PGA Tour Picks: Honda Classic Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Well, shoot. I was very tempted to pick Dustin Johnson to win last week's WGC-Mexico Championship, and did recommend him at -110 for a Top 10 and +650 as top American, but I went with the Bovada prop of Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy at +650 vs. the field. Hit on Rory at -105 for a Top 10 and +400 as top European, though.
DJ won the 20th Tour event of his stellar career by shooting a 5-under 66 in the final round to win by five shots over McIlroy. Johnson, who won the event for a third time (second in Mexico) didn't bogey a single hole until his third hole on Sunday (OK, he did have a double on Saturday). He finished second from tee to green and first in putting.
When you win 20 times on Tour, you never have to worry about qualifying again as you become a lifetime member. So that's one less thing! He's the fifth player in the past 50 years to reach 20 wins before age 35. Overall, it was Johnson's fourth consecutive finish in the Top 5 in the event, the longest such streak of his career.
This week, the Florida Swing begins at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens at the Honda Classic. That area of the country has been big time in the news regarding Patriots owner Robert Kraft (among other rich white guys) allegedly soliciting prostitution at some rub-and-tug Asian massage day spa in the area. I freaking guarantee you a few PGA Tour guys would have been visiting one of those places this week, so they are probably breathing a major sigh of relief the arrests already came down.
The Honda used to draw a pretty good field because so many Tour pros live in that area, but this year it's in a bad spot on the schedule coming after that big-money WGC event in Mexico and ahead of Arnold Palmer's very popular stop at Bay Hill in Orlando. Thus, this year's field is really watered down. No Johnson. No Tiger Woods even though he lives nearby. No Phil Mickelson or world No. 1 Justin Rose. No McIlroy or Rahm. Just four years ago, the Honda claimed 16 of the top 25 players in the world in the field.
PGA National's Champion course is one of the toughest on the Tour - in fact, only Shinnecock Hills (U.S. Open) was tougher in 2018. I've played PGA National and the winds are a b*tch, especially on the treacherous "Bear Trap," which is holes 15-17 - two of them par 3s. The par-3 17th ranked as the third-toughest hole on Tour last season, while 15 and 16 were both in the Top 10. It's a par 70 measuring about 7,125 yards.
Golf Odds: Honda Classic Favorites
Justin Thomas, one of the guys with a house in the area, is the clear +550 favorite at Bovada. He's the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 3 and the defending champion. Thomas nearly holed out on the par-5 18 th on Sunday a year ago but did birdie to force a playoff with Luke List. They turned around and played 18 again and Thomas won with birdie as List made par. The duo finished 72 holes at 8 under. Thomas is very hit or miss in four total visits here with also a T3 but two missed cuts.
Rickie Fowler (+1000) and Brooks Koepka (+1200) also live nearby. Fowler won in 2017 in a four-stroke rout but missed the cut last year. Koepka missed last year's Honda while recovering from a wrist injury and hasn't contended in four trips.
Adam Scott, the 2016 champion, and Sergio Garcia are each +1600. Scott has finished no lower than T14 in his last four starts at PGA National. Garcia was a runner-up to Scott three years ago.
Golf Odds: Honda Classic Picks
For a Top 10, go with Thomas (-200), Scott (+135) and Gary Woodland (+135), a co-runner-up two years ago. You can get Scott at +115 as top Aussie and Garcia at +135 as top Euro. Not great prices but probably worthy bets. Thomas is +900 for top American, but I don't like him there as I'll explain below.
No head-to-head odds as of this writing. Fowler, Koepka and Woodland at +375 against the field (-600) is probably what I'll throw the majority of my money on because I really like Woodland this week, but the best value is Billy Horschel at +3300 to win. He has a T4 and T8 here and is riding a string of 10 straight cuts made on the PGA Tour. Horschel seems to play his best at the tougher courses.
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