WGC Dell Match Play Championship In-Tournament Picks: Look for Will Zalatoris to Go the Distance

WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship live betting picks and predictions. Andy gives us his in-tournament picks and analysis for the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. Find out who presents the most value at the halfway point.
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WGC Dell Match Play Championship In-Tournament Picks: Look for Will Zalatoris to Go the Distance

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WGC Dell Match Play Championship In-Tournament Picks

We've officially reached the knockout stage of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, and there has been no shortage of chaos. Many of the world's best players still remain, but top seeds such as Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Joaquin Niemann, and Viktor Hovland are on to Augusta. Compared to last year when only one top seed advanced to the knockout stage, eight top seeds (Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler, Billy Horscehel, Tyrrell Hatton, Collin Morikawa, and Abraham Ancer) will live to see another day this year. With so many elite players left in the fold, there are multiple ways to attack the oddsboard.

Pre-tournament favorite Jon Rahm remains at the top at +650, which I don't actually think is a terrible number. His pre-tournament odds essentially got slashed in half, while most other players can now be found at a fraction of their closing prices. Oddsmakers seem to believe that Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson are both nearly as likely to claim victory. Both Morikawa and Johnson can be found as high as +700 via the US OddsChecker golf grid. Last year's runner-up, Scottie Scheffler, is not far behind at +850. Of the favorites, I probably prefer Dustin Johnson the most. I bet Rahm before the tournament started, but he will have his work cut out for him tomorrow morning against Brooks Koepka, who appears to be rounded into form just in time for the Masters. Johnson, on the other hand, will be tasked with Richard Bland. No shots to Bland, but his entire group this week was a mess. While we do not have strokes gained statistics at our disposal this week, I feel pretty confident based on the eye test that Bland was very fortunate to move forward.

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Instead, I will turn my attention to a player that has passed the eye test thus far, and that's Will Zalatoris. After going 2-1 in group play, the 25-year-old drained a nine foot birdie on the second playoff hole to send the number three player in the world, Viktor Hovland, home packing. Zalatoris' ball-striking has never been the concern. In fact, he entered this week having gained over 3.5 strokes ball-striking in all five of his starts this year. Unfortunately, in every one of those tournaments, he has also lost between 1.3 and 1.9 strokes putting. At least he's consistent!

In all seriousness, Zalatoris is hitting the ball at such a high level that he does not need to rely on his putter. In all five of those starts where he lost over a stroke putting, he still never finished outside the top 38, and he was one putt away from winning the Farmer's Insurance Open. I've always said, if Zalatoris can just find a way to gain slightly with the flat-stick, he will win often. Again, we are without strokes gained data, but Zalatoris drained five putts outside of ten feet today, and even importantly, was 100% from ten feet and in.

Let's also consider Zalatoris' draw. He's a -150 favorite to defeat Kevin Na in the knockout stage tomorrow morning, and then he will play the winner of Kevin Kisner and Adam Scott to advance to the final four. Once he is in the final four, he may have to deal with Morikawa, but Rahm, Koepka, Johnson, Scheffler, and Horschel are all on the other side of the bracket.

Let's start with Kevin Na, who scratched and clawed his way to the knockout stage after a one up win on Russell Henley, a tie with Maverick McNealy, and a one up win on Joaquin Niemann. He beat all three of his opponents by a combined two holes, and all three matches went the distance. Na recently withdrew from the PLAYERS for the birth of his child, and prior to that, he finished nearly dead last at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He simply hasn't been playing a lot of golf lately, and I believe he was lucky to make it this far. I felt pre-tournament that he had drawn one of the weakest groups, and it still took a herculean effort to advance. I expect Zalatoris to make quick work of him tomorrow.

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Zalatoris' potential quarter-finals opponent will be either Adam Scott or Kevin Kisner. I don't seem to fear Kisner in match play as much as others. I understand that he has looked great all week, but Kisner remains incredibly dependent on his putter. This year, Kisner ranks 187th in strokes gained off the tee, and 204th in strokes gained approach. For context, Zalatoris ranks 14th and seventh in those two respective categories. It's certainly possible that Kisner remains electric on the greens, but I am always going to trust the more reliable ball-striker. I actually believe that Adam Scott will beat Kisner tomorrow, despite being a slight underdog. While Scott is a worthy opponent, I was not overly impressed with his play across the first three days either. Group 11 was a mess in itself as well, with Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, and Keegan Bradley, all struggling mightily. Ultimately, I believe that Zalatoris has the easiest path to the semi-finals, and we can worry about the Rahm's, Brooks', DJ's, and Scheffler's of the world when we get there. Zalatoris can be found as high as 12/1 on FanDuel Sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid, and I believe that to be the best bet on the board as we enter the knockout stage at the WGC Dell-Technologies Match Play Championship.

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WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship In-Tournament Picks

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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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