PGA Tour Picks: The Honda Classic Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
I'm going to go ahead and claim another winner already this golf season!
When previewing last week's Genesis Open at Riviera in Los Angeles, I wrote that I was wagering on Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods (despite him being part of it) at +900 to win against the field (-2000) but also some long-shot money on two-time Genesis Open champion Bubba Watson at +5000 as it started to look as if the two-time Masters winner was breaking out of a long slump.
Watson did win for the first time since two years ago at Riviera, shooting a 12-under 272 to beat out Kevin Na and Tony Finau by two shots each - all three guys shot 69s on Sunday. Watson admitted afterward that he had been contemplating retirement at one point with his game's struggles, a lack of confidence and a mystery illness that cost him some 40 pounds. He had fallen as low as No. 117 in the world rankings. Well, Bubba, most people retire to PLAY golf, not quit the game.
It looked on Sunday briefly like Watson might be imploding with bogeys on No. 3 and 6 and then a terrible drive way right at No. 7. From thick rough, however, Watson mashed his approach on the green and he two-putted for par. Confidence restored. He would eventually regain the lead for good by holing out from a bunker on the par-3 14th - right after his caddie had reminded him he hadn't holed out in a long while. Watson joined Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum as three-time winners at Riviera, although one of Hogan's was in a U.S. Open. It was Watson's 10th career PGA Tour win. The guy has a reputation as somewhat of a jack*** at times, but golf is more interesting when Watson is contending. He jumped up to 40th in the world.
I missed on Casey and Dustin Johnson for a Top 10 - Casey was T49 and Johnson T16 - but hit on yet another one for surging Phil Mickelson (+200) as he finished T6. Lefty probably wishes the Masters would start today. Tiger, meanwhile, has to be disappointed after missing the cut with rounds of 72-76.
The Florida Swing begins this week with the Honda Classic at PGA National's Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens - it's basically Tiger's home course as he has an estate nearby in Jupiter Island. He has committed to play this week, his first back-to-back since returning from back surgery. PGA National, which I have played, is a par 70 measuring 7,110 yards and known best for the difficult "Bear Trap" holes from No. 15-17.
The defending champion is Rickie Fowler. He shot a final-round 1-over 71 to finish at 12-under 268 and win by four shots despite closing bogey-bogey - that finish kept him from setting the 72-hole record at PGA National. That 267 was shot by Camilo Villegas in 2010.
Golf Odds: Honda Classic Favorites
Fowler is a +800 favorite to become just the second player to repeat here - course designer by the name of Jack Nicklaus, who also lives nearby, did so in 1977-78. Fowler hasn't played since a T11 on Super Bowl weekend in Scottsdale. He was also sixth here in 2016 and seventh in 2012.
Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are each +1000. McIlroy finished 20 th last week. He won here in 2012 and was second in 2014 but has missed the cut in both visits since. Thomas, ninth last week, has played here three times with two MC and a third in 2016.
Sergio Garcia, making his USA debut in 2018, is +1600 and Tyrell Hatton +2500. Sergio most recently was T32 in Dubai on the European Tour. He was 14th here last year and a runner-up 2016 to Adam Scott. Hatton, an Englishman, debuted here last year and was fourth. He won back-to-back Euro Tour events in October.
Golf Odds: Honda Classic Picks
For a Top 10, I like Fowler (+110), Garcia (+140) and Russell Knox (+400), who has a second and a third here. Go with Knox at +700 as top Great Britain & Ireland player. Head-to-head, I like Kevin Kisner (-105) over Ollie Schniederjans (-125), Brandt Snedeker (-135) over Byeong Hun An (+105), Knox (-130) over Scott (even), Jason Dufner (-130) over Dylan Frittelli (even), Fowler (-150) over Thomas (-115), and Garcia (+115) over McIlroy (-150).
I was hoping for a prop of Fowler and Garcia vs. the field but none yet at Bovada . I would probably take that but also will throw some long-shot money on former FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel at +10000. Yes, he hasn't been the same guy for a while and comes off missed cuts the past two weeks. But he's a Florida resident who was fourth here last year and eighth in 2016.
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