There may be a restricted entry of 18 for this invitational tournament but the Hero World Challenge has one of the strongest fields of the season so far. Hosted by Tiger Woods, the event was originally established in 2000 and the great man himself will make a welcome return to the course in 2019.
USAbetting returned a great overall profit last time we were here as our tip for the DP World Tour Championship, Jon Rahm, came home at +650 (13/2). Thomas Pieters also provided a nice return as a top 10 finisher so let’s see if we can continue that run as we head out to Albany Golf Club, Providence Island (aka Nassau) in the Bahamas.
In winning the World Tour Championship, Jon Rahm also claimed the European Tour’s Race to Dubai so we should have expected the Spaniard to head the Hero World Challenge outright betting this week. Not only does he come into this golf tournament in top form, Rahm (+400 or 4/1 with Bovada) is also the reigning champion having won by four strokes from Tony Finau 12 months ago.
His form is exceptional with two straight wins in Europe, albeit with a six week break in between. So Rahm is clearly the man to beat.
Behind the favorite, the US sports betting firms declare Justin Thomas (+700) to be the strongest challenger from the chasing pack. JT has won three times on Tour since the beginning of August but doesn’t have a good record in the Hero World Challenge and has yet to break the top 10 in two previous attempts.
Patrick Cantlay is next on the list, along with host Tiger Woods and Xander Schauffele (all three are +800). Tiger is clearly a threat and won in Japan last time out but hosting duties can add to the burden and he is way down the Power Rankings this week. In contrast, there is plenty of support in the betting markets for Schauffele who has enjoyed a productive year and tied for eighth at Albany on debut in 2018.
Webb Simpson (12/1) follows and then we come to 2017 Hero World Challenge Champion Rickie Fowler (14/1). Simpson has four runners up places in his last ten starts and while Fowler’s form is shaky, he has a notable scoring average of 67.94 around this Albany course.
Also in the chasing pack are Justin Rose (16/1), Jordan Spieth (28/1), Gary Woodland (18/1) and last year’s runner up Tony Finau (22/1).
There are only 18 golfers in the field for the Hero World Challenge so it may be tricky to find some value among the outsiders in the betting odds this week. Chez Reavie (66/1) carries the longest price of any player, having come in as a late injury replacement for Dustin Johnson.
Reavie isn’t getting much in the way of support but there are others who could offer some value. Bubba Watson (40/1) won this event in 2015 while Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (28/1) is a two-time runner up. Kevin Kisner (40/1) and Matt Kuchar (28/1) complete the entry list but we suspect that the winner will come from a shorter price.
Our Preview’s Hero World Challenge Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
This event has been held in four different locations from its inception in 2000 but the Albany Golf Course in New Providence has been its home since 2015. It is a par 72 at a fraction above 7300 yards and it can reward the power hitters in places.
There are just three par 3s and three par 5s and with minimal rough, the main threat to low scoring comes from intermittent wind gusts. Greens at 12 on the stimp can often lead to a straight fight with the flatstick.
In 20 previous editions we have seen three multiple winners: Graeme McDowell and Davis Love III have both won twice while our host, Tiger Woods, has claimed the Hero World Challenge on no fewer than five previous occasions.
USAbetting is backing Justin Thomas to deliver this week. JT’s subdued performances in this tournament have pegged his win price back but form in the latter half of 2019 is solid and he is clearly over the wrist injury that dogged him earlier on.
The restricted field also means that there is no real value in seeking out any top 10 betting markets but there is a good prop bet option to take Henrik Stenson to finish as the Top European. The Swede loves this event and has just two opponents, albeit one of those is Jon Rahm, and either of these two picks would lead to a decent profit as we start to close out the year. So our Hero World Challenge predictions are:
- Justin Thomas to win @ best odds of +700 (7/1) with Bovada. He is a bit shorter with all other top American bookies.
- Henrik Stenson to be Top European @ a biggest price of +500 with Bovada. He is +450 with Intertops.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.