PGA Hot Picks for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

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The PGA Tour leaves Florida following a boring Honda Classic that saw a low Thursday round from Matt Jones turn into a five-stroke victory on Sunday once Aaron Wise fell apart of the weekend. The Tour heads to Texas and Austin Country Club for golf’s version of March Madness in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event. The bracket features 64 of the world’s top golfers divided into 16 four-player “pods’ to start the event.

The 16 groupings will play round-robin action on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday where a win earns one point and ties earn half a point. The winners of the “pods” advance to the round of 16, where the event transitions into a single-elimination Match Play format that has proven to be increasingly popular with fans in recent years. The round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place on Saturday, while Sunday will feature the semifinals and the championship matchup.

Course Breakdown and Weather
Austin Country Club is roughly 7,100 yards stretched over a par-71 layout. The course favors those who excel off the tee and features multiple par 5s that can be reached in two, along with one inviting driveable par 4.

In the past, this event has seen some wind render the playing conditions difficult, but this week’s weather appears more golfer-friendly and is not supposed to produce any winds of over 15 miles per hour. Rain is expected late on Saturday afternoon and could lead to a minor delay in the action, but ultimately should not lead to a huge delay nor drastically affect playing conditions.

The Favorites

The field is loaded this week with all of the top 64 golfers in the world in Austin except for a handful of notables that includes Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, and Gary Woodland for various reasons. But this is about who is here, and not who isn’t.

Only five golfers are under 20-1 this week on the odds board, starting with Bryson DeChambeau at +1200 and followed by Justin Thomas (+1200), Dustin Johnson (+1400), Jon Rahm (+1400) and Collin Morikawa (+1800). The best bet of the top five golfers on the board is Rahm at 14-1. In match play, the first thing to look for is an easier group stage.

Rahm is playing in Group Three that features Shane Lowry, who has never advanced to the round of 16 in three tries, plus two golfers in Ryan Palmer and Sebastian Munoz, who will be making their Austin match-play debuts. Furthermore, Group Three is paired with Group 14, which is comprised of Daniel Berger, Harris English, Brendon Todd, and Erik Van Rooyen. Berger is the favorite of Group 14, but he was  forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic last week due to a rib injury and may not be 100-percent healthy for this week’s event.

All of which could ease Rahm’s path to ultimate victory.

The last two winners of this event were Kevin Kisner at 60-1 and Bubba Watson at 50-1, so do not waste too much time analyzing the top of the odds board for this event.

The Bets
Jon Rahm

Best Value Plays

The middle tier features big names such as Patrick Reed (+2500), Jordan Spieth (+2500), Xander Schauffele (+2500), and Patrick Cantlay (+2800). But the best place to look on the odds board with this group is down near 40-1.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4000) is a great bet to consider. In Group 15 Fitzpatrick opens up against Jordan Spieth.

The winner of that opening round matchup has a great chance to win the group, with the other two participants of Group 15 being Corey Conners and Matthew Wolff.

While Connors has played well of late, Wolff has been in awful form as recently and is worth looking to fade in round-by-round matchups regardless of who he is facing.

Sergio Garcia (+4000) is the next bet to look at in this range, as the flashy Spaniard has been in great form as of late. Garica was outstanding at The PLAYERS Championship, finding himself in contention due to dialed-in iron play. Garcia has experience in match play and finds himself in Group 8, paried with Tyrell Hatton, Lee Westwood and Matt Wallace.

Garcia has an experience advantage over two of the three Englishmen in his opening group, and Westwood does not have nearly the same history of success in these events that Sergio has, despite the fact that Westwood also had been flashing great form of late prior to missing the cut at last week’s Honda Classic.

The Bets
Matthew Fitzpatrick
+4000
Sergio Garcia
+4000

The Longshots

The odds board features great golfers even down amongst the longshots, and the first name to look at in this crowd is Max Homa at 80-1. Homa missed the cut at The PLAYERS, making it the first time in eight events he had doneso. The other seven events saw Homa collect six top-25 finishes, two top-10 finishes, and a win. He is in Group Four with Collin Morikawa, Billy Horschel, and J.T. Poston.

Please Note:
Morikawa is the group favorite, but has little experience in match play and Homa, his fellow University of California graduate, has been just as good if not better this year, placing plenty of value on Homa at 80-1. Victor Perez at 125-1 is also worth a look with a clear path to the round of 16 on the table. At triple-digit odds, that’s enough of a reason to take a flyer on him.

Perez is in Group 16 with Sungjae Im, Russell Henley and Marc Leishman. Henley is the only one in decent form of late after a high finish at the Honda Classic, but that was the result mostly of a great putting performance. Without DJ or DeChambeau in Perez’s path, he is easily worth a bet at these odds.

The Bets
Max Homa
+8000
Victor Perez
12500

Group and Round 1 Plays

The best Round One play for Wednesday is Victor Perez over Marc Leishman in Group 16. Leishman does not have a top-30 finish in the past couple of months, while Perez finished tied for ninth at The PLAYERS.

Perez has had great ball-striking form recently and at +110 over Leishman, this is a smart bet.

The next wager to consider for Round One is Corey Conners over Matthew Wolff. Conners has shown great ball-striking form over the past month while Wolff has been battling injuries and posting high scores left and right.

The top bet to look for in the group format is Jason Day to win Group Six over Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Andy Sullivan.

Day has a great history in match-play events, boasting a 24-14 record. Day won this event in 2016 and played well enough at The PLAYERS to suggest his game is trending upward.

Schauffele and Scheffler would normally be a tough draw, but neither has shown great recent form with both missing multiple cuts over the past two months.

Take Day’s match-play experience to shine through and win Group Six on Friday evening.
The Bets
Victor Perez over Marc Leishman
+110
Corey Conners over Matthew Wolff
-165
Bonus Pick: Jason Day to win Group 6 at Bovada!
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.