Perry’s Honda Classic Picks, Betting Preview: PGA National Brings Value to Longshots

Credit:

Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images. Pictured: Ted Potter Jr.

  • Looking for longshot betting picks for the 2020 Honda Classic? You've come to the right place.
  • The tournament begins on Thursday, February 27 at 6:45 a.m. ET, and will be played at PGA National -- a course that provides unlikely winners.
  • Joshua Perry breaks down which of those longshots are worth betting this week, and you can find his seven picks below.

We were a week early on Patrick Reed. After backing him at Riviera, we weren’t on Reed at WGC-Mexico, where he tracked down Bryson DeChambeau for the win.

We also had a real chance at the Puerto Rico Open with Josh Teater. Unfortunately, Teater’s best effort was one stroke short of wunderkind Viktor Hovland.

Now, the focus shifts to Florida and the Honda Classic, a spot the will always be near and dear to my heart after Keith Mitchell cashed for us at 225-1 last year.

The Course

PGA National always ranks as one of the most difficult stops on Tour. Last season, only the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Open Championship and WGC event in China were more difficult.

This par 70 measures 7,110 yards and presents danger at basically every turn. Water is in play on basically each hole, forcing players to utilize a more conservative style.

It also starts the Florida swing and as shift to Bermuda greens, which will come as a welcome change to players who struggled on the bumpy Poa Annua prevalent on the West Coast and in Mexico.

While it isn’t a long course, bombers who can stay dry have had an advantage the last few years. Keith Mitchell and Brooks Koepka were in the top two spots last year, while Justin Thomas and Luke List went to a playoff the year before.

If big-hitters can keep the ball in play off the tee, they’ll set up a lot of birdie opportunities to offset the bogeys that can litter the scorecard here.


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The Favorites

At the top of the board, there are basically three co-favorites with Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler all opening at around +1200.

Koepka is the obvious stand-out, considering he is priced around +1000 for any of the Majors. His form isn’t fully back, but he’s been making cuts so far this season and was a joint runner-up with Fowler at this event in 2019.

Fleetwood was on the card a week ago, but the number has been cut in half now and his performance in Mexico did nothing to make me want to jump back in at that number.

Fowler has won here before, but the current form leaves something to be desired. It’s tough to back Rickie as a favorite when he’s at his best, so I’ll be passing here without too much though.

From here, the board is pretty balanced. Just four guys are in the +2000 range, starting with the U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland. He’s finished second to Rickie here and should be a good fit, but I’ll always want a bigger number for him.

Like Brooks, I’m a little surprised with Justin Rose‘s odds. He’s available for +2500, and while he hasn’t played much this year, PGA National is a good spot for Rose, who has three top-five finishes in his last four starts here.

Billy Horschel and Louis Oosthuizen finish out this range. Horschel will be popular at +2800, but he’s never really contended here. His lone top-five came in 2017, when he entered the final round eight shots behind Fowler during his win.

The Mid-Tier

I’ll play this event similar to how I played Puerto Rico last week. We’ll dabble toward the back end of this Mid-Tier and then pepper in a bunch of longshots.

We’ll start off here with Corey Conners at +7000 [bet now at DraftKings]. Conners’ strength is his ball-striking. From tee to green, he can be as good as anyone in this field. The problem will always be the putter. He loses strokes everywhere on the greens, but on Bermuda, he’s only losing about .25 strokes per round compared to poa where he’s drops more than a shot.

Corey Conners has the ball-striking skills to contend, but his putter often lets him down. Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

If the putter can be average, he can contend here. He may pop up at most books in the +6600 range but I wouldn’t dip too much below that number.

The Longshots

The Honda Classic has been one of the best spots for off-the-radar winners over the years. Four of the last seven winners had odds of 200-1 or higher and someone in the triple-digits finished inside the top-3 in each of the last eight years.

We’ll take a bit of a shotgun approach with a half-dozen guys in this range and sprinkle in some top-5s and top-20s later in the week.

This part of the card will start with Aaron Wise and Nick Watney at 150-1. Wise hasn’t been in the best form, but the talent is on-par with many of the guys in the +5000 range [bet now at DraftKings]. Watney has good course history here, making five cuts in a row with a couple of top-25 finishes at PGA National [bet now at FanDuel].

We’ll also go with an up-and-comer in Doc Redman at 175-1 [bet now at DraftKings]. Redman hasn’t lost strokes in any event off the tee or with his approach in 2020. The shift to Bermuda may come as a welcome change to the 22-year-old with roots in the Carolinas.

I’ll also take a couple of chances on two veterans in Ted Potter Jr. (225-1) and Stewart Cink (260-1). Potter Jr. played really well in Puerto Rico and may ride that momentum in this week [bet now at bet365]. Cink seems to get to the weekend every year here but never gets into contention. He’s probably best off as a top-20 play [bet now at FanDuel].

Lastly, we’ll take a shot way down the board on Ryo Ishikawa at 300-1 . I’m just going to look past his performance in Mexico last week — he shot an 80 in the first round — and focus on the fact that he won three times in Japan last season and has worked his way back inside the OWGR top-100. He’s also made his last two cuts here, when his game wasn’t in as good of shape [bet now at DraftKings].

With these longshots, I wouldn’t stray too far from any of these numbers. Remember with golf futures, it’s very important to shop guys in this range. Books will be all over the map with longshots depending on the action they’re getting. Searching out the best numbers is a big part of having long-term success with this sport.

The Honda Card

  • Corey Conners +7000 (.47 units)
  • Aaron Wise +15000 (.22 units)
  • Nick Watney +15000 (.22 units)
  • Doc Redman +17500 (.19 units)
  • Ted Potter Jr. +22500 (.15 units)
  • Stewart Cink +22500 (.15 units)
  • Ryo Ishikawa +30000 (.11 units)

Total Stake: 1.51 units

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