My 2022 Honda Classic Betting Card, Storylines, Final Thoughts

Written By John Haslbauer on February 23, 2022
Honda Classic

Welcome, welcome – gather round everyone. #MitoWeek is officially upon us. Most weeks, the PGA research process is painstaking, and by the time you’ve reached Wednesday night, you’re already second guessing all the guys you did or did not play. Not this time! It’s been written in the stars that Mito Pereira will win the 2022 Honda Classic, so the rest of the card is really just a formality in case we’re offered some bonus cash outs on Sunday or something else of that nature.

Coming in hot off of two outright winners over the last three weeks, I’m feeling good as we head out for the Chilean Sweep at Palm Beach Gardens.

I’ll be back in TheLines’ Discord golf channel Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET to talk through all my favorite 2022 Honda Classic bets, DFS plays, and final thoughts for this week in addition to everything covered here. Hope to see you there!

Click on the odds below if you’d like to add my 2022 Honda Classic bets as well.

MY BETTING CARD: HOW I BUILT MY HONDA CLASSIC BETS

Okay, fine. While I am immensely confident that Mito Pereira will win this event, nothing in sports betting is ever guaranteed, so we need to have some contingencies in place, should there be a glitch in the matrix, or say, Mito spent the rest of this week partying to celebrate his buddy Joaquin Niemann’s victory instead of just using it as motivation. When Kevin Kisner was a lock to win the Wyndham Championship, it was still comforting for my mental health to have Russell Henley and Branden Grace down the stretch. So for that reason, I still built out a full card.

The Honda Classic is going to be a difficult test of the field’s all-around skillset, so I built my card around players who have had strong history at recent Majors, and good course history here at PGA National, to go along with complementary skills of Approach and Scrambling.

In terms of unit allocations, I am just over my usual Outright structure after doubling down on Pereira, as I think anyone should when you have a clear idea of who is going to win a given tournament. So with that, the card constructions will be 3.2U in to pay out 24U+ out in Outrights, 3U in to pay out 3U each in Props, 0.5U in to pay out 10U+ in FRL.

OUTRIGHTS (3.2 UNITS)

Brooks Koepka

My Bet: +2500

Best Odds Still Available:

I nearly started my card with Sungjae Im, who I love this week as well, but just couldn’t justify 13-1 odds on a track that has drawn early ejections from even the best players in the world. So instead, I’ll take the player who’s had arguably the best career of anyone else in this field at double the number – Florida native, Brooks Koepka. 

Stats don’t matter when you bet Brooks as he won’t pop in models. But if the foundational principle of betting outrights is maximizing value on a card and hoping that player brings his A-game for four rounds, then I’ll embrace the volatility with Brooks.

Tommy Fleetwood

My Bet: +2800

Best Odds Still Available:

Another guy you can totally ditch the models for, is Tommy Fleetwood. Although he’s been uninspiring on the PGA TOUR for the last couple years, Fleetwood has been showing signs of his vintage self overseas, with a T8 and T12 in his last two international starts on the Asian Tour and DP World Tour. Fleetwood has only played the Honda Classic twice in his career, and seems to love it here with finishes of T3 and T4. He’s a player who, when on his game, thrives in events that reward elite approach play and simulate Major conditions. Though we haven’t seen much of Tommy on the PGA TOUR lately, he has proven year over year that he loves kicking off the TOUR season on the Florida Swing, so I like the value at 28-1.

Mito Pereira

My Bet: +5500 and +8000 (Each Way)

Best Odds Still Available:

Bet365 will rue the day they reversed Mito Pereira’s line from 45-1 to 80-1 in a special odds promo that lasted roughly one hour before being bet off the board. As I’ve proclaimed in the Tournament Preview Spotlight, every Tweet I’ve sent this week, and most of the preamble to this article, Mito Pereira is going to win the 2022 Honda Classic. So I have no problem doubling down at both 55-1 and 80-1. If (when) Mito wins, it will be a 50U payout.

To recap, the list of reasons Mito will win includes:

  • Elite putting form as the #1 player SG: P over the last 3 months with a preference to Bermuda
  • Elite Ball Striking, ranking top-5 in SG: T2G, SG: BS, SG: APP, and GIRs Gained
  • Preference to more difficult conditions over birdie-fests, ranking #2 in Bogey Avoidance
  • Positive vibes from fellow countryman, Joaquin Niemann’s Genesis Invitational Win
  • Little resistance from a comparatively weaker field than what we’ve seen early this season

If you’re reading this without a Mito ticket in hand already, I would encourage you to reconsider your mistakes before it is too late.

