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March Madness extends to the PGA Tour for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.
The designated event boasts a strong field in its final year on the schedule, as 64 of the top 77 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will tee it up. Justin Thomas is the only notable player choosing to skip the event. The 64 players are broken into 16 groups of four for pool play, with the winner of each group advancing to the final 16 in a sudden death bracket format. Last year, Scottie Scheffler — at 18-1 odds — picked up his third PGA Tour victory, defeating Kevin Kisner 4 & 3 in the championship match.
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Betting Tips
These are the advance rates for each seed over the six years this event has been held at Austin Country Club.
Top Seed: 33.3 percent
Second Seed: 25.0 percent
Third Seed: 19.8 percent
Fourth Seed: 21.9 percent
Each group has a top seed (Nos. 1-16 in the OWGR), a second seed (17-32), a third seed (33-48) and a fourth seed (49-64). The top seed has unsurprisingly been the most likely to advance out of pool play, but it only happens a third of the time, so don’t be afraid to pick some upsets. Part of the reason for the variance is the Pete Dye design at Austin CC, which doesn’t strongly fit one style of play. The par-71, 7,108 yard layout only includes four par-4s over 440 yards and plays much more as a second shot golf course. With water in play on nearly half the holes, there is a premium on accuracy over distance off the tee.
Awesome in Austin
The following five golfers, with a minimum of two appearances, have the best results at Austin CC. Ties are calculated as half a win.
Scottie Scheffler: 10-2-2 (78.6 percent)
Kevin Kisner: 22-6-1 (77.6 percent)
Matt Kuchar: 16-5-4 (72.0 percent)
Adam Scott: 4-1-2 (71.4 percent)
Alex Noren: 11-5-0 (68.8 percent)
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Best Bets: Tournament Groups
Group 1 – Alex Noren (+380)
As good as Scheffler has been, his draw did him no favors, as Noren also has a great record here and Tom Kim — despite making his first appearance — won’t be an easy out. Scheffler should get out of this group, but we can’t advise taking him at -110.
Group 2 – Rickie Fowler (+340)
Rahm is the obvious choice due to his dominant play earlier in the season, but he’s working back from an illness that forced him to withdraw from THE PLAYERS and sprayed the ball off the tee in his previous two starts. That leads us to Fowler, who has played really well this season and is a nice value.
Group 3 – Denny McCarthy (+380)
McCarthy will make his match play debut and looks to be a good fit for this course. His only weakness is a lack of distance with the driver, which shouldn’t hold him back much here. McIlroy hasn’t shown enough success here to wager on him at -105.
Group 4 – Patrick Cantlay (+110)
Cantlay gets a favorable group. K.H. Lee and Nick Taylor will be making their match play debuts, and the second seed in the group — Brian Harman — has struggled mightily this year, with four missed cuts over his last six starts and a best finish of T42 during that stretch.
Group 5 – Max Homa (+160)
Kisner may be a trendy pick to advance given his track record, but his form has taken too sharp of a drop for us to feel comfortable picking him. We’ll turn to Homa, who has emerged into a top-10 player and should be confident in this format after playing well in the Presidents Cup.
Group 6 – Xander Schauffele (+130)
We’re going to go with the top seed in this group, mainly because it’s hard to imagine any of the others getting the job done. Tom Hoge and Aaron Wise both having losing records at this event and Cam Davis will be making his debut. Schauffele’s strong all-around game fits the course well.
Group 7 – Andrew Putnam (+300)
Despite being the lowest seed in his group, Putnam is getting some respect from the oddsmakers and deservedly so. This is a pretty weak quadrant overall, with Harris English having an inconsistent season and a losing match play record and Ryan Fox making his debut as the second seed in the group. Will Zalatoris feels vulnerable, so we’ll take a chance on Putnam.
Group 8 – Matt Kuchar (+320)
Kuchar’s phenomenal record in this event makes him a great target, especially considering he surprisingly has the worst odds to advance. We don’t see the logic in that considering no one else in this section has been a match play standout.
Group 9 – Jason Day (+190)
Day gets a pretty favorable group for someone that isn’t a top seed, as Collin Morikawa has won only two of seven matches here and Adam Svensson is making his debut. Day is playing his best golf in years, and we see no reason why the momentum would slow, as he’s posted six straight top-20 finishes.
Group 10 – Tony Finau (+135)
Finau has been far from impressive in Austin, but you know what helps get you on track? A group that consists of Kurt Kitayama, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Adrian Meronk.
Group 11 – Matt Fitzpatrick (+190)
Fitzpatrick isn’t a slam dunk, as he enters with consecutive missed cuts and we don’t know if his neck is 100 percent. Still, we can’t pass him up at almost 2-1 to get out of his group . He also gets a pair of debutants in Sahith Theegala and J.J. Spaun.
Group 12 – Shane Lowry (+225)
Although Jordan Spieth played well the last several weeks, we don’t feel confident taking him at a place where driving accuracy is important, as he has had some struggles in this area. We’ll pivot to Lowry, who has been the better driver and is strong on approach.
Group 13 – Adam Scott (+275)
Scott had a good showing last year, making it out of pool play before losing on the final hole to Kisner, who made the championship. It’s rare to see a top seed making his debut, but that’s what we have here in Sam Burns. This will be a good chance for someone other than the top seed to come through.
Group 14 – Tyrrell Hatton (+135)
Hatton went 3-0-0 during group play last year, with only one of his matches even reaching the final hole. His all-around game makes him a great fit for Austin CC, and he comes in on the heels of consecutive top-5 finishes at courses with water in play — one of them being another Dye design.
Group 15 – Sepp Straka (+350)
We view this group as wide open, so we’ll look towards the value in Straka. Cameron Young went 1-2-0 in his debut last year and Davis Thompson is making his first appearance. Straka has been very good with his irons this season, ranking 28th in Strokes Gained: Approach.
Group 16 – Sungjae Im (+175)
We’re surprised Im hasn’t had better results here, as his precision and well-rounded game should make him a good fit for Austin CC. He’s coming off a T6 at TPC Sawgrass, so his game is in good form. None of the other players in this group stand out enough to go against Im.
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Bets: Tournament Winner
Tyrrell Hatton (25-1 to win) over Jason Day (16-1 top-2 finish)
Hatton and Day both check several boxes when I’m looking at potential winners. They are both in good form, are strong iron players, have winning records in this event and have had success on Pete Dye courses. Hatton has gone a little over two years without a win and is simply playing too well not to end the drought soon.
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Ryan Pohle breaks down golf bets and covers college basketball for RotoWire, part of the Gambling.com Group.