GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Sony Open in Hawaii

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the Sony Open in Hawaii based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

In our first full-field event of 2021, we are treated to a deep but wide-open field that is without the super-elite depth we've seen in most events since the return to action. The field and, perhaps more so, the course, will provide a great opportunity to mine for gold in the betting market this week.

At a track where the distance advantage is muted but scoring is still there for the taking, we can make a case for many of the golfers in double-digits and even some longer. We'll focus on talent at the top and midrange, then dig deep into the bag for our long-shot bets with two golfers who have runner-up finishes at Waialae on their resume already.

For more info on the Waialae CC, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Webb Simpson (+1300) - While conventional wisdom would indicate Simpson is a clear-cut below the top five players in the world, he actually holds up pretty well when he's the alpha in a given field. That's typically the case at events like this with a slight drop in field strength and a course that doesn't play to the bombers' strengths. He was third here last year and fourth in 2018, and having found his winning ways in 2020 with two victories, we can have confidence that he can close.

Daniel Berger (+1600) - You can make an argument that Berger is a top-10 player over the past year, and he's coming off a strong showing at the Tournament of Champions (T10 even with a Sunday dud). Like Simpson, he won at a comparable course last summer when taking down the Charles Schwab Invitational. He was in the form of his life at the time and many (including yours truly) overlooked him at Colonial looking ahead to a better fit at the RBC Heritage and its bermuda greens (which Simpson won). If Berger continues on his current trajectory, he will pick up another win this year, and this is the type of course and field where he can really shine.

Value Spots

Russell Henley (+3000) - Not a long time ago, Henley had the reputation of an excellent short game player who could pop up on leaderboards when he went effervescent with the putter but was too inconsistent with his ballstriking to contend week in and week out. That flipped last year when he became one of the Tour's approach gods, trailing only Justin Thomas (not in field) and Collin Morikawa (+1400) in the strokes gained statistic for the entire 2019-20 season. Meanwhile, he fell off with the putter, but still showed flashes where he could make huge gains in that category. In the 13 measured events he's played since play resumed in June, he has three events where he gained more than 3.4 strokes putting and four where he lost more than 3.4 strokes putting. But he's gained with his approaches in every single one except his first event back at Harbour Town. A lifetime ago he won the Sony Open in 2013, and he's primed to make another run at it this week.

Abraham Ancer (+3200) - Ancer has drawn some action and his number has shortened considerably throughout the week, but at 32/1 he still looks like a good bet compared to those around him. Still looking for his first win on Tour, Ancer leveled up after taking on the challenge of playing Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup in late 2019 and could very well have found the podium had he had a full season to work with last year. He was lapping the field in strokes gained: tee to green coming out of the restart before falling behind the class of players that are, admittedly, out of his league. Many of those studs are missing in action this week, making Ancer one of the most solid players in the field.

Long Shots

Brandt Snedeker (+7500) - Sneds (perhaps rightly) has fallen out of favor with the books, and the former FedEx Cup Champion can now be had at a long-shot price even with his penchant for smoking hot rounds and supernova putting performances. We'll take the bait at 75/1 and bet that he has that spark left in his bag on slow-ish greens that will favor the stronger short game players. He was 12th here last year, 16th in 2019, and runner up in 2016.

Brendan Steele (+15000) - We know Steele has a "type" -- he's won three times as a PGA Tour pro, and two of them came at the same event, the Safeway Open. His other win came at the Valero Texas Open, where he's also finished 4th, 8th, and 13th over the years and which is one of our correlated courses to Waialae. He has also repeated top-10 performances at The Waste Management Phoenix Open, the American Express, and the Travelers Championship. If we extend it to top-15 finishes, we pick up a few more with those courses and extend to the Honda Classic, the CIMB Classic, the Wells Fargo Championship, and the Genesis Open. Basically when Steele plays well somewhere, he tends to play well there again in the future. His runner up finish at the Sony last year signals that he can once again contend here, and we'll hedge our bets with a Top 10 Finish (+1100).