This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Betting Strategy
The Madness of March continues with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event and another bracket to fill out!
The tournament resumes after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Austin Country Club will host it for the fifth time. The field, comprised of 64 players, was divided into 16 groups, and the winners of each group will play knockout to determine a champion. Since the format changed in 2015, a top-2 overall seed emerged victorious three out of five years. However, an underdog last came through in 2019, when 48th-seeded Kevin Kisner outlasted 23rd-seeded Matt Kuchar 3&2 in the final to secure his first World Golf Championship victory.
Austin Country Club plays as a par-71 at 7,100 yards, making it a fairly short course by Tour standards. The notable hole on the course is the par-4 13th – a short par-4 over water that is especially intriguing in a match play format. It's a true risk/reward, as attempting to drive the green will either yield an excellent chance at birdie or likely lose you the hole.
Overall, this is a course where players that are dialed in with their long game – especially their irons – will have the most success. Although it's nice to have players with strong short-game skills, the golfers that advance are ultimately not going to be the ones scrambling for par.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 12:30 PM ET Tuesday.
Pool Play Picks
Group 1 - Dustin Johnson (+110)
A winner of this event in 2017, Johnson comes in with an impressive 11-7-0 record and has made it out of pool play in 2-of-4 attempts. He gets a soft draw with Robert MacIntyre and Adam Long, who are making their first appearances. Kevin Na is also a pretty soft "B" player in the group, and he'll be at quite a disadvantage off the tee in his head-to-head matchup with DJ.
Group 2 – Justin Thomas (+138)
Thomas gets a tough draw, as he has grouped with three players who have had a lot of success in this event: Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Kisner and Matt Kuchar, who have all emerged victorious in at least 58 percent of their matchups. That does give Thomas' odds a boost, though, and Kisner and Kuchar have not been playing well of late.
Group 3 – Jon Rahm (+110)
Rahm only has a losing record in one of his three appearances, and he finished runner-up in 2018. He features a solid 7-4-2 record, which isn't much of a surprise considering how strong he is through his bag. Rahm gets a soft draw against Ryan Palmer and Sebastian Munoz, who are making their first appearance at Austin Country Club, and Shane Lowry, who has only won 1-of-9 matches at this course.
Group 4 – Max Homa (+300)
Collin Morikawa is a risky top seed in this group, as he has never played this event and can be inconsistent with the putter. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone playing better golf than Homa right now, and he'll come in rested after missing the cut at The PLAYERS in his eighth start in a row.
Group 5 – Bryson DeChambeau (+125)
DeChambeau's current form and distance advantage make him tough to fade. Neither Tommy Fleetwood nor Si Woo Kim having winning records here, and Antoine Rozner makes a big step up in class after entering the top-100 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time earlier this year.
Group 6 – Scottie Scheffler (+240)
Favorite Xander Schauffele has yet to make it out of group play, and it's only a matter of time before Scottie Scheffler breaks through. Having played his collegiate golf at the University of Texas, there's not a course on Tour Scheffler is more familiar with. Despite winning the first edition of the event at Austin Country Club, Jason Day is just 1-8-0 since.
Group 7 – Bubba Watson (+400)
Watson may be the "D" player in the group, but he's a former champion here and owns a 10-4-3 record in his last four appearances. Patrick Reed has failed to make the quarterfinals in this event, and Joaquin Niemann and Christiaan Bezuidenhout will be making their debuts.
Group 8 – Tyrrell Hatton (+175)
Hatton comes in with a surprisingly-reasonable price tag, and the "B" player in his group is Lee Westwood, who is playing his fifth week in a row and showed fatigue at last week's Honda Classic. Sergio Garcia is certainly a capable opponent, but Hatton is a perfect 2-for-2 when it comes to advancing out of group play.
Group 9 – Paul Casey (+163)
Casey has been unable to make a deep run since the format changed, but he has made it through group play in two of the last three editions. He's a rare "B" player in his group that's a favorite, and it makes sense with Webb Simpson having a 1-6-2 record in Austin.
Group 10 – Hideki Matsuyama (+260)
It's easy to overlook Matsuyama due to his mediocre record and pedestrian recent form, but he also provides strong value at this price. He remains one of the most precise iron players on Tour, and that puts a lot of pressure on opponents in match play. The favorite in this group, Patrick Cantlay, has not made it out of group play.
Group 11 – Cameron Smith (+240)
It's difficult to trust Rory McIlroy as the favorite in this group, as he struggled mightily at THE PLAYERS and is admittedly grinding through some swing changes. Smith, on the other hand, is trending in a positive direction, with three consecutive top-20 finishes. He was also a quarterfinalist in 2018.
Group 12 – Tony Finau (+160)
Finau checks all the boxes you're looking for this week: he has no weakness in his game, owns a distance advantage off the tee and is an elite approach player. Dylan Frittelli is the only player in his group with prior experience – he went 1-2-0 in 2018 – and as much as I like Will Zalatoris, it will be a tall task for him to excel in his debut.
Group 13 – Viktor Hovland (+138)
Hovland will be making his match play debut, and while that would usually make me a bit cautious, I can't shy away from him and the fact he's already one of the best ball-strikers in the game. I could see Abraham Ancer advancing out of this group, and the head-to-head matchup between he and Hovland will prove pivotal.
Group 14 – Erik van Rooyen (+400)
The favorite in the group, Daniel Berger, comes in at less than 100 percent after withdrawing from The Honda Classic with a rib injury. With Brendon Todd and Harris English struggling to find their form, van Rooyen is an intriguing dark horse. His solid all-around game could help him make it through despite the odds.
Group 15 – Corey Conners (+250)
Conners comes into this week red-hot, leading the field in SG: Approach at Bay Hill and finishing in the top-10 at THE PLAYERS. Matthew Fitzpatrick is the "A" player in the group, but he has a 4-8-0 record here, and "B" player Matthew Wolff is arguably in the worst from of anyone in the tournament. Local resident Jordan Spieth will be Conners' primary competitor in this foursome.
Group 16 – Sungjae Im (+170)
Im will be the beneficiary of a soft group. European Tour player Victor Perez is the "B" player, and both Marc Leishman and Russell Henley have losing records here. Im comes in in top form, having finished top-25 in each of his last three events.
The only thing holding Finau back from being mentioned as a top-5 player is a signature win against an elite field. At 28-1 odds, he's my pick to hoist the trophy and finally put an end to his five-year winless drought.