WGC Match Play predictions and preview (Can Scheffler go back-to-back?)

Mar 27, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Scottie Scheffler holds the Walter Hagen Cup after defeating Kevin
Mar 27, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Scottie Scheffler holds the Walter Hagen Cup after defeating Kevin / Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

The WGC Match Play tournament has been my favorite non-major of the golf season, and unfortunately it looks like this may be the final iteration of it.

But, let's try to focus on the positives and enjoy this week's event as much as we can. If you aren't familiar, this is the PGA Tour's version of March Madness. 64 golfers will face-off in a match play tournament.

Match play often leads to unpredictability. Just look at how many of the "top seeds" in each group have advanced to the knockout stage over the years.

The tournament starts off with groups of four golfers, competing in a round robin of match play rounds. The winners of each group will advance to the knockout stage and will then compete in a March Madness-esque bracket until we have a winner.

Let's take a look at the top 20 odds to win it all and then I'll break down my three best bets to win.

Odds to win WGC Match Play

Odds listed below are via DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Scottie Scheffler +800
  • Jon Rahm +1100
  • Rory McIlroy +1100
  • Patrick Cantlay +1800
  • Max Homa +2000
  • Tony Finau +2000
  • Jordan Spieth +2500
  • Viktor Hovland +2500
  • Tyrrell Hatton +2500
  • Xander Schauffele +2500
  • Collin Morikawa +2800
  • Will Zalatoris +2800
  • Jason Day +3000
  • Cameron Young +3000
  • Matt Fitzpatrick +3500
  • Sungjae Im +4000
  • Sam Burns +4000
  • Tommy Fleetwood +4500
  • Tom Kim +4500
  • Hideki Matsuyama +5000

Picks to win WGC Match Play

Scottie Scheffler +800

Call me "Iain the square" all you want, I don't care. One thing has been clear to me this golf season and it's that not having money on Jon Rahm or Scottie Scheffler is simply irresponsible at this point. There have been five "elevated" events so far this year, and four of them have been won by Rahm or Scheffler.

So, this week, of the two golfers who are clear favorites to win, I'm going to back the guy who has finished second and first the two times he has competed in this tournament: Scottie Scheffler. He's the World No. 1 golfer and has thrived in match play in his career.

In one-on-one match play rounds in his professional career, including this event as well as the Ryder Cup, Scheffler is 11-2-2. He's also 2-0 against Rahm in his career, with a win at the 2021 Ryder Cup and a win against him at the 2021 edition of the Match Play Tournament.

Even though he's +800 this week, I still believe there's value to be had.

Patrick Cantlay +1800

Patrick Cantlay doesn't have the wins of Scheffler or Rahm this season, but he's sneakily having a fantastic season. He ranks seventh in total strokes gained, but even more importantly, he ranks second in birdie average.

Match play is all about scoring, so guys who record birdies at a high rate are going to be valued heavily this week. His career match play record isn't anything crazy, sitting at 8-4-2, but he does have a favorable path. He's in a very winnable group with Brian Harman, K.H. Lee, and Nick Taylor, and with him being in the lower left "region", he wouldn't have to face Jon Rahm until the Final Four or Scottie Scheffler until the final.

I like his odds are +1800.

Tom Hoge +6500

You want a long shot bet to win this thing? How about Tom Hoge at +6500?

Hoge ranks eighth in the PGA Tour in birdie average, first in strokes gained: approach, and his one weakness, driving distance, isn't going to hurt him this week. Austin Country Club is known to not hurt short drivers of the golf ball, just look at the success Kevin Kisner has had at this event.

Hoge in 117th in strokes gained: off-the-tee, but that's largely caused by his 132nd ranking in driving distance. He's still accurate with his driver, coming in at 28th in driving accuracy.

And to top it off, he's in with Xander Schauffele, who is only 6-5-3 in match play rounds, and he wouldn't have to face Scheffler until the Final Four. I love his longshot odds at +6500 this week.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.