Dell Technologies Match Play picks 2023: Why we're chasing a Patrick Cantlay win
Pour one out, friends. It's the final WGC-Match Play for the forseeable future. It's a sad day, it's a bad day.
Then again, if you're reading this, you're likely a gambler. In which case, you may be saying good riddance to the only more volatile event to bet on than the Players Championship. That said, between group winner bets and nonstop head-to-heads, the Match Play certainly still has its betting perks.
The best way to send it off would be to hit a winner, something we haven't done since the Honda Classic. While it's not quite a consensus pick, there is a guy our experts seemed to be aligned on this week at Austin C.C.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2023 Dell Technologies Match Play.
Dell Technologies Match Play picks 2023: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, FanDuel) — Cantlay is a pain in the ass to play in match play. He will be deliberate, he will do small things that annoy you … like take 15 seconds over a putt, then maybe back off once or twice. But then he’ll bury you. He’s 3-0 in his three Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup singles matches. And he’s rounding into form right now. I love Cantlay here.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Jon Rahm (11-1, DraftKings) — Hopefully he’s over the illness from the Players (or just doesn’t wear white pants) because it’s time to jump back aboard. Rahm’s advanced from his group two times in the past three years in Austin and if he can do it again, he has one of the easier paths to the Final Four.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, FanDuel) — There’s a reason I pick Cantlay a lot: he’s really good. In this instance, he is also drawing a very forgiving group, as Brian Harman and K.H. Lee are overrated in terms of their seed versus recent strokes-gained data. Nick Taylor is actually underrated but still outside the top 40 in recent form.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Max Homa (20-1, DraftKings) — Homa’s elite ball-striking and well-rounded style is going to make him a problem in this format. He’s been the seventh best tee-to-green player on the planet, over the past 50 rounds, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Of those elite players, he’s the second best putter of the group—behind only Jon Rahm. This will be his third trip to the Match Play, and he has yet to make it out of his group. In 2022, he was bested by Dustin Johnson going 3-and-0 as DJ advanced to the Final Four. In 2021, he lost a three-hole playoff to win the group against Billy Horschel, who would go on to win the title.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Tyrrell Hatton (25-1, DraftKings) — The Englishman’s playing some elite golf—three top-sixes at elevated events—and comes to a format that he should embrace. He was a menace at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, and his aggressive playing style should translate to a bunch of birdies. Plus, his group is not intimidating. If he can somehow dodge Rory in the second round, I think he has a great path to the Final Four—which is what you want with your outright picks.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Will Zalatoris (35-1, Bet365) — Everyone seemed to be very concerned with his poor performance at the Players, but he gained strokes on approach for a third straight start at Sawgrass and lost a billion putting, per usual. Anything that happens at Sawgrass, good or bad, should be completely flushed anyway. Willy Z got out of his group here last year and if he didn’t run into the match-play buzzsaw that is Kevin Kisner, he likely makes the final four. I fully expect him to get past Ryan Fox, Harris English and Andrew Putnam, and if he’s able to win in the Round of 16 we could be in for an epic Wake on Wake Quarterfinal between he and Cameron Young.
Andy Lack, RickRunGood.com and Inside Golf podcast: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, FanDuel) — There’s a ton to love about Patrick Cantlay this week. He’s coming off an elite ball-striking performance at TPC Sawgrass where he gained 5.8 strokes off-the-tee and 4.4 strokes on approach. He’s on a run where he has now gained over 4.5 strokes off-the-tee in three straight starts, and now he returns to another short, positional Pete Dye course. Cantlay has had a great deal of previous success at Harbour Town, the Stadium Course at PGA West, and TPC River Highlands. It’s only a matter of time before he cracks the code at Austin C.C. as well.
Past results: Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially heating up. We cashed our third straight winner at the Honda Classic with Christopher Powers backing Chris Kirk at 30-1. That continued a streak that started with Brandon Gdula correctly predicting Scottie Scheffler’s win at the WM Phoenix Open (13-1) and Rick Gehman hitting Jon Rahm at the Genesis Invitational (+750). Add in Gdula and Stephen Hennessey’s Tony Finau (16-1) winner at the Houston Open in the Fall and that gives the panel four outright hits on the 2022-’23 season. Let’s keep it rolling at the Match Play.
