The 2022 Hero World Challenge kicks off at 11:00 a.m. ET on Thursday with a small yet star-packed field, even without Tiger Woods teeing off.
All 20 players playing in the event, which will be held at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, rank in the top 35 in the world, so expect some stiff competition.
World No. 5 golfer Jon Rahm comes into the tourney as the betting favorite (+500), but I’m targeting a few players with longer odds to win outright this weekend.
Here are three winner picks to consider before play starts Thursday morning. The event can be seen on Golf Channel and streamed on Peacock.
2022 Hero World Challenge predictions and golf picks to win outright
Tony Finau (+900, FanDuel)
We’re riding the hot hand with this one. Finau had previously been notorious for coming close to big wins but falling short. While he’s yet to win his first major, Finau has started to turn around that reputation of late.
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The 33-year-old has three wins in his past seven starts, including a wire-to-wire win at the Houston Open last time he took the course. He ranks No. 1 in this field in Total Strokes Gained and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green over his last 48 rounds. There’s no one playing better than Finau right now. It’s worth throwing a few units on him this weekend in case this run continues.
Viktor Hovland (+1600, FanDuel)
This is a puzzlingly high number for the defending Hero World champion. Hovland took home the title in Albany in 2021, posting an 18-under score and edging out Scottie Scheffler by one stroke. He comes into Thursday tied with Sungjae Im for the seventh-best odds to win the tournament over at BetMGM.
It’s not clear why Hovland is outside the group of Rahm, Scheffler and Finau with odds better than 10/1. Aside from the Norwegian being the defending champ, he’s also playing solid golf recently. He ranks fourth in Total Strokes Gained over his last 12 rounds. Hovland has also finished in the top 25 in six of his past seven starts after a rough patch late last spring and early summer. Hovland is the move to make if you’re looking for value but aren’t keen on throwing your weight behind a long shot.
Max Homa (+2000, FanDuel)
If you’re looking for a slightly bigger gamble, Max Homa is your guy. Homa isn’t as big of a name as the two golfers above, but he’s arguably just as talented. He’s finished in the top 25 in each of his three starts this fall, including a win at the Fortinet Championship for the second-straight year.
Homa finished the 2022 season fifth in the FedEx Cup standings and currently sits at No. 7. Last year was the first time Homa finished inside the top 30 in the rankings, so it’s possible that oddsmakers have yet to include the 32-year-old among the top golfers in the world despite three wins dating back to last season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Homa take home the trophy this weekend. At +2000, it’s worth a shot.