New format means there’s great value in this week’s WGC Matchplay betting
It’s the 17th edition of the WGC-Cadillac Matchplay this week and 64 of the world’s best golfers will head to San Francisco for the stroke play event. After six years at Dove Mountain the tournament moves location this year and as well as a change of venue there has also been a change of format.
Keep reading for our betting preview of this year’s WGC Matchplay.
Pool stage introduced for the first time
Rather than a straight knockout, the tournament takes on a new format this year that is not dissimilar to the football World Cup.
The 64 golfers have been split into 16 four-man pools, each led by one of the world’s 16 top ranked players. The other three members of each pool were randomly drawn, with one apiece coming from the number 17-32 seeds, 33-48 seeds and 49-64 seeds.
The player with the best record advanced to the 16-man knockout stage. In the event of a tie the head-to-head result will count and a sudden-death play-off will settle three-man ties.
The cream generally rises to the top in this event and six of the last eight winners have been seeded in the top 10. Only Matt Kucher and Hunter Mahan (both seeded 21) have won since 2007 having not been ranked in the top tier of seeds.
It’s no surprise that the co-favourites this year are the world’s two best players. Rory McIlroy is a previous finalist at this event – beaten 2&1 by Mahan in 2012 – while Jordan Spieth‘s recent form means he deserves serious consideration.
Both have received a decent draw although Spieth will have more to concern him. He will face the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Matt Every, the dangerous Lee Westwood and Mikko Ilonen who showed his liking for this format after winning the Volvo Matchplay in October.
Henrik Stenson was the beaten finalist on that occasion and the third seed is a previous winner of this event and good value at 19/1 while Justin Rose‘s recent form has been terrific. The Englishman was second at the Masters and shot 22 under to win last week’s PGA Tour event and in a group that features Ryan Palmer, Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri we’d fancy him to make it to the knockout stages.
Some outsiders to consider
It’s a matchplay tournament and so there will always be plenty of support for Ian Poulter who seems to relish the challenge of one-on-one golf. Poulter won this event in 2010 but is only ranked 27 this year meaning he has a tough draw.
He will face Jimmy Walker – the most successful player on the PGA Tour over the last couple of years – as well as Webb Simpson and Gary Woodland. The Englishman often rises to this occasion, however, and is available at 34/1.
Matt Kuchar won this event in 2013 and had a 5-0 record in the first round in the tournament’s old format. He’s a great matchplay competitor and leads the PGA Tour in one-putt percentage – an ideal stat for this style of golf. Kuchar will face his old rival Hunter Mahan, Steven Gallacher and Ben Martin and is 24/1 to win his second WGC Matchplay.
It is only a matter of time before Hideki Matsuyama makes a breakthrough in a big event and this week could be his time. The 23 year old has four consecutive top 25 finishes including 5th at the Masters and beat Martin Kaymer last year before going down by one hole in a very tight match with Graeme McDowell.
The Japanese star looks to have a favourable draw and is available at 29/1.
Check out all our pre-tournament odds on the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Matchplay over at our main site at https://www.betbright.com/golf/outrights/men/wgc-cadillac-match-play-2015-winer