Mackenzie Hughes

My Bet: +6000

Best Odds Still Available:

The second bet I placed this week after Mito was Mackenzie Hughes, and if Mito were not in this field, it’s probably Hughes who I would spend my time spotlighting instead. 

We all know Hughes as a spike putter who’s more likely to convert a 20+ footer than anyone else on TOUR. He’s like golf’s version of Steph Curry in that regard – unlimited range. On a difficult course that tucks pins in dangerous locations near the water, it’s hard to go flag hunting here, so I like the appeal of someone like Hughes who can fire at the middle of greens and try to score with a few longer birdie putts. 

While known as a putting specialist, Hughes actually ranks third in this field SG: TOT over the last 36 rounds, with five Top-30 finishes in his last seven starts, highlighted by a T4 at the ZOZO and a runner up at the RSM Classic. Hughes also has a runner up finish at this event back in 2020 and has done well in difficult conditions, recently at the 2021 Open Championship (T6), 2021 US Open (T15), and 2020 Memorial (T6).

Keith Mitchell

My Bet: +6600

Best Odds Still Available:

Bet365 challenged me not to bet every single player they offered a special boost to on Tuesday, and I failed that challenge. If the window of time these promos stayed up for are any indication though, I think it’s safe to say that boosting Mitchell to a number double that of the rest of the sportsbook marketplace was a mistake. I don’t believe in the “odds boost trap” narrative; Rory McIlroy debunked that theory after Caesar’s boosted him from 16-1 to 22-1 at the CJ Cup.

Mitchell has picked up his only career TOUR victory at the Honda Classic in 2019 and enters this week in arguably the best form of his career with T12-or-better finishes in four of his last five starts. It’s encouraging to now see him carry that momentum to the Florida swing, considering he’s found the most success on Bermuda, and that his irons seem to finally be turning around from a liability to an asset.

I was ready to bet Mitchell at 35-1, which would have resulted in a much different looking card, but I’m happy to accept the 66-1 gift.

Kramer Hickok

My Bet: +15000 (Free Bet)

Best Odds Still Available:

I had a very small free bet sitting in my account, so I wondered if it was even worth including on the card. But then I was reminded that Niemann was the last man on my card by way of a free bet at the Genesis Invitational last week, and Kramer Hickok at 150-1 odds started to feel meant to be. Hickok has a T21 and T29 in two career appearances at the Honda Classic and is rock solid off the tee, which should set him up well to avoid the big numbers looming from all the water hazards in play.

FIRST ROUND LEADER (0.5 UNITS)

Mackenzie Hughes

My Bet: +6500

Best Odds Still Available:

I’ll keep saying it, but I love Mackenzie Hughes this week. He was a first rounder leader at the 2020 Travelers and shot an opening round 62 just four starts ago at the RSM Classic. We all know Hughes is capable of draining putts from anywhere, so I love these odds if he can show us a vintage Mackenzie Hughes round on the greens on Thursday.

Chris Kirk

My Bet: +8500

Best Odds Still Available:

Chris Kirk is a guy I really like this week though I haven’t loved the way he’s been priced in any market. His ownership is too high for me to get behind in DFS and 70-1 outright odds are still too short for me to feel good about with his recent form. 85-1 odds for just one round is much more appealing, however, so I’ll try my exposure to Kirk on Thursday only.

Adam Svensson

My Bet: +11000

Best Odds Still Available:

Adam Svensson is going to play himself into a more regular FRL rotation for me this season. The man either shoots -5 or +5 round-to-round, which is the quintessential blueprint you want to see from a 100-1+ FRL flyer. He’s got no shortage of talent and has proven week over week that he has the ability to go low, if only for one or two rounds per tournament.

Hudson Swafford

My Bet: +11000

Best Odds Still Available:

Just a value bet here on a player who just won a birdie fest two starts ago and can now be found at 110-1 odds against a weaker field. Sure his short game is a bit problematic, but if you’re going to push for the low Thursday score, it needs to be the ball striking that gets you there, not par scrambling, and there are few better ball strikers than Swafford in this field right now.

PROPS (3 UNITS)

The conviction play of Paul Casey over Russell Henley came through last week, which continues the trend of breakeven-or-better on props in each of the first seven tournaments to start the year. This week, I’m going right back to the matchup well again with a few other placement values sprinkled in.

