2022 Honda Classic Odds, Picks: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood Among 4 To Back at PGA National
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka.
Click for updated Honda Classic odds via BetMGM
|Charles Howell III||+6600|
|Dawie van der Walt||+50000|
After a dominant performance last week at Riviera by Joaquin Niemann, The PGA TOUR heads to PGA National to begin its Florida swing and 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-yard par 70 and features Bermudagrass 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 tends to play a factor, which makes the scoring even more challenging.
The field is a bit of a letdown. There have been many stronger years. However, there are still some big names in the field, including Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood, Joaquin Niemann, Daniel Berger, Rickie Fowler and Shane Lowry.
Past Winners at PGA National
- 2021: Matt Jones (-12)
- 2020: Sungjae Im (-6)
- 2019: Keith Mitchell (-9)
- 2018: Justin Thomas (-8)
- 2017: Rickie Fowler (-12)
- 2016: Adam Scott (-9)
- 2015: Padraig Harrington (-6)
5 Key Stats for PGA National
Let’s take a look at five key metrics 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 the target is especially important with all of the water at the course.
Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Daniel Berger (+26.4) (+1600)
- Russell Knox (+22.9) (+6500)
- Hudson Swafford (+18.7) (+18000)
- Shane Lowry (+15.7) (+2200)
- Luke Donald (+14.2) (+25000)
2. Good Drives Gained
Good drives will 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
- Russell Knox (+36.4) (+6500)
- Matthew NeSmith (+24.1) (+15000)
- Daniel Berger (+22.5) (+1600)
- Aaron Rai (+22.0) (+10000)
- Jim Herman (+21.5) (+30000)
3. Strokes Gained: Par 4
Par 4 scoring is especially important at PGA National with only two par 5s on the course. Golfers will need to find a way to score on the par 4s if they want to win the tournament.
Holes 1, 4, 8 and 13 are the par 4s that generate the most birdies.
SG: Par 4 Over Past 24 Rounds:
- Cameron Young (+30.3) (+5500)
- Mackenzie Hughes (+23.7) (+4000)
- Denny McCarthy (+23.2) (+5500)
- Brian Harman (+20.2) (+4000)
- Sungjae Im (+19.2) (+1000)
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
- Daniel Berger (+31.6) (+1600)
- Russell Knox (+28.5) (+6500)
- Sungjae Im (+24.2) (+1000)
- Hudson Swafford (+23.3) (+18000)
- Keith Mitchell (+22.3) (+3500)
5. Par 3: 150-200
The four par 3s at PGA National all fall between 150-200 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 3s.
Golfers must avoid all of the water on the holes in the finishing stretch if they want to win the Honda Classic.
Par 3: 150-200 Over Past 24 Rounds
- Matthew NeSmith (+5.4) (+15000)
- Martin Kaymer (+5.0) (+10000)
- Russell Knox (+4.6) (+6500)
- Beau Hossler (+4.1) (+10000)
- Shane Lowry (+3.2) (+2200)
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%).
- Russell Knox (+6500)
- Sungjae Im (+1000)
- Joaquin Niemann (+1800)
- Daniel Berger (+1600)
- Matthew NeSmith (+15000)
- Keith Mitchell (+3500)
- Jhonnatan Vegas (+4000)
- Greyson Sigg (+7000)
- Hudson Swafford (+13000)
- Shane Lowry(+2200)
2022 Honda Classic Outright Bets
Brooks Koepka +2000 (DraftKings)
This is purely a ceiling play on Brooks Koepka. He won’t show up in many stat models this week or jump off the page with his play over the past six months.
With that being said, he has shown that when he returns to courses where he has had success in the past, he can contend.
Before missing the cut at Riviera, Koepka was off to the races at the WM Open. By week’s end, he finished in third place. The reason for his success was his strong off-the-tee game. We have seen at PGA National that despite it being a shorter course, golfers who hit it long and straight tend to do very well.
Back in 2019, Koepka came in second place at this event and looked like he was going to force a playoff before Keith Mitchell drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to win the tournament.
Koepka is comfortable at PGA National and tends to play great golf in Florida. His best putting surface by a wide margin is Bermudagrass, which is no surprise given that he grew up in Florida and attended Florida State University.
Could Koepka miss the cut once again this week? Absolutely. But in the outright betting market, a missed cut pays the same amount as a second-place finish. If Brooks is engaged and motivated, he is the class of the field and will be difficult to beat.
Tommy Fleetwood +2800 (Bet365)
Everyone knows that Tommy Fleetwood has never won on American soil. However, if there’s an event that the Englishman has a real chance to win, it’s the Honda Classic. He has immaculate course history, finishing third in 2020 and fourth in 2018.
Despite the lack of PGA Tour results of late, Fleetwood has been playing some decent golf worldwide. A few weeks ago at the Saudi International, he finished in a tie for eighth place and had a shot to win going into the final round before a Sunday 73 derailed his chances.
He has been playing consistently on the DP World Tour, and while he would like to have better results on a tour that he has five career wins on, he won’t be coming to Florida working through any rust.
Fleetwood has gained over five strokes on approach on the field in his two starts at PGA National, which may indicate there is something about the windy difficult conditions that resonate with the 31-year-old fan favorite.
The 2022 PGA TOUR season has already generated two first-time winners in Luke List and Scottie Scheffler. Why not Tommy in Palm Beach?
Brendan Steele +14000 (Bet365)
As far as course form at PGA National, you won’t find any better in the triple-digit odds range than Brendan Steele. With a fourth-place finish in 2020 and a third-place finish in 2021, the 38-year-old has proven he knows his way around PGA National.
The issue for Steele coming in is that he is currently in very poor form. He has missed four of his past six cuts and is losing strokes with his irons, which is typically a strength of his.
However, in the past when he has played well at this event, his starts leading into the event are similar to what they are now. In 2020, he had lead-in form of 43-MC-MC prior to his fourth-place finish. In 2021, he had lead-in form of 43-18-41 prior to his third-place finish.
While those finishes are a bit better, he did lose more than three strokes on approach in two of those three starts prior to the Honda Classic. Additionally, he finished 44th or worse leading up to each of his two PGA TOUR victories (both at Silverado Resort and Spa).
Steele has had success at courses he has a proven track record at, even when he seems to be limping into the event.
Camilo Villegas +15000 (DraftKings)
After a number of years of irrelevance, the former seventh-ranked player in the world (2008), flashed some decent form last season starting with the Florida swing.
Villegas has always played well in Florida and earned his third PGA TOUR victory at the Honda Classic back in 2010.
Last season, the Colombian seemed to regain some of the positive vibes in Florida. He finished eighth at the 2021 Honda Classic and then finished 11th at the Valspar six weeks later. Both events are very difficult Bermudagrass courses, and Camilo played very well both weeks. He gained more than 3.9 strokes on approach at PGA National and 4.9 strokes putting.
At long odds, you could do worse than taking a stab at Villegas on one of his favorite courses at the right time of year.