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Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Betting Guide: Odds, Favorites, Longshots & More

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Betting Guide: Odds, Favorites, Longshots & More article feature image

Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Rory McIlroy.

The European Tour kicks off its 2021 campaign with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week.

This year, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas headline the field with many of the top Europeans also ready to make their first starts of the new year.

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The Course

Abu Dhabi Golf Club measures 7,583 yards for a par 72 and has historically been a favorite of the best ball-strikers.

Lee Westwood is the defending champ and Tommy Fleetwood won back-to-back events in 2017 and 2018. We’ve also seen Shane Lowry and Rickie Fowler win in recent years. So the course usually identifies a strong champion.

It’s doesn’t play overly difficult. If the wind is down, 20 under par is in play. Otherwise we can expect to see a score of around 15 under take the title.

The Favorites

McIlroy opens in the top spot at +600 and has an interesting history here. He’s played the event eight times since 2010 and has finished second or third in seven of them, but he’s still searching for that first win. This will be his first appearance here since 2018 and it’s probably safe to say that the eventual champ will need to be someone capable of holding off Rory on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas is next in line at +700 and will be making his first appearance in the tournament. Thomas was third a couple weeks ago at Kapalua and is basically the only golfer who has a competitive start in the last month. That will give him a definite edge on a course that should fit his game.

A trio of Englishmen close out this group in the +1200-1400 range. Fleetwood, as mentioned early, has two wins on this course. Matthew Fitzpatrick has finished top-three in his last two starts, while Tyrrell Hatton is still looking for his first top-five after six tries. Fitz is probably my lean of this group. He’s fresh off winning in Dubai to close out 2020 and has a solid history of playing well in the desert.

The Mid-Tier

The big names will be tough to beat this week, but we’ve had winners in this range in three of the last four years. Outside of that top group, many other solid players like Lowry and Justin Rose will make an appearance this week.

But I’ll open my card with Victor Perez at +3300 on FanDuel. Perez was the runner-up last year and finished seventh in Dubai. He finished last year third off the tee and 11th on approach on the Euro Tour, so the ball-striking profile fits for him. He was also an above-average putter, finishing inside the top 50.

We’ll also take a look at Thomas Detry at +6600 on Bet365. Detry had a really solid run in the summer with a couple of seconds in England. He also came in fourth in Cyprus. It got to the point where he was among the favorites each week despite still being winless on the Euro Tour. Now that he’s drifted back into this range, I’m more inclined to take a shot. He didn’t show much the last two years in Abu Dhabi, but a ninth in his debut in 2018 is enough to know he can play well here. He’s also coming off a great ball-striking season in which he finished 14th tee-to-green.

The Longshots

This event has recently gone to the strongest players in Europe. But it wasn’t too long ago when the likes of Gary Stal and Pablo Larrazabal were cashing in at triple-digit odds. The long layoff adds a layer of uncertainty with the best players’ games, so this is a decent event to take a chance or two down the board.

I’ll go with two plays here starting with Thorbjorn Olesen at 125/1 on Bet365. Olesen was the runner up here in 2013, so it’s been a while, but he has the skills to play well here. After his legal troubles, he’s had an inconsistent run of results, but did finish the year with a solid 13th in Dubai.

Lastly, we’ll go way down the board with Gaganjeet Bhullar at 500/1 on FanDuel. Bhullar won his most recent start in India, and while that tour is nowhere near the level of the Euro Tour, he’s at least played competitive rounds and had success more recently than anyone in this range. He’s also got a 10th and 27th here in four starts. So if the game is right, he can score here. It’s worth a look as a top-20 type of play.

The Abu Dhabi Card

  • Victor Perez +3300 (1 unit)
  • Thomas Detry +6600 (.5 units)
  • Thorbjorn Olesen +12500 (.26 units)
  • Gaganjeet Bhullar +50000 (.07 units)

Total Stake: 1.83 units


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