Congratulations to Fairleigh Dickinson University for winning as a 16-seed over the weekend in March Madness. The historic win over a Purdue team that was favored by 23 points made headlines. I guess that’s great, but the reality is they were +2100 to win. Taylor Moore on the other hand was +7000 at the start of the Valspar Championship. If you love long odds and quick paydays, then you have to consider betting on golf.
March Madness makes a great theme for this week’s preview as we head to Texas for the PGA TOUR’s version of the Final Four. Austin Country Club is the host venue for the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. Let’s take a look at the odds for this unique tournament, then break down the format as well as the Austin Country Club layout, and ultimately get to our best bets and predictions.
WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship 2023: Odds
WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship 2023: Tournament and course description
The WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship’s home since 2016 has been the Austin Country Club, a Pete Dye design and a match-play masterpiece. For some readers, this event may be new and it is very unique. Here’s the format breakdown: since 2015, the Tour has used a Group Stage format. Sixty-four players are sorted into 16 groups of four.
Each player then plays three individual matches within their group. The group winner on Friday night advances to the knockout round starting on Saturday morning. Those 16 men compete and the eight winners play in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. Four winners start the semifinals on Sunday morning followed by the finals and third-place match. After seven matches and 120-plus holes, the winner will be revealed on Sunday evening.
WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship: Past results and trends
Considered to be the most volatile week on tour, the average winner’s pre-tournament odds since the event has been played in Austin are +5200 (52-1). Since the golfers are seeded like NCAA teams to start the tournament, we also know the average winner’s seed in that period is 25th. Past champions Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, and Kevin Kisner are not ranked top 10 in the world.
Austin Country Club is the perfect pairing for this match-play madness. Dye’s layout really promotes a risk-reward mindset — and when each hole can be won or lost, the players will be taking dead aim. Thirteen of the holes at ACC have a birdie rate over 15 percent. Most weeks, we might worry about the bogey rate as well, but not this one. In most situations, par won’t win a hole. If you want to get to the weekend, you must be a birdie machine.
The par-71 layout covers 7,108 yards on the scorecard. Tournament officials will transform the course into a different test each day. The hilly terrain and firm conditions also add to the intrigue. One item that really catches my eye is all of the trouble these guys will face off the tee. Thirteen holes cannot be challenged down the left. More than half of those holes are shaped for a draw off the tee if you’re right handed. Needless to say, the ability to fade the ball is a valuable skill.
Priority number one is ball striking. The best in this field off the tee and on approach combined are: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, and Cameron Young. This is extremely important since keeping the ball in play puts extra pressure on your opponent.
Looking to put even more pressure on them? Make more putts. Watch out in this field for Maverick McNealy, Jon Rahm, Taylor Montgomery, Jason Day, and Sam Burns. These guys are solid with their flatstick. I stressed it already, you will need to make birdies. This group takes advantage of their opportunities better than the rest.
Of similar importance is the ability to scramble-win holes. Getting up and down on these uneven surfaces is crucial to winning over five days. When you get close to the green Jason Day, Max Homa, Ben Griffin, Jon Rahm, and Maverick McNealy are the best on Tour. With three reachable par 5s and a couple of short par 4s, this skill set will keep your score low and your win total high.
The greens average about 5,500 square feet. Medium sized by PGA TOUR standards, hitting them is not the only goal. Guys will need to get the ball close and capitalize. The proximity artists in this bracket are Tony Finau, Jon Rahm, Tom Hoge, Cameron Young, and Viktor Hovland. The course is covered in 110 bunkers, so this stat proves even more essential over 100+ holes.
Just as the Purdue fans found out, winning this style of match play tournament is very hard. As a result, keep your pre-tournament betting card tight and react after each round. I’ll be sure to post on social media (@readtheline_) my daily in-play added bets. For now, here’s my best bets before we start on Wednesday.
WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship 2023: Best Bets
Best bet to win: Tyrell Hatton (+2800 on DraftKings)
Tyrell Hatton has been on a serious heater. He finished sixth at WMPO, fourth at API, and second at the PLAYERS. If the trend is your friend, he’s positioned himself nicely for a huge win. One of the biggest reasons why on top of his recent form is Hatton’s history at Austin CC. In five match play starts, he’s made it to the Knockout round of sixteen four times and the Quarterfinals three times. Tyrell is tough due to his combination of consistent ball striking and great putting. As someone that we know plays with an edge, he’s the perfect pick to win.
Best bet to win his Group: Max Homa (+160 on DraftKings)
I love digging into the match play bracket once the group pairings are made. There’s always a group or two with one player who stands out. If you take all of the top seeded players out of the groups, one of the weakest threesomes remaining for recent form can be found in Group 5. That’s Max Homa’s pairing. Considering his excellent play of late and the lucky grouping, place him in your Knockout round bracket.
Best H2H bet in Round 1: Jon Rahm over Rickie Fowler (-145 on DraftKings)
Rickie Fowler’s recent resurgence has caught everyone’s attention. It’s obvious the popular push behind his comeback has even grabbed the attention of the operators. On Wednesday, Rickie is matched up against Jon Rahm in round one. The edge for Rahm is far less than the other lines of the big three. Rahm has three wins in his last six starts. He withdrew from the PLAYERS because he was sick, not injured. If anything with all of the Scottie talk he’ll be motivated!
For a complete list of my betting predictions covering winners, placements, H2H matchups, One and Done picks, and DFS recommendations for the LPGA and PGA TOUR please go to Read The Line and subscribe.
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