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McIlroy a Heavy Favorite in Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy

As the eyes of the golfing world shift to Florida for the 44th edition of the Honda Classic, a star-studded field awaits at Palm Beach Gardens. With so many capable golfers in the mix, there’s one man sportsbooks are clearly worried about: Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy is a healthy +550 favorite to claim the crown at Bovada. To put that into perspective, Rickie Fowler (+1200), Adam Scott (+1800), Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) and Patrick Reed (+1800) round out the top five at the shop. But does that mean Rory is a lock? It’s never easy to count out the Northern Irishman, however, sharp bettors would be wise to look elsewhere for value this weekend.

The world No. 3 golfer blew up in the final round at the Northern Trust Open last week, bogeying eight times while shooting a 75 despite entering Sunday two shots back of the lead. McIlroy did win this event in 2012, but he withdrew in 2013 due to a toothache (a controversial decision at the time) and led wire-to-wire in 2014 before losing in a playoff to Russell Henley. He did not make the cut last year.

This event is renowned for its blustery conditions, something that doesn’t favor McIlroy – a player who’s never fared especially well in poor weather.

In an event that seems to be geared towards outsiders, Reed will be a tempting pick for many. Reed, A.K.A. the villain of the PGA, has two top 10 finishes to his name in the young season and could easily walk away with the hardware if he can get off to another strong start.

We’re getting more and more used to seeing world No. 5 Fowler near the top of leaderboards, however, the young gun hasn’t been on the Tour since his late collapse at the Phoenix Open three weeks ago. Will he use that disappointing finish as motivation and come out strong, or will he show some rust? Only time will tell, and it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Last year’s champion, Padraig Harrington, is all the way down the board at +9000. Harrington came out of nowhere to come out on top in 2015, but has seemingly found his confidence again and has played well as of late. It’s a long shot, but that’s some tremendous value considering his comfort with the course.

Speaking of long shots, how about Camilo Villegas? Villegas, who’s available for a price of +12500, won at the Honda Classic in 2010 and finished in 16th last year due to third and fourth rounds of 67 and 68. A sprinkle on Camilo could pay off big time for those brave enough to do so.

For some reason, this course has not been kind to Americans in recent years. Overseas players have won 12 of the last 22 editions of the tournament including six of the last nine.

Who are you backing this weekend? Let us know in the comment section below.

2016 Honda Classic Odds

Odds as of February 23 at Bovada

  • Rory McIlroy +550
  • Rickie Fowler +1200
  • Adam Scott +1800
  • Hideki Matsuyama +1800
  • Patrick Reed +1800
  • Phil Mickelson +2000
  • Branden Grace +2500
  • Brooks Koepka +2800
  • Kevin Kisner +3300
  • Russel Knox +3300
  • Jimmy Walker +4000
  • Paul Casey +4000
  • Sergio Garcia +4000
  • Zach Johnson +4000
  • Shane Lowry +5000
  • Graeme McDowell +5500
  • Justin Thomas +5500
  • Luke Donald +5500
  • Ryan Palmer +5500
  • Brendan Steele +6600
  • Daniel Berger +6600
  • David Lingmerth +6600
  • Fredrik Jacobson +6600
  • Jason Dufner +7000
  • Jason Kokrak +7000
  • Webb Simpson +7000
  • Emiliano Grillo +7500
  • Keegan Bradley +7500
  • Andy Sullivan +8000
  • Gary Woodland +8000
  • Jonas Blixt +8000
  • Martin Laird +8000
  • Ian Poulter +9000
  • Jamie Lovemark +9000
  • Matt Jones +9000
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick +9000
  • Padraig Harrington +9000
  • Russell Henley +9000
  • Billy Horschel +10000
  • Boo Weekley +10000
  • Patrick Rodgers +10000
  • Adam Hadwin +12500
  • Bernd Wiesberger +12500
  • Brian Harman +12500
  • Camilo Villegas +12500
  • Charles Howell III +12500
  • Graham DeLaet +12500
  • Jamie Donaldson +12500
  • Patton Kizzire +12500
  • Scott Piercy +12500
  • Tony Finau +12500
  • William McGirt +12500
  • Anirban Lahiri +15000
  • Ben Martin +15000
  • Chris Kirk +15000
  • Ernie Els +15000
  • Fabian Gomez +15000
  • Harold Varner +15000
  • Jason Bohn +15000
  • John Huh +15000
  • Robert Streb +15000
  • Si Woo Kim +15000
  • Will Wilcox +15000
  • Zac Blair +15000
  • Cameron Tringale +17500
  • Daniel Summerhays +17500
  • Francesco Molinari +17500
  • Jim Herman +17500
  • Sean O'Hair +17500
  • Seung-Yul Noh +17500
  • Smylie Kaufman +17500
  • Ben Crane +20000
  • Chad Campbell +20000
  • Chris Stroud +20000
  • Colt Knost +20000
  • David Hearn +20000
  • Geoff Ogilvy +20000
  • Hudson Swafford +20000
  • Jeff Overton +20000
  • Jerry Kelly +20000
  • Lucas Glover +20000
  • Morgan Hoffmann +20000
  • Ollie Schniederjans +20000
  • Ricky Barnes +20000
  • Rory Sabbatini +20000
  • Spencer Levin +20000
  • Tyrone Van Aswegen +20000

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