Round 4 Honda Classic Odds & Betting Picks: Longshots Still in Play With the Wind Expected to Blow on Sunday
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Streelman
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Among the text messages I’ve received this weekend from golf-loving, action-loving buddies are “I hate betting this tournament” and “Dumbest tournament ever.”
I clearly need to find some more nuanced friends.
OK, so nobody is going to confuse the Honda Classic for one of the few dozen birdiefests we have on the PGA Tour, but anyone who’s ever bought a case of White Claw understands: You’ve gotta have some variety.
I don’t think I’d want to watch players struggling to string together pars in shifting winds every single week, but I can similarly argue that this week’s event is eminently more equitable. I’d compare it to watching a soccer match over a basketball game: Sure, there’s less scoring, but that just means those scoring chances are so much more important.
With Tommy Fleetwood leading at just 5-under entering the final round, it’s conceivable that the winning total will be the lowest in relation to par here since Kenny Knox won the windblown 1986 edition of this event.
All of which leads me to one very obvious point: Unlike so many tournaments that turn into a game of how-low-can-you-go on Sunday afternoons, this one will be a battle of limiting mistakes.
With eight bogeys and a double through 54 holes, it can be argued that Fleetwood – in an effort to win his first career PGA Tour title – has still made too many mistakes, or at least too many for what it’ll take to win this one.
At +110, the tourney leader is also the obvious favorite, but he’s hardly any kind of lock.
In fact, perhaps no other event on the annual schedule can have more wild final-round scoring swings than this one. Just last year, Ryan Palmer posted a final-round 63 before the leaders had even made the turn, then stuck on top of the leaderboard for a couple of hours until he was caught.
Whatever number of strokes behind you’d think a contender needs to be at other tournaments, you can maybe double it here, meaning even those just over par can put together a Palmer-like performance to steal this out of nowhere.
That information should leave gamblers licking their chops right now, as we have more potential options than during other weeks.
A few names from the wayyy back who could catch Fleetwood & Co. in the early afternoon, then sit around and watch the winds blow: Jhonattan Vegas (+12500 at PointsBet), who likes playing in breezy conditions; Kevin Streelman (+21000 at FanDuel), who’s been known to go low on a Sunday; and Palmer himself (+10000 at PointsBet), who’s hoping to catch the same lightning in a bottle from last year.
Granted, those are longshots, but they’re not as long as they’d be other weeks, when the leaders can post enough birdies to stiff-arm those who are 5-6 off the pace. As we’ve seen, all it takes is a round of 63 to flip this board in a hurry.
Round 4 Matchup Picks
Ryan Palmer (+100) over J.T. Poston (DraftKings)
Kevin Streelman (-161) over Richy Werenski (PointsBet)
Jhonattan Vegas (-161) over Brandon Hagy (PointsBet)
Look, if I like these three guys to potentially go low and make a run at the leaders, then it stands to reason that I similarly like them to beat the guy on the other side of the tee box.
Maverick McNealy (+122) over Billy Horschel (DraftKings)
This is a tough call, because each of them owns solid ball-striking statistics in relation to the field over the first three rounds. But a close call like this one suggests we take the play at plus-money and the young McNealy could pay off against the veteran.
Lee Westwood (-172) over Luke Donald (PointsBet)
A rematch from Saturday, when Donald drained a 9-foot birdie putt on the final hole to turn their matchup into a draw. Too bad, because Westwood seemed like the smart play, but I’ll go back to the well here and bet on form.