The PGA Tour won't hold its next official event until early January, but that doesn't mean its unofficial events are any less star-studded. Tiger Woods is on hand at Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas as his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts the 2021 Hero World Challenge. Play tees off Thursday with an exclusive, 20-man field consisting of the game's elite golfers. Woods, still recovering from a February car crash, won't play but his mere presence should be inspiring for both the Hero World Challenge 2021 field and fans in attendance.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who is coming off a tour win in October, is the 8-1 favorite in the latest 2021 Hero World Challenge odds per Caesars Sportsbook. Behind him are other major champions including Collin Morikawa (9-1), Justin Thomas (10-1) and Jordan Spieth (14-1). Spieth is one of two former winners of this tournament in the field alongside defending champion Henrik Stenson who is a 66-1 long shot. With such a top-heavy field, be sure to check out the predictions and projected leaderboard from SportsLine's advanced computer model before locking in your 2021 Hero World Challenge picks.
SportsLine's proprietary model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, has been red-hot since the PGA Tour resumed in June of 2020. In fact, it's up almost $10,000 on its best bets since that point, nailing tournament after tournament.
Earlier this month at the 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, the model was all over Viktor Hovland (18-1) winning his third PGA Tour title.
At the 2021 Open Championship, McClure's best bets included Collin Morikawa winning outright even though he was listed as a massive 40-1 long shot. He was also all over Daniel Berger (+220) and Emiliano Grillo (+700) finishing inside the top-20. McClure's best bets netted over $2,200 at the 2021 Open Championship.
In addition, McClure's model was all over Jon Rahm's (10-1) first career major championship victory at the 2021 U.S. Open. Rahm was two strokes off the lead heading into the weekend, but the model still projected him as the winner. And at the 2021 Masters, McClure nailed Rahm's (+250) top-five finish in his best bets, as well as Corey Conners' (+550) top-10 showing.
This same model has also nailed a whopping seven majors entering the weekend. Anyone who has followed it has seen massive returns.
Now that the 2021 Hero World Challenge field is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times, and the results were surprising. Head to SportsLine now to see the projected 2021 Hero World Challenge leaderboard.
The model's top 2021 Hero World Challenge predictions
One major surprise the model is calling for at the 2021 Hero World Challenge: McIlroy, a 34-time professional winner and the Vegas favorite in this event at 8-1, stumbles and finishes outside of the top three. Expectations are high since he won his only PGA event this season thus far, taking first in the CJ Cup at Summit last month.
But, while he was regularly in contention, he only picked up one outright win last season on the PGA Tour. His driving accuracy last season was a bit sporadic (57.4 percent) as well and he finished outside the top 65 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting and around the green. The model doesn't like his value as the favorite in this loaded 2021 Hero World Challenge field.
Another surprise: Sam Burns, a 16-1 long shot, makes a strong run at being the 2021 Hero World Challenge champion. Just three golfers in the field have won a PGA Tour event in the 2021-22 season and Burns is one of them. He won the Sanderson Farms Championship in October and has two other top-10s since then.
Burns' strong play has him in second place in the FedEx Cup standings. And even though the Hero World Challenge 2021 doesn't award FedEx Cup points, that should undoubtedly give him confidence entering play.
Burns ranked ninth in strokes gained: putting last year but now he's improved his strokes when getting to the green. He is first in strokes gained: tee-to-green (2.071) and fourth in strokes gained: approaching the green (1.145). Low scores are needed to win at Albany Golf Course and Burns' well-rounded game is the recipe for success. He has a much better chance to win it all than his odds imply, so he's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday.
How to make 2021 Hero World Challenge picks
The model is also targeting two other golfers with odds of 16-1 or higher who will make surprising runs. Anyone who backs these long shots could hit it big. You can only see them here.
So who will win the Hero World Challenge 2021? And which long shots stun the golfing world? Check out the odds below and then visit SportsLine to see the projected 2021 Hero World Challenge leaderboard, all from the model that's nailed seven golf majors and is up almost $10,000 since the restart.
2021 Hero World Challenge odds
Rory McIlroy 8-1
Collin Morikawa 9-1
Justin Thomas 10-1
Viktor Hovland 11-1
Xander Schauffele 12-1
Bryson DeChambeau 12-1
Jordan Spieth 14-1
Sam Burns 16-1
Tony Finau 16-1
Scottie Scheffler 16-1
Daniel Berger 18-1
Webb Simpson 18-1
Brooks Koepka 20-1
Abraham Ancer 20-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 22-1
Justin Rose 22-1
Patrick Reed 25-1
Tyrrell Hatton 28-1
Harris English 33-1
Henrik Stenson 66-1