Odds, Picks and Best Bets for 2021 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Picks for Every Matchup at Austin Country Club

Odds, Picks and Best Bets for 2021 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Picks for Every Matchup at Austin Country Club article feature image
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Sergio Garcia

  • It takes a certain type of golfer to succeed in match-play format and Jason Sobel believes that bettors should take note of which players succeed in 1-on-1 contests.
  • Here are Sobel's picks for every group and his favorite bet to win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

So, you think the NCAA basketball tournament is tough to handicap? That’s nothing compared with what we’ll see on the PGA TOUR this week.

Golf’s version of March Madness takes place this week in the form of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, with 64 of the world’s 69 top-ranked players scheduled to compete. (Those skipping it include Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka and, of course, Tiger Woods.)

Here’s what you need to know: For the fifth straight year (the event wasn’t contested last season), the format is less bracket-friendly than its college hoops counterpart. The inverted pyramid of single-elimination (essentially each day was a little less compelling than the last) gave way in 2015 to round-robin groups, ensuring that players are guaranteed three matches instead of half the field heading home Wednesday evening.

Once again it is being played at Austin CC, a Pete Dye design which measures 7,108 yards – and a worthy host which often makes for intriguing matches.

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Long gone are the days of Jeff Maggert and Kevin Sutherland as longshot champions, but that doesn’t mean this one only plays to the favorites. Kevin Kisner, the defending champion from 2019, was 60/1 pre-tourney; Bubba Watson won the previous year from 50/1. Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper if you’re seeking an outright winner.

And one final, important note: Get your bets in early, as this five-day tourney kicks off Wednesday, as usual.

Let’s get to the picks, as I’ve made the immediately lamentable decision to predict round-robin winners all the way through to the final match. And yes, if they actually happen this way, we’ll have some must-see TV to watch this weekend.

ROUND-ROBIN

Group odds via DraftKings

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (+100), Kevin Na (+335), Robert MacIntyre (+350), Adam Long (+400)

My pick: Robert MacIntyre (+350)

There’s no bigger group favorite than the game’s No. 1-ranked player, but a recent lack of form that has led to finishes of T-48 and T-54 in his last two starts should leave this one wide open.

Frankly, there are a lot of other Group B/C/D players whom I would’ve liked better to triumph amongst this foursome, but the young Bobby Mac has now competed in enough U.S. tournaments that he should feel a comfort level here. The lefty is ready to show up at a world-class event.

Group 16: Sungjae Im (+170), Victor Perez (+350), Marc Leishman (+325), Russell Henley (+225)

My pick: Victor Perez (+350)

Ah, the underrated ball-striker group. How ‘bout we give ‘em all three irons and a putter and watch ‘em fire darts all week? I was hoping for a few easier matches for Perez, who made the Players cut on the number – on Saturday morning, no less – then finished T-9, but even with some tough opponents, I think the lanky Frenchman will make some noise.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Victor Perez

Group 8: Tyrrell Hatton (+185), Lee Westwood (+275), Sergio Garcia (+230), Matt Wallace (+375)

My pick: Sergio Garcia (+230)

Let’s just call this one a European Ryder Cup qualifier. Win the group and go directly to Whistling Straits. Garcia shouldn’t have any trouble making that roster anyway, but in his adopted hometown of Austin, expect a little extra motivation.

I’ve always believed that unlike most other players, for whom results dictate happiness, Sergio’s level of happiness often dictates his results – and having a home game this week should have him in the proper spirits to get through this group.

Group 9: Webb Simpson (+200), Paul Casey (+160), Mackenzie Hughes (+350), Talor Gooch (+400)

My pick: Paul Casey (+160)

I was this close to going with Gooch here, who’s been playing well lately, but Casey’s experience should win out, as he’s posted a 27-15-2 career record in this event.

A guy who isn’t a stranger to making a big number in stroke-play events, this format suits him nicely.

Group 4: Collin Morikawa (+138), Billy Horschel (+275), Max Homa (+300), J.T. Poston (+400)

My pick: Collin Morikawa (+138)

Just four weeks ago, Morikawa picked apart The Concession and gave the Heisman to final-round playing partner Horschel, who continually tried in vain to narrow the gap between them.

The latter will relish this opportunity to exact a little revenge, but in his first professional match-play event, I suspect Morikawa’s iron play will be too tough to overcome.

Group 13: Viktor Hovland (+138), Abraham Ancer (+225), Bernd Wiesberger (+450), Kevin Streelman (+350)

My pick: Abraham Ancer

At some point very soon, Ancer is going to make some (more) serious title contentions – and potentially win his first PGA TOUR event. This should be a good spot for him to start making some noise, fresh off finishes of 22nd-18th in his last two starts.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.Pictured: South Korean golfer Si Woo Kim.

Group 5: Bryson DeChambeau (+125), Tommy Fleetwood (+260), Si Woo Kim (+300), Antoine Rozner (+500)

My pick: Bryson DeChambeau (+125)

You’ll hear all about how Bryson will own an advantage this week, using his length off the tee to hit approach shots second on most holes.

