Honda Classic 2023: Predictions, Best Bets, Sleepers

BetMGM's Ryan Hannable offers predictions, best bets, and sleeper picks for the Honda Classic

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Following two tremendous weeks on the PGA Tour, this week doesn’t have as many stars but should be another entertaining week on a great golf course. 

Sandwiched between four designated events, most star players are taking this week off, thus leaving the Honda Classic with a relatively weak field. 

There are three players in the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings – No. 18 Sungjae Im, No. 19 Billy Horschel, and No. 20 Shane Lowry – and eight in the top 50.

The players who are playing will face a difficult test at PGA National. Over the last 10 years, no winning score has been better than 12-under, and the winning score has been in the single digits in seven of those years.

PGA National is known for its water hazards that come into play on 15 of the 18 holes. 

It’s most famous for “The Bear Trap.” This three-hole stretch (Nos. 15-17) consists of two par-3s and a par-4 with plenty of water in play that makes for exciting ends to rounds. No lead is safe on Sunday, with big scores possible on any of these holes.

Given the number of water hazards and big scores possible, this allows for more long shots to have a chance to win.

Michael Thompson (2013), Russell Henley (2014), Padraig Harrington (2015), and Keith Mitchell (2019) have all won in recent years with odds of +30000 or worse entering the week.

Im enters the tournament with the best odds to win at +850.

Below are some players to target when golf betting, followed by my betting card for the week.

Honda Classic Predictions

Sungjae Im is predicted to win the Honda Classic with a 10.53% implied probability, according to betting markets.

Shane Lowry has the next best odds to win with a 9.52% implied probability. He’s followed by Scottie Scheffler at 5.88% and Aaron Wise at 4.35%.

This was done by converting odds to win into implied probability using Gaming Today’s calculator.

*Odds as of Feb. 21.

Honda Classic Best Bets

Sungjae Im +850 Odds to Win

While picking the betting favorite with such short odds may be hard, look at what Jon Rahm has done recently. Not only is Im the highest-ranked player in the field, but he also won the tournament in 2020.

Im has two top-six finishes in his last three starts overall.

Shane Lowry +1600 Odds to Win

Lowry finished second in the tournament last year and made the cut in all five of his appearances. The Ireland native is used to playing in windy conditions, which could come into play this week.

The 35-year-old finished T-14 at the Genesis Invitational last week.

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Honda Classic Sleepers

Lee Hodges +5000 Odds to Win

Hodges checks off a lot of the boxes regarding what is needed to play well at PGA National. The Honda Classic has been where younger players break out, which could very well be the case with Hodges this week.

After five missed cuts in a row, the 27-year-old finished T-18 last week.

Nick Hardy +5500 Odds to Win

Hardy missed the cut in his only appearance at the event last year, but like Hodges, he ranks high in the metrics needed to play well at PGA National. 

He’s made the cut in three of his last four events, but none of those finishes were better than T-41.

Ben Griffin +5500 Odds to Win

Did you know Griffin is the 101st-best player in the world right now? He was outside the top 1,000 at this point last year. He is playing some great golf this season, including only missing two cuts in 11 events.

Griffin’s ball striking is exceptional, which makes him a great play this week in his tournament debut.

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Honda Classic Betting Card & Other Predictions

·         Jhonattan Vegas Outright Win +3300

·         Cameron Davis Outright Win +5000

·         Nick Hardy Outright Win +5000

·         Lee Hodges Outright Win +5000

·         Ben Griffin Outright Win +5500

·         Austin Eckroat Outright Win +15000

·         Taylor Pendrith Top-10 Finish +320

·         Charley Hoffman Top-20 Finish +350

·         Satoshi Kodaira Top-20 Finish +550

This was the hardest card to put together this season. It makes sense to target long shots, but finding them is the hard part. 

As is the case in most weeks, I relied heavily on my Fantasy National model. Virtually all the players I selected ranked high. Usually, I like to rely on course history, but that wasn’t really possible this week.

Below is the top 10 of my model: 

1.      Shane Lowry

2.      Sungjae Im

3.      Lee Hodges

4.      Ben Griffin

5.      Nick Hardy

6.      Taylor Pendrith

7.      Charley Hoffman

8.      Jhonattan Vegas

9.      Cameron Davis

10. Satoshi Kodaira

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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.”