My 2022 Sony Open Betting Card, Storylines, Final Thoughts

Written By John Haslbauer on January 12, 2022 - Last Updated on January 13, 2022

We’ve reached the end of the road once again after another long week of research for 2022 Sony Open bets. After a few curveballs from waves of withdrawals, the field is set, and my bets are set.

As always, I’ll be hopping in the golf channel of TheLines Discord for dedicated hours starting at 8 p.m. ET tonight to talk through my betting card, Sony Open DFS and general golf strategy before lock. Had a great time chatting with everybody who joined last week for the Sentry Tournament of Champions and excited to get back to it again!

Click on the odds below if you’d like to add my Sony Open bets as well. Each week, TheLines will provide the best available odds at legal U.S. sportsbooks. 

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BETTING CARD STRATEGY: HOW I BUILT MY SONY OPEN BETS

At the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week, I had conviction in Justin Thomas, knew I would be starting my card there, and ended up with limited exposure to the field and a tight card as a result. This week, I don’t have any conviction in the top of the board, and could easily see each of the top-10 favorites not winning this event. Or at the very least, I think the players in the +3000 to +5000 odds range are just as viable to win as those at the top of the board.

So I’ve decided to spread my outrights across a longer card with eight total plays this week. It’s a risk to fade every top player, but the Sony Open has historically rewarded the hottest putter of the week, which brings more randomness into the event. Volume is the best defense against randomness for 2022 Sony Open bets, in my opinion, so that’s how I decided to structure my card.

Unit allocations remain the same each week with 3U in Outrights to pay out 24U+, 3U in Props, and 0.5U in FRLs. Last week we left empty handed on Outrights and FRLs, and broke even on props, cashing the Leishman > Koepka matchup and just missing on the Sam Burns T10.

Also new this week and going forward, I’ll be including my One and Done pick and strategy for the Pat Mayo Cup OAD league.

RELATED: Sony Open Tournament Preview

OUTRIGHTS (3 Units)

Talor Gooch

My Bet: +3500
Best Odds Still Available:

Starting my card with Talor Gooch at 35-1 would have been inconceivable a few months ago, but a lot has changed since the Fall Swing has kicked off. Gooch won the RSM Classic at similar opening odds, and that’s the last full-field event we’ve seen contested. He has elite irons, can get streaky with the putter, and despite a ho-hum T15 finish at the TOC, I’m still encouraged by a -20 showing to kick the rust off.

Russell Henley

My Bet: +3500
Best Odds Still Available:

I was leaning Corey Conners all week, but the more I thought about, Russell Henley is an equally as reliable ball striker as Conners, has won at the Sony Open, is significantly more likely to pop with the putter on Bermuda greens, and was available at a longer number. So while I still have concerns about Henley’s win equity, this is a value bet for me on a player who has the skillset of Irons + Bermuda Putting that has historically led to wins at this event.

Seamus Power

My Bet: +4600
Best Odds Still Available:

I struggle to find a difference between Seamus Power and Talor Gooch at this point in their careers. Each have a win within their last 10 starts, they’ve found success at dramatically different types of courses, whether they’re long, short, easy, or difficult, they can consistently gain in all four major SG categories, and they just so happened to shoot the exact same score at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week. It’s hard for me to make a case for one over the other, so I decided to go with both!

Keith Mitchell

My Bet: +8000
Best Odds Still Available:

I wrote about Keith Mitchell (and each of the next four players as well) in my Longshots article for PlayPicks, but it’s worth repeating that I think the 80-1 odds make for the best value on the betting board this week. He has proven course history, can pop with the putter, and nearly won the CJ Cup just four starts ago.

Tom Hoge

My Bet: +9000
Best Odds Still Available:

I’m monitoring Hoge’s ownership in DFS, but he’s a no brainer play at 90-1 odds and should be on a lot of betting cards this week. The #1 ranked player in SG: APP L24 rounds has very good history at Waialae with two Top-20 finishes in his last four appearances, and is just a hot putting week away from contending to win.

