We are still a ways away from the major sports leagues possibly returning, but that does not mean that there is nothing to wager on. Certainly, League of Legends and some lesser-known sports are up and running, but do not forget about the PGA Tour which is set to return in mid-June.
In the meantime, we have had some unique matches to keep our interest with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff and Dustin Johnson teeing it up last week. We now turn our attention to The Match: Champions for Charity which features two historic golfers teamed up with two Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks to see who takes home the bragging rights and the trophy. On one side, we have Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning going up against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Last year, Woods and Mickelson had a head-to-head matchup and this will add a new wrinkle with the quarterbacks joining the fun.
Although this is for charity and nobody is taking it too seriously, the market is open for betting. With this being one of the only games in town, we have the time to break down what we should expect from this charity match and a few fun wagers to take a shot on if you are looking for a sweat.
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First thing to go over is the venue. The course is Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., and this stands out as Woods’ home course. Clearly that is an advantage right off the bat as he will be more familiar with this place than anyone else by a long shot.
The course is a Greg Norman/Pete Dye design that can stretch all the way to 7,515 yards depending on how the holes play. These factors are going to be less important than a full-field event since this is just a two-on-two matchup, but it is still good to get a general idea of the layout.
The format is where things get interesting as there are a lot of different options when talking about a charity golf event like this one. The Match has chosen to incorporate a few different ideas that will be played on each nine. First off, we have the front nine which will be four ball, also called best ball. Each player will tee off with their own ball and complete the hole with their own shots. The best score between the two players on a team counts for their side. The lowest score wins. If the teams tie, then the hole is tied. Manning and Brady will each get three handicap strokes on the front nine — one on the hardest par 3, hardest par 4 and hardest par 5.
On the back nine, the format will be modified alternate shot. Each player will tee off to start the hole. Then each pair will determine the best drive and play alternate shot by switching off which player hits the next shot until the hole is completed. The lowest score will win the hole with level scores resulting in the hole being tied.
Having multiple formats makes this even more entertaining as it will allow both teams to have more strategy involved. Both quarterbacks are apparently decent enough golfers and one of them could make the difference if their counterpart is a little sluggish. We haven’t seen Tiger tee it up in nearly 100 days so the state of his game is anyone’s guess.
Even though this is a charity event with quarterbacks teeing it up, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few shots with some wagers. Last week’s event with McIlroy and the gang was lighthearted in nature, but like most things, got intense towards the end of the round. I would expect the same here with all four guys gunning for the bragging rights in this one.
Match Winner: Tiger/Manning -186 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
I am laying the juice here with the favorites in Woods and Manning as I think they are clearly the better duo. This being Tiger’s home course has to be a massive advantage and he lost to Mickelson in the original version of “The Match.”
In terms of the odds, -186 isn’t terrible and I believe the percent chance of Woods and Manning taking this down still produces enough value to fire on the favorites. Live betting is going to be prevalent in this match, so if you think they will start slow, you could wait to pick up a much better price live after a few holes.
Either Team to Hole a Shot from off the Green : Yes +260 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
This is a fun prop bet as you can wager if either team will make some noise with a hole out from off the green during the match. You are getting 2.6-1 on your money if you go with Yes and I feel that is enough to take a stab. We are talking about Tiger Woods who is always live to make some noise, and again, this is his home course. On the other side with Mickelson, we have one of the best and craftiest short game artists of all time and there is no doubt he will be diving into his bag of tricks. He is the king of bunker hole outs and other short game antics so for these type of odds, I don’t mind the move. We also get the Hail Mary out with Brady or Manning randomly making one so that could be the way we get paid off here as well.
This isn’t a full-field event or a major sport back in action, but the opportunity to have fun gimmicks like this wouldn’t be possible without the hiatus. Seeing two of the all-time great quarterbacks team up with Woods and Phil should provide entertainment and memorable moments which is all we can ask for during the break in action. I am hopeful that once sports return we still can have some of these type of Mickelson to keep a change of pace from the normal routine and believe this will be a hit. We will watch Tiger and Manning get the best of Mickelson and Brady which is why I’m backing the Big Cat to level the score in these head-to-head matches against Mickelson.
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