Betting Analysis

Hero World Challenge picks 2023: We're taking a shot on Will Zalatoris

November 29, 2023
Golf: The Masters: Will Zalatoris in action, looks on during a practice round prior to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National. 
Augusta, GA 4/4/2023 
CREDIT: Erick W. Rasco (Photo by Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) 
(Set Number: X164335 TK1)

Just when you thought the 2023 season had officially been put to bed, Tiger Woods decided to make his latest comeback at his own event, the Hero World Challenge. It may be a hit-and-giggle in the Bahamas, but when Tiger is involved, it's must-see TV.

More from Golf Digest

As nice as it would be to see Woods play well at Albany, our experts are eyeing another guy making a comeback from injury. Let's hit one last winner before the new year, shall we?

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2023 Hero World Challenge.

Hero World Challenge picks 2023: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Cameron Young (18-1, BetMGM) — This is a business trip for Cam. It might not be an official PGA Tour win, but it’d be a huge step toward a successful 2024. I like that he’s played a few times this fall, and he’s got confidence here after a third-place finish last year.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Collin Morikawa (+800, DraftKings) — The recent back issues are certainly concerning but the approach numbers are too good to ignore and he was cruising at this place two years ago before a shocking Sunday blowup.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Rickie Fowler (22-1, FanDuel) — Fowler has played the Hero pretty well in the past and won it in 2018. He enters with good overall form, particularly with the irons and putter.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Justin Thomas (16-1, BetRivers) — It’s tough to imagine anyone in this field has been grinding quite as hard as Justin Thomas on their golf swing over the past few months. He played great in Napa and the Nedbank, and it seems like he’s back playing confidently. I love that he arrives at Albany, where he has three straight top-five finishes in a row.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Cameron Young (18-1, BetMGM) — This just feels like a very natural springboard spot for Cam, much like it’s been for guys like Hovland and Rahm in the past.

Andy Lack, and Inside Golf podcast: Justin Thomas (16-1, BetRivers) — It’s hard to argue that a Hero World Challenge title is necessary in any great golfer’s resume, but I have to imagine that this week carries a little extra meaning for Justin Thomas given his close relationship with tournament host, Tiger Woods. After a rather disappointing season, the two-time major winner has been playing much better golf in the last few months, with back-to-back top-five finishes at the Fortinet Championship and Nedbank Golf Challenge. He’s also recorded three top-five finishes in a row at Albany and possesses one of the highest true strokes-gained numbers at this track of any player in the field.

Past results: The Fall Swing is coming to a close and it was a successful one for our panel. After finishing the FedEx Cup Playoffs strong, Stephen Hennessey picked up where we left off with a winner at the Fortinet Championship (Sahith Theegala, 16-1). We’d gone cold up until Christopher Powers correctly predicting Camilo Villegas’ win in Bermuda at 150-1 (!!). Our Anonymous Caddie followed that up by nailing Ludvig Aberg’s W at the RSM Classic at 14-1.

Hero World Challenge picks 2023: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Justin Rose (40-1, DraftKings) — This is a home away from home for Justin Rose. It’d be a great way to punctuate a great season for the Englishman to beat his peers at a course he’s so familiar with.

Mayo: Will Zalatoris (40-1, DraftKings) — It’s worth a shot in a field this small. Plus, he should be coming in fresh as a daisy and hungry to get back to where he was pre-injury.

Gdula: Will Zalatoris (40-1, FanDuel) — Reports are promising for Zalatoris’ recovery from back surgery, and while there’s risk here, he’s very much in play for a dart this week in such a small field.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Will Zalatoris (40-1, FanDuel) — The competitive rust will be real, but this is the perfect, relaxing tune-up for 2024. It’d be a great course normally for Willy Z. He could absolutely get hot over the first few rounds, then you’ll hope that competitive rust doesn’t fully show itself.

Powers, Golf Digest: Jason Day (35-1, DraftKings) — This is the first time Jason Day has been back at the Hero World Challenge since 2018, which has to make him feel like he belongs again. He didn’t have the best finish to the year, but he’s had plenty of time off to rest up and come out firing in the Bahamas.

Lack: Justin Rose (40-1, FanDuel) — Justin Rose has one of the sneakier better track records at Albany, with three top-five finishes in his last four appearances. Rose is also a Bahamas resident who always seems to embrace the laidback atmosphere of this event. There are far worse options on the board at this price point.

Hero World Challenge picks 2023: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Jordan Spieth (22-1, DraftKings) — This is just not a Jordan Spieth golf course.

