WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Group Picks and Predictions: Who Should You Be Backing to Win Their Group?

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play group picks and analysis from Andy Lack. Find out the best group bets for the only Match Play tournament on the schedule. Andy Lack is here to kick off the tournament with some early winners.
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WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Group Picks and Predictions: Who Should You Be Backing to Win Their Group?

After an exciting swing of Florida golf, the PGA Tour now heads to Austin, Texas for the most unique tournament on the schedule: The WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. This event is the only remaining match play tournament on the PGA Tour, and it definitely serves as a fun change of pace from the monotonous grind of stroke play.

Essentially, qualifying is very simple. The top 64 players in the official world golf rankings are in, and if a player in the top 64 withdraws, the next man up in the rankings gets his spot. The only players in the top 64 who won't be competing this week are Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Sam Burns, Harris English, and Phil Mickelson.

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The 64 man field is then split into 16 groups of four players, who are seeded 1-16, 17-32, 33-48, 49-64. Each group will play a round-robin format over Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. One point is rewarded for a win, a half-point is rewarded for a tie, and the player with the most points from each group will move on to the knockout stage. If two or more players are tied at the top of the group, there is a sudden death stroke play tie-breaker played to decide who progresses. The round of 16 and quarter-finals are played on Saturday, and the semi-finals, finals, and third-place match is played on Sunday. Now that we have the format down, let's briefly discuss the golf course.

This tournament has been held at Austin Country Club since 2016, and although this event does not have strokes gained data, we can still grasp an understanding of this course from its architect. Pete Dye designed the Texas layout in 1984, and we are no stranger to his work on the PGA Tour. Austin Country Club shares many similarities with other Dye properties such as the Stadium Course at PGA West, TPC Sawgrass, TPC River Highlands, and TPC Louisiana, all courses that we do have strokes gained data from. Austin C.C. is a Par 71, tipping out to just 7,108 yards, and it features similar over-seeded Bermuda greens to what we have seen the last two weeks at the PLAYERS Championship and the Valspar.

It's hardly a coincidence that the same continuously pop up on these shorter Pete Dye designs. Looking at the last five winners of the Match Play, Billy Horschel has won at TPC Louisiana twice; Kevin Kisner has two top-fives at TPC Sawgrass and another top-five at TPC River Highlands; Bubba Watson has multiple wins at TPC River Highlands; Dustin Johnson has won at TPC River Highlands and leads the field in strokes gained total at TPC Sawgrass, and Jason Day has also won at TPC Sawgrass. Other players who have experienced loads of success at Austin C.C., such as Matt Kuchar and Brian Harman, also have multiple wins and top-five finishes at TPC Sawgrass, the Stadium Course at PGA West, and TPC River Highlands. The point is, I will be relying heavily this week on the corollary course form. I will also be targetting great wedge players and those who can make birdies in bunches.

Let's dig into my group picks!

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Group 7: Xander Schauffele (+175) vs. Tony Finau (+250) vs. Takumi Kanaya (+300) vs. Lucas Herbert (+300)

Selection: Xander Schauffele (+175) (Bet $100 to Win $175)

To be honest, I did not have a ton of interest in Xander Schauffele to begin the week, but when I saw his draw, I did a complete 180. I would argue that Schauffele has drawn the easiest of the 16 groups, and I believe that +175 is a cheap price to pay for him to advance.

For starters, I have zero faith in Takumi Kanaya, who might be good, or he might be an official world golf ranking manipulator. Currently, I have more evidence to support the latter. While Kanaya has been able to rack up Top-10s on the Asian Tour, he missed the cut in both of his PGA Tour starts this season, losing over a stroke ball-striking in both instances. I need to see Kanaya compete at least once with big boys before I pick him to best a Top-10 player in the world. I can't say I have more confidence in Lucas Herbert, who has lost strokes ball-striking in all five starts this year. The one time that he finished better than 68th this season, he gained 14.4 strokes around the green and putting. While Tony Finau is a far superior player to Kanaya and Herbert, the former Northern Trust winner has looked completely out of sorts of late. In his last start, the two-time PGA Tour winner missed the cut at the PLAYERS badly despite being on the advantageous side of the draw, and he has failed to record a Top-30 finish in all six of his starts this season. Schauffele is the play in this group, essentially by default.

Xander Schauffele is currently among the betting favorites at WGC Match Play and is one of the best players in the world. He is one to keep an eye on when looking to bet on the first major of the season at Augusta coming this April.

Group 11: Jordan Spieth (+210) vs. Adam Scott (+230) vs. Justin Rose (+270) vs. Keegan Bradley (+300)

Selection: Adam Scott (+230) (Bet $100 to Win $230)

I love how this group and tournament sets up for Adam Scott. Few players have been more consistently solid than Scott at TPC Sawgrass, and he just posted a 13th-place finish on his debut appearance at TPC River Highlands. Scott is an excellent wedge player who makes a lot of birdies, and he has improved his putting significantly over the last year. I expect him to go far this week.

As far as his competitors in Group 11, I simply don't buy it with Spieth this week. The stats are bad and the eye test is worse. He will presumably get some love seeing as this event is held in Texas, but there's nothing about his recent play that suggests he should be favored here. Rose is seemingly getting a bump on name value as well. Since his sixth-place finish at the Farmer's Insurance Open, he's been objectively terrible, losing over a stroke ball-striking in three straits starts. Keegan Bradley is actually the player I am most afraid of. He has a strong track record at TPC River Highlands, and he almost just won the PLAYERS two weeks ago. With that being said, Bradley is essentially good for one or two elite performances per year, and we saw him come right down to earth last week at the Valspar. Ultimately, Adam Scott's entire schedule is centered around peaking at this time of year, and I believe we will get his best effort.

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Group 12: Billy Horschel (+175) vs. Tom Hoge (+250) vs. Thomas Pieters (+250) vs. Min Woo Lee (+400)

Selection: Tom Hoge (+250) (Bet $100 to Win $250)

I will always have a soft spot for Hoge after he cashed me a 65/1 ticket at Pebble Beach, and I immediately argued after said performance that he was here to stay. Tom Hoge has one extremely elite skill-set. He is a top-five player in the world from 175 yards and in. Luckily for Hoge, about 70% of the tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule accentuate that specific skill-set, and this week is no different. Hoge was in the mix until Sunday at the PLAYERS and had he not lost 5.2 strokes putting that week, I think we'd be valuing him differently.

As far as his competitors in Group 12, Billy Horschel is the deserving favorite and our defending champion. It's easy to make a case for Horschel this week, but he may have peaked earlier this year. After a string of high-end finishes, things started heading in the wrong direction at the PLAYERS. In the case of Thomas Pieters and Min Woo Lee, I understand the "talent," but I still need to see it first. Pieters hasn't sniffed a top 20 on the PGA Tour since the 2021 Corales Punta Cana Championship, and he has lost over a stroke ball-striking in all three starts this season on American soil. Min Woo Lee's American resume is even less inspiring. He has failed to make the cut in all three of his PGA Tour starts this season, finishing nearly dead last at both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Genesis Invitational. I simply trust Hoge the most on a short, positional golf course.

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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