If you thought March Madness was only for basketball, thank again!
The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Tournament is this week, which brings the madness of march to the golf world!
The top golfers on the planet will compete in the only match play tournament on the PGA Tour's schedule. The event will begin Thursday, and will feature a round robin amongst 16 different groups. The winners from each group will then advance to the bracket stage of the tournament.
The only golfers in the who qualify for the event, but aren't participating, are Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English, Phil Mickelson, and last week's winner, Sam Burns.
Let's start off by looking at the top 10 odds to win the event, courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook.
Odds to Win the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play Tournament
- Jon Rahm +1200
- Justin Thomas +1200
- Collin Morikawa +1600
- Scottie Scheffler +1600
- Viktor Hovland +1600
- Dustin Johnson +2000
- Patrick Cantlay +2200
- Xander Schauffele +2500
- Daniel Berger +2800
- Bryson DeChambeau +2800
How to Handicap WGC Match Play
The match play tournament is by far the most fun event to bet on the PGA Tour schedule. The format is perfect for gambling, and with a bunch of head-to-head matchups spanning over five days, there's ample of opportunities to make money.
With that being said, it can present several challenges. The first being that there's not shot link data on the course, so we don't have a great idea of what works and what doesn't at Austin Country Club. Also, the only other golf events that has match play format is the Ryder Cup and President's Cup, so we have limited history (if any) on how golfers perform with this format.
Finally, underdogs usually fare way better than people think. It's a lot easier for upsets to happen when each hole counts as a single point, instead of cumulative strokes that are added up throughout the round.
For example, last year only one golfer ranked in the top 20 advanced to the bracket stage.
Not to say that's the norm and to expect the same thing this year, but it's certainly something to consider when placing your bets.
With no advanced analytics to go off when handicapping this event, there are two that I like to stick to; total strokes gained and birdie percentage. Total strokes gained will give us an overall view of how the golfer is performing this season, and birdie are what will win matches for golfers this week. Occasional bogeys are nothing to worry about.
You should also look at their match play record to see how they've performed in them throughout their career. You can find a database of that here at Adamsarson.com.
Bets to Win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Tournament
There are plenty of ways to bet on this event, but in this article, I'll focus on a few names I like to win outright. Odds, as always, are via WynnBET.
Viktor Hovland +1600
Viktor Hovland has been on fire as of late, and he has a fairly easy path to the quarterfinals if he brings his "A" game. He's grouped with Will Zalatoris, Cameron Tringale, and Sepp Straka, so I'm confident he can come out of group with Zalatoris suffering from putting yips right now. He'll then take on the winner of the fairly weak Group 14. Things will get tricky in the quarters, but he should be in the mix,
Hovland ranks fourth on Tour in birdie average and T28 in total strokes gained. He's 1-2-1 in match play in his professional career, but he's still young and he's been playing as good of golf as he ever has, so I wouldn't read too much into that record.
Patrick Cantlay +2200
Patrick Cantlay is my favorite bet to win it all. He's 7-3-1 in match play rounds in his professional career, and 4-1 over his last five including a 4 and 2 defeat of Shane Lowry at the 2021 Ryder Cup. His only loss here last year was to Hideki Matsuyama, which held him back from the group stage.
Cantlay is 17th on Tour in total strokes gained this season, and nobody in the field is averaging more birdies per round than him at 5.23.
Kevin Kisner +6600
A former winner of the tournament, Kevin Kisner might be the most underrated match play golfer on the PGA Tour. He's 16-6-2 in his career in match play rounds, and 8-1 in his last nine.
He's 45th in total strokes gained and 32nd in birdie average this season, but you can throw all stats out the window. Kisner has proven that he thrives in match play situations, so he's worth a bet at 66/1 based on that fact alone.
Check out Iain MacMillan's betting plays and detailed record here.