Perry’s 2021 WGC Match Play Betting Picks & Preview: Let Matthew Fitzpatrick Lead Your Betslip
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Our week at the Honda Classic was pretty much over by Thursday.
We got a pretty easy first-round-leader win from Matt Jones, but without Jones or Aaron Wise on the outright card, it never really felt like there was much to sweat out for the rest of the week.
Now, we move on to golf's version of March Madness with the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.
The bracket will feature the top-64 players grouped into 16 four-player pods. After a group round robin, the pod winner will advance to the single-elimination bracket.
Only five players from the top 64 will not be in attendance: Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Gary Woodland.
Austin Country Club measures just under 7,100 yards for a par 71. It’s an interesting match-play course that favors a strong off-the-tee game. There are plenty of eagle chances with the par 5s all reachable to go along with a drivable par 4.
We don't necessarily need a bomber, though, for this Pete Dye design. Having a strong resume on Dye courses can also help, as we saw the last time this event was held when Kevin Kisner beat Matt Kuchar for the title.
The main defense for this course is the wind. Texas can get breezy this time of year, which puts even more of a premium on ball striking.
We usually don't get an overwhelming favorite for the match play event. It's just too volatile in nature where one average round can end a player's week.
Four players make up the top tier. Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau opened as co-favorites at +1200 with Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm next at +1400.
Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy are next at +2000. Again, slightly larger numbers than normal. But unless they get a little help in the group round robin, you're basically asking these guys to run through seven matches in a row. They can do it but if you like them to win outright, you may get better value on some of these guys just betting each match individually and rolling the wins over to the next round.
Of the big names, I'd lean toward Rahm. I like his group with Shane Lowry, Ryan Palmer and Sebastian Munoz. Rahm would be a solid favorite against any of those three on any day. Lowry has yet to advance out of the group in three tries, while Palmer and Munoz will be making their Austin debuts. Given the depth of the field, that's about as good of a draw as the 2017 runner-up could hope for.
I'll avoid the top of the board this year and start in this range with a few guys I think can make solid runs.
I'm going to start with Matthew Fitzpatrick at +4000 on bet365. We'll know pretty much immediately how this bet is going to go. He opens right off the bat against Jordan Spieth. Whoever wins that match has an excellent chance of getting through this group against Matthew Wolff and Corey Conners. I'll side with Fitz because he's at a bigger number, but that match could go either way.
Wolff is a guy we love to see right now. He's been injured and completely out of form this year. As for Conners, if players remember not to concede four-footers to him, he'll likely give you a hole or two during the match.
I'm also backing Jason Kokrak at +7000 on DraftKings. He hasn't played this event in Austin before, but three straight top-10s shows the game is right where is needs to be for a good run. He also was drawn into an intriguing group with Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris and Dylan Frittelli.
Finau hasn't advanced out of the group stage at this event and cooled off a little at THE PLAYERS with a missed cut. Zalatoris will be tough, but like Conners above, just don't concede short putts to him.
Frittelli is a Texas alum so he should have some local knowledge that you'd think would help. But in 2018, he was eliminated after two matches with losses to Xander Schauffele and Sergio Garcia.
We haven't seen a complete unknown take down this title yet on this course.
But I'll gamble with Victor Perez down here at 150/1 on DraftKings. Like with the first two plays, I'm trying to dodge the really high-end players and find a guy who got a manageable draw.
Perez was placed with Sungjae Im, Marc Leishman and Russell Henley. It's a really wide open group so I don't mind taking a stab here. Im has put up some decent results, but the approach game is really troublesome of late. He's lost strokes there in four of his last five starts. Leishman doesn't have a top 30 finish in the past couple months. And as for Henley, he was third last week, but gained eight strokes with the putter to do so. He's really the one that concerns me the most but without a DJ or Bryson to get through, I think Perez at triple digits is definitely worth a stab.
The Match Play Card
- Matthew Fitzpatrick +4000 (.83 units)
- Jason Kokrak +7000 (.47 units)
- Victor Perez +15000 (.22 units)
Total Stake: 1.52 units