Denny McCarthy

My Bet: +10000
Best Odds Still Available:

I continue to stay high on my spotlight player of the week. He closed out 2021 in great form, and while this will be his debut at the Sony Open, I’m confident his course history at the other shorter comp courses will translate to early success.

Kramer Hickok

My Bet: +16000
Best Odds Still Available:

If driving accuracy goes on to be as important as it has been in recent years at the Sony Open, then I love the value here on Kramer Hickok at 160-1 among my 2022 Sony Open bets. He was solid here last year, finishing T19 and since then, almost became a PGA TOUR winner, narrowly losing in a marathon playoff to Harris English at the Travelers. If he brings that same positional game to Waialae, he’s shown us he can contend.

Keita Nakajima

My Bet: +20000
Best Odds Still Available:

This is an absolute dart throw among 2022 Sony Open bets, but I know Keita Nakajima can win a full field golf tournament after what he showed us on the Japan Tour, and I’m excited to watch him play for the first time in the United States.

FIRST ROUND LEADER (0.5U)

Russell Henley

My bet: +4000
Best Odds Still Available:

Henley’s issue has been closing tournaments, not starting them. If we’re to assume it’s just the nerves that have kept him from closing out wins on Sunday, then good to get exposure on Thursday as a workaround.

Keith Mitchell

My bet: +8000
Best Odds Still Available:

Keith Mitchell will go as far as his putter takes him this week. For him to win outright, I think he needs one streaky day on the greens, and just four events removed from an opening round 62 at the CJ Cup, there’s great value in this number.

Tom Hoge

My bet: +8000
Best Odds Still Available:

Tom Hoge can be a bit volatile with his scoring, but he’s been a consistent birdie maker, giving himself plenty of opportunities by leaning on his irons. Last we saw him, he opened the RSM Classic with a 7-under 65, so we know he can open a tournament hot.

PROPS (3.5U)

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, I’m making one small tweak to the weekly props that I think will be more fun to track along. Each week, I’ll put 1.5U towards my “Conviction play of the week” at -120 or better odds. I’ll then use the remaining 1.5U to spread across two or three props that pay out at least 3U each.

The thought here is that if the conviction bet hits each week, or just at a high clip, I’ll at least breakeven on props and have a few free rolls to cover my Outright bets if any of the longer props also hit. Let’s see how this goes!

Full Tournament Matchup: Russell Henley vs. Matt Jones

My bet: Russell Henley -120

I’m very high on Henley in my 2022 Sony Open bets, and very low on Matt Jones, which makes this my conviction bet of the week. From everything previously mentioned with Henley, the course fit, course history, and recent form all should lead to a high floor. With Matt Jones, I see a conceivable path to a MC. While he looked spectacular at Kapalua last week, the wide open fairways allowed him to get away with some off-center drives. He isn’t known for his driving accuracy or form on shorter courses, so I have concerns that he can bring the same game plan as last week to Waialae.

Top-10 Finish: Webb Simpson

My Bet: +450
Best Odds Still Available:

Disclaimer: This bet was available on FanDuel for about 10 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, and then quickly corrected back to around +110. It’s difficult for me to say whether I would still pull the trigger on this bet at even odds, but if you’re going to bet a Top-10 on anyone in this field, Webb Simpson who has T10s in each of his last three Sony Open appearances is probably your safest bet.

Top-20 Finish: Keith Mitchell

My Bet: +330
Best Odds Still Available:

I went back and forth between Mitchell and Denny McCarthy at similar odds, but ultimately favored Mitchell given the added benefit of proven course history. Mitchell’s finished inside the Top-20 at the Sony Open twice over his last three appearances, and has two Top-20 finishes over his last four starts coming into this week.

ONE AND DONE

My Pick: Webb Simpson

I am in a few OAD leagues this year, but the Mayo Cup is the big one, and it starts at the Sony Open, so this week and onward, I’ll be tracking my OAD picks for the Mayo Cup along with some top-line strategy and considerations.

Last year was my first year doing an OAD league. I had one $100 entry in a pool of 3,334 people in finished in 7th place for a $8,500 payout. That makes me an OAD expert now, so just tail these every week, and you too are guaranteed to win thousands of dollars. Just kidding, but in any case, I’m picking with confidence to start the new season!

