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Betting Analysis

The Sentry 2024 picks: It's revenge week for Collin Morikawa

January 02, 2024
KAPALUA, HAWAII - JANUARY 02: Collin Morikawa of the United States looks on from the driving range prior to The Sentry at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 02, 2024 in Kapalua, Hawaii. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The waiting is over. As fun as bowl season and the final stretch of the NFL is to bet on, it's time to get back to what we do best—betting on golf.

As always, we begin the season at Kapalua's Plantation Course in Hawaii, arguably the most visually-stunning golf course on the PGA Tour ... particularly for those of us watching in the pitch black late at night while it's 20 degrees outside.

Our panel is coming off a hot fall swing and looking to carry that momentum into a new year. Let's get after it.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 Sentry. 

The Sentry picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Ludvig Aberg (14-1, DraftKings) — Just like everybody else, I’m all in on this guy in 2024, especially after seeing him up close a bit this week.   

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Collin Morikawa (12-1, DraftKings) — Last year, Morikawa stole my money and I want it back. Morikawa sets up exactly the same this year: great wedges and 200-plus yard proximity and he’s a better putter on slower greens. And now, there’s no Rahm to ruin the party.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Patrick Cantlay (12-1, FanDuel) — Cantlay’s plenty long off-the-tee to play Kapalua well, and his putting has been just okay as of late, which likely means regression is coming based on his long-term baseline. He’s played the course enough and has two top-five finishes.

More from Golf Digest

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Collin Morikawa (12-1, FanDuel) — In his last four starts at Kapalua, Collin Morikawa has finished seventh, seventh, fifth and second. The reason he is a top-10 fixture on the Plantation Course is his iron game. This second-shot examination is perfectly suited to Morikawa’s mastery on approach. Eight wedge-attacking shots along with nine from long range give Collin an edge on the field. After last year’s final round misstep… you know he’ll be motivated.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Collin Morikawa (12-1, FanDuel) — I hammered this when odds dropped over the weekend at 17-1, and it seems like the community is right along with me. We’ve learned that Kapalua is really all about the second shot, which is why he’s had such great form in his four starts here. I also am playing into the narrative of him returning to Hawaii, which is a community that means a lot to him with his grandparents owning a business here. It’d be fitting that he avenges his devastating loss from last year, plus the embarrassment of the rules penalty at the Hero, with a victory at The Sentry.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Sungjae Im (35-1, DraftKings) — New year, same CP. As intrigued as I am by the Morikawa and Cantlay plays, I’m still a sucker for some serious value and that’s exactly what we’re getting here with SungBae, who finished strong to end the summer and then carried that momentum to the fall with a T-12 at the Zozo Championship. I have little doubt that Im snaps his now two-plus year win drought in 2024. Let’s hope it’s this week at a nice number.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, Caesars Sportsbook)   What better way to start the 2024 season than a victory from the de facto Il Capo of the PGA Tour. While Cantlay’s name has been in the news for more than just his play of late, the eight-time PGA Tour winner's fit at this golf course is my point of focus. Cantlay has two top-fives finishes in his last four appearances at Kapalua and he’s the No. 1 player in this field in easy scoring conditions. On a golf course with the highest greens in regulation percentage, I trust Cantlay’s wedge play and putting the most.

Past results: As successful as last season was for this panel, it’s time to turn the page to 2024, when we plan on cashing just as many, if not more, outright winners. We’re also pleased to welcome our newest expert picker, Keith Stewart of Read The Line, to the panel. Keith replaces the great Rick Gehman, who we’ll miss dearly. Good luck to all. Let’s have a year.

The Sentry picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Harris English (100-1, BetMGM) — Love the way he’s hitting it right now. Plus, as a former winner at Kapalua, the vibes should be immaculate.

Mayo: Tony Finau (30-1, DraftKings) — Those T-4s in December show an extended layoff means nothing for Finau, and golf outside the continental USA has always been his strength with two of career wins coming on the similarly slow greens in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Something which has translated reasonably well to Kapalua; Finau has posted two top 10s in four starts, including a T-7 last year.

Gdula: J.T. Poston (80-1, FanDuel) — Value moved quickly this week for a lot of names, but Poston’s number is still reasonable. He’s got a good enough putter to get hot, and his iron play improved greatly down the stretch in 2023.

Stewart: Cam Davis (80-1, BetRivers) — Australians have won six of the last 20 tournaments on the Plantation Course. Cam Davis is another fantastic wedge player from down under who has the power needed to attack Kapalua. Davis finished the fall with five top 10s in his last seven starts. In his past 10 tournaments, he’s gaining over five shots total on the field. A likely candidate to break out from the middle tier of talent on tour, Cam has caught my attention.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Sepp Straka (65-1, FanDuel) — Dave Tindall, one of the most respected voices in the space, tipped Straka in his column this week and makes some great points about winners and contenders at Kapalua really carrying the momentum from the previous year. You’re excused if you forgot that Straka finished T-2 at the Hero just a few months ago, and he’s still likely carrying some confidence from a strong Ryder Cup performance. This feels like the number that we would’ve gotten on Straka over the summer, so I think it’s worth a shot at a big price.

