Just because there’s so much talent at the top of the board doesn’t mean we can’t see a winner descend from the nosebleeds.
The common narrative around last week’s Genesis Invitational was that the winner would come from the top of the board. There was basically a Major-level field for the Genesis, so it made sense that most bettors thought that one of the game’s elites would come out on top.
Golf is a funny little game, though, and it was Max Homa who ended up winning and cashing tickets in the +6000 to +7000 range. We could see a similar situation shake out this week as there are plenty of big names sitting at huge numbers at The Concession.
Here are our favorite longshot bets for the 2021 WGC-Workday Championship:
Billy Horschel (+10000)
As we know, the odds on any given week are largely a reflection of course history and recent form. This week, though, there’s none of the former and the latter doesn’t mean as much.
With players traveling cross-country to begin the Florida Swing, we can find value in those who regularly don’t play as well during the year’s first two months as they do once the circuit moves back East.
On the Hawaii/West Coast swings, Horschel posted up-and-down results of 24th-7th-MC-53rd. That might suggest inconsistency, but I look at these results with some optimism, as any decent play West of the Mississippi has often just been gravy for this Florida Gator.
Horschel is a guy I very well might be targeting a handful of times in the next month or so. On a week when the lowest-priced options probably aren’t options at all, the next tier up should be filled with guys who can play well. I like Horschel to fill that role.
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Sungjae Im (+4000)
Im is never really a sleeper or a longshot, but this is as far down the board as I’m looking in this field.
After two weeks off for the TOUR’s ironman, Im should be well rested and ready to go this week and his game tends to pick up once the TOUR shifts to Florida, which makes sense since he’s a good ball-striker who loves putting on Bermudagrass. In fact, Im’s lone win on TOUR came in Florida at PGA National, which is a Jack Nicklaus re-design and home to the famous Bear Trap.
Sungjae’s game is in a decent place and I think we could see an extra boost from him in a place where I believe he will be comfortable.
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Ryan Palmer (+8000)
The reality is that we usually see these top flight WGC events won by one of the top handful of players in the world. With that being the case, I’ll likely tread lightly with longshots this week, but Ryan Palmer is one player that sticks out to me.
He’s had success recently on Jack’s course at Memorial, and in a week with a lot of unknowns, we can take solace in that correlation. Add to it that Palmer has been playing some of his best golf of his career with two top-four finishes in his last five appearances, including a runner-up at the Farmers, and you start to see some light with this bet.
Palmer’s irons have carried him over his hot run, which is why he checks in as one of my top players on approach this week. He also has good distance off the tee and a preference for the Bermudagrass greens he will see this week.
Palmer can contend in this type of field, so I’ll take some shots at +8000, but will also look to jump on him for finishing position bets too.
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Justin Rose (+7000)
We haven’t seen Justin Rose play really good golf on the PGA TOUR for quite some time, but there’s some reason to believe this may be the week we see the former World No. 1 get back into contention.
Rose flashed some form in his recent start at Saudi International on The European Tour, finishing second with Tony Finau behind Dustin Johnson. In addition to his promising recent result, the Englishman also seems like a good fit for The Concession, which I anticipate will be a second-shot golf course favoring strong iron players, which is the strength of Rose’s game when he is at his best.
He has won The Memorial (2010), which is another Nicklaus design that may have a strong correlation to the course this week and ranks fourth in this field in Strokes Gained: Total at Jack Nicklaus designs over his past 50 rounds.
When betting down the board I like to target golfers that I know can compete with the elite players if they find themselves in contention. With two WGC victories including at Doral in 2012 (this spot in the schedule) and a major championship, Justin Rose certainly fits the bill.
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Scottie Scheffler (+4500)
I will go right back to the Scheffler well this week. He is very close to putting it all together for four rounds and taking home his first career TOUR victory. He gained 4.4 strokes tee-to-green in his final round at Genesis, including 2.97 strokes on approach. He’s one of the best ball strikers on the planet and has shown he can handle himself quite well in big boy fields.
Scheffler finished 15th last year at the API, so it’s clear he has no qualms about playing Florida golf courses either. Whenever a course benefits Bryson I always like to bet Scheffler at the same events, as they boast many of the same traits.
Length will be a big help this week and if we see the same type of ball-striking from Scheffler that we saw last week, he should have no problem contending.
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