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Tom Jacobs is back with his favorite sleepers and value picks for the 2023 Honda Classic, as the PGA Tour starts its Florida Swing!
ANALYSIS

Honda Classic Sleepers and Value Picks: Bet on Jhonattan Vegas, SH Kim at PGA National

After the highs of the Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational, PGA Tour fans are being brought back down to earth, with a less-than-stellar field, at the 2023 Honda Classic.

Former Honda Classic winner, Sungjae Im leads the betting as the +850 favorite, and behind him is Shane Lowry at +1400. This is a far cry from the fields we have seen assemble over the past fortnight, but then again, some events will inevitably suffer in a packed schedule.

One player who actually splits both Sungjae (18th) Im and Lowry (20th) in the World Rankings is Billy Horschel, and he ensures there are three entrants from the Worlds Top 20, even in a weaker field. There is then a definitive drop to Sepp Straka (31st), Aaron Wise (39th), and Alex Noren (40th) in terms of star power.

What this does do though, is open up opportunities for the rest of the field, which is where our sleepers and value picks for the 2023 Honda Classic will come in. Take some picks from further down the board, at 40-1 and bigger, in the hope of hitting a huge outright this week.

Before we get into the Sleepers and Value Picks for the 2023 Honda Classic, check out this offer from DraftKings Sportsbook. With the DraftKings promo code, you will bet $5, win $150 when your first Moneyline wager wins. That means you could boost Sungjae Im or Shane Lowry to an effective 30-1 today!

What is Required to Succeed at the 2023 Honda Classic?

Here are the top statistics to look at, ahead of the 2023 Genesis Invitational

  • SG: Tee to Green
  • Scrambling
  • Bermuda Putting

Last year, Sepp Straka ranked 4th in SG Tee to Green when winning here, but before him, each of the last four winners had led the field in SG Tee to Green the week they won.

Scrambling is also a huge factor on this challenging layout. You do not want to be missing too many greens at PGA National, as that is where you can get in trouble, but the best scramblers on the week typically place highly in this event. Of the 63 players to finish inside the top 5 over the past ten years here, 49 of them have ranked 25th or better in Scrambling for the week.

Good putting hasn't necessarily led to a good week here, as the last five winners ranked 4th, 28th, 38th, 38th, and 35th for SG Putting the week they won. I would say though, that being a positive putter on Bermuda Greens is important as we make the move to Florida for the first time this season.

Honda Classic Trends

To help you potentially unearth a strong value or sleeper pick for the 2023 Genesis Invitational, here are multiple trends that might help you narrow down your search criteria!

  • 11 of the past 12 winners of the Honda Classic have previously made the cut at least once in this event, suggesting four rounds of good knowledge here is important.
  • Each of the last 6 winners of the Honda Classic had finished T16 or better at least once on the recent West Coast swing
  • Of the 16 course winners since this event moved to PGA National, 10 of them have been from overseas.
  • Of the 16 course winners since this event moved to PGA National, 6 of them have been major champions. This shows how tough a test this is.
  • Four players have won both this event and the Sony Open since it moved to PGA National in 2007.

These trends suggest we are looking for:

  • A player who has made the cut in this event previously
  • A player who has recorded a top 16 or better this calendar year
  • International players in good form or those that have played well at the Sony Open should be considered

Do Sleeper and Value Picks Win the Honda Classic?

Here are the pre-tournament odds of the last 10 winners of the Honda Classic

2022 - Sepp Straka +12500

2021 - Matt Jones +7000

2020 - Sungjae Im +3500

2019 - Keith Mitchell +30000

2018 - Justin Thomas +1200

2017 - Rickie Fowler +1600

2016 - Adam Scott +2000

2015 - Padraig Harrington +40000

2014 - Russell Henley +30000

2013 - Michael Thompson +30000

As you can see from the list above, value and sleeper picks do win at the Honda Classic all the time, and with a weak field this year, we can expect the same. From 2016 to 2018 the better players in the field won, but either side of that, there have been plenty of shocks.

Value and Sleeper Selections for the 2023 Honda Classic

Here are my value and sleeper selections for the 2023 Honda Classic. All of these plays are +4000 or bigger in the outright market, in order to qualify for the value and sleeper pick criteria!

Jhonattan Vegas Outright +4000 (Claim a $50 Free Bet at DraftKings)

Jhonattan Vegas struggled with injury last year, but he's kicked off 2023 in solid fashion with three made cuts in four starts, two of which were top-25 finishes.

Vegas finished T25 at Torrey Pines and T23 at the Phoenix Open a start later. Just last week he made the cut in a tough Genesis Invitational, and despite finishing a lowly T53, impressed Tee to Green.

The Colombian ranked 5th in Ball Striking last week, ranking 5th for Driving Distance, 27th for Driving Accuracy, and 19th for Greens in Regulation, a solid effort. This translated into 20th in SG Approach and 17th in SG Tee to Green, and this was the third time in a row he has ranked inside the top 17 from SG Tee to Green.

A lot of his best work is being done off the tee, as he's ranked 9th, 4th and 6th in his last three events in SG Off the Tee, but if he can tidy up his short game, his irons are sharp enough to contend.

Vegas has 4th, 12th, and 16th place finishes in this event, among his 10 starts. In that time he has missed the weekend just once.

In a weak field, lean on the guy who is hitting the ball best from tee to green, and that is Vegas.

SH Kim +9000 (Claim a $50 Free Bet at DraftKings)

Seonghyeon Kim has impressed in his rookie season on the PGA Tour, and that can continue at PGA National.

This course looks like it could be a good fit, given his T12 finish at the Sony Open, and when you factor in a T20 finish at the Farmers as well, you have the combination of short course form, and form on a tougher layout, like Torrey Pines.

The Korean can follow in the footsteps of compatriots, Sungjae Im and Y.E. Yang before him, and make it the third South Korean to win on this golf course, since 2008.

Kim ranked 2nd in Driving Accuracy last week at Riviera, which if he can continue that here will be huge, and I think this is a good time for him to take the next step in his career.

A winner in Korea and Japan, and a runner-up on the Korn Ferry Tour, Kim can now start to add top finishes on the PGA Tour to his collection, as the fields thin out in this period.

Sam Stevens Outright +18000 (Claim a $50 Free Bet at DraftKings)

Lastly, I will take a real longshot in this field, as mini-tour hero Sam Stevens is set to play in his second Honda Classic.

Stevens Monday Qualified for this event last year, and through 36 holes found himself in 12th place and on the bubble of the all-important top 10.

Perhaps the occasion got the better of him at the weekend last year, or maybe the course just caught up with him, but this time around he will be better prepared should he be on and around the first page of the leaderboard again.

Stevens is playing well of late, after struggling to adjust to life at this level right out of the gate. In his past two events, Stevens has finished 13th at the Farmers Insurance Open and 34th at Pebble Beach, and after making the 54-hole cut at the American Express, that makes it three straight starts where he's made the weekend.

He likes playing in the South, as he's shown with his mini-tour victories, and I would not be shocked to see him contend for the first time at this level, now the field has dropped off in quality.

Article Author

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Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!

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