It’s one of my favourite events this week as the five-day WGC-Dell Match Play gets underway in Austin. Picking an outright outright winner is always tough here, but I really fancy the chances with my three selections. Alongside my main tips, I will also post a few special bets, including group winners, just to keep things really interesting over the five days. But before I get into my free golf betting tips…
WGC-Dell Match Play details
Venue: Austin Country Club, Texas
Date: March 23-27, 2021
Course stats: Par 71; 7,082 yards.
Course summary: A typical Pete Dye track, packed with perilous bunkers, water hazards, and undulating surfaces. The tree-lined fairways weave towards small Bermuda grass greens, and with wind a likely factor players will rely heavily on accuracy from tee to green. This strategic test boasts reachable par-5s and a driveable par-4, with a distinct change in terrain after the 6th hole as the players head into the hills. Fitness and fatigue will play a part in this event, with plenty of golf to be played for those progressing to the latter stages.
Format: 64 players battle it out in 16 round robin groups over the first three days, with the winner of each group progressing to the weekend. The Round of 16 and quarter-finals take place on Saturday, with the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Purse: $12 million
Defending champion: Billy Horschel (beat Scottie Scheffler 2&1 in the final)
WGC-Dell Match Play TV coverage
Wednesday: Sky Sports Golf from 2.15pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 2.30pm; Sky Sports Golf from 6pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30pm
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 2pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 2.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 2.15pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 2pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 2.30pm
WGC-Dell Match Play outright betting tips
Bazza’s Banker: Dustin Johnson – 4pt win @ 22/1 with Bet365
DJ won this event back in 2017 and has recently started to look the formidable force that stormed to Masters victory in 2020. A T9 finish at the Players, on another Pete Dye design course, was an encouraging sign on the road back to his best golf, and with a strong performance at the Ryder Cup still fresh in the memory it is clear he knows how to succeed in this type of format.
Johnson was 13th for SG: Off-the-Tee last week and ranks 8th for the same measure in this calendar year, so has the skillset to negotiate this track. A draw in Group 8 with Mackenzie Hughes, Max Homa and Matthew Wolff should be no problem, and should he advance a likely tie with Bryson DeChambeau awaits. The injury woes for DeChambeau make this an appealing route to a potential quarter-final place, so at a decent price I am ready to invest.
The Each-Way Play: Alex Noren – 1.5pt e/w @ 66/1 with Bet365
Noren has a phenomenal record in this event, with 11 wins and 3 losses in 14 matches. His recent form has given me enough optimism to select him this week, with two top 10s and a top 20 in his last five starts. The Swede’s overall tournament form gives further justification, having made the quarter-finals and semi-finals in just three attempts at this event.
In the last three months, Noren ranks 31st for SG: Tee-to-Green and 23rd for SG: Total which highlights his consistency. Noren was also 7th for SG: Putting last week and 10th for SG: Around-the-Green so surely has the all-round game to challenge for this title once more.
The Longshot: Erik Van Rooyen – 1pt e/w @ 125/1 with Bet365
This is a speculative selection coming out of a tough group with Brooks Koepka, but I fancy the South African to put on a strong show. Van Rooyen has finished in the top 25 on four out of nine occasions this season, and recently finished 13th at the Players. An impressive display last year saw Van Rooyen reach the last-16 and I am banking on him improving this time around.
In the last three months, Van Rooyen ranks 16th for SG: Approach and 5th in the same category of his last three events. Hitting greens in regulation is a big measure for success here, and he will need his best ball striking to get past Koepka, Shane Lowry, and Harold Varner III. With such a big price on offer, I can’t resist a small stakes punt on an event that always throws up a few surprises.
WGC-Dell Match Play special betting tips
Top GB&I: Richard Bland – 1pt e/w @ 50/1 with Bet365
The popular DP World Tour star – mainly thanks to his dependability and, of course, that fairy-tale win at the British Masters in 2021 – Bland has already been a runner-up this season, at the Dubai Desert Classic, and is tackling this event for the first time. In a format that requires consistency, and a clever golf brain, I can see Bland getting out of what looks to be a generous group.
Lee Westwood, Talor Gooch and the headliner Bryson DeChambeau make up Group 9, and while the two Americans perhaps pose the biggest threat they do not boast the greatest form entering the week. With Group 5 hosting three Englishman, all of which could fall at the sword of a red-hot Scottie Scheffler, this could become a much easier task if Bland can just find the last-16 and the salvation of the weekend.
For more prices, visit Bet365.