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2020 Sony Open Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Plays at Waialae

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Joaquin Niemann is 45/1 to win the 2020 CJ Cup. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images.

The 2020 PGA Tour season will start to heat up this weekend with the Sony Open, the first full-field event of the year.

Justin Thomas, who is coming off a win at the Tournament of Champions last week, is the clear favorite at 5-1. The man Thomas bested in a playoff at Kapalua, Patrick Reed, is the second-favorite at 11-1, just ahead of Webb Simpson (13-1), Collin Morikawa (16-1) and Hideki Matsuyama (18-1).

Our staff shares their favorite bets for the 2020 Sony Open:


If you’re in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia and bullish on Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed this week, be sure to check out FanDuel, which has boosted the odds that either Thomas OR Reed win the 2020 Sony Open from +250 to +300.


Jason Sobel

The Bet: Charles Howell III Top-20 finish (+175)

The following stat is so impressive that by the time you read this, I probably will have tweeted it out as a standalone fact: Howell is the all-time leading money-winner at this tournament without ever having won it. It is the only event on the 2020 PGA Tour schedule whose leading money-winner has never won the title.

Don’t get me wrong, either: This isn’t some subtle troll-job of why/how CH3 can’t/doesn’t win more. No, I’m saying this because his consistency is so impressive. In 18 career starts, he owns a pair of runners-up, a pair of third-place finishes, 10 top 10s, and yes, 12 top-20 results, which should make this bet a fairly safe one.

Josh Perry

The Bet: Kevin Kisner (+1.5) over Abraham Ancer

I bet Kevin Kisner to win this week, so I’ll gladly take him here as an underdog here against Abraham Ancer.

Kisner is a good fit for any short course with Bermuda greens and he’s got a couple of top-5 finishes at Waialae.

Ancer doesn’t have much of a track record here and even though he’s coming a Presidents Cup run where he topped the Internationals in scoring, a lot of that success came with the putter. Over his career, Ancer has lost strokes on Bermuda greens, so if that club goes, I’m not sure his ball-striking will keep up with Kisner.

Bryan Mears

The Bet: Chez Reavie (-105) over Cam Smith

Chez has good history at this course, placing in the top 20 in each of the last three years, including third in 2019. Smith doesn’t have bad history, to be fair, but it’s not as elite as Reavie’s.

This course is quite short and favors players who excel with accuracy. That describes Chez, who leads the entire field in Long-Term Driving Accuracy. He has a huge advantage in that regard over Smith, who really struggles to hit fairways and greens. Cam does have a good short game and can get hot chipping and putting, but that seems less likely than Chez just being his old steady self.

Reavie should have the heavier juice in this matchup; I’ll gladly grab the low odds.

Justin Bailey

The Bet: Webb Simpson over Patrick Reed (-115)

This feels like the perfect time to short Reed after he lost 1.5 strokes on approach while gaining 9.3 strokes putting last week at the Tournament of Champions. Reed has an elite short game and flat stick, but his ball-striking is sporadic.

Meanwhile, Webb also owns a world-class short game and putter, but he’s much better with his irons than Reed. Over their last 50 rounds, Reed ranks 39th in Strokes Gained: Approach and Webb ranks seventh, per Fantasy National.

Additionally, par-4 scoring is another stat I’m weighing and Simpson has been almost 1.5 strokes better than Reed in that aspect over the last 75 weeks. Per the FantasyLabs Player Models, Simpson is averaging -2.9 adjusted strokes on par 4s, compared to -1.6 for Reed.

On a second-shot course like Waialae, I’ll side with Webb’s superior irons since their short game is close to a wash. I’d still give him an edge over Reed in that category.

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