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Dell Technologies Match Play picks 2023: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Justin Suh (110-1, DraftKings) — This kid will be a problem in match play. He’s in the top 20 of birdie-makers in this field, which says a lot given how many top guys are here. He could knock off Hideki and Kisner in his group, both of whom have been inconsistent, so he’d just need Homa to stumble in one of his matches, and then he’d be live.
Mayo: Denny McCarthy (100-1, DraftKings) — If Kuchar and Kisner have taught us anything over the years, it’s beware of the hot putting Pete Dye specialist. Denny’s actually seen great improvements in his ball-striking over his last 12 months, and getting a course which shouldn’t punish his lack of distance off the tee is a big benefit. When you’re looking for a long shot in match play, make sure they have an elite skill set. And despite his lack of wins on the PGA Tour, Denny’s putter is an elite skill.
Gdula: Taylor Montgomery (80-1, FanDuel) — Montgomery’s putter can and should keep him relevant throughout his head-to-heads, and he can pick up distance on anyone else in his group (Jordan Spieth, Shane Lowry, and Mackenzie Hughes). It’s a good draw, and if Montgomery heats up, he may not go away.
Gehman: Denny McCarthy (100-1, DraftKings) — McCarthy continues to play well earning a T-4 in Pebble Beach, a T-14 at Riviera, a T-13 at the Players and a T-19 finish last week at the Valspar. Those are great results but the real weapon for McCarthy is his putter. No matter how you slice the sample size or filter the putting surface, McCarthy is the best putter on the planet. In Match Play that will put a lot of pressure on his opponents especially if he continues this great run of form.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: J.T. Poston (180-1, DraftKings) — This is an outrageous number. Poston has a tough path—he has a tough group with Sungjae and Fleetwood. But Poston had another STACKED group in 2021 and beat Billy Horschel (the eventual champ) and also halved with Collin Morikawa. Poston is a great putter over a long sample size, and perhaps that 10th-place finish at Valspar is indicative of him rediscovering that form from earlier in 2023.
Powers, Golf Digest: Sahith Theegala (70-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Take away the two very bad results at the Players and WMPO and Theegala has been sneaky great in 2023, with top-six finishes at Farmers and Genesis to his name, plus a top 20 at Bay Hill. With Matt Fitzpatrick seriously struggling, I like Theegala to get out of his group, which is all you can ask for out of a long shot pick this week.
Lack: Tom Hoge (66-1, BetMGM) — Tom Hoge remains the number one iron player in this entire field, and he will always be a threat on shorter, positional, second-shot golf courses. Coming off a third-place finish at the Players Championship where he gained a whopping 8.9 strokes on approach, it’s clear that Hoge is firing with his greatest weapon right now. Ride the current form with Hoge to make a run in Austin.
Dell Technologies Match Play picks 2023: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Tony Finau (20-1, DraftKings) — For some reason, he doesn’t quite get on with this event. He hasn’t advanced out of his group in the past three editions. He hasn’t quite put up the results yet this year that he was in 2022.
Mayo: Viktor Hovland (25-1, DraftKings) — No slight to Vik, but even if he emerges from a difficult group he’ll likely need to get through Scheffler just to reach the final four.
Gdula: Collin Morikawa (20-1, FanDuel) — He has a pretty easy draw, and ball-striking matters a lot in match play – but so does converting on the greens, and Morikawa ranks 60th in the field in putting over the past 50 rounds, according to datagolf.
Gehman: Matt Fitzpatrick (35-1, DraftKings) — A missed cut last week at the Valspar makes it two straight MCs for Fitzpatrick and three in his last four starts. He’s seemingly still dealing with the lingering neck injury as we head into the most grueling week of the year. The eventual champion of this event will play seven matches over five days and I’m not willing to take on the additional risk of a golfer who is uncomfortable before the event even begins.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy (11-1, DraftKings) — We like seeing the images of Rory messing around with a new putter and what that might mean for his longer-term success. But this week? It might be a tinker toys exhibition. I don’t think he’ll solve this puzzle in a week.
