Honda Classic 2022 picks: Can our experts pick a third straight winner?
Picking winners in golf ain’t easy, even if we’ve made it look that way in the last two weeks, with Golf Digest’s own Christopher Powers hitting Scottie Scheffler (29-1) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and then backing it up with Joaquin Niemann (60-1) at the Genesis Invitational. Congrats to all who tailed.
Can we bowl a gambling turkey? It would be no small feat, as the Honda Classic features a much weaker field than last week’s Genesis field and thus, makes it quite literally anybody’s tournament. Yes, there are still a few big dogs in the mix, like solo favorite Sungjae Im, who won the Honda in 2020, as well as Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Louis Oosthuizen. But, as the Honda has shown us over the last decade, longshots like Keith Mitchell, Matt Jones and Michael Thompson can emerge. Don't be surprised if a 200-1 shot is raising the trophy on Sunday.
Our panel—which consists of an anonymous caddie; Pat Mayo of DraftKings and Mayo Media Network; Brandon Gdula of numberFire and FanDuel; Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com; Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports and these two authors—is motivated to keep our hot streak going.
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Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 Honda Classic.
Honda Classic picks 2022: Our experts' outright predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Daniel Berger (16-1, FanDuel) — He’s a local guy whose low ball flight will play nicely in the South Florida winds. He’s been consistent for awhile, so now is as good a time as any to get back in the winner’s circle.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Louis Oosthuizen (20-1, FanDuel) — I’ve seen everyone lose enough money on Louis over the years I figured I’d give it a shot this week. Like always, Louis rates out excellently across the board in every key metric, so after a string of winners who’ve struggled getting across the finish line, why not Louis, finally?
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Louis Oosthuizen (20-1, FanDuel) — Oosthuizen returned at the WMPO with a T-14, so he should be back to form. If that’s the case, then he’s undervalued at 20-1 this week. He’s the best golfer in the field over the past year by a tick over Daniel Berger, who are in their own tier above the rest.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Billy Horschel (22-1, PointsBet) — Horschel has been way better than anyone wants to give him credit for. In his last 22 starts worldwide, he has two wins, 10 top 25s and has only missed one cut during that stretch. He’s improved in each of his last three starts – T-36 at the Sony Open, T-11 at the Farmers Insurance Open and T-6 at the WMPO. It’s time to add another victory to his resume.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Brooks Koepka (26-1, Bet365) — This is simply too good of a number to pass up on Koepka in this field. I hope you have it available to you. The modeling doesn’t point to Koepka, but he finished one stroke out of the playoff in Scottsdale and returns home to Florida. In this field, at this number, it’s an auto-bet.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Brooks Koepka (26-1, Bet365) — Can we make it three in a row? Easiest path there is betting on the best player in this field at this discount price. Koepka’s just two weeks removed from a T-3 at the WMPO and a couple years removed from a runner-up here at the Honda. Big pride week. Big sleep in your own bed week. It’s Brooks or bust at the top of this board.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Sungjae Im (10-1, DraftKings) — Im comes into this event ranked second in the field for SG/total over the last two years and sixth for SG/total over the last two months. Im loves it around PGA National, with an eighth-place finish and a victory supporting his seventh-place ranking in FanShare Sports’ course-suitability ranking.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. We’re already off to a hot start in the new season, too, with Christopher Powers nailing Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at 29-1 and then backing it up with Joaquin Niemann at 60-1 to win at Riviera. A few weeks earlier, Pat Mayo correctly predicted Luke List’s victory at Torrey Pines at 70-1. Rick Gehman also hit Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall, as well as Viktor Hovland (19-1) at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Brandon Gdula also hit on Hovland at Mayakoba, and Stephen Hennessey cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "Be Right," (below) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "Be Right" wherever you get your podcasts!
Honda Classic picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark horses who could win
Caddie: Mito Pereira (50-1, BetMGM) — Inspired by his fellow countryman’s win (Joaquin Niemann) at the Genesis Invitational and his own 15th-place finish, Mito is good play to get his first win. A player who can hit head-high drivers when called upon to battle the potential windy conditions at PGA National.
Mayo: Michael Thompson (80-1, DraftKings) — Like with any pick this week, you need to embrace variance on the year’s most volatile course. That’s Thompson. A former winner at PGA National, and the water-logged TPC Twin Cities, Thompson’s season results are all over the place. He’s posted three missed cuts coupled with a T-5 and T-11. He does his best putting work on Bermudagrass, and it’s about time he flipped his results on the greens after some early season struggles.
Gdula: Mackenzie Hughes (50-1, FanDuel) — Hughes is a better golfer than the perception probably is on him, but he just doesn’t play a lot of courses that suit his short-game-centric game. PGA National is a course where we can downplay driving, and he’s undervalued as a result.
