doesn’t play well in Florida. The Irishman makes his living elsewhere, but the Sunshine State hasn’t been so welcoming. He has played well this year and had an ‘ok’ showing at the WGC Mexico last week. But Lowry’s best finish at the Honda Classic was T49 in 2018, and he skips the event every other year. Ben An on the other hand has T36 and T5 finishes at Honda over the last two years. He is a guy who could actually finish in the top ten in this event, while Lowry might just be there for his sponsors. I’ll back Byeong Hun An -110 over Shane Lowry.
Honda Classic Picks – Top Finishers at PGA National
Top 10 Finishers – Honda Classic
- Billy Horschel Top 10 (+300): Three to one odds on Billy Ho to crack the top 10 at the Honda Classic is a number I cannot pass on. He’s been on fire recently with back to back top ten finishes at TPC Scottsdale and the WGC Mexico last week. In his last four starts at the Honda Classic, Horschel has a T16, missed cut, T4 and T8. You could argue that he wasn’t playing as well in any of those years as he is right now. He’s been gaining strokes in all the key categories and has been lights out both with the putter and off the tee.
- Harris English Top 10 (+650): Does it surprise you to hear that English is number one in the field in strokes gained over the last 36 rounds? This puts him ahead of Koepka, Hovland, Fleetwood, EVR, Fowler and all the other favorites. He ranks top 20 in putting, tee to green game, ball striking and even in Draftkings DFS points. Harris English is a top ten putter on tour over his last 100 rounds. He loves Bermuda and is quietly one of the most efficient par four players out there. That’s a key stat this week, and so I’m willing to take a shot at the bigger payout on a Top 10 over a Top 20 for Harris English at +300.
Top 20 Finishers – Honda Classic
- Sungjae Im Top 20 (+150): Plus money is simply a good deal for a player of his caliber. Sungjae is due to break out this year and he has good history putting on Bermuda greens. While his finishes have been lackluster in 2020, he’s still one of the most consistent players on tour when it comes to par-four efficiency. Top 20 is where the value is here but I wouldn’t rule out a top ten play at +300.
- Russell Henley Top 20 (+300): After missing 5 cuts in a row, Henley found his swing at Riviera. He was in contention to win until falling off the map with a 75 in round 4. It’s the eye test from the Genesis, nor the stats, that has me backing Russ at the Honda. By the way, he won the Honda back in 2014 and he has T20, T24 and T43 finishes the last three years. I sense from the performance at Riviera that good things are coming for Russell Henley, and this week is the kind of field where he could find himself in the mix to win. Top 20 is the safe bet that I’m looking for, but I might put some late action on Henley to go top 10 for +750.
- Bud Cauley Top 20 (+250): Bud has been a stud in his last two appearances at PGA National with finishes of 27 and 12th place. He’s having a solid 2020 campaign that includes 4th place at the AmEx and 25th at the Waste Management. He gains strokes on approach and tee to green pretty much every week. Plus, Cauley has good history around the greens on Bermuda courses and he is 18th in proximity to the hole over his last 36 rounds on Tour. I’ll invest in him on a course where accuracy and short game really matters.
The 2020 Honda Classic – Bets On Potential Winners
It’s strange to see Tommy Fleetwood as the favorite to win this event. He very well could win the Honda Classic and any data model will confirm this is a real possibility. However, I’m not willing to take 10 to 1 odds on a player who may be elite in his skill set, but still had never won on the PGA Tour. Fleetwood also has not had a top ten finish in the US since the WGC St Jude back in July of 2019. He was 4th in his debut at PGA National last year, and I would not be shocked to see him replicate that performance.
However, if you watch Tommy you know that he seems to lack that Patrick Reed fire to take the win when he’s in contention. You could invest in a Top 5 for Fleetwood at +225, but all the bets on the Englishman are too cost prohibitive for me this week. The same can be said for Rickie Fowler, who has great history at the Honda but has been having issues finding his whole game recently. Let’s look at some small, medium, and large odds to win on the PGA Tour this week.
