The West Coast swing of the PGA Tour season is over, and we are on to Florida for the Honda Classic, which is played at PGA National’s Champions Course. PGA National is one of the most difficult courses on the PGA Tour schedule, and it features one of the most difficult three-hole stretches that you’ll see, which is fittingly named “The Bear Trap.” Perhaps that’s why we’ll see a relatively weak field, which makes putting together your betting card a tittle more difficult.
PGA National is a medium-length, 7,150-yard, Par-70 layout that features dozens of water hazards, out of bounds, and general score-card wreckers on almost every hole. This is one of the premier courses for grinders, and the winning score should be around the -8 to -10 range.
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The past few events from Riviera to Chapultepec have really favored the long hitters, but PGA National is a distinctly different style of layout, with many holes causing players to club down off the tee to avoid missing the fairway and ending up in the course’s thick Bermuda rough. There perhaps isn’t another non-major event where overall ball striking is more important than this week at PGA National. Double-bogey or worse can lurk on any virtually every hole on the course, and prepare yourself for some serious sweats if you have golfers in contention down the stretch because holes 14, 15, 16, and 17 all typically play well over par. The wind is also going to play a huge factor, with the average wind at this event usually staying above 15 mph.
As stated above, the field this week is pretty weak, but there is still some star power with Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Gary Woodland, and Viktor Hovland making the trip down to Palm Beach. The history of this event suggests that the weaker field will lead to one of the favorites winning, and outside of pre-tournament favorite Tommy Fleetwood (11/1), you can make a case that Koepka (13/1), Fowler (15/1), Woodland (25/1), and Rose (26/1) are all undervalued.
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Strokes Gained: Approach
Par 4 Scoring
Good Drive Percentage
Honda Classic Betting Advice, Odds
Outright Bets to Consider
*odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Gary Woodland 25/1
I’m going to give Woodland a look at any course where he can take less-than-driver off the tee, so naturally, he’s going to start off my betting card at 25/1. I honestly Woodland would be around 18/1 with the field being fairly poor, so I’m going to jump on this 25/1 number that the books are offering. Woodland hits one of the best fairway finding stingers off the tee in all of golf, which he will likely use often at PGA National. Woodland is coming off of a quietly good T12 finish in Mexico and is being disrespected at a course that on paper is an ideal fit for his game.
Justin Rose 26/1
I backed Rose at Riviera at 45/1, and while he didn’t produce, I’m going to give him another look this week. Odds of 26/1 for a player of Rose’s long-term quality are too much value to pass up on in a field this soft, and you have to think that he’ll start to turn things around after struggling for much of 2020. Rose skipped last week’s WGC-Mexico to prep for the Florida swing, and I expect him to play well at a course that puts a premium on ball striking. I’m going to continue to back Rose as long as the books offer value on his outright odds because the window of opportunity will be gone as soon after he inevitably gets a top-10 finish.
Lucas Glover 85/1
There are a few names in the mid-range that are worth consideration, with Shane Lowry (35/1), Bud Cauley (60/1), Joaquin Niemann (66/1), and Keegan Bradley (70/1) all in play for outright, top-10, and top-20 bets. However, I want to go a little deeper to find a great ball striker in Glover at 85/1. I’ve been on Glover each of the past three years here at the Honda Classic, and why not go back to the well one more time for an outright bet at 85/1 and T20 bet at +300? Glover is an all-time bad putter for a PGA Tour professional, but his ball striking is going to keep him afloat at PGA National. He’s posted finishes of T4, T17, and T21 in his past three showings at this event.
Tom Hoge 100/1
In looking for a deep bomb play this week, I wanted someone around 100/1 who was playing well and had the ball-striking skill set for PGA National. Hoge is sitting at 100/1 and is playing arguably the best golf of his career after making five straight cuts. I worry about him maintaining that form after a few weeks off, but I feel good about how he sets up for the week considering he’s ranked 15th on Tour in “strokes gained: approach” this season. If you don’t feel like going for the longshot 100/1 outright, then look at investing in Hoge for a top-20 finish at +400.
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