2023 Honda Classic Best Bets: Odds & Picks for Yuan, Im & Vegas
Via James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Carl Yuan of China plays his shot from the 18th tee during the third round of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing and Financing at Victoria National Golf Club on September 03, 2022 in Newburgh, Indiana.
Click arrow to expand The Honda Classic odds via PointsBet
|Min Woo Lee||+3000|
|Byeong Hun An||+4500|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+9000|
|Paul Haley Ii||+35000|
The PGA TOUR heads down to Florida for The Honda Classic after concluding the West Coast swing, and our Action Network golf experts are ready with a handful of angles to attack PGA National. Find which favorites they’re backing, their top long shot picks, their favorite fades and, of course, their best bets for The Honda Classic.
Favorite We’re Backing
- Jason Sobel: Taylor Pendrith
- Chris Murphy: Matt Kuchar
- Matt Vincenzi: Shane Lowry
- Spencer Aguiar: Aaron Wise
- Nick Bretwisch: Aaron Wise
Pick: Taylor Pendrith Outright +4000
Best Long Shot
- Jason Sobel: Robby Shelton
- Chris Murphy: S.H. Kim
- Matt Vincenzi: Danny Willett
- Spencer Aguiar: Carl Yuan
- Nick Bretwisch: Ryan Palmer
- Jason Sobel: Sepp Straka
- Chris Murphy: Billy Horschel
- Matt Vincenzi: Min Woo Lee
- Spencer Aguiar: Garrick Higgo
- Nick Bretwisch: Min Woo Lee
Contrarian Player to Target
- Jason Sobel: Christiaan Bezuidenhout
- Chris Murphy: Joseph Bramlett
- Matt Vincenzi: Andrew Novak
- Spencer Aguiar: Sam Stevens
- Nick Bretwisch: Ryan Palmer
Trend That Guides Your Betting Strategy
Sobel: I’m combining a recent trend and a tournament trend, which have some contrasting characteristics. So far this year, pre-tourney favorites have won three of seven PGA TOUR events, which can be referred to as the Jon Rahm trend, since he won ‘em all. Makes sense, right? Best player is favored, and the best player wins because the best player is – get this – the best player.
That doesn’t often happen at the Honda, though, where players with triple-digit odds have won five of the last 10 titles. Hence the strategy: Play some Sungjae Im, who’s this week’s favorite and (by far) the most talented player in the field, then complement that play with a small sprinkling of longshots, trying to hit a lottery ticket if the proverbial sure thing doesn’t come through.
Murphy: I’m trending away from the course history reliance that has supported the last few weeks and focusing more on recent form. PGA National and the Bear Trap create a lot of volatility year after year leading players to have a large variance in results with several having top-10 finishes along with multiple missed cuts.
The one trend that has stuck is that each of the last six winners have posted a T16 or better during their play to start the year on the West Coast. I’ll be looking for an in-form ball striker, who is playing well throughout the bag coming into the week.
Aguiar: Water is the great equalizer when it comes to volatility and potential combustibility. It is not something we can accurately depict when running a model, but there is something cathartic and beautiful about building totals that analyze who will be less likely to generate mistakes versus the redundant aspect of trying to find birdie makers. We do that every week, so adding a change to the structure might help those that dive a little deeper into the numbers.
Bretwisch: Recent form for quality ball-strikers will be my focus this week. We all know about the water hazards littered around this course, so we’ll need to rely on players who are striking the ball well and with confidence. My expected path to success is focused on those gaining strokes off the tee and are overall strong iron players from 125-200 yards.
Your Best Bet
Sobel: Sungjae Im Top 10 +105
Are the odds great? Of course not, nor should they be. But if I have the option between, say, a small underdog in a H2H matchup and Im finishing in the top 10, I’m taking the latter. He owns top-10 finishes in two of four previous Honda starts (including a win) and two of his last three starts this season. In what should be a weird week with so many top players staying home, I like going after the best in the field and hoping to hit some longer odds elsewhere.
Pick: Sungjae Im Top 10 +105
Murphy: Danny Willett +7000 (BetRivers)
I’m going to have to stretch my trend from above just a bit as Danny Willett posted a T18 finish last week at the Genesis, falling just short of the T16 that the past six winners have had. Still, he comes into the week in great form after gaining three shots with his ball striking and 5.8 strokes tee to green. He did all of that in an elite elevated field and will now carry great form throughout his bag across to this week at the Honda where he made his tournament debut last year. Willett also has winning upside and experience that is hard to come by in this field, making him for an easy play in my eyes at such a strong number this week.
Vincenzi: Jhonattan Vegas +3500 (FanDuel)
Jhonattan Vegas returned in January from a five-month hiatus and has been playing solid golf since. In his four starts, Vegas has two top-25 finishes and has been really impressive with his ball striking.
He’s gained an average of 3.3 strokes off the tee and 1.6 strokes on approach in the four outings. Last week at Riviera in a loaded field, Vegas gained 5.9 strokes ball striking. In his past 24 rounds in this field, he ranks third in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, fourth in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and second in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.
The Venezuelan has struggled with the putter a bit this year. Last week was especially horrific, as he lost 6.9 strokes putting. Going to Florida should help as PGA National features Bermudagrass greens, where he’s been much more consistent over the course of his career. He’s also played the Honda Classic really well, with finishes of fourth (2017), 12th (2014), 27th (2019) and 16th (2019). With the field even weaker than usual this week, Vegas should be able to contend for a victory.
Pick: Jhonattan Vegas +3500
Aguiar: Carl Yuan Top 20 +850 (Bet365)
There are various routes to consider if you want to back Carl Yuan with a head-to-head wager, but let’s embrace the volatility of this course and take a swing on him to land a top 20 at 8.5 with our friends at Bet365.
While I would consider the early stages of Yuan’s career on the PGA Tour as anything but steady, it is essential to remember that we are only a few months removed from him being a sub-100/1 golfer in fields much better than the one he will take on this week. Part of that intrigue from bettors came from his immaculate ball striking that often got undone by his inconsistent short game.
However, the main factor we should highlight at PGA National is that an errant approach shot will mostly find the bottom of the water or the 100+ bunkers present. That means his overall enhancement in quality with that sector of his game should receive a boost, and his 47th-place rank in sand save rate only adds to that intrigue that this could be the week he finally realizes his potential.
Bretwisch: Ryan Palmer +7000 (DraftKings)
It appears as if Ryan Palmer is turning back the clock a bit and finding some quality form. I don’t love his recent finishes (nothing better than T32 in Hawaii), but what I do love is that he’s gained strokes off the tee in three out of his last four events and gained strokes with his approach play in each of his last four. In this weak field and his recent form, I would price Palmer in that 50/1 – 60/1 range.
Pick: Ryan Palmer +6500
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