Russell Henley on the 5th hole during the final round of a PGA golf tournament on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
- The Honda Classic tees off Thursday (March 18th) at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
- Russell Henley leads the field in strokes gained tee-to-green and approach over the past 50 rounds
- Read below for analysis of the event and our favorite sleepers and longshot plays
Coming off the strongest field of the season at the Players Championship, PGA National will host arguably the year’s weakest field at the Honda Classic. Just three of the top-20 players in the world are here, in part due to the schedule change, that sandwiches this tournament in between the Players and a WGC, and in part because they don’t want to have to deal with this treacherous golf course.
PGA National has ranked as the hardest par 70 in a non-major for each of the past three years, and five of the last six. Add a nasty looking wind forecast for the first two rounds this week, and high scores are bound to follow.
One player who’s enjoyed an incredible amount of success here is Russell Henley. The 2014 champ has back-to-back top-20 finishes at this event, and is the anchor of our longshots betting card this week.
2021 Honda Classic Odds
|Golfer||Odds to Win||Top-10 Odds||Top-20 Odds|
Odds taken March 15th at DraftKings.
Henley Loves the Honda Classic
The Georgia Bulldogs product checks in with outright odds of +3000 this week, which is very close to the number he won the Shell Houston Open at in 2017 (+2800). Henley finished eighth at the Honda Classic a year ago, gaining an incredible 10.6 shots on approach. That was one on his six top-9 finishes in 2020, and although he hasn’t won in a few years, his ball striking numbers suggest he’s close.
Russell Henley Strokes Gained Ranks – Last 50 Rounds
Henley leads the field in strokes gained tee-to-green and approach over the past 50 rounds, while ranking 15th in strokes gained short game.
Russell Henley made his way up the leaderboard on Friday at the WM Phoenix Open. He shot -4, 67 which included a birdie on the famous par 3, 16th. He sits at -4 heading into the weekend! #DawgsOnTour pic.twitter.com/wRrnEmMbuq
— Dawgs On Tour (@DawgsOnTour) February 5, 2021
He’s one of the better putters in this field, and the Bermuda greens just happen to be his favorite putting surface.
Pick: Russell Henley to Win Outright (+3000)
Can the Post-Man Deliver Again?
Our next target is J.T. Poston, who’s coming off a sneaky strong showing at the Players. Poston finished 22nd at TPC Sawgrass, overcoming an opening round 76, by playing the final 54 holes in 9-under par. He’s never missed the cut at PGA National in three career appearances, and gains an average of 0.3 strokes on the field in windy conditions.
Shout out to JT Poston (T-24) who was 6 over thru 8 on Thursday. Chipped away throughout the week and now going to leave with a six-figure check. Was 66th in OWGR and has a chance to get into Match Play too.
— D.J. Piehowski (@DJPie) March 14, 2021
He isn’t the game’s purest ball striker, but his short game more than makes up for it. He ranks fourth in this field in strokes gained short game over the past 50 rounds, a stat that is bound to come in handy at such a difficult track. He’s already posted two top-20 finishes this season, and given the state of his game, and the strength of this field, I like his chances of sneaking inside the top-10.
Pick: J.T. Poston Top-10 Finish (+700)
2021 Masters Odds Tracker
Reavie Due For Positive Regression
Last but not least, is Chez Reavie. The two-time winner on Tour was fifth in strokes gained tee-to-green after two rounds at the Players, but missed the cut due to a horrendous putting week. Reavie lost 6.1 strokes on the greens on Thursday and Friday, which honestly is very hard to do. Not one will ever accuse him of being a great putter, but last week was simply an outlier performance.
Today Chez Reavie had his 5th ace on TOUR.
He now has 21 aces in his life… how many aces do you have?#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/zv7D3ydVgI
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 23, 2019
Now, he gets an opportunity to show off his elite ball striking at a course that demands precision. Reavie ranks second behind Henley in strokes gained approach over the past 50 rounds, and seventh in strokes gained tee-to-green.
Around the online sports betting industry his outright odds are priced as short as +8000, or as along as +12500, so shop around. At the longer price he’s an auto-bet, but for the purpose of this article, he also makes a compelling top-20 pick.
Pick: Chez Reavie Top-20 Finish (+450)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.