Powers, Matt Fitzpatrick (35-1, DraftKings) — The struggle is real for Fitzy right now with his irons. Sahith Theegala, who is in his group, has gained on approach in five of his last seven. Add in a hot Min Woo Lee and it’s going to be very tough to back Fitz in any of his matches.
Lack: Xander Schauffele (22-1, BetMGM) — I have some serious concerns about both Xander Schauffele’s form, course history, and draw in the bracket. While Schauffele is coming off a T-19 at the Players Championship, he actually lost strokes ball-striking and pieced it together all with his short game and putter. He was eliminated in the group stage of this event last year, and now he is placed in a group with Tom Hoge, Aaron Wise, and Cameron Davis, all dark horse threats that I believe have a strong chance of advancing. I’ll continue to take a wait-and-see approach with Schauffele until he proves himself on this golf course.
Dell Technologies Match Play picks 2023: Day 1 Matchups
Caddie: Ryan Fox (-105) over Harris English (DraftKings) — Fox has had two solid results over here in the states, and other than English’s second-place at Bay Hill, he’s been very inconsistent. I also think Fox wants to prove he should’ve been picked for the Presidents Cup team with a strong showing this week.
Mayo: Maverick McNealy (+115) over Sungjae Im (DraftKings) — I like McNealy as a dark horse to get out of this group and for that to happen he’ll need to start 1-0.
Gdula: Jason Day (-115) over Adam Svensson (FanDuel) — Over the past 50 rounds, Day beats out Svensson in all four strokes-gained stats plus driving distance and accuracy. It’s a good number as a result.
Gehman: Tom Hoge (-110) over Aaron Wise (Bet365) — Wise is struggling right now, losing strokes from tee-to-green at a rate we haven’t seen in his career. Hoge, on the other hand, has been stout and shown the ability to catch fire. The Hoge blueprint is filled with high upside birdie-making, which is a valuable thing to have in this format.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tom Hoge (-110) over Aaron Wise (Bet365) — As much as Tommy Tables’ putter scares me in match play, Aaron Wise has been unthinkably bad lately. He’s second-to-last in this field in SG/tee to green over the past 36 rounds, per RickRunGood.com (he’s losing 0.62 strokes to the field per round … only Kevin Kisner is worse). Hoge’s consistency will likely suit the format and the course well.
Powers, Golf Digest: Keegan Bradley (-120) over Denny McCarthy (DraftKings) — Everyone riding with Denny this week is going to seriously regret it on Day 1 when he falls to Keegan, who is as feisty as they come in this format. Believe it or not, though, he’s actually 0-3-6 in his last three appearances in this event. He’s going to finally get one in the win column on Wednesday.
Lack: Cameron Davis (+135) over Xander Schauffele (DraftKings) — I’ll take a flier on Cameron Davis at a big number in this round one matchup against Xander Schauffele, who I have already stated my concerns about. Finally healthy, Davis is coming off a sixth-place finish at the Players Championship and should welcome the test at another short, positional Pete Dye course.
Matchup Results from the Valspar Championship: Gehman: 1 for 1 (Fleetwood (-110) over Harman); Powers: 1 for 1 (Burns (-110) over Fitzpatrick); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Riley (+100) over Harman); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Clark (-134) over Poston); Mayo: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Gehman: 13-5-2 (up 6.63 units); Hennessey: 13-7-0 (up 5.11 units); Lack: 6-4-0 (up 1.63 units); Powers: 11-9-0 (up 1.37 units); Caddie: 9-10-1 (down 1.16 units); Mayo: 8-11-0 (down 3.51 units); Gdula: 7-12-1 (down 5.93 units)
Dell Technologies Match Play picks 2023: Favorite Group Winner
Caddie: Ryan Fox (+300) (DraftKings) — The odds tell us this is a pretty wide-open group—with Will Zalatoris with just slightly better odds to advance. Fox and the rest of the crew, Putnam and English, are also +300, but Fox is a much better all-around player.