You’ll similarly hear all about how Tommy relishes this style of golf and has shown it in the Ryder Cup. Well, something’s gotta give – and I’ll take speed over experience.

Group 12: Tony Finau (+160), Jason Kokrak (+280), Will Zalatoris (+260), Dylan Frittelli (+400)

My pick: Will Zalatoris (+260)

In my mind, this is one of the toughest groups to handicap. Wins notwithstanding, Finau is an absolute stud who can get hot at any moment. Kokrak owns three straight top-10 finishes and is showing signs of breaking through into the world’s top-20 or so.

And Frittelli played collegiately at the University of Texas and has since taken up residence in Austin. I can see any of them winning this group, but the pick here is Zalatoris, whose ball-striking should keep him in every hole of every match.

Group 2: Justin Thomas (+130), Louis Oosthuizen (+250), Kevin Kisner (+325), Matt Kuchar (+450)

My pick: Justin Thomas (+130)

Kisner is the defending champ, having beaten Kuchar in the finals two years ago, and Oosthuizen was runner-up five years ago, in the first edition of this event in Austin. History is nice, but Thomas should be ready to roll on the heels of his Players Championship victory two weeks ago. Play the chalk in this one.

pga tour-sanderson farms championship-betting-odds-picks-round 2-strokes gained
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Conners.

Group 15: Matt Fitzpatrick (+188), Matthew Wolff (+400), Corey Conners (+300), Jordan Spieth (+200)

My pick: Jordan Spieth (+200)

Spieth as a D player? That’s like having Oral Roberts as the 15-seed in your region. Spieth has a few big things in his favor this week. The first is a return to his old college hometown, where he admittedly hasn’t seen much success in past editions of this event, but certainly could offer some good vibes and local support.

The second is more based on the format. He’s shown a propensity for making birdies in bunches recently, but has also suffered from the ill-timed big number here and there. In match play, that won’t matter as much, nor will any weekend trepidation over another leaderboard chase.

Group 7: Patrick Reed (+150), Joaquin Niemann (+240), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+300), Bubba Watson (+400)

My pick: Patrick Reed

Hey, did I mention this is a Ryder Cup year? This format is right up Reed’s alley, as he should make a serious bid this week.

I can see Bezuidenhout making a run similar to another long-named B-guy Lucas Bjerregaard, who finished fourth at this event two years ago, but knocking off Reed might be too much to ask.

Group 10: Patrick Cantlay (+138), Hideki Matsuyama (+260), Carlos Ortiz (+350), Brian Harman (+335)

My pick: Brian Harman (+335)

For me, this one comes down to picking the proverbial gutty, gritty player over three guys who rarely show much on-course emotion. Harman is like a mini-Kiz, both bulldogs and actual Georgia Bulldogs, and a T-3 at The Players in his last start should have him brimming with confidence.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Brian Harman

Group 3: Jon Rahm (+110), Ryan Palmer (+300), Shane Lowry (+350), Sebastian Munoz (+450)

My pick: Jon Rahm (+110)

If there’s anyone who’s able to get into the head of Rahm during a competitive match, it would be his Zurich Classic partner, as Palmer won alongside him a few years ago. Even so, Rahm might be too much to deal with in this group, as the chalk is hardly a sure thing here, but should be the play.

Group 14: Daniel Berger (+138), Harris English (+250), Brendon Todd (+335), Erik Van Rooyen (+400)

My pick: Erik Van Rooyen (+400)

With Berger’s recent rib injury that knocked him out of last week’s Honda Classic, I think this is the weakest of the 16 groups. English doesn’t have a top-25 since winning at Kapalua to start the year and Todd doesn’t have a top-10 all year.

The process of elimination leaves EVR, who’s been wildly disappointing so far this year, but if you want to take a shot on a group ‘dog, this is the place to do it.

wgc fedex st. jude round 2 betting picks-jason day
Photo credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Jason Day

Group 6: Xander Schauffele (+150), Scottie Scheffler (+240), Jason Day (+250), Andy Sullivan (+550)

My pick: Jason Day (+250)

Trying to say “Schauffele-Scheffler” five times fast is fun for the whole family, but I’m looking at perhaps the toughest out from the C pool of players as the guy who advances here. Day won this event in both 2014 and 2016. While he hasn’t done much in three starts since then, he’s somewhat quietly been playing much better golf so far this year.

Group 11: Rory McIlroy (+130), Cameron Smith (+240), Lanto Griffin (+400), Ian Poulter (+400)

My pick: Cameron Smith (+240)

Much like Group 1, this group features a definitive A-pool favorite who’s been struggling with his game lately. I’d never write off McIlroy, but it’s tough to back him right now, either. Poulter is always worth a consideration in a Ryder Cup year, but the final arrow here lands on Smith, who might still be too underrated.

[Bet the WGC Match Play at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

ROUND OF 16

Robert Macintyre vs. Victor Perez

My pick: Victor Perez

This one feels like it should be played at Valderrama as part of some Euro Tour event, but a Scotsman and a Frenchman in Texas is sorta what these WGCs are all about. Based on form alone, Perez is a much stronger play here; whether it happens this week or not, I really like him to continue being a factor in some bigger events this year.

