The PGA Tour gave us the first big story of the new season as Tiger Woods completed the 82nd win of his pro career on Sunday. Victory in the Zozo Championship sends a message to the rest of the world’s best golfers but Tiger will be absent this week as we make the short hop to China.
Incepted in 2005, the HSBC Champions has been a WGC event since 2009 and there is a strong field heading to the Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai. We claimed a return last week as one of our top 10 finish picks, Gary Woodland, came home in fifth so let’s look to build on that result.
Rory McIlroy (+550 or 11/2 with Bovada sports betting company) is one of the busiest golfers right now and the Northern Irishman is enjoying a productive period on both sides of the Atlantic. While many others continue to rest, Rory is piling up the FedEx points and finished at the Zozo Championship in a tie for third.
McIlroy led the field in par 5 scoring last week and that could be significant in China. He has a strong record in this event and justifies his slot at the top of the WGC-HSBC Champions outright betting odds.
Behind McIlroy there is a significant gap to second favorite Hideki Matsuyama (+1200 or 12/1) who is just ahead of defending champion Xander Schauffele (14/1). Hideki won this event by a clear seven strokes in 2016 and both of those golfers finished in the top 10 in Japan on Sunday.
Another former champion follows: Justin Rose (16/1) was our 2018 winner and while his form isn’t the best, the Englishman finished third here last year so he clearly enjoys this tournament. A further gap starts to open from here until we come to Paul Casey (22/1), Tony Finau and Tommy Fleetwood (both 25/1). The course could assist Finau’s power hitting in places but a 59th placed finish in Japan will deter punters.
Casey was our tip for the win last week and while the Englishman finished in a disappointing 17th, he carries over some good, relevant stats to Shanghai. Also in the mid-price section are Patrick Reed, Adam Scott and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who was a runner-up in this event in 2016 and 2017.
If you follow our occasional switches to the European Tour here at USAbetting then you’ll know that we are big fans of Bernd Wiesberger (33/1). The Austrian has enjoyed a stunning year, winning three tournaments including the Italian Open earlier this month. He should be playing on a bigger stage but only has one top 10 finish in 47 PGA Tour starts.
Also crossing from Europe after a strong season is Matt Wallace (40/1) while some more familiar outside punts would include Billy Horschel, Charles Howell III and Open Champion Shane Lowry. Horschel (33/1) is at fairly long betting odds considering he is fifth in the Power Rankings. With 10 Top 25s in his last 14 outings, he should be targeting a single digit finish this time.
Our Preview’s WGC-HSBC Champions Predictions & Picks Verdict with Course & Betting Trends
The Sheshan Golf Club has played host to all but one of the HSBC Champions Tournaments since inception in 2005. We saw a brief switch to Shenzhen in 2012 but this venue should be very familiar to the majority of the field.
The course itself is a par 72 and comes in at what we could call an ‘average length’ of 7261 yards but Par 5 scoring has been a telling stat in recent renewals. Twelve months ago, the par 5s on this course ranked hardest on Tour, with an average of 4.85, and the champion Xander Schauffele ranked second for this statistic.
Only Phil Mickelson has won this event twice and while the fields can be dominated by US golfers, only five have claimed the trophy in 14 previous editions. Those stats would suggest that a first-time champion is extremely likely but who is in the frame?
The course looks to be set up for Tony Finau and in most weeks he would be a perfect fit. That disappointing finish in Japan is an obvious concern but he has good, relevant stats and a strong record in this event that includes a runner-up spot in 2018. We need him to find some touch but Finau for the win tops our WGC-HSBC Champions predictions for this preview, while some additional top 10 finish picks against the USA sports betting websites will hopefully contribute to a profitable four days:
- Tony Finau to win at +2500 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
- We recommend Finau (+200 or 2/1), Billy Horschel (+325), Matt Wallace (+325) and Bernd Wiesberger (+275) for top 10 finishes. All those quoted odds are with BetOnline, though Bovada and Intertops will also publish betting for this top 10 market shortly.