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WGC - Accenture Match Play Betting News and Notes

WGC - Accenture Match Play Betting News and Notes

WGC - Accenture Match Play - Round One
By Matt Fargo

After an exciting finish at the Northern Trust Open, the PGA Tour heads to Arizona for the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship from The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana. This is a field of the top 64 players in the world that play until one winner remains and with it being the only match play event of the season on the PGA Tour, it definitely gets some added attention. All but two players ranked in the top 50, Brandt Snedeker and Phil Mickelson, all teeing it up in this event.

The WGC Match Play starts a day earlier to accommodate the six rounds and concludes with a 36-hole final match on Sunday. Unlike the NCAA Tournament where the higher seeds normally advance, anything can happen here and while rankings are still important, they are not to be taken too much into consideration. In the 12 years of this event, a number one seed has won it only three times and that of course was Tigers Woods, the only player to win this event three times.

There are plenty of upsets throughout but for the most part, a low seed usually takes home the prize. In four of the last five years, a number three seed or better has won the event and in the 14 years, 11 winners have come from a number six seed or better including seven of the last nine years where a number four seed or better won. Some big upsets were in 2006 with 13th seed Geoff Ogilvy, Steve Stricker in 2001 as a 14th seed and Kevin Sutherland the next year as a 16th seed.

Taking a look at last year, number six seed Hunter Mahan defeated number one seed Rory McIlroy 2&1. In the first round, 15 of the 32 matches saw the higher seed pull off the upset including 16th seed Ernie Els defeating number one seed Luke Donald 5&4. The other number one seeds, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, all won comfortably in their first match and McIlroy and Westwood both made it out of their bracket and into final four before Westwood lost to McIlroy 3&1 in the Semis.

Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen are the number one seeds this year. Woods is the favorite at +1,000 with McIlroy right behind him at +1,200 and then Donald coming in at +1,500. Oosthuizen is a distant +2,500. There are 12 first time participants in the field this week with two matches pitting rookie against rookie. McIlroy, Donald and Oosthuizen are all facing first timers in the first round with Woods getting the bad draw and catching Charles Howell III who has 11 matches under his best.

There will be four tournament picks, one from each bracket so no player can knock out another before reaching the semifinals. These are overall tournament picks, not just winning their respective brackets. Additionally, matchup winners will be provided each day.

Jones Bracket: Charl Schwartzel (+1,500) is a number three seed but his odds are like a top seed and for good reason. He has been lights out since November, finishing fifth at the SA Open Championship, T3 at the DP World Tour Championship, first at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and second at the Joburg Open. His PGA Tour debut last week resulted in a T3 at Riviera. He is 5-4 in this even with all four losses going at least the max.

Hogan Bracket: Matt Kuchar (+3,000) opened with a 64 at Riviera last week before fading but his game is just fine for this event. He lost to eventual champion Luke Donald in the semis two years ago and beat Bubba Watson in the consolation match to finish third. Last year he made it to the quarters before losing to eventual champion Hunter Mahan. He is 9-3 in this event and let's not forget he won the U.S. Amateur so this is a great format for him.

Player Bracket: Lee Westwood (+2,500) will have to take out favorite Tiger Woods, or hope someone else does, in order to get out of this bracket. Prior to last year, there was no shot as Westwood had never won a second round match in 11 attempts but made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to McIlroy so the monkey is off his back. He has looked good in two starts this year and if not for two bad Saturday's, his results could be a lot better.

Snead Bracket: Nick Watney (+4,000) is getting some great value. He is in a bracket with Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, the 2011 and 2010 champions respectively so it won't be easy but he has the game for it and an upset to those two opponents could happen prior to facing them. He has played well this year and a week off should help. He has made three starts in this event and has won the first two matches each year including a win over Tiger Woods last year.

Recommended Tournament Win Four Pack at the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship - All for 1 Unit

Charl Schwartzel (+1,500)
Matt Kuchar (+3,000)
Lee Westwood (+2,500)
Nick Watney (+4,000)

Listed are six First Round Matchup Best Bets (all for 2 Units):

Jones Bracket

Ryan Moore -105 over Jim Furyk

Moore is a solid overall sleeper but will have a challenge with Schwartzel should he win his first two matches. He has been playing very well this year and made it to the quarters last year before losing to Luke Donald. Furyk has never reached the quarters and his Ryder Cup play last year shows his match play makeup is suspect.

