2020 Sony Open Betting Odds, Picks and Sleepers: Should You Follow the Trend at Waialae?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Kisner
Patrick Reed nearly stole one for us at the Tournament of Champions.
Unfortunately, Reed’s magic on the greens ran out in the playoff and, per usual, the better ball-striker found a way to come out on top.
Reed’s top-5 finish kept us ahead last weekend but now our attention shifts to the Sony Open.
This tournament sports one of the strongest trends on the PGA Tour. Seven of the last eight winners at the Sony have played the week before at the Tournament of Champions. The only outlier was Russell Henley, who won this event in his PGA Tour debut in 2013. Going back even further to 2008, nine of the past 12 champs were in the TOC field.
The logic behind this trend isn’t too hard to figure out. We’re coming off an extended layoff for most of the players, some of whom haven’t played a competitive round in almost two months. That gives the guys who played at the Tournament of Champions a chance to get back into form. We don’t know how the rest of the players have spent their time off. There’s a good chance they haven’t touched a club for a month or they’re testing out new equipment in competition for the first time.
It also helps that the players who play in the Tournament of Champions are usually among the best players in the field. And since every one of them is coming off a victory at some point in the previous year, they’ve got that confidence built up that they can close out a tournament if they do get in contention.
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Waialae Country Club is one of the shorter courses on tour measuring a little over 7,000 yards for a par 70.
The tee ball doesn’t play too much of a factor here. We’ve had shorter, inaccurate drivers like Patton Kizzire and Fabian Gomez come out on top in recent years. It’s really a second-shot golf course where a player who can get hot on Bermuda greens will come out on top.
It’s a vastly different course than Kapalua, which is more of a bomber’s paradise. Because of that, you shouldn’t just look at players who finished strong last week. Guys like Matt Kuchar, who took the Sony Open down last year, isn’t really the best fit for Kapalua, but shaking off that competitive rust is important for this week.
TOC Champ Justin Thomas comes in as a solid favorite at +500. He shot a 59 en route to a win on this course in 2017 and is a real threat to ruin our card.
Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson are next in line at +1200. Reed relied way too much on his short game at Kapalua, so I won’t jump back in on him at this number. Meanwhile, Simpson hasn’t played since the Presidents Cup, so I’ll pass on him, too.
Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama are the only guys in the teens this week at +1600. Morikawa had a solid showing last week, while Matsuyama, like Simpson, has been off since the Presidents Cup.
Kuchar is the last guy in this range at +2200 and is about half the odds we won with him at last year. I’ll steer clear this time around.
This where we’ll be starting the card with Joaquin Niemann at +3500. Niemann played great last week, finishing in fifth, and he’s gained strokes with the irons in every event that the PGA tracks going back to May.
Next, I’ll go with Kevin Kisner at +5000. Short courses with Bermuda greens are where Kisner shines. He’ll likely be a popular pick at this number, but he’s got a couple top-5 finishes here, so we know he can contend on this course.
We’ll also back Sebastian Munoz at +7000. Munoz played at the Tournament of Champions last week and finished 10th here in 2019. It will come down to the iron play for Munoz. When he’s dialed in with the irons, he contends because he’s a very solid Bermuda putter.
Our last guy in this range is Ryan Palmer at +9000. Palmer won on this course in 2010 and is one of the few winners in that time frame that didn’t play in the Tournament of Champions the week before heading to Kapalua. Palmer’s form has been hit-and-miss at this event, but he’s got three top-20 finishes.
I’ll take two players in the triple digits starting with Lanto Griffin at 100-1. He had six consecutive top-20 finishes in the fall, including his win in Houston. He ranked fifth last week in approach, so the irons are where we’d like them be to have a chance to contend here.
Finally, we’ll finish up with Tyler Duncan at 125-1. Duncan won the RSM Classic this fall and that is a short course with Bermuda greens, like Waialae. Duncan hasn’t been in contention much, but his game has improved since a fifth-place finish at the Byron Nelson in May.
Sony Open Live-Betting Strategy
Even though I only backed players who played last week at Kapalua, I’m not ignoring the rest of the field. I’ll give the TOC guys 18 holes and target a player or two in-play. I’m looking for players who are dialed in with the irons but are being let down by a cold putter.
Sony Open Card
- Joaquin Niemann +3500 (.94 units)
- Kevin Kisner +5000 (.66 units)
- Sebastian Munoz +7000 (.47 units)
- Ryan Palmer +9000 (.37 units)
- Lanto Griffin +10000 (.33 units)
- Tyler Duncan +12500 (.27 units)
Total Stake: 3.04 units