Jon Rahm among the top bets for the WGC Dell Technologies event

The Florida swing of the PGA Tour has ended and players head to Austin Country Club for the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play event this week.

The PGA Tour’s only non-stroking event brings together 64 players who are grouped into 16 groups of four before a single-elimination bracket crowns the champion.

Jon Rahm (+1400) comes in as the favorite to win the Lone Star State, with Justin Thomas (+1600) and Viktor Hovland (+1800) following close behind.

But instead of focusing on the outright market, I choose to focus on the group futures for this event. Based on my model predictions, I have identified three targets for these markets. All odds are provided courtesy of BetMGM and are conflicting at the time of writing.

modeling strategy

Before I dive into my best group futures bets, a quick word on my modeling strategy for this event.

I used five statistical factors to project each player’s performance and also used two situational categories to further narrow the results. The five statistical categories are as follows: Shots Won: Approach, Shots Won: Drive to the Green, Shots Won: Putting, Birdies Won or Better, and Good Shots Won.

After sorting the players based on these five stats, I refined the results to include the last 36 rounds with two situational factors added. Those two refinements were performance on Bermuda greens and performance on Pete Dye designs.

Best Bet #1 – Jon Rahm Wins Group 1 (+140)

Some might call this a square game, but my model makes the reigning US Open champion the best player in this group by far.

For the last 36 rounds, Rahm has projected himself as the seventh best player in that field, thanks in large part to finishing sixth on good drives. And although he ranks 17th in the field in strokes won: approach, a large part of that ranking can be attributed to his performance in the PLAYERS, where he lost 6.6 strokes on the approach.

But before that event, Rahm averaged +3.92 shots on approach in his last five games.

Jon Rahm
Getty Images

Also, the gap between Rahm and his three group competitors in his model is quite large. The realistic challenger (Patrick Reed) is 30th overall in my model, while Cameron Young and Sebastian Munoz are 58th and 51st in the field of 64, respectively.

There’s always a chance Reed will find a hot putter and snag that group, but I think Rahm’s price should be closer to +120. As a result, I like to take the implied probability advantage and back the favorite to get ahead.

Best Bet #2 – Patrick Cantlay Wins Group 4 (+180)

Let’s hope a week off was the perfect antidote for Cantlay’s missed cut at TPC Sawgrass and he gets back to his current form this week.

The other Group 4 contenders, Keith Mitchel and Seamus Power, arrive in Austin 55th and 49th in my model, along with little matchplay experience. That leaves Sungjae Im as the only challenger for Cantlay’s group win in my opinion.

Similar to Rahm’s group, Cantlay’s way of losing that group is by me firing his putter and winning a putting contest. Im entering this event after losing three straight shots and five of his last seven shots on approach. He’s also lost three of his last four shots from the tee to the green.

On the other hand, Cantlay won shots from tee to green in nine consecutive events before a disappointing performance in that category at The Players Championship. Also, my model rates it no worse than 12th in the field in the three most important categories – SG: Approach, Birdie or Better Gained, and SG: T2G.

Patrick Cantlay hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the World Championships Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 13, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Patrick Cantley
Getty Images

Finally, I think it’s worth noting that Cantlay put in a 3-0-1 performance in the Ryder Cup last fall, a feat that should give him an extra leg in this group.

Best Bet #3 – Dustin Johnson wins Group 8 (+190)

Surely this bet will turn out to be too good to be true as my modeling makes DJ the best player in this group by far.

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The 2020 Masters winner in my model enters this event 8th overall, largely due to his performance in the birdies won category or better. For the past 36 rounds, Johnson is the overall winner in that category and holds a 45-point lead in that category over his nearest group competitor.

His three group contenders – Max Homa, Mackenzie Hughes and Matthew Wolff – all rank fairly low in the SG:T2G category, with all three in the bottom 15 spots on that metric.

Overall, Johnson, a past winner at this event, ranks 8th in my model. The nearest group competitor (Homa) finishes in 50th place. Like Cantlay, Johnson put in an excellent 5-0-0 performance in the Ryder Cup in another Dye design, Whistling Straits.

For all these reasons, I believe Johnson should be closer to +115 to win this group, so I’m happy to shoot at +190. Jon Rahm among the top bets for the WGC Dell Technologies event


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