2023 Honda Classic Matchup Pick: Bet Sepp Straka Over Garrick Higgo

2023 Honda Classic Matchup Pick: Bet Sepp Straka Over Garrick Higgo article feature image

Via Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Sepp Straka hits a shot from the fairway on the ninth hole during the final round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort And Spa on February 27, 2022, in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

After back-to-back designated events gave us the best of what the PGA TOUR can provide, expectations are marginally lowered for this week's Honda Classic.

None of that suggests PGA National should be viewed as anything other than a top-tier course. However, the grueling nature of the property and sandwiched-in play on the schedule has generated this unfortunate afterthought for one of the most challenging non-major tracks annually.

The good news is weaker fields won't necessarily equate to inferior betting boards. As you will read below, it doesn't mean we are guaranteed top-notch slates either, but let's  get into some of those thoughts.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

You can also find more in-depth analysis on the Links and Locks Honda Classic Betting Preview, where I broke down my top picks for the tournament along with Nick Bretwisch and Roberto Arguello.

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Honda Classic Matchup Pick

Sepp Straka -110 Over Garrick Higgo (bet365)

Pricing has remained relatively poor in all sectors to begin 2023. I feel like this has been a consistent trend within my articles for the past few tournaments (I swear I am trying to be upbeat about these markets). We can debate in a separate article why this has been the case, but low risk tolerance from shops has played a massive part in this weakened state of golf betting.

However, I have given that answer throughout multiple iterations of these articles and successfully hit the past four in-tournament head-to-head wagers. Still, edges have gotten substantially smaller compared to this time last year. Books have been cognizant enough to place fade targets against other fade targets, meaning the days of free-money matchups that allowed us to hit above 60% of our selections over 700 wagers are probably gone. Consequently, we have to be more selective than in the past.

I say all of that to go with a bet that epitomizes some of that fade versus fade mentality, but if you listened to the Links & Locks podcast that aired earlier today, you would remember that I spoke of Garrick Higgo being the most significantly mispriced opponent whom I am looking to take on at the Honda.

The former UNLV product (yes, shameless plug for my alma mater) has generated a much more robust start to 2023 than we have received from him over an extended timeframe, but his long-term intangibles worry me when it comes to regression. Higgo ranks 103rd for Weighted Proximity, 91st for Ball Striking, 116th in Sand Save Rate and 119th for Bogey Avoidance.

If you want to give him credit for his recent metrics, I am all for that mentality in the 'outright' sense of the market, but his price there plummeting down into the 50/1 range only further emphasizes my belief that the market has moved way too aggressively in his favor. Unfortunately, we didn't get a perfect opponent in Sepp Straka, who is also riding higher than he should because of his course history at PGA National, but at least we have seen the upside he can present at this property in the past.

My model had this matchup priced adequately at slightly over -123, meaning the 13-point edge fell beneath the threshold qualifier I typically want to recommend for on a wager. If you want to be patient and wait for something better, I wouldn't necessarily blame you. Nonetheless, I will use it as an official play since it is the best edge I could find on an otherwise forgettable board.

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