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Honda Classic picks, tips and stats guide

The Honda Classic sees the strongest strokeplay field of the year so far and PGA National - one of the toughest par 70s on the calender - will examine just where their games are at. My picks this week for the Honda classic will follow a home based theme in the main, as looking at past leaderboards shows a link between players that reside in close proximity featuring prominently, and some of them you may not match to the track when profiling a potential winner....


Nicspicks Honda Classic man to beat: Rory McIlroy 9/1

Potential steamers: Graeme McDowell 25/1

Follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks for more tips and insight

The Course - PGA National par 70; length: 7,110 yards

Key features: Prominent water hazards on numerous holes, "generous landing areas", "spacious and accepting TifEagle greens" averaging 6,400 sq ft, rebuilt bunkers. The term "mud ball" was thrown around on Twitter at the weekend referring to a K. Bradley drive in practice that had some backspin, so conditions may be soft this week!

Premium on: Course management, Par 4 performance, bogey avoidance, scrambling

Notes: The "Bear Trap" at the Honda Classic is one of the toughest stretches of holes in golf. A trifecta of holes 15 through 17 with two water-lined par 3s and a par 4 where you must commit to your shot, and there are no bail out areas according to one Tiger Woods. Jack Niclaus himself says it's where the tournament is always won and lost (cumulatively over 4 days).

Honda Classic Selections ( prices from members email)

Pick #1: Graeme McDowell 25/1

Course form: 9-9-6-31; current form: 8-7-6 #simmering

Key stats: (2013) - Scrambling 30th; Driving accuracy: 15th

Other: Gave a masterclass in scrambling and stick-ability in the matchplay last week - two key attributes needed for PGA National. Florida resident and used to Bermuda grass.

Pick #2: Sergio Garcia 25/1

Course form: 50-13-43; current form: 16-1-19-1-2

Key stats: ball striking 32nd; Par 4 performance: 32nd; all-round: 9th

Other: seems to be a lot happier in himself and has the tee to green game needed for PGA National. Warmed up nicely at Dove Mountain.

Pick #3: Rickie Fowler 35/1

Course form: 13-7-mc; current form: 3-mc-mc

Key stats: 2nd in proximity to the hole in 2014

Other: Played some of the best golf at the matchplay after declaring his game was very close the week previous. Swing changes taking effect and flat stick looks better. Lives pretty much down the road from the Honda Classic venue in Jupiter and practices a lot in that area, mainly at Medalist GC.

Pick #4: Luke Donald 50/1

Course form: 10-2-46; current form: 64-57-37

Key stats: scrambling: 22nd; Total putting: 5th

Other: Another that resides in close proximity to the course in Palm Beach Gardens and knows it well. Been practicing there since an early knockout at the matchplay.

He said: "my game is close, excited for the next 3 weeks. #GoingHome"

Pick #5: Louis Oosthuizen 55/1

Course form: mc-wd-mc; current form: 8-mc-1-14

Key stats: n/a

Other: Another who lives in the vicinity along with good mate Schwartzel when on US soil and a tough one to gauge as his form here tells a bad story. 69 in round 1 last year though followed by a 76 and MC but a few errant shots can cost you big at PGA National. Louis played smart golf around a tight track when winning at the Volvo champions and looked to be striking it lovely in the matchplay.

Others from the shortlist include Peter Hanson 100/1 and Camillo Villegas at 150/1 - neither of which I can leave out. Local resident Camillo used to 'own' this course before his cycling took over from his golf but with some recent rededication, another fast start is a possibility so the FRL market appeals. Hanson is 9/1 with Boyles and Paddys for a top 10 and this is a course that suits the big Swede (13thlast year on debut) who looks like he's about to hit first gear. Brian Harman and last year's 54 hole (tied) leader Luke Guthrie just miss out.

Honda Classic finalised staking plan (prices from members email)

1u ew Graeme McDowell @ 25/1 (1-6)
1u ew Sergio Garcia @ 25/1 (1-6)
1u ew Rickie Fowler @ 35/1 (1-6)
0.75u ew Luke Donald @ 50/1 (1-6)
0.75u ew L. Oosthuizen @ 55/1 (1-6)
1.5u Peter Hanson top 10 @ 9/1
0.5u ew C. Villegas 1st RL @ 100/1 (general)

Betfred, Skybet and PP paying 1-6 places *prices reduced due to J. Rose withdrawal

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Golf Player Profiles



Please note that player attribute ratings are derived from the official PGA Tour and European Tour golf stats, and updated with a rolling average each golf betting year for precision.


Bryan Nicholson is the pioneer of the progressive form and course fit ratings for golf betting, with the associated progressive form model and course fit profiling model. Bryan is the author of the increasingly popular annual course fit profiling manual and #1 golf betting book Angles & Edges and runs the Sharp Sports Bettors Blog.

What is expected Strokes Gained Course Fit ?

Bryan also pioneered the concept of Expected Strokes Gained Course Fit (xSGF) in golf betting. xSGF can be predicted using my model below. For prospective golf betting tips it projects ahead of time how many shots a player is expected to pick up per round on average on a particular golf course. It's weighed against a neutral golf course of the same rating. For example: Sam Horsfield at Celtic Manor vs TPC Southwind. This number will also portray ability level in terms of strokes gained total. Click "find out more" under the course fit golf betting model for info.

Golf Betting Tips Model

Note: all the most accurate up to date player and course data to input into this interactive golf betting model is in the NicsPicks Course Fit Manual 2022


My course fit profiling model for golf betting tips uses highly evolved golf nuance and betting intuition, precise parameters and inputs based on Bayesian analysis, plus years of empirical evidence through observing, betting and documenting golf and stats... find out more

What is Progressive Form in Golf Betting?

Progressive form in golf betting differs from current form in that players are showing a trend in the right direction in their recent scoring. Trending form has a high predictive value in golf betting and can also catch players under the radar at an inflated price vs their true betting odds. For example - a player shows form of T40 - 24 - 24, but last week he was in the leading PGA Tour group on Sunday with Tiger Woods and had a bad round due to nerves. His finishing position may not fully capture his actual form... See more with our calculators and betting tools

Progressive Form Golf Betting Model



To check the latest player finishing positions for golf betting tips see the official world golf rankings and search/click a golfer. Input these numbers into the interactive golf model above, following the guide.

Winning Golf Betting Tips:


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Ross McGowan 400/80 to 1 (place), Tony Finau 50/1, Cam Champ 125/1, Cam Davis 125/1, Matt Jones 80/1 and FRL, Max Homa 60/1, Dean Burmester 55/1, Sam Burns 80/1, KH Lee 200/1, Sergio Garcia 70/1 (FRL), Thorbjorn Olesen 45/1 (FRL), Stewart Cink 150/1, Lucas Herbert 175/1 and 60/1

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