So with my first pick, I’m going with Webb Simpson. Ironically, I went the entire 2021 season without picking Webb in OAD, and in 2022 he will be the first one off the board. My strategy last year was to save Webb for the Wyndham Championship knowing that is his best course historically. When we got to the week of the Wyndham Championship however, I had a moment of clarity that it would in fact be Kevin Kisner that would win that event, so I passed on Webb and didn’t have a chance to use him again in the FedEx Playoffs.

Two big learnings from that experience:

  1. Differentiate; don’t save a player for his most obvious week.
  2. If you don’t use em, you lose em.

I know Webb has incredible experience at the Sony Open, and he’s coming off of an outing at the RSM Classic where he gained the most strokes on approach of his career. I also know that as one of the elites in this field who is better known for his dominance at the Wyndham Championship and coming off an extended layoff, that many players will be shy to use him here. Not me, I’ll take a relatively low-owned Webb in this spot, knowing I can go the rest of the year without needing to call his name.

I’m dead set on Webb, but if I had to choose someone else, I think Seamus Power, Kevin Na, and Marc Leishman are also very viable OAD options this week.

FINAL BETTING CARD

CLOSING THOUGHTS AND STORYLINES

I think it’s wide open week for 2022 Sony Open bets, and may go on to be one of my longer outright cards of the year, just because I don’t have much conviction in anyone sub-30-1 to win. Cam Smith at single digit odds is un-bettable to me despite how great he looked last week, Webb Simpson was tempting but still hasn’t shown his vintage form consistently enough for me to jump on him at short odds either. I’ll take the field over the Top-10 favorites this week and think if there are only a handful of tournaments where a 100-1 bomb is going to win, this just might be one of them.

If I had to pick one player from my card I’m most confident will win, I would actually say Keith Mitchell. He has the ability to pop for birdies, especially on Bermuda, has gotten close to winning in much more difficult recent events, and has stayed in contention in three of his four career Sony Open appearances. Here are a few other storylines I’m looking out for at the Sony Open

The Rust Narrative

A popular trend floating around Twitter this week is that 8 of the last 9 Sony Open champions have played in the Sentry Tournament of Champions the week prior. I don’t think this is a predictive trend at all and am completely dismissing it when evaluating the field this week.

The reality is, everyone who played last week was inherently a recent PGA Tour winner, and everyone who didn’t play last week, was not. So of course it makes sense that a pool of players who won the year before are more likely to win a golf tournament than those who did not.

Rust is a concern though, and there are going to be some players who either have a slow round one, or just don’t look like themselves this week. For that reason, I’m favoring course history even more than usual in order to hone in on the players who are known to be able to kick it into gear in their first event after an extended layoff.

The Dawgs

The Georgia Bulldogs won the College Football Championship on Monday, and as it turns out, there are a LOT of UGA alumni in Honolulu this week. That list includes Harris English, Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Keith Mitchell, Brian Harman, Sepp Strake, Grayson Sigg, Hudson Swafford, and Brendon Todd.

This can go one of two ways. They’ve either spent the ensuing nights partying to celebrate on this tropical island resort, or they’ve taken this as motivation to continue the trend and raise a trophy themselves. For the sake of my card with Henley and Mitchell on the hook, I hope it’s the latter, but I won’t be surprised if a guy like Kevin Kisner looks a little banged up on Thursday morning.

Does Driving Accuracy Actually Matter?

I’ve gone back and forth a lot on this over the course of the week. On the surface, Waialae CC does look more open than some of the other short, positional courses like TPC River Highlands and Harbour Town. However some of the past winners have commented on the importance of position off the tee, even if the fairways aren’t as heavily treelined.

This course also has one of the highest driving distance dispersions of any course on TOUR, which implies that everyone is not laying up to the same position, and some of the longer hitters have still pulled driver at risk of missing fairways.

I’m still going to lean the accuracy route though in the end. I think players with course history who understand when and where to lay up are going to have an advantage, and this week’s winner will be average to below average in driving distance.

Good luck with your 2022 Sony Open 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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