Sergio Garcia vs. Paul Casey

My pick: Sergio Garcia

Two of the most experienced players in this field, Garcia and Casey should make for a comfortable matchup and a complement of styles. Remember, though, we should see Happy Sergio this week – and Happy Sergio is tough to beat.

Collin Morikawa vs. Abraham Ancer

My pick: Abraham Ancer

Let’s set the over/under on conceded birdies at 3.5 in this match, as two of the best ball-strikers should fire some laser beams in this one. In what should be a close match throughout, the pick is Ancer in extra holes.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Will Zalatoris.

Bryson DeChambeau vs. Will Zalatoris

My pick: Bryson DeChambeau

There will be plenty of DECADE talk amongst these two as they walk down the fairways – or into the rough – discussing the similar strategies they’ve each studied. Expect the youngster to give it a good run this week, but Bryson has been firing on all cylinders lately.

Justin Thomas vs. Jordan Spieth

My pick: Jordan Spieth

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but apparently these two guys are … wait for it … good friends. They also happen to be great competitors – and neither ever wants to lose to the other. Every year at Riviera, they play a practice together – and every year, Spieth reminds JT about the 4-iron he holed on 15 to win their match at the NCAAs in 2012. Even though Thomas can brag about his recent Players win, I like Jordan here in a match which should just feel like an intense practice round.

Patrick Reed vs. Brian Harman

My pick: Patrick Reed

If JT and Spieth is a friendly rivalry, then this one is a battle of a different kind, as the two former UGA teammates are reportedly not exactly best buddies. I’d figure Harman would be even a little more fiery than usual for this one, but Reed is just a tough out in this format. Expect some fireworks down the stretch, though.

Jon Rahm vs. Erik Van Rooyen

My pick: Jon Rahm

As I wrote above, EVR was more of a process of elimination pick than anything else. Rahm is quite the opposite, as one of the tournament favorites – and he should roll in this match.

Jason Day vs. Cameron Smith

My pick: Jason Day

Oh, the storylines! If things actually work out the way I’ve predicted, you’d better block off Saturday morning for some must-see TV viewing. The latest in this line of theme-filled matches is a pair of Aussies with differing styles of games – and haircuts. Expect it do go the distance, but Day’s match-play experience could be the difference here.

[Bet the WGC Match Play at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

QUARTERFINALS

Victor Perez vs. Sergio Garcia

My pick: Sergio Garcia

My heart says Garcia here, but head says … well, it also says Garcia. I love Perez to make a run this week, but at some point, you’ve gotta cut bait on that investment, as Sergio’s experience should help him prevail.

Abraham Ancer vs. Bryson DeChambeau

My pick: Abraham Ancer

We should expect fewer upsets as the tournament continues into the later rounds, but there will be some – consider this a moderate upset, as DeChambeau will be favored, but it’s not like Ancer is some no-name outta nowhere.

Patrick Reed vs. Jordan Spieth

My pick: Jordan Spieth

How about we just forget the opening round-robin matches and just fast-forward to the weekend with my picks here? Spieth vs. Thomas was chock full of plotlines, but Spieth vs. Reed will be the intrigue this event sorely needs on the weekend. For anyone who’s witnessed Saturday Spieth this year, you know he’ll be ready to make the impossible look possible in this one.

Jon Rahm vs. Jason Day

My pick: Jason Day

Even though he hasn’t seriously contended for a title yet this year, there are signs that Day is very close to getting there. He’ll need everything in his arsenal to take down a determined Rahm, but I think he can pull this one off as the underdog here.

Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Abraham Ancer during Round 1 of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

SEMIFINALS

Sergio Garcia vs. Abraham Ancer

My pick: Sergio Garcia

Once again, experience should play a major factor here. It’s easy to see Ancer reaching this point in the proceedings and being gassed from those previous matches, while Garcia has left a little something in the tank. That could be the difference in this one.

Jordan Spieth vs. Jason Day

My pick: Jordan Spieth

Two players seeking a career resurgence of varying degrees. Quite honestly, even though they’ve each flashed signs of their old No. 1 rankings, Spieth is closer than Day right now. Expect that form to hold on Sunday morning.

pebble beach-jordan spieth-2021
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Spieth

FINALS

Sergio Garcia (+4000) vs. Jordan Spieth (+2500)

My pick: Sergio Garcia (+4000)

If it’s nearly mathematically impossible to predict the entire NCAA basketball bracket, then it must be similarly difficult to predict this one – and I’ll contend that it’s even tougher to nail the final match, since all 64 players are viable candidates in this event, as opposed to the hoops tourney.

Even so, this would be a delectable Sunday afternoon viewing, a potential Ryder Cup preview some six months in advance. I hate to pile on the recent spate of Spieth disappointments, but Garcia just might have the gas in the tank to take the whole thing in the end.

[Bet Sergio Garcia at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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