2021 Honda Classic Betting Preview: Which Players Should Bettors Target at PGA National?

2021 Honda Classic Betting Preview: Which Players Should Bettors Target at PGA National? article feature image
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Tringale

After a captivating week at THE PLAYERS, The PGA TOUR heads to PGA National to play The Honda Classic. The event will be a major challenge for golfers as PGA National is one of the most difficult courses on the PGA TOUR.

PGA National is a 7,125 yards par 70 and features Bermuda-grass greens.  Originally a Tom Fazio design, it was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus. The course features the infamous “Bear Trap”, on holes 15-17, three of the toughest holes on TOUR. Wind will absolutely play a major factor this week with gusts typically in the 15-25 MPH range.

The field is a bit of a letdown; as it is usually much stronger. The spot on the schedule made it an ideal tournament for many of the top players to skip and rest to gear up for the march to Augusta National. However there are still some big names in the field including Sungjae Im, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann, Daniel Berger, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Lee Westwood.

Past Winners at PGA National

  • 2020: Sungjae Im (-6)
  • 2019: Keith Mitchell (-9)
  • 2018: Justin Thomas (-8)
  • 2017: Rickie Fowler (-12)
  • 2016: Adam Scott (-9)
  • 2015: Padraig Harrington (-6)

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5 Key Stats For PGA National

Let’s take a look at five metrics key for PGA National to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

1. Strokes Gained: Approach

Strokes gained: Approach has been far and away the biggest indicator of the winner at PGA National. Hitting your target is especially important with all of the water at the course.

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Russell Henley (+22.1) (+3000)
  2. Keegan Bradley (+21.9) (+4000)
  3. Chez Reavie (+18.5) (+12500)
  4. Matthew NeSmith (+18.3) (+9000)
  5. Wesley Bryan (+18.1) (+15000)

2. Good Drives Gained

Good drives will again be very important this week.

Golfers who patiently make their way around the course and stay disciplined will be rewarded. Spraying it off of the tee will be a major issue around PGA National and the strokes will add up in a hurry.

Good Drives Gained Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Cameron Percy (+34.5) (+9000)
  2. Matthew NeSmith (+26.1) (+9000) 
  3. Sungjae Im (+24.7) (+1300)
  4. Keegan Bradley (+23.8) (+4000)
  5. Kevin Streelman (+23.7) (+6000)
Keegan Bradley. Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

3. Strokes Gained: Par 4

Par 4 scoring is especially important at PGA National with only two Par 5’s on the course. Golfers will need to find a way to score on the Par 4’s if they want to win the tournament.

Holes 1, 4, 8 and 13 are the Par 4’s that generate the most birdies.

SG: Par 4 over past 24 rounds:

  1. Talor Gooch (+22.3) (+3500)
  2. Russell Henley (+21.1) (+3000)
  3. Doug Ghim (+20.6) (+6000)
  4. James Hahn  (+19.2) (+7000)
  5. Daniel Berger (+18.7) (+1050)

4. Strokes Gained: Ball-striking

Historically, Strokes Gained: Ball striking has been much more indicative of success at PGA National than Strokes Gained: Short game. The difficult track rewards a solid tee-to-green game which is the key to avoiding trouble.

The winning score will likely stay in the single digits so an extremely hot putter isn’t all that predictive. 

SG: BS Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Keegan Bradley (+28.8) (+4000)
  2. Henrik Norlander (+25.4) (+8000)
  3. Ryan Moore (+24.3 (+7000)
  4. Daniel Berger (+24.2) (+1050)
  5. Matthew NeSmith (+24.0) (+9000)

    2020 rbc heritage updated odds-betting picks-longshots
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew NeSmith

5. Par 3: 150-200

The four Par 3’s at PGA National all fall between 150 and 200 yards and all are in the top half of most difficult holes on the course. Two of the three holes in the “Bear Trap” (15 and 17) are difficult par 3’s.

Golfers must avoid all of the water on the those holes in the finishing stretch if they want to win The Honda Classic.

Par 3: 150-200 over past 24 rounds

  1. Daniel Berger (+5.2) (+1050)
  2. Ted Potter Jr. (+4.9) (+17500)
  3. Adam Hadwin (+4.1) (+6600)
  4. Pat Perez (+3.8) (+12500)
  5. Cameron Davis (+3.4) (+5500)

The Honda Classic Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (28%), Good Drives Gained (20%), SG: Par 4 (18 %), SG: Ball-striking (18%) and Par 3: 150-200 (16%).

  1. Daniel Berger (+1050)
  2. Russell Henley (+3000)
  3. Ryan Moore (+7000)
  4. Henrik Norlander (+8000)
  5. Cameron Tringale (+4000)
  6. Joaquin Niemann (+2000)
  7. Keegan Bradley (+4000)
  8. Doug Ghim (+6000)
  9. Jim Furyk (+9000)
  10. Kevin Streelman (+6000)

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