Hogan Bracket

Branden Grace +129 over Robert Garrigus

This is purely a value play where we have the higher ranked player getting a big number for no apparent reason other than name recognition. Both Grace and Garrigus are rookies in this event so there is no advantage there and while Garrigus has played excellent in 2013 on the PGA Tour, the same can be said about Grace on the European Tour.

Fredrick Jacobson -117 over Ernie Els

Here we have a similar instance of a lower seed favored over a higher seed but this one makes sense. Jacobson is coming off a T3 last week at the Northern Trust, his second straight top seven and his exceptional putting can be the difference. Els played well last week but his record here is suspect over the last decade.

Nicolas Colsaerts +103 over Bill Haas

Haas was in control at Riviera last week on Sunday with a three-shot lead but five bogeys in a seven hole stretch did him in. He has lost in the first round in both starts here and his collapse is still fresh in his mind. Colsaerts lost to Lee Westwood here last year but he won the Volvo Match Play last season so this format is for him.

Player Bracket

David Lynn +180 over Webb Simpson

When Rory McIlroy ran away with the PGA Championship last year, who finished solo second? Not many people will guess it was Lynn who was very successful on the European Tour before his move to the PGA Tour this year. Simpson finished T6 last week but his first round loss to Manassero last year is a concern. Especially at this price.

Snead Bracket

John Senden +120 over Bo Van Pelt

Van Pelt was in a similar position a year ago as he was the higher seed but lost to Mark Wilson 3&2. He has not played well to start the season and right now cannot be trusted as a favorite. Senden missed the cut at the Northern Trust last week but was playing well prior to that. He won his first two matches here a year ago 4&3 and 6&5.

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Re: WGC - Accenture Match Play Betting News and Notes

WGC Accenture Matchplay Handicapping Primer‏
By Alf Musketa

Snow in the Arizona desert has dominated the headlines early in the WGC Accenture Matchplay Tournament. The PGA Tour will be pressured to get the event finished on time. Next week's PGA Tour stop is across the country in Florida for the Honda Classic, where both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have committed to play.

The delays due to the weather are both good and bad for golf handicappers. Good because we know the conditions will be soft, the course will be longer, and the greens will be more receptive and that will favor longer hitters off the tee and players that will fire at the flags consistently and aggressively. This group includes Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Rickie Fowler, and Bo Van Pelt to name a few. The bad aspect of the delays is that the sportsbooks may miss posting matchups in between rounds. There are six matches that are already on the back nine of the first round and after a brief break for lunch, which are usually only 30 minutes, they’ll be right back out on the golf course for the next round. Sportsbooks, especially here in Las Vegas, are notoriously late at putting up any kind of golf matchups and props. Online matchups for future matchplay rounds will be the way to go.
One thing to look for when watching for potential bets in the next round is putting. If a player is making everything inside eight to ten feet, making those key strokes to tie his opponent on a hole, keeping the match score ahead like we saw with Luke Donald a couple of years ago, that is the way to win at matchplay. Also, aggressiveness is something that I want with my wagers – players with the guts to shoot for the pins, especially when they trail. Smart aggressive play will get the job done.
I was at this event on Monday and Tuesday to scout the players and talk to a few contacts. What I was looking for were players that struggled on the range and putting green. This field is the best in the world with the top 64 present sans Brandt Snedeker and Phil Mickelson, but there are several players that do not belong here due to weak Tours and competition that they play on that qualified them via World Ranking points. Some of which include Marcus Fraser, David Lynn, Hiroyuki Fujita, Chris Wood, and Shane Lowry. These players and a few others squeaked in this tournament playing European, Australasian and Japan golf Tours. If they played the deep and talented PGA Tour some of them wouldn't be able to keep their cards.

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Re: WGC - Accenture Match Play Betting News and Notes

WGC - Accenture Match Play - Round Two
By Matt Fargo

Round 1 certainly did not go as planned, for me and for the tournament. A snow delay took out most of the day on Wednesday and then a lengthy delay Thursday morning meant just the first round would only be completed with no second round matches starting until Friday. The delay though halted play in Round 1 with two matches unable to finish. The tournament will try and get back on the scheduled time but not until Saturday when Round 3 and Round 4 will be played back-to-back.

