The Match III Odds & Betting Picks: Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley vs. Peyton Manning, Stephen Curry

The Match III Odds & Betting Picks: Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley vs. Peyton Manning, Stephen Curry article feature image
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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for The Match. Pictured: Peyton Manning

  • The Match III has a little different look to it than previous iterations, with Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley take on Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning.
  • This one will be modified alternate shot, with each player teeing off from staggered tee boxes, then choosing the best drive and having the other teammate hit from there, going back and forth until they’re in the hole.
  • Jason Sobel likes Phil and Barkley despite their underdog status and Barkley's infamous golf swing.

The Match III Odds

Mickelson/Barkley Odds +138 [BET NOW]
Manning/Curry Odds -175 [BET NOW]
Time Friday, 3 p.m. ET
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There aren’t many sporting events these days where the entertainment value exceeds the betting value — or both are  intrinsically tied together — and Friday’s latest edition of “The Match: Champions for Change” is just another example of that connection.

The latest iteration of this competition pits Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley against Steph Curry and Peyton Manning — and what it lacks in predictive analysis, it should make up for in foreseeable humor, with everyone poking fun at Sir Charles and Lefty yukking it up in his element.

If you’re betting this match — and make no mistake, that’s a respectful decision on an otherwise lazy Friday afternoon — my best advice is the same advice I often use in these exhibition types of events: Take the ‘dog.

There stands to be plenty of live betting action between the competitors in this one, but the opening line shows Mickelson and Barkley at +138. In a match where, quite literally, anything can happen, there’s at least a modicum of value in taking this pair.

Consider it the equivalent of getting plus-money on a coin flip.

If that doesn’t get you excited enough to place a wager, then try this: Truth be told, I’m not even sure the right team is favored here.

The first rule of betting a nontraditional golf match is to know the actual format. This one will be modified alternate shot, with each player teeing off from staggered tee boxes – including what Mickelson has termed the “Chuck tees” at Stone Mountain GC in Oro Valley, Arizona – then choosing the best drive and having the other teammate hit from there, going back and forth until they’re in the hole.

We’ve yet to be introduced to exactly where Barkley might be teeing off from, but this sounds contradictory-yet-relevant to  another Mickelson-related tale from a few years ago, when Colt Knost told us on The Action Network Podcast about Phil stretching out the tee boxes to expose his amateur opposition.

Point is, the crafty veteran isn’t against manipulating yardages to benefit his side, so don’t be surprised to see Chuck playing many holes wayyy forward to allow his partner to hit the approach after just an average drive.

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So, while the decided advantage Mickelson has in getting to hit roughly half of the shots for his team might be negated on the surface by the disadvantage of Barkley and his famously hitchy swing similarly accounting for 50% of that pairing, those “Chuck tees” could leave the duo less exposed than at first blush.

Anyone who’s watched a Ryder Cup foursomes match understands that a single player can’t carry the team. In a modified alt-shot, however, with other variables at play, it’s possible that the pro could put his partner on his back. (Figuratively, at least, although literally would make for one hell of a televised image.)

Meanwhile, their opposition could own the kinship of pick-and-roll partners or a quarterback and his favorite security blanket in the endzone. Or they could quickly learn they’re being hoodwinked by the parameters of the rule sheet.

Curry plays to a +2.1 index and held his own in at least three of the four Korn Ferry rounds that he’s played, posting 74-74 in 2017 and 71-86 the next year. Manning is a 4.8, but hardly looked out of his element when he teamed with Tiger Woods to defeat Mickelson and Tom Brady earlier this year.

On the plus-side, they’re each used to competing in front of cameras, so the significance of playing in a made-for-TV match shouldn’t awaken the demons that other amateur golfers might endure in this type of scenario. And while they might not be able to keep up with Mickelson off the tee, they should be able to ham-and-egg their way around the course without too many issues.

More than anything, though, this one should come down to motivation. Barkley wants to prove to the world that he isn’t as awful at this game as most of us already believe. As for Mickelson, well, this is his show. This is his chance to strut in front of an internationally televised audience and show us the massive difference between very good amateur golfers and a very good professional golfer.

I love playing the underdog in exhibition golf matches – and I love it even more when I’m not sure the right team is that ‘dog. At +138, I love a play on Mickelson/Barkley this week.

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