2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Golf Betting Preview

2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Golf Betting Preview

Written by on March 20, 2018

Of course, it’s March Madness right now in college basketball, and one big reason why the NCAA Tournament is so popular is because fans love to fill out their brackets. Well, golf’s version of March Madness is this week at the World Golf Championships-Match Play from Austin. The MyBookie favorite in the golf odds is the winner this past Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy at +600.

2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Golf Betting Preview

TV: Wednesday-Friday, 2-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (GC), 3-7 p.m. (NBC). (Golf Channel / NBC Sports LiveExtra simulcast stream)PGA Tour Live: Wednesday-Friday, 10:15 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (featured groups), 4-8 p.m. (featured holes).Radio: Wednesday-Friday, 2-8 p.m. ET. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).Live Stream: PGA Live

Who’s In?

The field consists of the top 64 players available from the Official World Golf Ranking, seeded according to the rankings. Except there’s usually a few guys every year who don’t play either because of injury or they don’t want to. Big names Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the tournament at Austin Country Club.That allowed Luke List, Kevin Na, Charles Howell III and Keegan Bradley to get into the field. Joost Luiten was one of the last men to qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but he pulled out Monday because of a wrist injury. Luiten will now be replaced in the field by world No. 72 Julian Suri. Bill Haas is now first alternate, while Brandt Snedeker is second alternate. No, Tiger Woods isn’t playing because he isn’t ranked high enough in the world.

How’s It Work?

There are 16 pods in the tournament of four players each. The top 16 ranked players all anchor one pod each. Then there’s a blind draw to fill each group from pools of players seeded Nos. 17-32, Nos. 33-48 and the remainder.  From 1999-2014, it was a single-elimination event just like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. However, too many big names were losing early.So the Tour changed the rules in 2015 where round-robin play takes place Wednesday-Friday in each pod with the winner then advancing to single elimination. All group play matches are limited to 18 holes with one point awarded for a win and one-half point for a halved match. Ties for first place in a group are broken by a sudden-death stroke play playoff, beginning on hole 1. It’s the Round of 16 and quarterfinals on Saturday and the semifinals and finals on Sunday. The overall winner has to take seven matches.This event has been around since 1999 but has moved dates and locations. It went to Austin in 2016 and is scheduled to stay at least through 2019. Why is McIlroy favored? On Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational McIlroy ran off five birdies over his last six holes and closed with an 8-under 64 for a three-shot victory. He won for the first time since the Tour Championship on Sept. 25, 2016, the day Palmer died.Starting the final round two shots back of Henrik Stenson, McIlroy made the turn in 33 and then grabbed a share of the lead on the 11th hole. He started a four-hole run of birdies on No. 13 and pulled away. He led the field in driving distance, proximity to the hole, scrambling and strokes gained-putting.Rory won this tournament in 2015 4&2 in the final over big-hitting American Gary Woodland. That was at a different course, however. Last year, McIlroy didn’t make it out of group play.

Other Betting Favorites

Is Dustin Johnson a safe bet to win the WGC-Dell Match Play?World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is the +650 second favorite and also the defending champion. DJ was pushed to the limit in 2017. Johnson was taken to the 18th hole in the semifinal before making an 8-foot putt to beat Hideto Tanihara, and then Jon Rahm rallied from 5 down with 10 holes to play but fell just short on the final hole.Johnson led 94 percent of the holes he played at Austin Country Club, a tournament record. He won 46 of those 112 holes. He became the first player to win all four current WGC events in his career (also Mexico, Bridgestone and HSBC Champions).  Luke Donald in 2011 was the only other player to never trail in the Match Play. That was single-elimination with six matches.Justin Thomas (+1000), Jason Day (+1100), Rahm (+1100) and Jordan Spieth (+1100) round out the favorites. Day is the only two-time winner of this tournament in the field, doing so in 2014 in Arizona, beating Victor Dubuisson in a 23-hole final, and in 2016 in Austin, beating Louis Oosthuizen 5&4. Day owns a 21-7 record in matches played, but went only six holes last year before exiting to be alongside his mother as she underwent cancer treatment.

Expert Golf Betting Prediction

This is one of those tournaments where it’s really smarter to bet on individual matches rather than the winner because it’s so much easier to handicap. But, I’ll go with Spain’s Sergio Garcia to win it at +2000. Garcia, a new father, is a great match play competitor at the Ryder Cup.