Gehman: Nicolai Hojgaard (80-1, DraftKings) — The 20-year old Dane has been flashing brilliance on the DP World Tour. He won a few weeks ago at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, which was his second win over a seven-event stretch. He also finished T-2 at the Portugal Masters and held his own with a pair of top 20s at both the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and BMW PGA Championship. He is supremely talented and will now be making his first start in a regular PGA Tour event.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mito Pereira (50-1, BetMGM) — Call me square, I don’t care. Mito is one of the best ball-strikers in this field, and his putter is starting to come around. He doesn’t need the extra motivation of watching his buddy Joaquin Niemann win … I just think he’s one of the best players in the field, and we’re catching a great number.
Powers, Golf Digest: Danny Willett (200-1, DraftKings) — Oh, we’re taking it deep this week. Just feels like a gross misprice on Willett, a former Masters winner who often does his best work on tough courses. PGA National is not one of them, as Willett has made just one start here and missed the cut, but he’s worth this dart throw after showing a wee bit of life earlier this month at the Ras al Khaimah Championship, where he tied for 35th.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Matt Jones (50-1, PointsBet) — Last year’s wire-to-wire Honda Classic winner comes into this event off the back of ranking second for SG/Tee-to-green at the Genesis Invitational. He therefore has both the course form and current form.
Honda Classic 2022 picks: Players we're fading
Caddie: Lee Westwood (50-1, DraftKings) — Westy had a remarkable Florida run last year, but don’t see him sipping from the fountain of youth again. All this Saudi speculation has to be a factor and will take away from his play.
Mayo: Sungjae Im (10-1, DraftKings) — I get it’s a weak field, and that Sungjae does have the best probability to win, but this course has just too many landmines to wager on any player to win once every 10 times to return value. Once in 20? Sold. But we’re only getting half that on the market.
Gdula: Tommy Fleetwood (20-1, FanDuel) — Fleetwood has good results at PGA National in limited starts thus far but has some overseas finishes that I think are overrating his win odds. Oosthuizen, Koepka, and Horschel are preferred bets at the same number for me, so I won’t be getting to Tommy this week.
Gehman: Matthew Wolff (34-1, FanDuel) — What version of Wolff will we get this week? The version that finished T-6 at the Saudi International or the version that missed the cut at the American Express? With water in play on 15 holes this week and big numbers lurking everywhere, it’s hard to feel confident about one of the most volatile golfers on tour.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Matthew Wolff (34-1, FanDuel) — At his best, this could be a good course for Wolff, who played in the final group of the past two U.S. Opens. But right now, there’s too much trouble lurking for Wolff—and he’s had a penchant for big numbers lately.
Powers, Golf Digest: Daniel Berger (16-1, FanDuel) — Sub-20-1 odds and we still have no real clue how his back is doing? Hard pass.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Matthew Wolff (34-1, FanDuel) — Wolff’s form coming into this event is poor. He ranks 113th for SG/Tee-to-green over the last two months. His one and only visit here to PGA National was a very uninspiring 58th-place finish.
Honda Classic picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Aaron Wise (+100) over Brian Harman (DraftKings) — Wise has been a new player since switching to the long putter at the end of last year. Harman, for whatever reason, hasn’t produced good results at the Honda.
Mayo: Aaron Wise (+100) over Brian Harman (DraftKings) — Last week at Genesis, Wise finally flashed the ball striking we saw in the second half of last year when he started making himself a mainstay at the top of leaderboards. He’s historically played well on coastal and windy tracks, and, before last week, had really improved his short game which was always his Achilles heel. Harman is likely safer, and probably has a better chance to make the cut, but Wise is the one who will have the higher finishes the majority of times, which is all that matters when you’re getting even money.
Gdula: Alex Noren (-112) over Cameron Young (FanDuel) — Young’s strong showing at Riviera now has to be followed up with a cross-country trip and a switch to Bermuda greens at a course that won’t reward distance as much as Riv. Noren is better suited for PGA National and is the better player even accounting for recency.
Gehman: Keith Mitchell (+100) over Brooks Koepka (DraftKings) — PGA National will require proficiency off the tee, which is the best part of Mitchell’s game. He’s gained strokes off the tee in every event dating back to the John Deere Classic. That’s 14 straight events per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He’s earned four top-12 finishes in his last five starts and won this event in 2019.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Alex Noren (-112) over Cameron Young (FanDuel) — This is a good course fit for Noren, who had a third-place finish here in 2018. He is positive or neutral in every important stat this week over a long and medium sample size. Young, of course, is coming off a great performance at Riviera, but his biggest attribute—distance—is mitigated to some degree at PGA National, where you can’t hit driver on every hole. I’ll take Noren, who gained almost four strokes on approach last week, in this one.
