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Scottie Scheffler of the United States celebrates as we look at our top WGC-Match Play picks and predictions
Scottie Scheffler of the United States celebrates after making his putt to win on the 18th green during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images via AFP

Scottie Scheffler leads the PGA Tour back to Austin Country Club off his Players Championship win. Can he defend another of his 2022 titles after repeating in Phoenix? Read on for our top WGC-Match Play picks and predictions based on the best golf betting odds.

For the last time (for the foreseeable futures) Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas hosts the PGA Tour for the WGC-Match Play. Players Champion Scottie Scheffler will look to defend another one of his 2022 PGA Tour wins, after successfully doing so at the WM Phoenix Open in early February.

Already a two-time winner in 2023, Scheffler is once again perched atop the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). As such, he leads the likes of Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 2), and Patrick Cantlay (No. 4) to Austin CC as the favorite by the WGC-Match Play odds.

With the match play groups released early Monday afternoon, we make our top WGC-Match Play picks below, along with a full tournament preview, including a breakdown of the odds, key stats, and course profile.

WGC-Match Play picks to win

WGC-Match Play odds 2023

Scottie Scheffler+800+750+800+700 ❄️+800
Rory McIlroy+1200+1400+1400+1200+1200
Jon Rahm+1100+1200 🔥+1100 +1000 ❄️+1100
Patrick Cantlay+1600+1600+1600+1600+1600
Tony Finau+2200+2400 🔥+2200+2200+2200
Max Homa+2200+2200 ❄️+2000+1600 ❄️+2200
Xander Schauffele+2500+2400+2200+2500+2200
Viktor Hovland+2500+2100 ❄️+2200+2200+2500
Tyrrell Hatton+2200+1700 ❄️+2200+2200 ❄️+2200
Jordan Spieth+2500+2100 ❄️+2500+2200+2500

Check out our look at the Masters oddsPGA Championship oddsU.S. Open odds, and Open Championship odds.

WGC-Match Play bracket

A WGC Match Play bracket

WGC-Match Play key stats

  • Strokes gained: off-the-tee
  • SG: tee-to-green
  • SG: around-the-green
  • Proximity: 125-150 yards
  • Par-4 scoring
  • Scrambling

Previous participation and success in the WGC-Match Play, as well as other match-play events such as the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, go a long way to picking a winner in this event. I've also tended to value (very) recent form more strongly in this event than regular PGA Tour stroke-play tournaments.

Kevin Kisner met Scheffler in last year's final following a win in 2019 and a runner-up result in 2018. Kisner also had three top-10 finishes in 2022 before this event. Scheffler was the runner-up to Billy Horschel at Austin CC in 2021, and entered the 2022 bracket with two wins already on his card for the calendar year. Sound familiar?

Outside of the experience and necessary intangibles for match play, we want to find the perfect blend of bombers with a strong short game.

Check out our Corales Puntacana Championship picks and predictions

WGC-Match Play picks and predictions

Rory McIlroy (+1400 via BetMGM)

McIlroy, renowned for his play in the Ryder Cup, hasn't won the PGA Tour's match-play event since 2015. While that wasn't held at Austin Country Club, it was played at what was a future major venue, TPC Harding Park.

I like the value in the odds we're getting from BetMGM compared to the shorter +1100 at DraftKings and PointsBet. Though not a huge difference, but as we've seen in the PGA Tour's elevated events this season, it's important to take every little bit of value we can get at the top of the oddsboard.

McIlroy's most notably coming off a missed cut in The Players Championship. However, he was in excellent form leading up to that event, despite not getting the wins that Scheffler and Rahm have collected this calendar year.

With a week and a half of rest and this almost certainly serving as his final tune-up before the Masters, I'm backing McIlroy to break the ice with his first win of 2023.

Jordan Spieth (+2500 via PointsBet)

Though he's without a win this year, no one has been coming as consistently close as Spieth. The former major champion and No. 1 golfer in the world tied for sixth in the WM Phoniex Open, for fourth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and for 19th in The Players Championship before last week's T-3 in the Valspar Championship. Spieth is once again competing well against the strongest fields in golf and is back up to 14th in the OWGR.

Spieth's form is excellently well-rounded across his last 12 measured rounds with 1.94 SG: tee-to-green, 0.28 SG: off-the-tee, and 0.90 SG: approach per round.

We lost some value in Spieth's odds overnight as the initial +2800 offering from PointsBet dropped toward the market consensus. I wouldn't make this bet at anything lower than +2500.

Jason Day (+3000 via DraftKings)

Another former world No. 1 and major champion, Day is off to an excellent start early in 2023 and is back to No. 37 in the OWGR with four top-10 finishes through his first six events of the calendar year, including three in elevated events against a field similar to this.

The Australian is a two-time winner of the WGC-Match Play with one of those victories at Austin CC. These +3300 odds via Caesars are an excellent value compared to the +2500 offered by FanDuel.

Day is second on the PGA Tour for the 2022-23 season in scrambling percentage as well as fourth in par-4 scoring average and 10th in SG: tee-to-green.

Day is at a point this year where I'm going to start betting on him every week he's in the field. A familiar venue is an excellent opportunity for a resurgent win for a player on the brink.

