Freedman’s Favorite Wells Fargo Championship Matchup: Rory McIlroy vs. Rickie Fowler

Freedman’s Favorite Wells Fargo Championship Matchup: Rory McIlroy vs. Rickie Fowler article feature image

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler

  • Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring at least one of his favorite bets for each day of 2019.
  • On Wednesday, he looks at the Wells Fargo Championship & the golf head-to-head matchup between Rory McIlroy & Rickie Fowler.

Each day, I publish 1-2 pieces on props I like. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.

In this piece, I break down my favorite head-to-head matchup for the Wells Fargo Championship (May 2, 7:00 a.m. ET).

For more daily player props, follow me in The Action Network app.

2019 Year-to-Date Record

689-525-39, +97.67 Units

  • NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
  • NBA: 336-256-7, +38.73 Units
  • NHL: 66-80-7, -7.57 Units
  • MLB: 43-49-11, -10.56 Units
  • Golf: 8-8-2, +1.85 Units
  • NASCAR: 10-17-0, -5.97 Units
  • NCAAB: 125-70-12, +38.82 Units
  • NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
  • Exotic: 74-31-0, +28.25 Units

2019 Wells Fargo Championship Matchup: Rory McIlroy vs. Rickie Fowler

  • Rory McIlroy: -165
  • Rickie Fowler: +145

Hey, everybody! It’s Rory genuflection week! Rory at Quail Hollow!


As of writing, McIlroy is favored at +650 in The Action Network app to win this weekend, which makes sense. He has won this event twice, and as Jason Sobel highlights in his 2019 Wells Fargo betting preview, this course suits him well.

Contenders at the Wells Fargo Championship are often long and straight with their drives, putting themselves in position to score rather than play defense. … The importance of driving over iron play should explain why Rory McIlroy, who leads the PGA Tour by a mile this year in strokes gained off the tee, has enjoyed so much success here.

Even if Rory doesn’t win, he seem highly likely to finish in the top 10.

But so does Fowler, who is tied for third with +1100 odds to win. Rory won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow — but so did Rickie.

Rory has won the Wells Fargo Championship twice, but he also missed the cut in 2011. Rickie has never missed the Quail Hollow cut.

Rory has been better than Rickie at this course throughout their careers, but he hasn’t been that much better.

  • 2018: McIlroy – T16 (-3), Fowler – T21 (-2)
  • 2017: McIlroy – T22 (+1), Fowler – T5 (-5)
  • 2016: McIlroy – T4 (-7), Fowler – T4 (-7)
  • 2015: McIlroy – 1 (-21), Fowler – DNP
  • 2014: McIlroy – T8 (-8), Fowler – T38 (-2)
  • 2013: McIlroy – T10 (-4), Fowler – T73 (+5)
  • 2012: McIlroy – T2 (-14), Fowler – 1 (-14)
  • 2011: McIlroy – MC, Fowler – T16 (-9)
  • 2010: McIlroy – 1 (-15), Fowler – 6 (-7)

Over the past three years, Fowler has had the better course performance. When Fowler won in 2012, he beat McIlroy (and D.A. Points) in a one-hole playoff. In the eight Quail Hollow events they’ve both played, McIlroy’s head-to-head record against Fowler is 4-3-1. That’s hardly dominant.

Since 2010, Rory has a median score of -7 strokes at Quail Hollow; Rickie, -6.

McIlroy has the superior course history, but it’s hard to say that he’s been significantly better than Fowler.

And they are in similar form right now (per the FantasyLabs PGA Models).

  • Long-term adjusted round score: McIlroy – 67.9, Fowler – 68.1
  • Recent adjusted round score: McIlroy – 68.0, Fowler – 67.6

At +145 odds, Fowler has a 40.8% implied probability of finishing ahead of McIlroy in the standings. I believe his true odds are closer to 45%.

I’d bet on Fowler over McIlroy down to +125.

The Pick: Fowler (+145)

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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