My PGA Tour Winner Picks for This Week
Brooks Koepka (+1200): He’s Brooks Koepka and he lost this event by one shot to Keith Mitchell last year, despite a 66 on Sunday. Brooks doesn’t forget and he’s got to be looking to move past his injury with a win to get the 2020 season on track before the Majors. The knee issue won’t help him this week, but it might not hurt as much with this being a shorter track under 7200 yards. A lot of the other bombers aren’t playing the Honda, so a clubbed down Brooks could be ready to pounce on the somewhat low-end field. I just expect him to be in the mix on Sunday no matter what, and you know the number will be MUCH lower than +1200 by then.
Medium Odds Player Who Could Win
Justin Rose (+2500): All signs point to not backing Rose at this event. However, no matter what the numbers say about Justin, he is arguably the best player in the field (sorry Brooks). Rose always seems to keep himself in the mix when motivated, and he must be feeling ready to get his act together with the Players and the Masters on the horizon. Rose has only played two events this year and he has skipped the Honda every year since missing the cut in 2015 when his game wasn’t what it is now. Prior to that he had two top 5’s at the home of the Bear Trap.
Justin Rose is still elite and I think this is the week he begins the long march back to being a top 5 player in the world. If you don’t think he can win, +150 for a top 20 looks like an outstanding value.
Longer Odds Player Who Could Win the Honda Classic
Keith Mitchell (+10000): I know it makes me a hack to pick last years winner to repeat. The stats on Mitchell don’t add up and he’s one of the more inconsistent players on the tour. But if you look only at his last two events, it’s clear that his game is improving. In 2019, Mitchell missed cuts at AT&T and the Genesis to finish the West Coast swing. Then he began the Florida swing on a heater including the Honda victory, 6th place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and decent finishes at The Players and The Masters.
What’s different this year? Mitchell played well at his last two west coast events before Florida. From 2019 to 2020 he improved from 73rd to 16th at the Waste Mgmt and from missed cut to 32nd at the AT&T. He’s taken a few weeks off, skipping the Genesis this time around. Let’s hope that ‘Killa’ was dialing things in even more and resting up to defend his Honda title.
My PGA Picks from Last Week at WGC Mexico.
Here are how my PGA betting picks did last week at the WGC Mexico Championship. If you bet $10 on each of these picks, you would have lost approximately $38 dollars. Justin Thomas could have put this number in the black with a decent showing on Sunday, but his whole game imploded again.
Something is off with JT’s head right now. We will take that into consideration when he is a favorite at upcoming tournaments and the Masters.
- Abraham Ancer vs Marc Leishman: Won +100
- Victor Perez vs Tyrrell Hatton: Lost -110
- Paul Casey vs Matt Kuchar: Won -106
- Dustin Johnson Top 5: Lost +175
- Sergio Garcia Top 10: Lost +400
- Rafa Cabrera-Bello Top 10: Lost +550
- Rafa Cabrera-Bello Top 20: Won +225
- Justin Thomas to Win: Lost +900 (Sunday was hard to watch!)
- Justin Thomas Top 5: Lost +200 (He somehow fell to 6th place)
- Thomas Top 10: Won -110.
- Tommy Fleetwood to Win: Lost +2000
- Graeme McDowell to Win: Lost +10000
- Graeme McDowell Top 10: Lost +300
Honda Classic FAQ
The Tour begins the Florida Swing at the Honda Classic. PGA National in West Palm Beach Florida is the site of the event again this year.
Yes. There is a standard cut at the Honda Classic after 36 holes.
The course is a par 70, with only two par 5s on the score card. The course measures 7,140 yards.
It was Keith Mitchell who won the Honda last year. Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler tied for second.
The regular PGA tour stop is at the Puerto Rico Open. However all of the worlds top players will be at the WGC Mexico.
Justin Thomas won the event in 2018. He is not in the field this week.
Yes. Fowler won the Honda in 2017 with a score of -12.
No. Tiger Woods is not in the field at WGC Mexico.
The greens at the Honda Classic this week are Bermuda grass surfaces.
Important stats for betting on golf and fantasy this week are Par 4 efficiency, Bermuda putting performance, proximity to the hole and driving accuracy. In general, you don not have to be a bomber to win at this golf course.
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