Powers, Golf Digest: Eric Cole (66-1, Bet365) —   I was never on the Cole train early and I certainly wasn’t on it late when his odds began to live in the 30- to 40-1 territory. Now, however, he’s back at a fair price and you could argue he’s the most in-form player in this tournament considering he never stops playing.

Lack: Eric Cole (66-1, Bet365) — With four top-five finishes in five appearances last fall swing, there may not be a player entering 2024 with more momentum than Eric Cole. While he has never played at Kapalua before, the Coore and Crenshaw design is the easiest driving course on tour, which is great news for Cole. Off-the-tee play is the 35-year-old’s major weakness, while he excels on approach and putting. Kapalua is the perfect track for him. Cole reminds me a lot of Harris English at this event a few years ago. He had done everything to prove that he belonged, with one of the highest top-10 rates on tour, but there was still skepticism about his ability to close in a strong field. I expect Cole to follow a similar trajectory this week.

The Sentry picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Tyrrell Hatton (25-1, DraftKings) — Never been a huge fan of his game and I expect there to be some rust after the long layoff.

Mayo: Viktor Hovland (9-1, DraftKings) — If Vik plays well this week it will be for the first time at Kapalua. Not entirely sure why this place gives him fits, but it clearly does. He’s good enough to overcome this of course, but it won’t be with my money on him.   

Gdula: Ludvig Aberg (14-1, FanDuel) — The hype is real for Aberg, who has everything you could possibly want in an up-and-comer. However, the RSM Classic win came with top-four putting performance and it has his odds too short for this field for now.

Stewart: Tony Finau (30-1, DraftKings) — Since winning in Mexico, Tony Finau has lost strokes with his putter in nine of 11 starts. The Plantation Course possesses the largest greens on the PGA Tour. The last five winners have gained an average of five strokes on the field with their putter en route to winning. Tony’s a true fan favorite, but until the flatstick finds the hole, he’ll be a fixture on my fade list.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Viktor Hovland (9-1, DraftKings) — Hovland will probably be a popular fade this week once people see his past performance at Kapalua, a T-31, T-30 and T-18 in these smaller fields. I think it’s an easy stayaway from an outright perspective.

Powers, Golf Digest: Ludvig Aberg (14-1, FanDuel)At 12-1 at other spots in this field, the man has officially arrived, which means he’s now impossible to bet.

Lack: Ludvig Aberg (14-1, FanDuel) — Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully in on the Ludvig hype train, but Kapalua is not the spot to deploy the young Swede. While no one can argue with the talent, Ludvig has never played this event before, and Kapalua is a track that de-values his best skill: elite off-the-tee play. There are far more sensible options at more palatable numbers than Aberg this week.

The Sentry picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Eric Cole (-120) over Cam Davis (DraftKings) — Cole is on a heater right now, and he’s better than anybody in this field in the wind, which will always be a factor at Kapalua. Honestly, he might be playing better than anybody in this field right now period.

Mayo: Tom Kim (+105) over Ludvig Aberg (DraftKings) — Kim, like Morikawa, excels from wedge range and approaches into par 5s. Aberg has the long approaches down, but hasn’t quite figured out the wedges as of yet. He will, but for this bet, hopefully not this week.

Gdula: Tyrrell Hatton (-110) over Tom Kim (FanDuel) — Kim’s putter has carried him to success in the fall, including a win at the Shriners, but Hatton is the better course fit based on his distance and iron play.

Stewart: Sungjae Im (-110) over Tony Finau (BetMGM) — Sungjae Im checks a bunch of boxes at The Sentry. Aggressive approach play, length, Bermudagrass putting, and around-the-green acumen. In his three starts on the Plantation Course, he has finished fifth, eighth, and 13th. Finau is an incredible ball striker, but his scrambling and putter failed him all summer and fall. Until he proves otherwise, he’s a target on H2H plays both pre-tournament and live.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Scottie Scheffler (-152) over Viktor Hovland (Bet365) — This is chalky, but Scheffler is the most likely player to lift the trophy this week, whereas Hovland is my fade this week. I’m hoping this price comes down a bit, as there’s a sharp Vegas group who has bet the opposite side of this matchup.

Powers, Golf Digest: Collin Morikawa (-110) over Max Homa (DraftKings) — These two should both be in contention late on Sunday. Should that happen, I like Morikawa to exorcise last year’s demons.

