The best betting props for the 2021 Honda Classic
Danger, danger everywhere. They should have huge warning signs on the way into the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach. Sand traps everywhere, water in play on 13 of the 18 holes, a historically brutal test which ends with The Bear Trap – a three-hole stretch covering the 15th, 16th and 17th holes which can make or break your tournament.
The PGA National hosts the final event on the PGA’s Florida swing, the Honda Classic. The tournament has been played at this course 14 times, so we have loads of trends to dig into.
A longer hitter is better than an accurate hitter firstly. Seven of the last nine winners ranked inside the top 12 for driving distance, while only two of the 14 winners here were in the top 16 for driving accuracy.
Eight of the 14 winners have been inside the top 10 for greens in regulation, and in eight of the last 10 years the top scrambler of the week has always been in the top five.
So, we need someone who can hit it long, finds his greens in regulation, and can be an awesome scrambler when it’s needed. Watch out for anyone who has form in windy conditions as well as the wind can certainly pick up here and make life difficult, even for the world’s best.
2021 Honda Classic Odds
Top GB and Ireland Player: Shane Lowry (+300)
Lowry only lives a 10-minute drive from the course, and I feel some home comforts in Florida combined with a purple patch of form and a weak Honda Classic field could be the perfect cocktail for the Irishman.
Three Open Champions have won here, and Lowry could be the fourth – with him emphasizing how much he relishes a challenging, wind-affected course. This is exactly what he could get this week, and it comes off the back of an excellent top 10 finish in The Players Championship, which was a far stronger event than this one.
Lowry was 21st in this tournament last year, and this time around comes into it off the back of an awesome ball-striking performance in which he ranked 11th for greens in regulation and fourth for scrambling.
To Miss the Cut: Lee Westwood (+175)
This is related to the prop bet above, but another reason I fancy Shane Lowry to top that prop is because I believe there is value in backing Lee Westwood to miss the cut. Two gruelling tournaments have seen Westy come ever so close as he was the runner-up in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a shot behind Bryson DeChambeau, and then runner-up to Justin Thomas last weekend in The Players, again just a shot behind.
He has four top 10 finishes in seven tournaments here, but the mental toll the last fortnight will have taken on him must be immense. The 47-year-old admitted he was feeling leggy over the weekend and this tough, windy test might not suit a man coming off the back of 144 gruelling, high-pressure holes of golf.
Top 20 Finish: Dylan Frittelli (+240)
After a fantastic top 5 finish at The Masters in November, Frittelli's form read like this: MC-53-MC-MC-MC. So, going into the Players Championship you would have correctly written him off. Yet the South African carded two rounds of 68 on his way to finishing 22nd.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll see he ranked first for shots gained around the green – something that will be key here.
What happened? Simple – Frittelli arranged for his coach and physio to come out to Florida. They have him striking the ball off the tee better, consistently finding fairways and greens, and Frittelli praised them last week for helping him banish some of the dark thoughts he had in the mental side of his game – in his words, "laying down some positive neurons." Maybe that could be the key to the prop.
Matchbet: Talor Gooch to beat Brendan Steele (-120)
I’m high on the Gooch this weekend as he is right on the verge of cracking the world’s top 50 – a huge incentive as this would guarantee him an invitation to play in The Masters. With that Augusta dream dangling like a carrot in front of him, I’m hoping Gooch can step it up a notch here in Florida.
He ranks ninth on Tour for scrambling this season, which is ticking one of the key stats, and he played some brilliant golf to finish fifth last week with a closing round of 67. Gooch has a top 20 finish here in 2019, and was quoted as saying he liked playing in the conditions as he was used to the wind being from Oklahoma.
Steele ranks 74th on Tour for scrambling, and 59th for greens in regulation this year, while only one of his last 15 rounds of golf has been under 71. The Gooch can floor Steele.