Honda Classic: How to Bet the Final Round
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tommy Fleetwood
The wind lightened up a little, and we finally got to see a few low rounds Saturday at PGA National.
Some of the higher-ranked players in the field like Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, and Alex Noren took advantage of the easier conditions and posted rounds in the mid-60s. But Luke List, who is winless in his PGA Tour career, will head into Sunday with the lead. List sits at 7-under after a round of 66 and saw his odds dip from +1100 on Friday night to +400.
Thomas is a shot behind and is still the favorite to claim the Honda Classic at +200. Fleetwood checks in at +500 and is two shots behind List.
Webb Simpson is tied with Thomas one shot back and is available at +600, while Noren is at +700 and is three behind the leader. Of the notable longshots, Tiger Woods is seven strokes back and is available at +6600.
Of this group, I’d look toward Fleetwood or Simpson. I don’t trust List at the top of the board. He has only two top-three finishes in 103 career starts. List is one of those players who has the tee-to-green game to win, but his putter tends to fail him in the important spots. It’s one of those things where I’ll believe he can win when I actually see it happen.
In contrast, I know Fleetwood and Simpson can win from this spot. Fleetwood seems to play really well on Sunday when he’s in contention and has shown the ability to come from behind. He has three wins on the European Tour in the last 13 months and has a final-round scoring average of 66 during those events. If he shoots another 66 Sunday, he could at least get into a playoff.
283 yards ➡️ 8 feet
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 24, 2018
Simpson is 11th tee to green this week, and when he’s gotten birdie chances, he’s capitalized with the putter. Simpson has always had the approach game with the irons to contend on the Tour, but his putter has failed him quite a bit in recent seasons. He seems to have cleared that up this year, as he ranks 20th in 2018 in strokes gained: putting.
One thing I’d keep an eye on is the live betting. If someone gets hot and posts a strong number, he could be worth a bet because of how difficult the closing stretch plays. The 15th, 16th, and 17th holes all have water trouble and bring double bogey into play. The 18th is a reachable par 5, but it has its own water hazard in play on both the drive and approach. Basically, if someone is in the clubhouse only a shot or two off the lead when the leaders are entering the final stretch, there may be some value in the guy who is done playing.
On Saturday, we were able to hit three of the four matchup plays by fading guys riding their putters and backing players with strong tee-to-green games.
I have two more that I’ll be targeting Sunday that fit that mold.
First is Russell Henley over Dominic Bozzelli at -185. Henley has gained strokes tee to green all week, but he had a horrendous day with the putter Saturday, losing 3.45 strokes. Meanwhile, Bozzelli lost ground with his irons but was able to shoot around the field average thanks to his putter gaining a little over a stroke on the field.
The other is Byeong Hun An over Thomas Pieters at -120. An is always a solid iron player who struggles with his putter. He was able to gain 2.49 strokes tee to green Saturday, while Pieters lost 1.35 strokes. With so much trouble around the course with the water hazards, it’s far more important to be dialed in off the tee and with the irons.
All odds via Bovada on Feb. 24.
Top Photo: Tommy Fleetwood
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports