GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Sony Open

Justin Thomas is a massive favorite at the Sony Open. Who else warrants attention in the betting market?

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 Sony Open based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The PGA Tour season's first full-field event of 2020, the Sony Open, features 156 golfers trying to crack Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. Winners are in high demand here, as those who tackle Kapalua at the Tournament of Champions the week before have generally fared well in the second Hawaiian stop. Last year, the top 20 featured nine golfers who had won the prior year and six more who would go on to win in 2019. While one of the betting favorites, Matt Kuchar, ended up wearing the celebratory lei, most of the top 10 were longer than 50/1 entering the week.

We'll look for which studs offer the best bang for your buck and who to target if you're looking for a potentially big return on a small investment.

For more info on Waialae Country Club, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Justin Thomas (+500) - Generally speaking, we will never target a golfer at this short a price. On any given week, especially in a field with over 150 golfers who have the talent to reach the PGA Tour, no golfer is so likely to win the tournament that he'd be priced up here. But maybe Justin Thomas is this week. He certainly offers the most equity at the top of the market. The other guys up here just don't quite have the juice to warrant a wager -- Patrick Reed (+1100) was dead last in greens in regulation last week and needed an unsustainable 9.3 strokes gained with his putter to match Thomas through 74 holes. Webb Simpson (+1300) and Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) are fine golfers, but if we are betting them to win, we are drawing pretty thin. Webb has just one win since 2013, and Matsuyama has not hoisted hardware since August 2017. Collin Morikawa (+1700) is sandwiched between them and has one win in an alternate field event but so few rounds as a Tour pro that he can hardly be trusted as a near favorite. Pay the price with Thomas or skip the 20/1 and under range entirely.

Sungjae Im (+2100) - Im is the first name that garners serious attention, as he is in tremendous form with three top-three finishes in the fall and a terrific showing at the Presidents Cup. While he's yet to earn a PGA win, one of those high finishes was a win at the Korean Tour's Genesis Championship. For Im, the question is not if he will win, but when, and at just 21 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him. He has a complete game but cannot match the raw power of some top golfers, making him most likely to succeed at courses where distance advantages are mitigated, and accuracy holds weight. He fits the Kuchar (+2200) mold and finished T16 in his debut last year.

Value Spots

Marc Leishman (+3300) - Leishman tied for third here last year and plays this course almost every year, and his comfort level at this track combined with his ability to handle the windy conditions in the forecast make him a great value at this price. The Aussie punched his ticket to Kapalua in 2017 and 2018 but missed out on a win in 2019, and he'll be itching to notch one early in the season. He played well at the Presidents Cup but ran into the Thomas buzz saw a few times, and followed it up with a T10 at the Emirates Australian Open.

Cameron Smith (+4100) - Another Australian and Leishman's teammate on the International Team at Royal Melbourne, Smith peaked at the turn of the calendar last year and will be a target both in DFS and the betting market each of the next couple weeks. He was fearless against the heavily favored Americans at the Presidents Cup, calling out Reed and going toe-to-toe with Thomas and coming out on top in their Singles match.

Long Shots

Brian Harman (+6500) - Harman missed the cut at Waialae last year in the midst of a disastrous stretch, but he found his groove in the summer and fall and has put those woes behind him. He can get back to business at the Sony, where he'd previously been stellar. The left-hander posted four straight top-20 finishes at the event, capped off by a T4 in 2018. He got to play a ton of golf in the fall and rates out very well statistically as a top-10 tee to green player and scrambler, according to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club.

Vaughn Taylor (+9000) - Taylor is accurate off the tee and tight with his irons. He was 20th in driving accuracy on the season, and his iron and wedge play was even better. He was fourth in average proximity to the hole on the entire PGA Tour in 2019 -- a stat led by Corey Conners (+3400) and Chez Reavie (+4500), each of whom finished third at the Sony Open last year and would go on to win during the season. Taylor fits the Kuchar mold from last year, and at 90/1, we do not need to make a huge wager to get a big score.