There was not a ton of drama early on. Sergio Garcia won in 20 holes in Match 1 but after that, 11 of the next 13 matches didn't make it past #17 with seven of those decided even before that. The big early upset was Russell Henley defeating Charl Schwartzel 1 up in Match 5. Schwartzel busted a lot of brackets as he was playing arguably the best of anyone in the field but he was 2 down after two, eventually got it back to AS after 11 but then lost the next two holes and could not recover.

The favorites won nine of the first 16 matches which is about the average in this event. It was the second half of the first round matches where the real excitement and drama took place though, namely the number one seeds. Louis Oosthuizen held off Richie Ramsay 2 and 1 but Luke Donald was in a dogfight with Marcel Siem as he was up two holes after the front then lost three straight to fall down one but birdied #13 to get it back to AS. He eventually won with a birdie on 18.

The same fortunes cannot be said about the other number one seeds and the two top ranked players in the world. Rory McIlroy, the overall number one seed, lost to fellow countryman Shane Lowry 1 up. He opened up a two-hole lead after four holes but he lost five holes in an eight-hole stretch and never caught back up, eventually losing on 18. Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III had one of the best matches of the day with no lead greater than one hole until CHIII went two up after #16 and closed Woods out on #17.

It was the first time since 2002 when the top two seeds were eliminated after the first round.

Listed are five Second Round Matchup Best Bets (all for 2 Units):

Match 33: Nicolas Colsaerts +120 over Justin Rose

Colsaerts took advantage of poor play from Bill Haas on Wednesday to take a 3 up lead through eight holes before play was suspended. He parred all eight holes Thursday and easily won 5 and 4. He lost in the first round here last year but won the Volvo Match Play last season. Rose had trouble keeping the lead against K.J. Choi but snuck out a 2 and 1 win. He has advanced past the second round only once in seven previous appearances.

Match 34: Matt Kuchar -105 over Sergio Garcia

Sergio is a great match play player but he had to grind one out Friday against Thongchai Jaidee as his competitor won two of the last three holes to force extra holes but he eventually won after 20 holes. Matt Kuchar had a stress free first round match as it was back and forth early but he won 7, 9,10 and 11 to win going away. Kuchar is now 10-3 in this event and looks to keep the momentum rolling from his run into the semis last year.

Match 35: Tim Clark -110 over Thorbjorn Olesen

Clark pulled away from Adam Scott with wins on #16 and #17 to take the match 2 and 1. Scott missed a very makeable putt on #17 that would have sent the match to the final hole. Clark is a veteran in this event that could make some noise. Olesen defeated Jamie Donaldson 3 and 2 but not a lot can be taken from that as both were rookies coming in. Olesen finished two over through 16 holes so he certainly did not play well.

Match 41: Robert Garrigus +120 over Louis Oosthuizen

I was very impressed with Garrigus as he took out Branden Grace 4 and 3. He won the first three holes, built a five-hole lead and had no pressure on him thanks to six birdies. Now he goes from big favorite to underdog. Oosthuizen won 2 and 1 over Richie Ramsay but it wasn't easy as he was down 2 after #11 before winning four straight holes to close it out. It was more of a Ramsay loss than an Oosthuizen win though.

Match 48: Peter Hanson +125 over Webb Simpson

Simpson won 5 and 4 over David Lynn but he didn't play particularly well. Lynn shot a two over 38 on the front and was four over through #13 before conceding. Simpson had five birdies but also had three bogeys. Hanson was two down at the turn but won five of the first six holes on the back to win 3 and 2 over Thomas Bjorn. Hanson is now 4-1 his last five matches here.

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Re: WGC - Accenture Match Play Betting News and Notes

WGC - Accenture Match Play - Round 3
By Matt Fargo

And then there were none…

After number one seeds Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods vanished after Round 1, Louis Oosthuizen and Luke Donald saw a similar fate in Round 2. Donald was the first to go and it didn't take long as he lost 7 and 6 to Scott Piercy. He doubled the first hole and the next thing he knew, he was three down after three and it spiraled from there. Oosthuizen kept his match much closer as he lost 3 and 2 to Robert Garrigus. The match was all square through eight holes but Garrigus went four under through the next eight holes.

