Golf Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for the 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship
Gary A. Vazquez, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods
The best golfers in the world will head to Mexico City this weekend for the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec (12 p.m. ET).
Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are co-favorites to win the tournament at 10-1, with Rory McIlroy (12-1), Jon Rahm (16-1) and Bryson DeChambeau (16-1) rounding out the top five.
Here are our golf experts’ favorite bets for this tournament:
Tiger Woods Top-10 (+167)
So… Tiger is pretty strong in these WGC events. He’s got 18 career wins; the next closest pursuer to that record has five. Yup, pretty strong.
I also think on the heels of a T-15 result last week, he’s ready to take another leap toward that 81st career PGA Tour victory, even if it won’t happen this week.
Woods is +425 to finish top-five, which is very possible, but maybe a bit overreaching. He’s -180 to finish top-20, which should happen, but isn’t great value.
But you’re in luck, Goldilocks, since top-10 at this price feels justtt righttt.
With the way Woods is driving the ball and the elevation at Chapultepec, I think we’ll see some monster driving numbers from him this week. The only downside could be another slow start, but even if it happens, check out a live top-10 bet on Thursday night, if you can find it.
Tiger Woods over Bryson DeChambeau (+115)
The 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship tees off at Club De Golf Chapultepec on Thursday (Feb. 21, 12:03 p.m. ET). This is a great, no-cut event with almost all of the top golfers in the world.
And the head-to-head matchup between Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau intrigues me.
As he detailed above, Action Network Senior Golf Writer Jason Sobel is a fan of Tiger this week.
DeChambeau is in good recent form with top-15 finishes in his five tournaments this year, but the FantasyLabs PGA Models point to Woods.
Woods wasn’t all that impressive at the Farmers Insurance Open (T-20) in late January, but dating back to September, Woods has more than held his own against DeChambeau in the three tournaments they’ve both played.
- BMW Championship: 6th (tied) vs. 19th (tied)
- Tour Championship: 1st vs. 19th
- Genesis Open: 15th (tied) vs. 15th (tied)
And over the past 75 weeks, Woods has the superior numbers in a few important metrics.
- Adjusted round score: 67.9 vs. 68.4
- Scrambling: 63.9% vs. 59.3%
- Putts per round: 28.6 vs. 29.0
- Field strength: 96.2% vs. 93.6%
While DeChambeau has the edge in driving distance (303.2 yards vs. 302.5) and driving accuracy (62.0% vs. 59.3%), that edge will be minimized because of the Mexico City elevation (7,800 feet), which will make the 7,345-yard course play much shorter.
Woods is still rounding his way into form, but he tends to be his best in big moments, and with its $10,250,000 purse, the WGC-Mexico Championship is the biggest tournament we’ve had to this point this year.
Given where they are in their careers and in the season, DeChambeau is probably the better golfer right now, but +115 is too much value to ignore for a guy with Woods’ ability.
I’d bet Woods down to +105.
Sergio Garcia Top 20 +130
Garcia played a lot better than a 37th at Riviera would suggest. He was seventh in the field in birdies, so a lot went right for him. He’s also been inside the top 15 in his other two starts here.
This is a ball-strikers course and he’s one of the best iron players in the world, so getting plus money in a 70-person field feels like good value.
Patrick Cantlay over Bubba Watson (-125)
Shorting Watson last week almost came back to bite me, but he doubled 18 on Sunday and all was right with the world.
Cantlay and Watson’s recent form is almost identical in the FantasyLabs Player Models, but I’ll be betting on Cantlay’s long-term form in this one. His 68.4 Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) is better than Watson’s by 0.8 strokes.
Additionally, Cantlay has the edge in most other metrics I am weighing this week:
- Greens in regulation: 70.1% vs. 68.2%
- Birdies per tournament: 14.9 vs. 13.8
- Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -1.1 vs. -0.5
- Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -4.8 vs. -4.6
In the long run, I’d expect this bet to pan more often than not considering Cantlay has finished inside the top 25 and top 10 in 66% and 36% of his PGA events over the past two years, compared to just 28% and 19% for Watson.
Alex Noren (-115) to finish 33rd or better
Beep. Beep. Beep. That’s the sound of the Brinks truck backing up. Noren doesn’t have the elite length that some of the top 10 in the world have, but that doesn’t matter this week at the WGC Mexico.
His tee-to-green game is extremely solid and has gotten better each year that he’s played this golf course, finishing T-14 last year.
With only 72 players in the field, Noren only has to beat slightly more than half of them to finish in the top 33. Time to destroy your bookie and get paid.
Charles Howell over Louis Oosthuizen -105 or better
Howell is playing incredible golf to start the 2019 season. He has not missed a cut in 2019 and has finished T20 or better in four of five events. Oosthuizen has been struggling and is always a candidate for a mid-round WD.
DraftKings Pick: Gary Woodland, $7,900
Gary has the most win equity of any golfer under $8k in most markets. I love his upside at this price.