Full Tournament Matchup: Mito Pereira vs Cameron Young

My Bet: Mito Pereira -110

Best Odds Still Available: Mito Pereira -110

I think this is a very fair line to set with Mito and Young as a toss-up against each other. Young is riding high off of an impressive T2 finish at the Genesis Invitational. But while Cameron Young could make a push for his third runner up finish of the 2022 season, it isn’t going to matter when Mito inevitably wins anyway. I prefer Young on courses that allow you to bomb & gauge and play a bit looser off the tee, not a place like PGA National that emphasizes approach play and penalizes wayward shots into the constant water hazards. While both players will be making their Honda Classic debut, PGA National definitely suits a player of Mito’s profile more.

Top-20 Finish: Mackenzie Hughes

My Bet: +270

Best Odds Still Available:

Great value here on FanDuel for Mackenzie Hughes who many books list shorter than 2-1 odds to crack the top-20. Hughes is 5th in this field SG: TOT over the last 50 rounds and has proven results at PGA National over the years, highlighted by a T2 finish here in 2020. The combination of recent form and course history make for what should be a relatively high floor at an event that will reward scrambling and short game.

Top-20 Finish: Aaron Rai

My Bet: +360

Best Odds Still Available:

Famous last words, but Aaron Rai was the last man off my betting card after reshuffling to accommodate some value in the special odds promo market. In any case, I think very highly of Rai this week, who’s gotten off to a hot start on the 2022 season and has shown us some early success on other comp wind-exposed and difficult scoring condition events both on the PGA and European tours.

ONE AND DONE

My Pick: Mito Pereira

It is my firm belief that Mito Pereira wins this golf tournament, so there is no reason I wouldn’t go straight to him in OAD as well. This is the best course layout for him, I like the state of his form, and I’m not intimidated by the other top names in this field.

The only conceivable reason for not playing Pereira in OAD this week is if you’ve already expended him earlier in the season. For those people, I would say players like Tommy Fleetwood, Keith Mitchell, and Mackenzie Hughes may be worth a look. I just don’t see a ton of value in paying up for the top names like Sungjae, Brooks, or Berger in a week like this that has proven to produce some random leaderboards.

FINAL BETTING CARD

CLOSING THOUGHTS AND STORYLINES

I’ve done all I can to manifest a Mito Pereira victory at the 2022 Honda Classic into the universe, so all we can do now is sit back and wait. Whoever does win this week will need to avoid penalty strokes from wayward tee shots and approaches, so I’m leaning on a set of players who have the best skillset of Ball Striking, Scrambling, and Scoring in Difficult Conditions, whether it be Major history, or other grinder courses across the PGA and DP World Tours. Here are a few final storylines to keep an eye out for at the 2022 Honda Classic.

Mito

We are putting a conviction outright to the test for the first time since Kevin Kisner at the Wyndham Championship. These are exciting times! I don’t know if there will be another conviction outright for the rest of the year regardless of what happens this week, but I’m going to enjoy it. I even spoke to my dad yesterday and assured him Mito will not lose, so we are all systems go. 

The Weather

Wind can change on a dime, especially at the Honda Classic. It can be the difference between a -6 winning score and a -12 winning score. The forecast seems to be favoring the latter, as winds are expected to stay down from Thursday to Sunday, at least for now. If that’s the case, it does open the field up for more volatility, and may favor the ball strikers over the short game specialists if less approaches are being swept off the greens by the wind.

The Bear Trap

You need to earn a victory at the Honda Classic by surviving the daunting 3-hole closing stretch on 15-16-17 with water threatening throughout. It sets the tournament up well for chasers to get aggressive and attack pins, while the leader may be forced to play conservative and get out with par. In any case, it should be a climactic finish as long as we don’t get another runaway like Matt Jones last year (would anyone really be surprised if that runaway was Mito Pereira this time around though?).

Good luck with your 2022 Honda Classic bets!

John Haslbauer Avatar
Written by
John Haslbauer

John Haslbauer writes about golf betting and advanced golf metrics for TheLines.com. He is a passionate golf fan, golf writer, and (casual) golfer. A graduate at Syracuse University, John works out of Jersey City as a Director of Media Strategy for HBO and HBO Max. He created the website thepgatout.com at the start of 2021 and is active on Twitter (@PGATout). No, he is not a tout. The Twitter handle is a joke. Touts are lame. We hate touts.

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