Golf may not be the first thing on everybody’s mind with the NFL Playoffs, the start of the NHL this week, and the continuation of the basketball seasons, but the first full-field event of 2021 brings some really good betting opportunities.
Also, it’s a pretty good time of year to be thinking about Hawaii.
The Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu is this week’s PGA Tour event. After there were only 42 players in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, there will be over 130 players on hand for this one. Thirty of those players will do some island jumping after playing on the island of Maui last week.
They’ll be on Oahu to visit Waialae, a par 70 that plays significantly different from last week’s Plantation Course at Kapalua. Last week’s course had airport runways for fairways and there weren’t a whole lot of ways to get in trouble. Waialae is a much narrower course where distance isn’t nearly as much of an asset.
The closest comps for Waialae are Harbour Town Golf Links, the home of the RBC Heritage, and Colonial Country Club, which is home to the Charles Schwab Challenge, formerly known as the Crowne Plaza Invitational among other sponsor names. This course is big on driving accuracy and approach shots.
As a result, we can find a pretty good correlation between the players that have played well at all three courses in the past and that has given us some big triple-digit shots to consider for this week at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Before we get to that point, though, we have to talk about the favorites. Webb Simpson, the reigning champ at the RBC Heritage, is the favorite at +1100. Harris English, who won last week’s Tournament of Champions, is +1300. Daniel Berger and Collin Morikawa are +1500. All of the players below 30/1 played last week at Kapalua.
It makes sense that those players would get some preferential treatment in the odds. Most of the rest of this field hasn’t played since mid-November. A few players went over to Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship. Several players will be shaking off some rust. The ones that played last week won’t be, hence the shorter prices for those guys.
Of the short prices, Ryan Palmer at +3300 is one to consider. Palmer’s home course is Colonial, so he has plenty of experience on that track. He was also fourth last week at the Tournament of Champions, so he looked good coming off the shelf. Palmer was fourth here last year and has three top-10 finishes in his career at the Sony Open. The similarities to Colonial may help, as Palmer likely played that course during the holiday break to stay sharp. He’s a member at that course.
You may not want him on your card, but at least DraftKings can’t stiff you the way Matt Kuchar stiffs caddies if he wins. Kuchar is +4500 as one of the best career players at this event. Kuchar won in 2019 and has four additional top-10 finishes to his name. He did miss the cut last season and fell short of the top 30 for the TOUR Championship, so he wasn’t able to play last week at Kapalua. He’s not my favorite pick, but he’s a consideration.
Another player with some excellent finishes here that you may consider is Charles Howell III. CH3 is +6600 with eight top-10 finishes and two more in the top 15. While he’s unlikely to win, you can get +500 on a top-10 finish and +1100 on a top-five finish.
That is the beauty of betting golf at DraftKings Sportsbook. It isn’t just about picking the winner. You can bet top-five finish and top-10 finish props. You can bet matchups and groups, which we’ll look at in a minute. You can also bet a variety of other props, including Live Betting during the tournament.
Before we get to some matchups, we promised long shots. Chez Reavie and Brandt Snedeker are two of them at +10000, or 100/1. Reavie had a string of three top-20 finishes with two top 10s snapped last year when he missed the cut. Snedeker has only played four rounds here, but he has a 12th, a 16th, a MC, and a runner-up back in 2016.
The big bomb this week is Branden Grace at +15000. Grace has only played this event once and finished 13th, but he played very well in Abu Dhabi and previously won the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. He was also in the top 20 at Colonial in the first event after COVID shut down the PGA Tour. This is way too big of a price, as is his +2500 top-five price and his +1100 top-10 finish odds.
CT Pan is another long shot to consider at +17500. Pan won the RBC Heritage two years ago. He was third at Colonial in 2019. He fits the profile of a guy that would play here and you can get +3300 for a top-five finish and +1200 for a top-10 finish.
Those are some big prizes, but maybe we’ll hit a jackpot and we can always look for in-tournament odds on the favorites at better prices over the weekend.
To that end, we can bet some matchups and groups to find some lower-risk action. Fading Harris English off of a spectacular putting performance makes sense, as Webb Simpson is just -118 in the head-to-head matchup at DraftKings.
Similarly, English’s playoff opponent, Joaquin Niemann, is in a matchup with the aforementioned Ryan Palmer. Both sides are -110, though Niemann’s +2800 and Palmer is +3300 for the win. The pricing is off here based on the outrights, but Palmer, even at -110, has value.
Group B features Hideki Matsuyama, Abraham Ancer, Kevin Kisner, Niemann, and Sungjae Im. I like Im here. Kisner has three top-five finishes in his last five starts at Waialae, so you can make a case for him, but Im was fifth last week and played well late in the year. He’s a rhythm player that lives out of hotels during the season, so playing back-to-back weeks should get him back into form.
Good luck this weekend!