Honda Classic Predictions to Win
Dates: February 26 – March 1
Course: PGA National (Champion) – Palm Beach Gardens, FL
TV: CBS/The Golf Channel
by Evergreen, Golf Betting Prognosticator, Predictem.com
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Say Florida and many people immediately think of golf. Alligators, humidity and over-tanned senior citizens are also on that list but golf is prominent. It is true, Florida has some of the best golf in all of the country and the PGA makes its way to The Sunshine State for The Honda Classic. Most of the best on Tour have made at least a few appearances in the U.S. already but Rory McIlroy is teeing it up for the first time at PGA National. He leads a very strong field, one that is bolstered by the fact that so many PGA Pros live within a short drive of this event. Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer are among the Euro contingent with Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and defending champ Russell Henley leading the way for the Americans.
The Champion course at PGA National was made to host the biggest events. A Jack Nicklaus redesign only furthered an already sterling reputation and the course now includes the feared Bear Trap, a three hole stretch from No. 15-17 that is among the most difficult trio of holes on Tour. A few expanded greens and newly located tee boxes on all holes will give PGA National a little different feel from years past but this 7,140 yard, par-70 layout is Florida golf defined. The course if fairly open but some well-placed palms will need to be negotiated if players are wayward with drives. Plenty of sand, both fairway and greenside bunkers, will gobble up shots as well and water is in play on many holes, especially on the back nine where there are multiple forced carries of ponds or lakes. The big greens make lag putting a nice thing to have and the difficulty at the end will test the nerves of the leaders come Sunday.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think have the best shot at victory. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that are widely available at golf sportsbooks. Here are our picks for the 2015 Honda Classic.
Dustin Johnson (14 to 1 odds to win)
DJ has been a little hot and cold since his return but the hot has been really hot with a T4 and playoff runner-up in just three starts. Johnson is mashing the ball right now and leads the Tour in driving distance. His putting is making up for some iffy ballstriking numbers and he enters the week in the top-5 in both putting average and 1-putt percentage.It seems as if his new lifestyle and outlook is going to be a positive to his game and he was already among the best before. McIlroy is a 4 to 1 favorite to win but that only serves to push DJs odds to a more respectable value.
Sergio Garcia (25 to 1)
Garcia, who made his U.S. debut last week, was a favorite in my head to head betting last week and that paid off as his improved putting led to a T4 at the Northern Trust. He enters this event as the #1 ranked putter in terms of strokes-gained and he should be a threat to win multiple events this year as his tee-to-green skills have never been in question. Sergio continues to uses a combination of length when necessary and control as well to set him up for birdies. He averages 4+ birdies per round and is currently 6thin scoring average. His 25 to 1 odds make him a good value based on his talent and his is likely one of the best overall bets in the field.
Graham DeLaet (40 to 1)
Graham has recorded two top-10s in his last three starts and his T8 last week could have been much better if not for a tough 73 on Sunday. He finished 9thhere in 2013 and is well-suited to handle this course. DeLaet is a very good tee-to-green player, ranking 28thin ballstriking and 5thin total driving but his putting has been merely average. If he can get is rolling on the greens, he can take full advantage of his 12thall-around stat sheet. Graham is plenty talented and has enough experience under his belt, he just needs that week where he puts it all together.
Brendon de Jonge (125 to 1)
If you like super longshots, I think Brendon is your guy. In a five tournament span earlier this season, BdJ carded 65 or better on five separate occasions to prove he can score with anyone on Tour. He also proved he can give it right back by playing poorly, so you can begin to see why he is so far down the board. He had a 64 here last year, followed up by a 78, so you get the idea. He has a lot of Honda experience so maybe a couple bucks his way and hope he doesnt trainwreck.
Head to Head Golfer vs. Golfer Picks
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. See your favorite online betting site for single round matches and variety of prop bets.
Rickie Fowler v. Graeme McDowell (pick to win: McDowell)
Looking at the recent history of this event, you will see more control players doing well here than any other type. Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar and Justin Leonard have won while Tiger never has. PGA National demands precision at points and McDowell is that guy in this matchup with better fairways and greens hit stats. Graeme also led the Tour in putting last year, not a bad thing to rely on given the size of these greens. Fowler is a gutty and very likeable kid but I dont think this style of course is his strong suit.
Brooks Koepka v. Keegan Bradley (pick to win: Koepka)
We nailed Koepkas win a few weeks back but this isnt a soft-spot pick to win as Brooks has put together a really nice season overall. Neither of these players has been very accurate off the tee so far this year but Koepka is among the Tour leaders in distance so at least he is closer to the green when he hits the rough. Brooks is leading Bradley in ballstriking, scrambling, putting average and scoring so there isnt much pointing to a Bradley win. This isnt a no-brainer but Id rather ride the hotter player right in the earlier parts of the season.
Be sure to check back weekly as I cover each week’s PGA tournament previews and give out my betting predictions! Good luck and good golf!