Mayo: Matt Fitzpatrick (18-1, DraftKings) Fitz has actually played quite nicely on the DP World Tour over the last few months, but I’m passing here.

Gdula: Collin Morikawa (+800, FanDuel) — If betting one of the top four favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, I’m going with Hovland (+400), Scheffler (+450) or Homa (+800). Morikawa is dealing with a back injury that hasn’t allowed him a lot of recent practice.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1, BetRivers) — Poor history here, and I could make a case for a bunch of players above him on the odds board.

Powers, Golf Digest: Collin Morikawa (+800, DraftKings) — Can’t be betting single-digit odds on a guy with legitimate back issues at the moment.

Lack: Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1, BetRivers) — Albeit a limited sample size, Albany has just not seemed to click for Matt Fitzpatrick. He has failed to finish in the top 10 in the 20-man tournament in each of his two previous appearances at this event. While the former U.S. Open champion has played some better golf in the past few months, this is far too steep of a price to pay on a player with such middling course history.

Hero World Challenge picks 2023: Matchups

Caddie: Cameron Young (-120) over Jordan Spieth (DraftKings) — My pick to win over my fade is always a good pick. Cam Young has been grinding, whereas Spieth will be in vacation mode.

Mayo: Wyndham Clark (+100) over Tony Finau (DraftKings) — Perhaps the long layoff since the Tour Championship will end up doing Finau some good, but he was not playing well before that. Give me the U.S. Open champ at plus money here.

Gdula: Matt Fitzpatrick (-105) over Justin Thomas (FanDuel) — Fitzpatrick has been pretty busy on the DP World Tour since the Tour Championship, finishing T-3, T-18, first, and T-27 in four starts. That plus a long-term edge in putting over Thomas is appealing.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Justin Thomas (-110) over Matt Fitzpatrick (DraftKings) — This is my bet to win over the player I’m fading. A great course history play.

Powers, Golf Digest: Scottie Scheffler (+100) over Viktor Hovland (DraftKings) — No. 1 player in the world at even money. Not much to think about here. Even if he is going up against a future World No. 1 who is looking to three-peat.

Lack: Justin Rose (+105) over Brian Harman — This is an easy one, as I’m getting plus money on my favorite long shot of the week against a player who has never even seen this golf course before. Harman is one of four players in this field to be making his Hero debut, and the distance biased course does not set up particularly well for the recent Open Championship winner.

Matchup Results from the RSM Classic: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Poston (+100) over Cam. Young); Powers: 1 for 1 (Noren (+115) over Conners); Lack: 1 for 1 (Poston (+100) over Cam. Young); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Griffin (-110) over Lindheim); Gdula: 0 for 1 (Spaun (-115) over Pendrith); Mayo: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 29-19-2 (up 7.87 units); Powers: 27-19-3 (up 6.75 units); Lack: 23-15-2 (up 5.2 units); Caddie: 26-20-4 (up 3.87 units); Mayo: 21-23-2 (down 3.04 units); Gdula: 21-28-2 (down 8.76 units)

Hero World Challenge picks 2023: Top 10s

Caddie: Rickie Fowler (-115, DraftKings) — This is a style of golf Rickie thrives in. His game is consistent these days, so almost even odds to beat half the field feels like a great bet.

Mayo: Will Zalatoris (+150, DraftKings) — Like his chances to contend and win so that should be enough to finish in the top half of this field.

Gdula: Keegan Bradley (+110, FanDuel) — Bradley has played Albany just once in the past but has the irons dialed in lately while also adding some distance off the tee. Plus-money odds for a top 10 here are very appealing.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Max Homa (top-five bet: +125, DraftKings) — Homa has been playing some of the best golf out of anyone in the fall, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue to translate in the Bahamas.

Powers, Golf Digest: Tiger Woods (+260, DraftKings) — Why the hell not?

Lack: Tony Finau (top-five finish, +300, DraftKings) — Tony Finau’s stock is at a bit of a low point right now, and we haven’t really seen the six-time PGA Tour winner pop since his win in Mexico all the way back in May. Albany is a great course fit for the 34-year-old, however, and he has recorded three top-seven finishes in four appearances here. I’m always intrigued by a nice buy-low opportunity.

Top-10 results from the RSM Classic: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Eric Cole +300); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Gdula: 11 for 50 (up 1.4 units); Hennessey: 9 for 50 (down 1 unit); Lack: 9 for 40 (down 2.1 units); Powers: 6 for 50 (down 8.4 units); Caddie: 11 for 50 (down 6.23 units); Mayo: 8 for 46 (down 10.9 units)

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for numberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports