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 in Hawaii based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Waialae Country Club welcomes the first full field of 2022 this week, with the Tournament of Champions winner and 2020 Sony Open champ Cameron Smith leading the way at just 17/2 odds. We'll forego Cam at a Jon Rahm-esque number and look for value further down the board.
The midrange is stacked this week, and at a short course with occasionally volatile conditions we can get creative with long shots. There's a lot to like this week before we head to the mainland and the biggest hitters regain their advantage.
For more info on the Waialae CC, along with this week's key stats, daily fantasy picks, and win simulations, check out Brandon Gdula's article.
At the Top
Webb Simpson (+1500) - Smith is way ahead in the odds, but Simpson is intriguing at 15/1 with tremendous course form. He's played Waialae 9 of the last 11 years and scored top-four finishes in 2021, 2020, and 2018. He also has no finishes worse than 20th since 2012. It was a frustrating 2020-21 season in which he racked up 13 top-20 finishes but rarely truly contended. However, with two more good finishes in the fall, he's too consistent to be held off for long. If he's going to pop it will be at a shorter course with bermuda greens. Without any of the alpha dogs in the field this week, we can once again back him for a Top 10 Finish (+160).
Corey Conners (+2600) - Conners is the total package from a ballstriking perspective; last season, he ranked eighth in strokes gained: off the tee and ninth in strokes gained: approach. He gained off the tee despite a lack of truly elite length, and that profile matches up well at Waialae. He already has a third-place finish in 2019 and a 12th in 2020, but what's truly surprising is how well he's putt on these greens. He's gained significant strokes in each of his three trips to the Sony Open, and this coming from a golfer who ranked 112th in strokes gained: putting for the 2020-21 season. We know he's going to flush it, and if he can keep up the putting stroke on these greens, he can run away with this one.
Abraham Ancer (+3200) - Ancer could not keep up with the scoring pace last week at Kapalua, and his 10-under score over four days put him at an ugly -9.1 strokes gained on the week. But, Ancer is primed for a terrific year after rising to a top-20 player in the world to end 2021. He had a few duds over the second half of the year, but from May through the TOUR Championship, he posted seven top-10 finishes. He picked up another in the fall, but most importantly. he did not have two poor events in a row all year. Ancer had six finishes outside the top 30 in the past 12 months, and those events were followed by finishes of 5th, 18th, 4th, 1st, 9th, and 14th. He warrants a big bet at a good price for a Top 20 Finish (+145).
Brendan Steele (+5500) - Steele contended each of the past two years at Waialae, finishing runner-up to Smith in 2020 and fourth last year that included a Saturday "61". We pointed to his record of repeating solid results at certain courses last year when backing him for a top-10 finish. The odds aren't quite as generous this year, but Steele is good for a few solid events each year, and shorter events with weaker fields are his best chances to compete.
Rory Sabbatini (+16000) - Sabbatini still has a few spike finishes in him; the silver medal at the Olympics is a clear example. But, he managed two top 10s in four events on the PGA Tour after Tokyo, and a shorter course with a lack of star power is his best shot to stay relevant. We've seen a few older guys catch lightning in a bottle over the past couple of years here, and Sabbatini fits the mold this week.