The Hero World Challenge Predictions, Betting Odds, Top Picks

  • Tiger Woods doesn’t play but once again hosts the annual event
  • Henrik Stenson defends the trophy he won in 2019 after last year’s event was canceled
  • The field returns to Albany in the Bahamas

The Hero World Challenge Odds

Odds taken from BetMGM

Player Odds
Collin Morikawa +700
Rory McIlroy +750
Justin Thomas +1000
Bryson DeChambeau +1100
Viktor Hovland +1100
Xander Schauffele +1200
Jordan Spieth +1400
Abraham Ancer +1600
Sam Burns +1600
Scottie Scheffler +1600

The Hero World Challenge Picks

Xander Schauffele each way in the outright at +1200 with Caesar’s Sportsbook

Tony Finau each way in the outright at +2000 with bet365

Patrick Reed in the first round leader market at +2000 with Caesar’s Sportsbook

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Hero World Challenge

The Hero World Challenge Predictions

Just 20 golfers to consider this week, but what the field lacks for in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.

In fact, with the fairly obvious exception of the tournament host Tiger Woods, there’s a good argument for saying that this year’s field is one of the best-assembled.

The tournament began in 2000 and has been played every year until last December when Covid prompted its cancellation – Hernik Stenson, therefore, defends the trophy he won in superb style two years ago.

It will be a sixth visit to Albany in the Bahamas (previously the tournament had been played in Arizona, California and Florida) and the Ernie Els design has proved popular.

The South African is a big fan of links golf and it has impacted on many of his designs so naturally there is an element of the original form of the game in this test.

But the grainy Bermuda grass means that, while there may be many swales and hollows around the greens which look visually links-like, it is difficult to actually play the ball along the turf with any degree of trust.

It’s a common problem with these links-like tracks, but not an insurmountable one for punters.

So, instead of looking for pure links performers, look for golfers who play these pastiches well. Think Kiawah Island, Plantation in Hawaii, maybe El Camaleon in Mexico and Grand Reserve in Puerto Rico.

Also note that this is a course that begs to be attacked.

There are not the normal four, but five, par-5s, and there are also two short par-4s. Big-hitters can have a real crack at these holes and it’s not uncommon to see multiple eagles on a card.

At the same time, keep a close eye on the weather forecast because the wind really can get up and it is a strong defender of a score.

XS Can Go Extra Large

With a very different field this week let’s make it two picks in the outright and first up is Xander Schauffele

The first line of argument is the fact that the course demands to be attacked, drawing thoughts of another layout just like that – TPC Scottsdale, the regular host of the Phoenix Open. Past winners here at Albany have a good record there, too.

Bubba Watson won here in 2015 and has twice finished runner-up in Arizona.

He was succeeded by Hideki Matsuyama who is a double-winner at Scottsdale.

Rickie Fowler won in 2017 and is another past winner in Phoenix.

Then there is the 2018 champion, Jon Rahm, who is 6-for-6 at making the top 20 in the early season event in the state he went to college at.

Schauffele is another golfer who has always enjoyed Scottsdale, landing four top 20s and he was second to Brooks Koepka this year.

He’s also a past winner at Plantation in the Tournament of Champions, another layout that suits an attacking long game and one which also has a small, elite field with no cut.

He’s on record as saying he enjoys such events.

“I think if I’m playing well and I get into these no-cut events, there’s a chance that subconsciously I’m sort of freewheeling it,” he said at this year’s CJ Cup.

I’ll take more risk and not really feel any pressure to pull it off because I know there’s no penalty in the end.

Take him each way in the outright with Caesar’s Sportsbook offering +1200 and paying five places.

Back Big Tony

If Tony Finau can get off to a good start he looks like he has the game for this week’s test.

On debut at the course in 2018 his first-round score of 72 left him T13th, but thereafter he flew home with laps of 64, 67 and 69 earning him second place.

A year later he had even more problems in round one – a 79 left him last in the field.

But again he responded in style, carding 68, 69, 65 to race through the pack for T10th.

He’s had his difficulties at TPC Scottsdale, but he blew away those cobwebs with the second place there in 2020.

A winner this year, and also a winner in Puerto Rico (so island resort golf won’t faze him) he’s available at +2000 with bet365.

Reed to Start Fast

The books are a little sceptical of Patrick Reed’s chances this week and you can see why.

He’s landed just one top 30 in five starts, he will be asked questions about a rules infringement two years ago, and he will be facing a lot of players he has an issue with from past Ryder Cups (in a close-knit environment).

For a normal player those factors might distract, but Reed rarely seems bothered by such problems.

What’s more, he has a very fine record on the course, playing it five times and never finishing worse than T11th.

That will attract some in the outright, but I like his price in round one.

He tied the first round lead in both the last two years and he’s also gone sub-67 in five of his last eight laps of the course. That’s a consistent ability to go low.

He’s on offer at +2000 each way (four places) with Caesar’s Sportsbook to set the pace again.

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How to Watch The Hero World Challenge

The Hero World Challenge Information
Tournament The Hero World Challenge
Location Albany, The Bahamas
Time Thursday, December 2 – Sunday, December 5
How to watch Thursday & Friday 5.30pm, 8pm & 10.30pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday 12pm, 6pm & 11.30pm ET (Golf Channel) & Sunday 11am, 5pm & 11pm ET (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.

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Matt Cooper

Expert on Golf

Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]