Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.
Below, we will cover the best bets for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds.
We return once more Austin, Texas, for what will be the final iteration of the Match Play on the regular PGA Tour schedule. It will be sorely missed, as this is one of the most exciting and interesting gambling weekends of the season for golf bettors. Three days of group play followed by a bracket-style knockout tournament makes for a grueling week for those advancing. The wear and tear didn't bother last year's winner and this year's favorite, Scottie Scheffler (+800), as he followed up his win with a dominant performance at Augusta National.
Scheffler's +800 number is a bit pricey in such a format, though we can certainly take advantage of daily opportunities to back Scheffler or monitor his live odds if we want to get some exposure to the World No. 1. Here's who we like for the outright winners and some Day 1 matchups.
Outright Bets to Win
Viktor Hovland (+2000) - Hovland won his first two matchups last year before losing by one hole to Will Zalatoris (+2900) in what is hopefully an exciting Ryder Cup preview for the next decade. We like Hovland's chances to emerge from Group 8 over Chris Kirk (+6500), Si Woo Kim (+6500), and last year's fourth-place finisher, Matt Kuchar (+6000). Hovland's biggest weakness is his short game, especially chipping around the greens. That limitation is mitigated in match play, where a flubbed wedge can be easily forgotten and compartmentalized rather than costing him a few spots on the leaderboard. On the flip side, Hovland's aggressive ball-striking is rewarded in head-to-head matchups. He is still looking for a signature PGA Tour win, and the time is coming.
Sungjae Im (+3100) - Im is certainly built for this, and after finally taking a week off following his T6 finish at THE PLAYERS, he should be rested and ready to go. Like Hovland, Sungjae has yet to add a big championship to his trophy case. After group-play exits in Im's first two trips to Austin, this is the year the 24-year-old breaks through. His group is not without talent, especially the experienced Tommy Fleetwood (+3700), who owns an 11-9-2 record in six appearances.
Scheffler is of course the favorite to emerge from Group 1 and be Im's quarterfinal opponent, but finishes of runner-up and winner are the high-end variance outcomes for even the super consistent Scottie. Simple regression makes Scheffler an underdog to advance to the quarters or beyond for a third straight year. If all goes to plan, we'll have a quarterfinal matchup between Im and Hovland, locking ourselves into the final four.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3400) - It's been a rough stretch for Fitz, who can't seem to get his game clicking. A change in format could be just what he needs after missing the cut in three of his last four, including two straight. Min Woo Lee (+6500) is a worthy challenger in his group, and Rory McIlroy (+1200) sits in the same quadrant. But it was Fitzpatrick who took Scheffler to a playoff in Group 5 last year, and it was Fitzpatrick who held off all comers, including Scheffler, to win the U.S. Open a few months later. Fitz is the first man out of the gate on Wednesday, and a strong start could be all he needs to build confidence for the rest of the week.
Harris English (+9500) - English looked all the way back when tying McIlroy for runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and a missed cut at Sawgrass thanks to a first-round 78 is nothing to lose sleep over. English is in arguably the weakest quadrant, with No. 2 seed Jon Rahm (+1000) the headliner in the upper right, followed by No. 7 Will Zalatoris (+2900), who is the favorite in English's group. Zalatoris has been inconsistent since his return from a back injury, with a fourth-place finish at Riviera serving as his only full-field finish inside the top 35 this season. A long run could be incredibly taxing on Zalatoris, and if his heart isn't in it, English could steal the group.
Day 1 Matchups
Hovland (-105), Im (-115), Fitzpatrick (-115), and English (+105) Round 1 Matchup Parlay (+1298) - Each of our selections is a slight favorite in their opener, and a strong start will be essential to build momentum and contend.
Kevin Kisner (+175) over Hideki Matsuyama- We touted Kisner last week at the Valspar Championship, and he promptly bombed out and missed the cut by a mile. The theory last week was that Kiz would want to get right for his main event -- which is this tourney -- but it turns out the dud serves to only boost his odds.
Kisner holds an impressive 22-7-1 record in this event, and that doesn't even tell the whole story. He lost three of his first four matches at this event -- in 2016 and 2017 -- and has piled up wins since then. He won the crown in 2019 and was runner-up in 2018 and 2022. Matsuyama was one of the men who beat Kisner, but otherwise, Hideki's match-play record is worthy of targeting. He's 9-10-2 at this event and has made the quarterfinals just once, where he lost to McIlroy the year before Kisner's debut.