Following the high drama and tough challenges provided by the Players Championship, the countdown is truly on for the US Masters and the first Major of 2021. Next up, we stay in Florida for the Honda Classic and another solid field is expected at Palm Beach this week.
Much of the focus will be on Lee Westwood who landed his second runners up slot in succession on Sunday and the Englishman is one of many players who could provide some value at Palm Beach.
Many of the big names have chosen to sit this one out but we retain a strong field and the outright betting is led by Daniel Berger. This is something of a home tournament for a man who lost out in a playoff to Padraig Harrington here in 2015. A tie for fourth place followed last year and Berger has the form to back up a sound record in the Honda Classic.
Berger is available at 11/1 with most outlets while the defending champion, Sungjae Im, follows at 14/1. Im won by a single stroke from Mackenzie Hughes 12 months ago and the South Korean is leading the Tour in terms of sub-70 rounds.
Then comes Lee Westwood and Joaquin Niemann who can both be found at 20/1 in places. Along with that impressive run of form, Westwood tied for fourth at the Honda Classic last year and was second in Strokes Gained: Putting. Niemann is included based on form and world ranking but he doesn’t have a great record at the PGA National.
Moving through the field, Shane Lowry and Russell Henley are both quoted at 28/1 while Adam Scott is slightly further back at 30/1. Open Champion Lowry recovered from a shaky start at the Players Championship to return a solo eighth place finish. Henley and Scott are both former winners of the Honda Classic.
Australia’s Scott triumphed here by a single stroke from Sergio Garcia in 2016 while Henley won in a four-way playoff two years earlier.
Many big names are missing but that means there’s a greater chance of a long-odds winner coming through. In an interesting outside bunch, Keegan Bradley is one name that stands out at around the 45/1 mark. Bradley doesn’t have the form right now but he is one of those golfers to have given us some top 10 finish profits in the past and we think he’s worth watching.
Other players to attract interest in this section will include Talor Gooch at 40/1, Rickie Fowler at 50/1, Matt Wallace at 55/1, Dylan Fritteli at 66/1, Russell Knox at 66/1, Adam Hadwin at 70/1 and last year’s runner up Mackenzie Hughes at 75/1. Knox and Fowler have also finished second in this event while Rickie is also a previous winner – taking the Honda Classic by four shots in 2017.
Our Preview’s Honda Classic Predictions, Course & Betting Trends & Picks Conclusion
The tournament first saw life as the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic in 1972. Some name changes and switches of venue have followed with Palm Beach Gardens having played host since 2007.
The PGA National course is a regulation par 70 at just over 7,140 yards and is protected everywhere by bunkers while water is in play on 13 holes. The most punishing holes come at the end with the infamous ‘bear trap’ running through 15, 16 and 17.
The venue is exposed so wind can be a factor at times and breezy conditions are forecast for this year’s edition.
Sungjae Im’s victory at the Honda Classic in 2020 perfectly underlined the qualities needed to succeed at the PGA National. The defending champion ranked second in Greens in Regulation, Tenth in Fairways Hit and fifth in Scrambling. Im also led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and he finished inside the top 10 for Par 3, Par 4 and Par 5 scoring.
In 50 years there have only been four multiple winners. Jack Nicklaus, Mark Calcavecchia, Johnny Miller and Padraig Harrington have each recorded two victories so that’s not a great trend if we’re looking for a repeat winner.
Accuracy is key among those specific stats and it is a tough call in this field. One name that keeps coming back to us is that of Keegan Bradley who can deliver those required statistics if he is on top of his game. Form is a concern but if he is close to his best then Bradley can come through at a long set of odds.
This may be the kind of week where you’ll prefer to focus on the top 10 finish betting markets and we’ve three additional likely suggestions here too. We suspect this is a tournament where outside value will come through so let’s aim to make some winning picks to conclude this preview with these 2021 Honda Classic predictions:
- Keegan Bradley to win @ best odds of +5000 (50/1) with Bovada.
- Bradley (+500), Talor Gooch (+400), Rickie Fowler (+500) and Adam Hadwin (+650) for top 10 finishes and all those odds are with BetOnline.
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.