The groups have been drawn, so NCG’s resident expert has picked out his WGC-Match Play Championship bracket bets. Where can you find some value?

WGC-Match Play Championship bracket bets: The banker

I was very surprised to see Dustin Johnson (20/21 with bet365) trading at odds of just under even money  to get out of Group 1.

DJ won this event in 2017, was a quarter-finalist the year before, and has already won a WGC this year – having triumphed at the Mexico Championship.

He probably should have had more this season and might have given Paul Casey a harder time at the Valspar but for some indifferent final round putting. He has finished in the top 10 in six of his eight events this season.

Clearly, his game is working well which isn’t necessarily the case for all of his group opponents.

Hideki Matsuyama has shown flashes, not least when top 10 at The Players, but hasn’t yet recaptured the form that propelled him to two Tour wins, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, in 2017.

Brandon Grace was runner-up in Phoenix but missed the cut at the Valspar and didn’t feature at all at Sawgrass. His efforts at the Waste Management Open constitute his only top 20 of the year.

And while Chez Reavie’s year got off to an absolute flier with top 10s at the Sony Open and Phoenix Open, he’s missed three of his last four cuts – including recording an 80 at the Genesis Open.

In short, it would be a massive surprise if the World No. 1 wasn’t able to negotiate this trio.

WGC-Match Play Championship bracket bets: The outsider

WGC-Match Play Championship bracket bets

One of my outright selections, Jason Day, landed the clichéd ‘Group of Death’ with Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk (15/4) for company.

I’ve been holding a bit of a love-in with Furyk recently, and the American hasn’t let me down – finishing 2nd at The Players.

He was also in the frame at the Valspar until a disappointing 3-over-par final round. It might be, having had injury and Ryder Cup captaincy to deal with over the last couple of years, that he was running out of gas after an extended run of tournaments.

But at that price he might be worth taking a chance on to challenge Day for supremacy in this group.

Stenson will have to step up considerably on his efforts this year to progress and Mickelson, despite winning at Pebble Beach, looked almost disinterested at Sawgrass when missing the cut.

Phil hasn’t got out of the groups in two of three appearances since this tournament shifted to Austin. He will be on the back foot if Stenson can spring a surprise in the first match.

Mickelson’s quarter-final run in 2017 is easily his best performance and, among this company, he can surely be opposed.

This whole strategy depends on Jim getting off to a fast start against Day in his opening encounter. But, if he can hold the Australian, odds of near 4/1 for a man who is in form could turn out to be quite large.

WGC-Match Play Championship bracket bets: The sleeper

WGC-Match Play Championship

Tommy Fleetwood has had a week to think about his struggles in the final round at Sawgrass and that might benefit Louis Oosthuizen (15/8).

The South African travels to Texas fresh from a runners-up showing at the Valspar and looks attractive to challenge in a group that also includes Kyle Stanley and Ben An.

Oosthuizen lost to Jason Day in the final in 2016 here and got to the last 16 a year ago. Stanley has missed six of his last seven cuts on the PGA Tour, and will need to step up considerably, while An has a top 10 at the Arnold Palmer but little else.

These things rarely follow expectations, of course, but this should end up as a showdown between Tommy and Louis. At the price, the South African looks better value.

So how about Tiger Woods? Steve explores the 18-time WGC winner’s chances on the next page…