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2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Picks, Odds | PGA TOUR Best Bets

2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Picks, Odds | PGA TOUR Best Bets article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Sungjae Im (left) and Viktor Hovland.

  • The PGA Tour starts 2023 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui.
  • Our staff has identified the players it's backing, fading and betting.
  • Check out our favorite Sentry Tournament of Champions picks below.

It’s time to find our favorite Sentry Tournament of Champions picks and predictions.

We’ve changed our format for best bets in 2023 to get you fully ready for each tournament every week. You’ll get an idea of the players who our analysts are backing, fading and betting this week.

We’ll start with the PGA Tour’s Hawaiian doubleheader. Our staff has scoured the Sentry Tournament of Champions odds boards, run their numbers and found their favorite picks for the week. Check out our best bets below.

Click to expand a full 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions odds board via FanDuel
Golfer Odds
Jon Rahm +600
Justin Thomas +900
Scottie Scheffler +1000
Patrick Cantlay +1000
Xander Schauffele +1200
Tony Finau +1400
Cameron Young +1600
Sungjae Im +1700
Collin Morikawa +2000
Viktor Hovland +2000
Jordan Spieth +2000
Matthew Fitzpatrick +2200
Sam Burns +2700
Tom Kim +2700
Will Zalatoris +2900
Max Homa +3300
Aaron Wise +3400
Hideki Matsuyama +3700
Sahith Theegala +3700
Brian Harman +4200
Keegan Bradley +4200
Russell Henley +4200
Seamus Power +4200
Adam Scott +4500
Billy Horschel +5500
Corey Conners +6000
K.H. Lee +6000
Tom Hoge +6000
MacKenzie Hughes +8000
J.T. Poston +8000
Scott Stallings +9500
Adam Svensson +10000
Sepp Straka +10000
J.J. Spaun +12000
Trey Mullinax +12000
Luke List +16000
Chez Reavie +34000
Chad Ramey +47000
Ryan Brehm +55000

Favorite We’re Backing

Jason Sobel: Justin Thomas

Chris Murphy: Xander Schauffele

Matt Vincenzi: Jon Rahm

Spencer Aguiar: Scottie Scheffler

Nick Bretwisch: Scottie Scheffler

Best Long Shot

Jason Sobel: Russell Henley

Chris Murphy: Adam Scott

Matt Vincenzi: Billy Horschel

Spencer Aguiar: Adam Scott

Nick Bretwisch: Tom Hoge

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Biggest Bust

Jason Sobel: Matthew Fitzpatrick

Chris Murphy: Cameron Young

Matt Vincenzi: Cameron Young

Spencer Aguiar: Viktor Hovland

Nick Bretwisch: Sahith Theegala

Contrarian Player To Target

Jason Sobel: Aaron Wise

Chris Murphy: Seamus Power

Matt Vincenzi: Hideki Matsuyama

Spencer Aguiar: Matthew Fitzpatrick

Nick Bretwisch: J.T. Poston

Trend That Guides Your Betting Strategy

Jason Sobel: No player has won at Kapalua in his tournament debut since Daniel Chopra did it 15 years ago. I’m not suggesting a first-timer can’t play well, nor am I saying that this course requires a ton of experience.

The truth is, five of the last eight champions had only played here once previously. It does, however, seem like one of those courses where you’ve gotta play a few rounds before you get the hang of it. Either that, or the debutantes are too distracted by the mai-tais and the paddle boarding to play their best golf.

This is enough to keep 13 of the 39 off my card this week, including Matt Fitzpatrick, Cameron Young, Tom Kim, Will Zalatoris and Sahith Theegala.

Chris Murphy: In a small field full of elite players, I always look for a way to narrow down some of my options going into the week. Kapalua has proven to be a course where players need some tournament experience to find a top finish and certainly to win.

There are some outliers of top-five types of results in their debut, but no debutant has won since 2008. Trends are made to be broken, but this is one where I’ll be happy to let it beat me and keep my focus on narrowing on the other elites in this field that also have some course experience.

Matt Vincenzi: Fifteen of the last 16 winners have previously won on the PGA or DP World Tour with an 18-under or better score.

This is undoubtedly a “birdie-fest”. In order to win this week at Kapalua, golfers need the ability to go very low. It may not get to -34, which is the winning score of Cameron Smith last season, but we can expect the winner to be in the -25 range.

Spencer Aguiar: The simplicity of Kapalua can be seen in all avenues of the process. You don’t have to look any further than the performances last year of three golfers recording final totals of 30-under par or better, and the handicapping structure becomes relatively condensed throughout, even if the birdie nature of the property convolutes some of the metrics.

Golfers will need to excel in a two-step equation to find optimal success, starting with how they handle proximity from short and long distances and eventually moving into how the tricky velcro-like green complexes can cause havoc in blustery conditions.

The second wrinkle of that function will likely be less conducive to model-building since trouble will ensue for all players in the field, but it is the proximity totals from under 100 yards and over 200 yards that stick out most – two categories that combine to be nearly 10% more impactful here than your standard test.

