This week we stay in Hawaii for the Sony Open 2020 and while the field is slightly weaker than last week’s action, there is the potential for more drama and hopefully some profits with our concluding predictions.
A new golfing year got underway in fine style at the weekend with a three-way playoff deciding the fate of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Our tip for the win was Gary Woodland and while he was nicely placed going into the final day, Justin Thomas eventually came through for his second title in three years.
As for the Sony Open, Jordan Spieth is a late withdrawal from this tournament due to illness but Justin Thomas (+500, 5/1 with Bovada USA sports betting site) is back and keen to succeed in an event he won in 2017. JT has three wins in his last six starts and now has a clear lead at the top of the Sony Open outright winner betting market.
It is also worth noting that Thomas completed the Tournament of Champions / Sony Open double in 2017 and for many, it will be hard to back against him this week.
Spieth’s absence leaves Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson locked as 12/1 (+1200) joint second favorites. Reed lost out to Thomas in Sunday’s playoff while Simpson has started the season positively.
Matt Kuchar (22/1) is the defending champion and in a weaker field, he finds himself on the fringes of the chasing pack. Kuch briefly rolled back the years at the start of 2019 but his form started to dip in the second half of the year.
Other names to mention in this preview include Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama (both 16/1). We talked ourselves out of backing Morikawa for a top 10 finish at Kapalua so his tie for seventh was a tough watch and he is in contention for single digits again.
Joaquin Niemann (25/1) was the first-round leader last week and heads up the list of outsiders this time. He couldn’t sustain that opening blast but an eventual tie for fifth indicates a positive year ahead.
Behind Niemann there could be a ton of value in the longer-range betting odds with golfers such as Marc Leishman, Alex Noren, Kevin Kisner (all three at 40/1) and Brandt Snedeker (50/1) teeing off this week. Sneds is a regular favorite here at USAbetting and he came second in a playoff at the Sony Open in 2016. Leishman has three top 10 finishes here but can he be a force in 2020 following last year’s injury struggles?
Others to consider from this outside bunch include Chez Reavie, Brian Harman, Russell Knox, Ryan Palmer, Scott Piercy and Patton Kizzire. The 2018 champion Kizzire will attract some interest as one of the few Sony Open champions in the field but any of those names could sneak into the top 10 on Sunday.
Sony Open Course & Betting Trends with Predictions, Picks & Tips Verdict
From last week’s monster par 73 at Kapalua, we switch to a more modest 7,044 yards par 70 at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. It could be argued that this will be a much stiffer test with tree lined fairways, wind issues and postage stamp Bermuda Grass greens. Water is a factor on three holes but the key variable is that wind that can affect scoring considerably if it gets up.
The tournament debuted as the Hawaiian Open in 1965 with Gay Brewer claiming the first edition. In more than 50 years, multiple winners have been rare with only five men claiming two wins apiece. The last of these was Jimmy Walker in 2015 but there is a lot of backing for Justin Thomas to join this list.
It is tough to disagree with those looking to get behind the favorite: JT is the best golfer here by some margin. He has won 50% of his last six tournaments and he has previously won the first two events of the PGA year.
We don’t like to bet on short prices and Thomas’ late wobble on Sunday gives us hope, so this preview will switch to Webb Simpson for our Sony Open prediction and main tip. He has the form and game for this course and a strong record in this golf tournament adds to a set of positive indicators. We will also add some other top 10 selections into the mix to complete our Sony Open picks with the bookies for US sports betting: