Sentry Tournament of Champions: Justin Thomas, Sungjae Im Popular Bets Ahead of Event

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Sungjae Im, of South Korea, smiles after a birdie at the first green during the third round of the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club, in New Providence, Bahamas, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022.
(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable Jan 03, 2023, 4:54 PM

After a few weeks off, the PGA Tour will return Jan. 5-8 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions from The Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. 

And with an invite-only field of 39 players (winners from the 2022 calendar year and those who qualified for the Tour Championship), it’s a great week for golf betting.

Warm and calm conditions and a relatively easy course typically lead to very low scores. Since 2015, the winning score has been better than 20-under every year except for one, and Cameron Smith won last year’s event with a tournament record score of 34-under.

As of Tuesday at the BetMGM online sportsbook, Justin Thomas, who has golf odds of +1100 to win, is the most popular play, pulling in the most bets (14.5%) and most handle (23.9). Sungjae Im (+2000) is right behind him with 13.5% of the tickets and 16.9% of the handle.

These are players who make a ton of birdies and have the ability to go low every time they tee it up.

During the 2021-22 season, Thomas was second on Tour in birdie or better percentage (26.32%). He also has a great record at the event, winning twice (2017 and 2020) and holding the tournament record for a single round with a 61 in last year’s third round.

Im’s popularity is also likely tied to how he’s played in his two appearances.

He’s finished in the top 10 both times, and in 2021 he led the field from tee to green, but a poor putting week led him to a T-5 finish. Im is putting much better of late and, at +2000, has better value than most other players.

It should also be noted past history at the tournament shows the favorites usually come out on top. The last five winners had 14-1 odds or shorter.

Current Handle & Tickets

Handle

  1. Justin Thomas – 23.9%
  2. Sungjae Im – 16.9%
  3. Xander Schauffele – 14.9%
  4. Scottie Scheffler – 7.4%
  5. Cameron Young – 6.6%

Tickets

  1. Justin Thomas – 14.5%
  2. Sungjae Im – 13.5%
  3. Xander Schauffele – 11.5%
  4. Viktor Hovland– 7.1%
  5. Scottie Scheffler – 5%

Jon Rahm (+650) is the betting favorite but is only drawing 3.8% of tickets and 3.7% of handle.

Xander Schauffele (+1100) is another popular player considering his recent form at the event. He has three straight top-5 finishes, including a win in 2019. His ability to make birdies in bunches will serve him well.

The tournament is the first elevated event on the PGA Tour and has a purse of $15 million.

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About the Author

Ryan Hannable

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Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”