Cognizant Classic 2024 picks and best bets for PGA Tour golf this week

The Honda Classic - Final Round
The Honda Classic - Final Round / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

Who among us isn't familiar with the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches? Sure, most golf fans know it as the ever-present Honda Classic, but the return to PGA National for the 2024 PGA Tour season has a new sponsor. The course and the tournament, more importantly including how we plan to attack our picks and best bets for the week, isn't changing.

The formula to win at PGA National and, thus, contend at this week's Cognizant Classic is tried and true. Be strong with wedges and short irons, be effective as a scrambler, and putt well on Bermuda grass. And while we have a heavy favorite with past champion Rory McIlroy returning, the real value this week for our picks and best bets is actually further down the board.

Where will these picks take us this week for the 2024 Cognizant Classic? We have some ideas after a tantalizing but overall frustrating week in Mexico but are primed to bounce back with our Cognizant Classic picks and best bets.

Note: All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook unless otherwise noted. Odds will be updated when made available. For more betting picks and advice, check out BetSided.

Golf betting record in 2024 through Mexico: 7-41-0, -4.03 Units (1-15 on outrights and longshots | -1.3 units at Mexico) | One and Done Total for 2024: $1,394,462 (Taylor Pendrith at Mexico, $0)

PGA Tour expert picks for Cognizant Classic: Winner, Top 10 and One and Done

Top 10 pick for the Cognizant Classic: Eric Cole (+300)

Who else but Eric Cole at this point? Last year at PGA National, Cole was in the midst of his coming-out party in what eventually became a PGA Tour Rookie of the Year-winning season, finishing runner-up to Chris Kirk. He's only continued his stellar form for the past year. His elite approach play and the lack of need to consistently be in the middle of the fairway plays perfectly at this course, especially with how he putts. I love this number for just a Top 10 as he's been one of the five best players in this field based on the play over the past year.

Outright Winner pick for the Cognizant Classic (0.5 Units): Sepp Straka (+4500)

Understanding that Sepp Straka hasn't necessarily been playing his best golf lately, he has been trending somewhat quietly and is now coming to a place where he's registered a win and T5 finish in his last two starts. And his recent form suggests he's ready to contend again at tremendous value. Straka is well above tour average in proximity in 2024 from 150-200 yards, which is a key range here, while also gaining 0.43 strokes on approach over his last 16 rounds and, while he's lost strokes on approach, he's gained on the greens three of the five times he's played PGA National, including the last two. It's a bit longer odds, but I love his form.

One and Done pick for the Cognizant Classic: Sepp Straka

Sticking my neck out a bit when it comes to the One and Done with Straka at 45/1 but it makes a ton of sense. Even going beyond his last two Top 5 finishes, he's not finished worse than T33 in his last four trips to PGA National. That's a high enough floor with high enough upside for me to take the risk after getting blanked last week with Pendrith in Mexico.

Cognizant Classic picks: More best bets for PGA Tour

Matthieu Pavon to finish Top 10 at the Cognizant Classic (+450)

Remember the number I said about 150-200 yards proximity? Guess who leads every golfer in 2024 on the PGA Tour in that metric? You guessed it, it's Matthieu Pavon, the winner at The Farmers who followed that up with a Top 3 finish the next week at Pebble Beach. Prior to that, he was also T7 at the Sony and Waialae is an easy comp for PGA National. He's fifth in this field in strokes gained approach over the last 16 rounds (1.12) and has been gaining 1.47 strokes putting over that span. His game should fit this place beautifully and I love this number on a Top 10.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout to finish Top 20 at the Cognizant Classic (+250)

Sticking with the theme of approach play, the best player in this field over the last 16 rounds in strokes gained is Christiaan Bezuidenhout at 1.35. He's dialed in coming into greens right now and has quietly been stringing together consistent Top 30 finishes. He also has a T42 and T25 at PGA National over the past two years. At a place where he won't be penalized for his lack of length off of the tee, I like the South African to come up with a Top 20.

Sepp Straka to finish Top 20 at the Cognizant Classic (+200)

Look, this isn't the most exciting card, but I want both exposure and a safety net with Straka. Even if he doesn't win this week, I love the way he's trending right now with his recent form and that marries perfectly with his history at this event. So getting +200 for a Top 20 finish seems like tremendous value that could really help us capitalize on him this week.

Longshot Pick to win the Cognizant Classic (0.1 Units): Carson Young (+12500, DraftKings)

Carson Young was a player who popped quite a bit last year and was a real dark horse almost weekly. He is one of the best in this field on approach from 100-200 yards in terms of proximity to the hole on such shots and has gained over a stroke ball striking over his last 16 rounds. After a T8 finish in Mexico to continue some trending form, these odds are too long and we're going to take advantage.

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