During the 2023 golf season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will share his betting targets each week using odds as of Wednesday morning. Here are his thoughts on this week’s Sony Open.
Note: Nate will tweet out his official bets when they are placed before the event. He also discusses his bets in all sports on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
About the Tournament
Full-field PGA TOUR events are back, and so is this weekly preview that will explore the odds for each golf tournament and who I’m interested in betting on. The TOUR resumed play last week in Hawaii for the 39-player Tournament of Champions. Collin Morikawa squandered a six-shot lead entering the final round and was caught by Jon Rahm.
This week’s Sony Open is a full 144-player field with a cut after 36 holes. It’s played at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Last year’s tournament saw a big comeback take place when Hideki Matsuyama caught Russell Henley to win in a playoff. Unfortunately, I was on Henley in that tournament at 35/1 and saw him lose a four-shot lead with nine holes to go.
Top of the Board
If you haven’t been following golf closely since August, you might be surprised to see Tom Kim (11/1) headlining the oddsboard for the week. The 20-year-old from South Korea burst onto the scene late last summer when he won the Wyndham Championship by five strokes, despite carding a quadruple bogey on the first hole of that tournament. Kim recorded another win at the Shriners Children’s Open in October and finished tied for fifth last week. I’ll pass on him at this price.
Sungjae Im (12/1), Jordan Spieth (16/1) and defending champion Matsuyama (20/1) are some of the bigger names in this tournament. Henley checks in at 22/1, and I do have some temptation to go back to him after he was inches away from winning here 12 months ago.
Instead I’m going to go with a player at the same price — who I also had on my betting card for this event last year — in Corey Conners (22/1). The Canadian has had good form at this course with three top-12 finishes the last three times he’s played at Waialae. The ball-striking is always there for Conners, and he got four rounds of competitive golf in last week at the Tournament of Champions.
Tom Hoge (25/1) is another player I bet on at this event last season, and he’s coming into this event off a tied-for-third finish at the Tournament of Champions, where he led the the field in strokes gained approach. That would usually lead me to bet on Hoge this week, however the former TCU player left Hawaii to watch the Horned Frogs lose in the National Championship Game before returning for this event. That might not be a good reason to not bet him, but the price is also too short for my liking.
Another player I bet last season at the Sony Open was Cam Davis (40/1) and he’ll make my card again this week. Davis has made the cut the last three years at this event and has developed an all-around game to succeed at any course. Davis is a player on the upswing after playing in the Presidents Cup this past fall, and he played well at several events in his home country of Australia at the end of 2022.
Keith Mitchell (40/1) is another player who catches my eye as he has become an all-around solid golfer. Mitchell had a tied-for-ninth-place finish at the Houston Open in November. It’s also worth noting that the former University of Georgia player was on the winning side of Monday’s national title game, and even made a comment about Hoge’s appearance at the title game.
My longshot bets this week are Will Gordon (90/1) and Russell Knox (130/1). People who were following golf closely in the summer of 2020 might remember Gordon from when he finished tied for third at the Travelers Championship. Gordon spent most of 2022 on the Korn Ferry TOUR before playing some of the PGA TOUR events this past fall. I’m hoping Gordon’s strong tee-to-green numbers from the swing season can carry over here.
Knox is a more experienced player that I like to target at shorter courses like Waialae. He had strong strokes gained approach metrics at November’s Houston Open and RSM Classic. He finished tied for seventh at this event last season and has three additional top-13 finishes at the Sony Open.