Powers, Golf Digest: Rickie Fowler (+100) over Patrick Reed (DraftKings) — Patrick Reed should be favored over zero golfers right now. In a battle of who is playing worse, Fowler seems to be playing a little less worse and he has excellent SG/Good Vibes in this event.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Keith Mitchell (-120) over Matthew Wolff (Bet365) — Wolff comes into this event in very poor form. Mitchell on the other hand comes into this event ranked second for SG/Tee-to-green over the last two months and won this event back in 2019.
Matchup Results from the Genesis Invitational: Gehman: 1 for 1 (McIlroy (+105) over Matsuyama); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Zalatoris (-120) over Koepka; Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Powers: VOID (Fitzpatrick W/D)
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 12-3-2 (up 8.26 units); Powers: 11-4-2 (up 6.75 units); Caddie: 9-7-1 (up 1.62 units); Hennessey: 7-9-1 (down 4.71 units); Alldrick: 6-10-1 (down 4.99 units); Gdula: 6-11-0 (down 5.37 units); Gehman: 4-10-3 (down 6.44 units)
Honda Classic picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Brandon Hagy (+1800, DraftKings) — His length is prodigious. He came in second place here last year. Hasn’t had any good finishes lately, but that was also the case last year.
Mayo: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+400, DraftKings) — I think I’ve bet the South African in every event he’s played this year. Why change now? He’s yet to produce the ceiling putting results we know are lurking. Be this week, next week or the Valspar, I’m playing the long game on a player with four international wins since 2018.
Gdula: Patrick Reed (+800, FanDuel) — This number is too long on Reed. While the recent form hasn’t been stellar by any means, Reed’s short game is still good enough to top 10 in a field like this.
Gehman: Louis Oosthuizen (+190, DraftKings) — After a long layoff, Oosthuizen finished T-14 at the WMPO and looked like classic Oosthuizen. He gained strokes in all four major categories and flashed the putting stroke that made him one of the best putters on tour last season.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+400, DraftKings) — Bez has been consistent in his U.S. starts so far this year. If he can keep it in play off the tee, this is the perfect course for his skill-set.
Powers, Golf Digest: Chris Kirk (+550, DraftKings) — Kirk very quietly tied for 14th at the WMPO after starting bogey-triple bogey on Thursday morning. From there he played the final 70 holes in 14 under, finishing the week in the green in every major strokes-gained category. His +5.6 SG/tee-to-green performance was his best since the Rocket Mortgage, where he finished 12th. Now, he’s back in Florida, a state he’s played very well in, historically.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Ryan Palmer (+450, DraftKings) — Palmer has five top-26 finishes here at PGA National. This includes a fourth and a second so it’s not surprising that he ranks 26th in the FanShareSports CSR. He comes into this event ranked fourth for Opportunities Gained over the last two months and third for SG/Tee-to-green.
Top-10 results from the Genesis Invitational: Powers: 1 for 1 (Adam Scott +350); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Adam Scott +350); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Powers: 6 for 17 (up 20.25 units); Alldrick: 4 for 17 (up 12.5 units); Gehman: 4 for 17 (up 3.7 units); Mayo: 2 for 17 (down 0.55 units); Hennessey: 4 for 17 (down 1.53 units); Caddie: 4 for 17 (down 6.15 units); Gdula: 1 for 17 (down 13.6 units)
Honda Classic picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Billy Horschel — It’s somewhat rare to find a golfer who is one of the favorites to win an event that you have no plans to use at any other event on the schedule. That’s where we are with Horschel this week. He’s checking in between 18-1 and 22-1 on odds boards, among of the five shortest odds in the field. Outside of maybe the Zurich Classic, there’s no use in saving him. You get to run out one of the favorites without much regret.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Xander Schauffele.
Hennessey: Russell Knox — Yes, this play is not for the weak-hearted. But the guy is No. 1 in Good Drives Gained and Greens in Regulation gained over the past 36 rounds, per Fantasy National. That’s the recipe to success at PGA National, where he’s played well in the past. It feels like he’s entering in nice form, and you’re getting someone with a low floor and a high ceiling.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Will Zalatoris.
Powers: Billy Horschel — No denying how hot Horschel has been of late, coming off an 11th-place finish at the Farmers and backing it up with a sixth at WMPO. It will be very difficult to keep up his putting tear (Horschel has gained over five strokes putting in each of his last two starts), but on Bermuda, his best surface, he just might.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson. Genesis Invitational: Adam Scott.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was nominated as the 2021 Golf Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, having won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year) and is a finalist again for the Podcast of the Year for 2021. His 23 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.