Nick Bretwisch: Similar to Sobel and Murphy, I’m looking for players who can make birdies and make them in bunches. Overall, I’m looking for players who are long off the tee and are elite approach players from 50-100 yards and over 175 yards. Many out there will want to respect strokes gained putting (especially on slower greens), and that is something I don’t really care to account for this week.

The weather is always going to provide a challenge, and historically, these greens seem to mess with everyone. The winner this week will likely pound the ball off the tee and find himself in position to make a lot of birdies by setting himself up nicely from those long range approach shots and cleaning up around the green from that less than 100-yard mark.

Best Bet

Jason Sobel: Sungjae Im — Top 10 (+130)

There’s usually prop value in these shorter fields. If you don’t believe that, check out the top-five and top-10 odds for some of these players in 156-player fields during last year, then check out their odds for those plays in this week’s 39-man field. Not that they should be four times shorter – playing against the best of the best is a decent little variable to throw in there – but I do think there’s some value in playing someone to post a top 10 and finish in the top 25 percent of the leaderboard rather than the top 6.4 percent.

Anyway, that’s a long way of saying I like a few of these here but perhaps none more than Sungjae Im for a top-10. The nomad-turned-newlywed has top 10s in four of his last eight official starts and each of his previous two starts at Kapalua. It’s going to be a big year for him, and it starts this week.

Chris Murphy: Sam Burns +2800 (BetRivers)

It’s difficult to find value in weeks like this because there are so few names in the field, leaving the top tier at short numbers and everyone else really packed in behind them. I was elated to find a +2800 on a proven, four-time Tour winner who made his first trip to Kapalua last year.

The further I dug into Burns on this course, the more my confidence grew in his ability to contend for the win. This is a course that allows for players to be a bit loose off the tee, and that is the primary place where Burns gets in trouble, ranking 152nd in driving accuracy last season. The wide fairways will allow him to keep the ball in the short grass more often this week and take better advantage of his length with the driver. The strengths of his game are highlighted from there as he ranked 18th in SG: Approach last season and 10th in SG:Putting.

Like the fairways, the putting surfaces are massive at this track, and while strong approach play will be a requirement, we often see some of the best putters in the game contending at this event. Lastly, we have affectionately dubbed him as “Bermuda Burns” because of his preference for Bermuda grass greens, and that’s exactly what he will see this week at Kapalua.

When I add all of these factors to what I see as a nice value in a short field at +2800, it all combines to the LSU alum being my best bet of the week.

Matt Vincenzi: Sungjae Im +2000 (BetMGM)

Sungjae Im had a solid overall season in 2022 but failed to convert his strong play into any wins. He had three second-place finishes and was knocking at the door in numerous events before falling short. At 24 years old, Im’s best golf is still ahead of him, and I believe he’s poised for a breakout campaign in 2023.

Kapalua sets up well for the South Korean, and he’s shown his fondness for the course by finishing eighth and fifth in his two starts there. With the elevation, balls are going a lot further so his lack of distance off the tee won’t hurt him. With wide fairways and greens, getting hot with the putter and effective lag putting are important factors, and he excels in both categories.

Kapalua also features a unique setup with five par 5s. Despite not being one of the more powerful players on Tour, Im thrives at taking advantage of par 5s. He ranks first in the field in par-5 scoring in his last 24 rounds.

Im has the game to win multiple events on Tour this season, and I believe he will start his season off with a bang and earn a victory in Maui.

Spencer Aguiar: Full-Tournament Fades of Viktor Hovland

That is a more generic response than I typically will give in this article, but I wanted to branch out a little on my reasoning behind listing Viktor Hovland as my “Biggest Bust” target for the week.

I run my model to incorporate a plethora of different data points, including just about anything you could imagine for a contest. Sure, that sometimes can prove detrimental since my model isn’t shy in trying to predict outlier positions, but beyond even the crux of that comment, I love how it isn’t afraid to be bearish on players catching “steam” in various markets.

As the week has gone on over the opening few days, I continue to see movement in Hovland’s direction, quite often occurring at sportsbooks I respect, but the numbers I am running find it hard to understand the activity taking place.

The Norwegian ranks five spots worse than expected when I compare his baseline proximity to his course-specific output here — a dangerous retrieval of data if he loses his green in regulation edge. It stretches even beyond that and into his weighted three-putt returns.

My calculated totals believe Hovland shifts from the 11th putter in expectation to 32nd on these specific greens. While it inevitably will come down to finding the right opponent(s) to use in a weekly battle, a few names are popping off the page for me, including a potential matchup against Cameron Young if you shop around the space.

Nick Bretwisch: J.T. Poston — Top 20 (+160 | FanDuel)

Poston quietly had the best season of his PGA career earning over $3.2M in earnings and got his first win since the 2018-19 PGA season. Poston’s iron metrics disappeared after that season but came back with a vengeance in 2022, especially with those proximities I value the most this week of 50-100 yards and more than 175 yards.

I’m a more conservative golf bettor and am always looking at value in the placement market. With only 39 golfers, the placement market is usually something that wouldn’t have much value overall.

Then I saw the +160 number on Poston and I had to jump on it, trusting that Poston can move his way around Kapalua like he did in 2020 and post a top-20 finish.

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