Usually, by this time of year, golf betting is reserved for only the true golf sickos. Most casual fans have turned their attention to their other sports or are gearing up for the busy holiday season. But when Tiger Woods is teeing it up, all eyes and all the action are on him. The Hero World Challenge is the first stop on Woods’s latest comeback tour. The 20-player, no-cut event in The Bahamas may not have the same prestige and hype as other tournaments, but it will no doubt be the talk of the sports world when Thursday morning rolls around. The structure of the event means there are limited bets to make, but here are a few wagers to consider.
Max Homa to win +750
Max Homa to finish top five +115
Entering the event as the seventh-ranked player in the world, Max Homa is fresh off collecting his ninth professional win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. The win made it five top-10 finishes in five of six events for Homa, dating back to the Open Championship in July. Mix in an impressive Ryder Cup debut at Marco Simone, where he went 3-1-1 and led Team USA in points, and it can be argued Homa is playing the best golf of his career. The only real concern is that at this event last year, he finished in 17th place and was one of six players who finished the tournament over par. But since last year, Homa has raised his game and is now consistently contending week in and week out. I think he has a very good chance to win, but sprinkle in a top-five wager (at plus money) for some insurance.
Justin Thomas to win +1600
Justin Thomas top finish top five +200
After a highly profiled, up-and-down (mostly down) season, winning his final start of the year would be a good way for Justin Thomas to turn the page on 2023. As most fans know, Thomas missed the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time in his career and was a contentious captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. However, since missing the postseason, Thomas has played some pretty good golf. He finished fifth at the Fortinet Championship in September, won his singles match at the Ryder Cup and finished fourth at the DP World Tour’s Nedbank Championship. He finished top five at this event in 2022, so he should have some good vibes teeing it up at the Albany Golf Course.
Tiger Woods better finishing position than Will Zalatoris +107
I know there is a group of Tiger fans who are always, no matter what, going to bet on him to win every time he tees it up. And look, he is +5000 (50 to 1) in a field of just 20 golfers, those are intriguing odds. But I like this bet more.
Tiger Woods isn’t the only player making his return to action this week. Will Zalatoris will tee it up for the first time since the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March. Zalatoris has been recovering from a microdiscectomy, a procedure Woods once had, to address his lingering back issues. Neither of these players have been active, and while Zalatoris has youth on his side, Tiger Woods is … well Tiger Woods. I feel like this is a good middle ground for a Woods wager. We don’t need him to win, we just need him to beat one guy, a guy who is also making his first start in multiple months. Add in the fact we are getting plus money on this matchup bet and this feels like a fun way to have some action on the tournament host.