Hero World Challenge picks 2022: Our best bets at Albany
Kevin C. Cox
Despite the withdrawal of tournament host Tiger Woods on Monday, the show will go on at Albany in The Bahamas, site of the Hero World Challenge. And despite this being an unofficial event, you can officially bet on it. As Bill Belichick once famously screamed at one of his seven Super Bowl parades, NO DAYS OFF.
Of course, with only 20 players in the field, the betting menu is limited, so we won't do our usual longform treatment. Instead, each of our experts picked one or two plays they loved for this glorified hit-and-giggle. Read on to see where our money is going.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Justin Thomas outright winner (12-1, DraftKings) — These are regular Justin Thomas odds in full-field events, and now he only needs to top 19 others. Sure, he’s been on an extended layoff, but JT has consecutive top-fives at this event and a number of non-mainland victories in his career.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Tom Kim outright winner (18-1, FanDuel) — Albany can reward accurate drivers, which Kim is, and with the small greens, iron play is at a premium. That’s the perfect combination for Kim to convert in a small-but-tough field.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Tom Kim, Top-5 finish (+225, DraftKings) — Statistically, Kim is one of the best players in the field. It’s just a matter of whether you believe his sample size which is much smaller than most of his peers. He rattled off two wins in his last six starts and proved to be an elite approach player who can get hot with the putter. That’s a dangerous combination in nearly every format.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Collin Morikawa outright winner (18-1, BetMGM) — Just preposterous odds for one of the best players in the world in a 20-man field. You might remember Morikawa blew a big lead last year here at Albany. Now he comes back to the Hero for a shot at redemption -- and with some motivation, being that he’s winless in 2022. Plus, he just got married ... the vibes should be immaculate for Morikawa this week.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Cameron Young outright winner (20-1, BetMGM) — The profile of past winners here at Albany seems to be smash driver and cook with the irons, which sounds right up Young's alley. And while this is an exhibition, it's still a strong field and a big deal to get into this event, and we know how well Young has handled himself in big-time events over this past year.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Sungjae Im outright winner (16-1, DraftKings) — Im comes into this event ranked fifth in the field for SG/total over the last two years and seventh for SG/total over the last two months. His excellent putting on Bermuda greens makes a big contribution to his FanShareSports Course Suitability ranking of third this week.
Gdula: Max Homa, Top-5 finish (+280, FanDuel) — I think Homa is a great win bet, too, but it’ll be tough to convert a win against a field like this for anyone. Homa’s long-term game has him undervalued here in all markets (outright, top-five, and top-10), so I want some exposure to him this week.
Gehman: Matchup: Shane Lowry (-110) over Jordan Spieth (DraftKings) — Lowry cashed in a victory at the BMW PGA Championship in September, which put a cap on an excellent calendar year for the Irishman. In 2022, he has been the second best approach player in the field (Scheffler), third-best from tee-to-green and sixth best overall. He’s gained strokes in all four major categories giving him a solid baseline every time he tees it up.
Hennessey: Matchup: Tony Finau (-125) over Justin Thomas (Bet365) — Finau is gaining 2.47 strokes per round over a 50-round sample -- an elite clip and the best in the field, per RickRunGood.com. JT, meanwhile, is losing a bunch of strokes putting over that same sample. I’ll bank on Finau keeping this elite run up.
Alldrick: Cameron Young, Top-5 finish (+280, DraftKings) — Young’s supreme off-the-tee game helps a long way to him ranking first in the FanShareSports CSR this week. He also comes into this event ranked third for Opportunities Gained over the last two months so he's creating a lot of chances for birdie right now. Albany could be just the place he needs to convert them.
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