2021 Hero World Challenge Picks & Preview: Xander Schauffele & Patrick Reed Provide Value in Small Field
Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed.
There aren’t many times during the fall season where we get to see a good portion of the top players in the world tee it up, but many prioritize Tiger Woods’ event in the Bahamas.
That is the case once again this week as 20 of the big names in the sport are set to play this weekend in an event headlined by Tiger’s first public appearance since his car accident in the fall.
Woods already seems to have stolen the show with his interviews this week, but the golf should be pretty good too. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa headline this short field at Albany in the Bahamas. This event was not played last year due to travel restrictions around the pandemic, so Henrik Stenson will be the returning champion after having won this tournament at 18-under par in 2019.
This is always an interesting event for bets as many of the players set to tee it up, really haven’t played much competitive golf this fall. Some will see it as a well-paid vacation with even last place receiving a six-figure paycheck, while others will be dialed in to win with Official World Goal Ranking points on the line.
Let’s get right into it and see if we can find some value and motivation for the week ahead in the Bahamas.
Xander Schauffele (+1400)
Xander Schauffele in no-cut events: It’s a thing, and you’re really not going to convince me otherwise.
Schauffele even acknowledged it recently, saying that he may subconsciously play a little more aggressively with the knowledge that there’s no possible punishment of a missed cut. His results in such events certainly back him up.
We know Schauffele has had trouble closing at times in his career, but he got over that hump this summer to win gold at the Olympics. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the mix on Sunday and at +1400 we are getting similar odds to what he opened at for the US Open this summer.
Xander is a good value this weekend and has a real chance to roll into one of his favorite events at the Tournament of Champions in January off of a win.
Patrick Reed (+3000)
When we get into events like the Hero World Challenge, it sometimes comes down to the guys that will take it serious enough to go out and focus on winning.
Patrick Reed is always that type of guy, who is ultra competitive, and will sometimes, uh, stretch the limits to contend. I love getting him at +3000 in a short field, on a course that he has historically played well with two top-five finishes in his last four trips.
The big, glaring concern with Reed is around his recent form, as he struggled in his final two events of the fall swing. I would usually have hesitation for players not showing good play coming into the event, but Reed is wired differently and seems to be able to put it all together when we least expect it.
I’ll happily take a shot in this 20-man event and see if he can find the coastal form that had him finish second in Bermuda at the end of October.
Justin Rose Top 10 (-120)
As I mentioned in the lead up, finding the players that are motivated to finish well, can be a key for this tournament.
Justin Rose certainly should have that motivation after missing out on this year’s Ryder Cup, and just barely hanging on to a top-50 world ranking. He is one player who will benefit from this event and the perks it provides, and he should be dialed in for a good finish.
It helps too that Rose has some really good finishes at this event, including three straight top-five finishes. We could certainly get aggressive and go for that type of placement position this week, but at nearly even money his top-10 odds are really attractive. I fully expect Rose to be able to finish inside of the top half of this field, and that is all we need to pay off this bet.
I am willing to miss out on slightly better odds at other books for the fact that BetMGM pays ties in full, which will be really valuable for this type of bet this week.
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