Overall, Round 2 had its share of upsets but nothing out of the ordinary with the exception of the number ones going down. Of the 16 matches, only six saw the higher seed take out the lower seed and surprisingly none of those matches even made it to #18. While the big news has been about the one seeds falling, only one number two seed is left, Bubba Watson. After Adam Scott and Lee Westwood went down yesterday, Justin Rose lost 4 and 2 to Nicolas Colsaerts on Friday.

The three seeds have not had much better luck as only Ian Poulter remains from that group as Sergio Garcia fell to Matt Kuchar 2 and 1 today after Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner lost on Thursday. Meanwhile Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson are the lone four seeds remaining. That means only four out of 16 players seeded one through four are left and conversely, there are five double-digit seeds left. The highest is Shane Lowry at 16 as he followed up his defeat of McIlroy by destroying Carl Pettersson 6 and 5.

After a rough first round, we got it back in Round 2 by going 4-1 +6.8 Units. Now onto Round 3.

Listed are three Third Round Matchup Best Bets (all for 2 Units):

Webb Simpson -140 over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

Simpson ruined my perfect Round 2 with a 1 up win over Peter Hanson as he birdied 18 which happened to be his only lead of the match. He wasn't at his best with four birdies and three bogeys but he found a way to win. Fernandez-Castano easily took care of Charles Howell III 6 and 5 as he was clearly in letdown mode following his win over Tiger Woods. This one is chalky but Simpson has yet to even play his best.

Tim Clark +135 over Ian Poulter

With a lot of the top seeds falling, Poulter is now the favorite but with all of the crazy upsets, his time might be done here. He loves this format and is a former champion but this number is too overinflated. Clark has been steady and he carded five birdies in Round 2. This is the third straight start here that he has made it to the third round and seeing I think this one is a toss up, the value is all over Clark.

Steve Stricker -120 over Scott Piercy

Stricker won over Nick Watney after 21 holes and while he played nine more holes than Piercy did Friday, I do not think fatigue will be an issue at all. If anything he has a huge advantage if this match is close. Stricker is a veteran and has seen the course many times while Piercy is a rookie and his first two matches have not gone past #15 so there are three holes he hasn't even seen yet.

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Re: WGC - Accenture Match Play Betting News and Notes

WGC - Accenture Match Play - Semifinals
By Matt Fargo

After crazy days with snow in Arizona and all four top seeds getting bumped after the first two rounds, we are finally back to normal at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Two rounds on Saturday were not expected but everything worked out fine and we are left with a great Sunday Final Four. True golf fans cannot dislike any of the remaining four players (well maybe).

The weather wanted to get in the way again on Saturday with an early frost delay but the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship got off as expected and was able to finish both rounds. With 12 of the top 16 players in the field already gone, there were not many options for upsets but there was certainly not a lot of drama. In Round 3, only one match made it to #18 when Steve Stricker took out Scott Piercy 1 up. Four of the eight matches didn’t even make it past #15.

The quarterfinals saw some tighter matches with Jason Day and Hunter Mahan both winning 1 up while Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter were able to close out their matches on #16. There is no true underdog left as we have two defending champions remaining (Poulter and Mahan), a player who is 13-3 in this event (Kuchar) and the unflappable Aussie (Day) which makes for some exciting golf in the semifinals on Sunday.

Listed are two Semifinal Round Matchup Best Bets (all for 2 Units):

Hunter Mahan +120 over Ian Poulter

Hunter Mahan is the underdog despite being the defending champion and rightfully so…sort of. Considering Ian Poulter took as much time off as he did and is playing as well as he is, is impressive. He is now an incredible 19-3-2 in his last 24 matches in this format which is off the charts. But the fact that Mahan has gone 151 consecutive holes without trailing is even more impressive. This is going to be an incredible match if it plays out like it should and the value is on the defending champion.

Matt Kuchar -140 over Jason Day

As much as I hate taking the chalk, I have to back Matt Kuchar here. He is still alive in our futures at 30-1 and we can root along for that only but we has a good edge here. He took out one of the hottest players in the tournament in Robert Garrigus as he started strong and would not led down, building a four-hole lead and winning 3 and 2. Jason Day defeated two Majors winners in one day and while he played well in the quarters, his opponent Graeme McDowell gave it to him.

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