Austin Country Club course profile

Par: 71
Length: 7,108 yards
Greens: Bermuda
Architect: Pete Dye

A par-71 course of modest length, Austin Country Club meets the standard Pete Dye criteria of not lending itself to any one brand of golfer. As noted above, Austin CC perfectly blends the requirements of the long and short games. Competitors need to be long and accurate off the tee and need to be able to play it tight around the greens.

Much of the length at Austin CC is saved via the par 4s as five play shorter than 400 yards. Three of the four par 3s are also shorter than 200 yards, which is somewhat of a rarity on today's PGA Tour courses.

The Bermuda greens play hard and fast, another part of the reason we've seen several major champions win at this venue.

WGC-Match Play format

The WGC-Match play starts with 16 groups each consisting of four golfers with the tournament bracket decided early Monday afternoon.

Round-robin pool play will take place Wednesday through Friday with every golfer playing a one-on-one round against each other member of their group.

The player with the best record in their group will then advance to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play. The Round of 16 will be played Saturday morning, with the quarterfinals to follow in the afternoon. The semifinals and finals will each be played on Sunday.

WGC-Match Play info

When: Wednesday, March 22 - Sunday, March 26
Where: Austin Country Club, Austin, TX
How to watch: Golf Channel, Peacock, NBC

Match Play power pankings

WGC-Match play power rankings made by Neil Parker

10. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth of the United States lines up a putt as we look at our WGC-Match play power rankings.
Jordan Spieth of the United States lines up a putt during the final round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 19, 2023 in Palm Harbor, Florida. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images via AFP.

Group 12 might be sneaky difficult for Spieth to advance out of, and his track record at this event is far from sterling. He’s never reached the quarterfinals. Add a Ryder Cup singles record of 0-3, and there are warning signs. I’m not writing him off, though. Spieth’s shown up in multiple big events this season, and his putter is heating up heading to his hometurf. He gained a season-high 1.07 true strokes on Bermuda greens last week at the Valspar. 

9. Viktor Hovland

In theory, match play should suit Hovland perfectly with his ranks of ninth in par breakers and 10th in scoring average. Additionally, his costly chipping hiccups aren’t as penial in this format. He’s coming off consecutive top-10 finishes, and his strong current form also includes ranking 11th in true SG: tee-to-green in this field across his past 18 measured rounds.

8. Patrick Cantlay

Checking out as the No. 4 seed positions Cantlay to advance out of the group stage for the first time in four trips to the Country Club. He’s been a birdie machine this season, too. The eight-time PGA Tour winner ranks second in both birdie average and par breakers. 

7. Jason Day

The inaugural winner in Austin’s debut of this event, Day defines “tough out.” A quick peek at his statistical profile reveals an excellent tee-to-green game and even better work on the flat surface. He also ranks second on tour in scrambling and bogey avoidance this season. In particular, I’m encouraged that his approach game improved for a second consecutive tournament at The Players. 

6. Tony Finau

Tony Finau of The United States plays his second shot as we look at our WGC-Match Play power rankings
Tony Finau of The United States plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the completion of the weather delayed second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 11, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images via AFP.

My only knock on Finau is that he hasn’t advanced to the Round 16 through his first four appearances in the Match Play. He’s also never been in as well-rounded form, either. Finau won in November and hasn’t missed a cut since. He ranks third in birdie average for the season and sixth in true SG: tee-to-green in this field across his past 13 events. I also value his big-event experience in the otherwise green Group 10. 

5. Max Homa

Far from ho-hum, Homa has elevated his game to the tune of seven top-20 finishes through his past eight tournaments. He hasn’t missed a state-side cut since the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open, which of course also stands as the event where he won for the second time this season. Ranking second in FedEx Cup points and third on the money list also reinforces his elite statistical profile.

4. Rory McIlroy

It’s easy to look past the missed cut at The Players because McIlroy struggled with his short game. I’m more worried off-course pressures are sneaking into his game on it. Still, he’s never down for long, and this format pairs perfectly with his swagger. Once he’s first on the tee, few can match his intimidating distance and approach game.

3. Tyrrell Hatton 

Tyrrell Hatton of England hits his putt as we look at our WGC-Match Play power rankings
Tyrrell Hatton of England hits his putt on the 18th hole for birdie during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images via AFP.

The Englishman is coming off a solo second showing at The Players and ranks eighth in true SG: tee-to-green in this field across his past 20 measured rounds. Hatton’s also advanced out of the group stage in three of his five visits to Austin. 

2. Jon Rahm

Rahm has advanced from group play in consecutive years and won the 2017 edition of the Match Play. His T-39 and WD showings through the Florida Swing shouldn’t curb your confidence, either. Rahm posted five world-wide wins and another four top-10 finishes across the nine prior events dating back to October.

1. Scottie Scheffler

The trophy room is soon going to require an addition at the Scheffler residence, and the World No. 1 has gone runner-up, winner in his first two professional trips to Austin. Good luck finding a scarier match-play opponent. Scheffler paces the tour in SG: off-the-tee, SG: tee-to-green and bogey avoidance. Make no mistake, he isn’t going to make many of them.

WGC-Match Play recent winners

YearWinnerRunner-upWinning Margin
2022Scottie SchefflerKevin Kisner4 and 3
2021Billy HorschelScottie Scheffler2 and 1
2019Kevin KisnerMatt Kucher3 and 2
2018Bubba WatsonKevin Kisner7 and 6
2017Dustin JohnsonJon Rahm1 up
2016Jason DayLouis Oosthuizen5 and 4

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