Lack: Tony Finau (-130) over Cameron Young (DraftKings) — I’m expecting a big year out of Tony Finau in 2024, and I was incredibly pleased with what I saw out of him last month at the Hero, where he finished fourth. The six-time PGA Tour winner remains one of the best overall approach players in this field, and he is coming off a seventh-place finish here last year. Cameron Young, on the other hand, is an elite driver of the ball, but lacks the requisite approach and putting skill to truly excel at Kapalua. Finau is the easy choice.

Matchup Results from the Hero World Challenge: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Thomas (-110) over Fitzpatrick); Powers: 1 for 1 (Scheffler (+100) over Hovland); Lack: PUSH (Rose (+105) over Harman); Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1

Final Matchup Results from last season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 30-19-2 (up 8.78 units); Powers: 28-19-3 (up 7.75 units); Lack: 23-15-3 (up 5.2 units); Caddie: 26-21-4 (up 2.87 units); Mayo: 21-24-2 (down 4.04 units); Gdula: 21-29-2 (down 9.76 units)

Kapalua: Plantation
Public
Kapalua: Plantation
Lahaina, HI

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:

 

Most golf fans are familiar with Kapalua Golf Club’s Plantation Course, home of the PGA Tour's opening event each year. Located on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Plantation was built from open, windswept pineapple fields on the pronounced slope of a volcano and is irrigated by sprinklers pressured solely by gravity.

 

As the first design collaboration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it unveiled their joint admiration for old-style courses. The blind drive on the fourth, the cut-the-corner drives on the fifth and sixth are all based on tee shots found at National Golf Links. So, too, are its punchbowl green and strings of diagonal bunkers.

 

It's also a massive course, built on a huge scale, Coore says, to accommodate the wind and the slope and the fact that it gets mostly resort play. But what sets it apart in my mind are the little things.

 

When I played the course years ago with Coore, it took only one hole for me to appreciate one of its subtleties. We were on the tee of the par-3 second, an OK hole but nothing riveting, nothing like the canyon-carry par-3 eighth or the ocean-backdropped par-3 11th. The second sits on a rare flat portion of the property. The green sits at a diagonal, angling left to right, and there's a string of bunkers staggering up the right side of the green. The first bunker appears to be directly in front of the green but is actually 40 yards short of it. When pointed out to me, I called it Gingerbread. Bill disagreed.

 

To read Whitten’s full review, click here.

Explore our full review

The Sentry picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Eric Cole (+400, DraftKings) — Doubling down. I actually played with the guy last month randomly and he made a ton of birdies and is just hitting it insanely well. Don’t think you can go wrong with running this bet back every time he plays in 2024.

Mayo: Luke List (+650, DraftKings) — Over the past 100 rounds List ranks last in this field from 5’-10’ and 10’-15’ putting. That almost seems impossible. Turns out, he really was that bad. However, in October, List hired Cameron McCormick and switched to a claw putting grip. He won the following week at the Sanderson Farms and gained strokes putting in three of four measured swing season events. All we’ve ever asked is for List to not putt himself out of tournaments, and he seems to be doing it at the moment.  

Gdula: Tommy Fleetwood (+220, FanDuel) — Fleetwood’s putter keeps getting better to add to some of the best ball-striking stats in the field. Biggest challenge will be lack of course history.

Stewart: Eric Cole (+425, Bet365) — If not for Ludvig Åberg’s ascent, Eric Cole would be the unanimous Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour. The mini-tour marvel closed the year with three straight top-three finishes and seven top 10s overall. A little wild off-the-tee, Cole will gain confidence with Kapalua’s wide landing zones. Cole never stops playing competitive golf so that hot finish to 2023 will definitely carry over to 2024.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: JT Poston (+450, DraftKings) — The Postman excels on wedge fests where hot putting’s needed, so I think Poston’s a decent shout to finish top 10 here.

Powers, Golf Digest: Jordan Spieth (+190, DraftKings) — Encouraging solo sixth finish at the Hero. Now he comes to a place he won at in 2016 by eight (!) strokes and has a runner-up, a third and a ninth in his career.

Lack: Tom Kim (+225, DraftKings) — Building off a top-five finish at this event last year, I expect Tom Kim to continue to excel at Kapalua. Kim is one of the best overall approach players in this field, and only Cantlay gains more strokes to the field in easy scoring conditions. With multiple victories at TPC Summerlin, another one of the easiest tracks on Tour, there are few players I trust more to pile on the birdies and keep up in a track meet than the 21-year-old.  

Top-10 results from the Hero World Challenge: Lack: 1 for 1 (Tony Finau top-five finish, +300); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Final Top-10 results from last season: Gdula: 11 for 51 (up 0.4 units); Lack: 10 for 42 (down 0.1 units); Hennessey: 9 for 51 (down 2 units); Powers: 6 for 51 (down 9.4 units); Caddie: 11 for 51 (down 7.23 units); Mayo: 8 for 47 (down 11.9 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. 

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor for Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

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 the head of golf content at Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports