GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the WGC-HSBC Champions

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the WGC-HSBC Champions based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

World Golf Championship fields are tight and generally among the strongest we see all year. It is no surprise that eventual winners are among the world's elite given entry restrictions, but the weight of the top of the sport heavily tilts these events. Whether the events are in China, Mexico, Florida, Ohio, or Tennessee, the man being crowned champion is rarely an out-of-nowhere surprise.

For this reason, our outright winners will lean toward the top of the market much more than usual. Long shots are fun, but the plan this week includes some finishing place hedges on the back end as they are just so unlikely to come through for a win.

For more info on Sheshan International GC along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Rory McIlroy (+550) - McIlroy is shortening as we speak, and while we rarely advocate for a price this stiff, McIlroy merits a wager without a doubt. The reigning Player of the Year started slowly last week but stormed back to finish T3 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. He bested champion Tiger Woods over the final three rounds, and his form right now is absolutely electric. The run he's on over the past 12 months includes 3 wins, and it is a testament to his game that it feels like he left some on the table. Prior to a T54 last year, he had never finished worse than T11 at Sheshan International, and even in a solid field, Rory is head and shoulders above.

Xander Schauffele (+1400) - The defending champion has established himself as a horse to ride in strong fields as well as small fields, making WGC events prime staking territory. The win last year inflates his odds, but the quality is there and a repeat victory -- or something close -- would signal big things for the X man in 2020. Having come close several times in the past, he is primed for a major championship soon. Another WGC title would be a healthy appetizer to a main course that could include a green jacket or Wanamaker Trophy.

Tony Finau (+2200) - The loser to Schauffele in last year's playoff, Finau is still looking for that marquee win (we are not counting the alt field win in Puerto Rico) on an otherwise excellent resume of close calls and near misses. To get the monkey off his back, he will need to enter the week with confidence, and memories of his 36-hole lead at Sheshan International should spark that fire. He has hovered around the winner's circle long enough that he seems likely to grab two or three trophies in short order after nabbing the first, but if he continues to stall, the chance may pass him by entirely. Surely, he feels that urgency and will be going all out at the tracks that suit his game, and with a T11 in 2017 to go with his runner-up last year, he fits the bill this week.

Value Spots

Adam Scott (+2700) - The iron play remains elite, but Scott has been wildly inconsistent with both the driver and the putter lately. Coming off two forgettable performances, the market offers him at juicy odds to get his first win since 2016 (fittingly, the now defunct WGC tournament at Doral). He's not so far off the pace of more expensive options this week, and he offers terrific value at even money for a Top 20 Finish (+100). Four of his seven trips to Sheshan have ended inside that mark, and it's been 16 months since going three events without such a finish.

Francesco Molinari (+4100) - A winner here in 2010 and one of the most unstoppable golfers when on his A game, Molinari is a great option at this number. Despite quality wins at The Open Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational in the last 18 months, he is laughably longer than golfers mired in winless stretches like Hideki Matsuyama (+1200), Finau, and Scott. Throw in a few trophies on the European Tour and Moli is drowning in hardware compared to some of the shorter options. He is still the 11th-ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking -- ahead of everyone in this field aside from McIlroy (2nd), Justin Rose (+1600 to win, 8th in the OWGR), and Schauffele (9th) -- and his form isn't so horrible with three poor finishes and three inside the top 23 in his last six.

Long Shots

Andrew Putnam (+6500) - Putnam profiles as a grinder, which should play well at a difficult course like Sheshan, as evidenced by a T4 finish here last year. After a few resort courses stateside and the Asian venues the past few weeks overlapping with strong European events, the WGC-HSBC Champions has the most overlap we've seen in this young season. Putnam thrived in these types of fields last year, finishing T4 at the Scottish Open and T21 at the BMW PGA Championship on the European circuit. He looks like a solid play for another Top 10 Finish (+600) at this event.

Kurt Kitayama (+8000) - We'll indulge one long shot if for no other reason than the fear of missing out. Kitayama has been knocking on the door with back-to-back top 5s on the European circuit, and with two wins worldwide in the past year, he can certainly close when in position. At 80/1, there's no need to go overboard with an outright wager, especially when he offers solid value for a Top 10 Finish (+340) or a Top 20 Finish (+750).