Honda Classic Round 2 Odds & Betting Preview: Look to Add Players From Early/Late Wave for Live Outrights
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Billy Horschel during the first round of the Honda Classic
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — As players emerged from windblown PGA National during Thursday’s morning wave, there was a mixture of exasperated sighs after playing in tough conditions and relieved smiles knowing they were each done for the day.
Actually, there might’ve been another reason for the smiles, too.
Despite playing in steady winds throughout the morning, these players were armed with the knowledge that — believe it or not — they actually got the better side of the draw.
Through one round of the Honda Classic, it certainly doesn’t seem like there was much of an advantage to the early-late wave, as the afternoon group accounted for three of the five best scores on the leaderboard and six of the top 10.
In fact, the scoring average for the morning wave was 72.21, while the afternoon wave was 71.76.
That differential, though, could be much bigger on Friday.
Whereas it was around 60 degrees with a 12-15 mph wind during the early part of Thursday morning, it’s supposed to be right around 48 when they start playing on Friday.
Moral of the story: If you’re looking to make a live outright play or two — and as Peter Jennings mentioned on our Action Network podcast this week, it’s a great tournament for these bets, since the leaderboard can turn over so quickly — I’d advise on at least leaning toward those who will be teeing off in the warmer weather and (presumably) calmer winds on Friday.
A few potential options:
Charl Schwartzel (+5000): He doesn’t quite fit the usual profile I like for live betting — he putted much better than he struck the ball in the first round — but he traditionally plays well on tough courses when scoring is at a premium.
Brendan Steele (+4100): Steele ranked fifth in strokes gained on approach shots in the opening round — and we know how important ball-striking is on this track.
Sepp Straka (+21000): He always strikes me as a Keith Mitchell clone and since his fellow UGA product won here last year, maybe there’s something to the correlation.
Billy Horschel (+8000): Horschel should be more than 80-1 right now, considering he’s seven shots back, but I liked him entering the week and I still like him to post a low one and get back into some semblance of contention Friday afternoon.
If you really want to chase some guys teeing off in the chilly morning air, Aaron Wise (+15000) and Sam Ryder (+18000) each hit the ball much better than their scores showed in the opening round.
And while I wouldn’t recommend betting him at his current number, I spoke with Lee Westwood (+1800) after his first round and he just seems more calm and confident than I’ve ever seen him.
At close to 47 years old, he said he’s playing with more of a nothing-to-lose attitude, simply playing events he likes to play, enjoying the competition and trying to play his best. It’s enough to get me seriously thinking about placing an early wager on him at The Open, where he finished T-4 last year.
Round 2 Matchup Odds
Brooks Koepka over Keith Mitchell and Matthew Wolff (-115)
Despite opening with a 4-over 74, Koepka insisted after the round that he hit the ball well — even those shots which found the hazards, he said, weren’t poor shots.
Now, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if the erstwhile No. 1-ranked player mailed it in Friday morning, took the quick trip home and had the weekend to himself.
But I do believe that he’s got something to prove after coming so close here last year. Mitchell and Wolff clearly aren’t playing their best golf right now, so I like the favorite in this three-ball.