Bettors Like Justin Thomas, Tony Finau at Hero World Challenge

Betting data via BetMGM

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While the PGA Tour won’t have a full-field event until January, that doesn’t mean golf betting has to wait until then.

The Hero World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, will take place Dec. 1-3 and features a loaded field.

Sixteen of the top 21 players in the Official World Golf Rankings make up the 20-player field. Woods was originally scheduled to play but withdrew earlier in the week due to plantar fasciitis in his foot.

When it comes to betting on the winner, bettors seem to be looking at past history at this event. 

As of Tuesday at the BetMGM online sportsbook, Justin Thomas (+1200) and Tony Finau (+900) are two of the most popular players.

Finau has the biggest handle (14.6%) on the second-most tickets (10.2%), while Thomas has the second-biggest handle (11%) on the most tickets (12%).

Thomas finished T5 at the event a year ago, highlighted by a final-round 64, and also finished T5 in 2019 (the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19) to be a combined 27-under at Albany in his last two starts. He has played once since being part of the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup team, finishing T40 at THE CJ CUP in South Carolina in October.

Finau was the runner up in 2018 despite giving up a seven-shot advantage after the opening round, and also finished in the top 10 in the last two iterations of the event. He’s won three PGA TOUR events in his last seven starts, including his most recent effort at the Cadence Bank Houston Open.

Albany Golf Club typically gives up tons of birdies, and these two players make plenty of them. Thomas finished third a year ago on TOUR in birdie average (4.58 per round), while Finau was 11th (4.22).

Current Handle & Tickets

Handle

  1. Tony Finau – 14.6%
  2. Justin Thomas – 11%
  3. Tom Kim – 9.8%
  4. Xander Schauffele – 9.6%
  5. Cameron Young – 8.6%

Tickets

  1. Justin Thomas – 12%
  2. Tony Finau – 10.2%
  3. Scottie Scheffler – 8.8%
  4. Jon Rahm – 7.7%
  5. Xander Schauffele – 7.2%

Jon Rahm is the betting favorite at +500, but he’s only pulling in 7.7% of the tickets and 6.7% of the handle. He didn’t play in 2021 but finished in second his last time at the event (2019).

Xander Schauffele (+1100) is another popular pick. He finished T-12 a year ago and T-10 in 2019.

Lastly, Tom Kim (+1800) and Cameron Young (+2000), who are making their tournament debuts, are also in the top 5 in terms of handle.

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Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”