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Hero World Challenge 2021 picks: Why our experts' favourite bet is Justin Thomas

Every time you think the golf season is about to shut down, another tournament pops up, and thus, another betting opportunity. This week, it’s the 2021 Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, which features a 20-man field that includes some of the biggest names in golf.

Unfortunately, with a smaller field, you’re going to have to pay a premium on some of the top guys. There are only a handful of players north of 20-1, so this isn’t the week to sprinkle some units on a few longshots. Make one or two stands on some of the favourites, and sit back and enjoy.

That said, there’s still some value to be found on certain players in the high teens/low 20s range. Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka, with five majors between them, are two names that might pop on the odds board for you. A few names were popular bets by our betting panel this week, which is looking to close the year out with another victory.

Read on to see who we like this week at the 2021 Hero World Challenge.
 
Hero World Challenge 2021 picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Sam Burns (16-1) — Burns has been the best player this fall, period. He wants to prove that he belongs among golf’s elite, and here he is, on the range with the best players in the world. To win this event cements him as an American star, and I believe he’s hungry to get there.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Patrick Reed (25-1) — This is an all-value play for me. A player of Reed’s caliber should not be 25-1 in a 20-person field, even if his recent form suggests otherwise.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Daniel Berger (18-1) — Berger didn’t fare well here a few years ago but is a much better golfer now. Has some of the best long-term irons in the field.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Justin Thomas (11-1) — We are starting to see Thomas’ game round into form, coming off a third-place finish in Mayakoba in his last start. His advanced metrics are true to his DNA, gaining at least two strokes on approach in six consecutive measured events, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. With no cut in Albany, he’ll be guaranteed four rounds, which is a tournament structure that has been present for the majority of his PGA Tour victories.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Justin Thomas (11-1) — This is a generous number. In win simulations on RickRunGood.com, JT wins this event the most: 12.5 percent of the time, giving him the best value in this field. You’ve probably bet him in a full-field event at a similar price; it’s an easy case to be made for JT.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Sam Burns (16-1) — Given his recent form and the fact he absolutely feasts on Bermuda greens, Burns easily has the most value at the top of this odds board. Unfortunately, I wasn’t on him at Sanderson like the rest of the gambling community, so this is my shot at making amends.

Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Justin Thomas (11-1, Caesar’s Sportsbook) — Thomas comes into this event ranked fourth in the FanShare Sports' course-suitability ranking and first for strokes gained/total over the past two years in this field. He also ranks top six for SG/total over the past two months, Opportunities Gained over the past two months and SG/total at Albany.

Hero World Challenge 2021 picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)

Caddie: Bryson DeChambeau (10-1) — If you believe his comments at The Match that his game is a mess, it’s tough to envision betting him at this number.

Mayo: Rory McIlroy (7-1) — He’s had plenty of chances in Albany before, but I can’t bet him as the favorite.

Gdula: Rory McIlroy (7-1) — The field is small, and scoring will go low, so it’ll be hard for the chalk to win. I’d rather take better odds with Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, or even Jordan Spieth at the top.

Gehman: Tony Finau (16-1) — Since his victory at The Northern Trust, Finau has struggled to find consistent results. In his last start, he missed the cut in Houston and continued to struggle on the putting greens. Over his last three measured events, he’s lost a total of 13.27 strokes putting. There doesn’t appear to be a reprieve in sight in Albany, which features Bermudagrass greens -- Finau’s worst surface.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Jordan Spieth (11-1) — Spieth is returning to golf post-baby this week, and odds are, he hasn’t been grinding on the range in between diaper changes. I’m sure this will be a nice week for him to work on his game … which was a bit hit or miss the last times we saw him (he lost strokes on approach in four of his last five events, per Fantasy National).

Powers, Golf Digest: Brooks Koepka (25-1) — This is just me telling myself to not bet on him for the seemingly fifth time this fall. Usually, at 20-1 or higher, Brooks is an auto-smash, especially in a 20-man field, but after disposing of Bryson in Vegas I don’t think his care meter will register again until April.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Brooks Koepka (25-1) — He may be fresh off smashing Bryson DeChambeau in Vegas but Koepka ranks bottom five in this field for Course Suitability, SG/total over the last two months, Opportunities Gained over the last two months, SG/total over the last two years and SG/putting on Bermuda over the last two months.

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