Mayo: Maverick McNealy (+350, DraftKings) — Despite not advancing from his group a year ago, Mav is still unbeaten in group play in his career (2-0-1). The ball-striking has been abysmal this season, likely due to his lingering shoulder injury, but the chipping and putting is in the top two percent of this field. He tends to play better on courses with smaller than average greens, like Austin CC, and again, a hot putter can be good enough for a long shot to make some upset waves. And while he’s in a tough group, the talent discrepancy from top to bottom is a lot closer than most groups.
Gdula: Cameron Young (+150, FanDuel) — Young, overall, has a good draw with some overseeded golfers in his group. He’s striping the ball well and can get hot with the putter, which is an ideal recipe for match play.
Gehman: Patrick Cantlay (+110, DraftKings) — Cantlay’s equipment changes are certainly taking shape in the form of both results and metrics. His last three events have all been premier contests – finishing third at Riviera, T-4 at Bay Hill and T-19 at TPC Sawgrass. Even more impressive, he’s gained 26.84 strokes ball-striking over those 12 rounds. His demeanor combined with this uptick in great play will make Cantlay a difficult opponent this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tyrrell Hatton (+135, DraftKings) — Hatton’s draw is one of the most favorable ones out of any top seed. He’s rightfully one of the biggest favorites to advance as a top seed, but I like his chances to do so.
Powers, Golf Digest: Tom Kim (+300, DraftKings) — Tom Kim seems to have fallen out of favor with the gambling community, which feels like the perfect time to strike. We saw him relish the big match-play moments at the Presidents Cup last fall, so don’t expect him to succumb to Scottie Scheffler here. Scheffler literally owns this event, so it will be no easy task, but I think this course suits Kim’s game perfectly and if he handles Alex Noren on Wednesday we’re off and running.
Lack: Tony Finau (+135, DraftKings) — I was surprised to see Tony Finau at plus money in such a benign group of Kurt Kitayama, Adrian Meronk and Christiaan Bezuidenhout. While he has not been winning at the rate that he did last summer, Finau has still had a strong start to the season and is coming off a top-20 performance at the Players Championship where he gained over four strokes on approach. I have him going extremely far in this tournament and I expect him to take care of business handily in the group stage.
Top-10 results from the Valspar Championship: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Jordan Spieth +165); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Gdula: 7 for 20 (up 14.6 units); Gehman: 6 for 20 (up 10.9 units); Mayo: 6 for 19 (up 9.1 units); Hennessey: 5 for 20 (up 7.35 units); Lack: 4 for 10 (up 5.5 units); Caddie: 5 for 20 (down 0.1 units); Powers: 2 for 20 (down 11.9 units)
BONUS Corales Puntacana Championship outright selections
Gdula: Patrick Rodgers (27-1, FanDuel) — Distance goes a long way at Corales, and Rodgers ranks 10th there over the past 50 rounds. Despite iffy iron play, he’s also eighth in SG/tee-to-green. He has two top-25s in four starts at Corales.
Powers: Brice Garnett (100-1, DraftKings) — The 39-year-old Missouri native thrives on coastal courses, as evidenced by his four-strokes victory here back in 2018. The price is big because he's not had the best year, but he's the type of iron player that can absolutely cook on a dime.
Dell Technologies Match Play 2023: One and Done
Gehman: Cameron Young — This is maybe the most difficult selection of the year. An elevated event normally warrants a superstar but the volatile nature of this event asks you to play a little defense. I’ve opted for Young who I am unlikely to use at another elevated event but he has the firepower to make noise in this format. He’s the fourth best birdie-maker in this field over the last 50 rounds and he’s putting together a solid stat profile. He’s back to hitting it well and just needs the putter to click this week in Austin.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Aaron Wise. RSM Classic: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Cameron Young. Sony Open: Hideki Matsuyama. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Jason Day. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Scottie Scheffler. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Sungjae Im. API: Rory McIlroy. Players: Jon Rahm. Valspar: Justin Rose.
Hennessey: Tyrrell Hatton — I’m going all-in on the Englishman this week, what could go wrong? Hopefully he doesn’t hate this course… but he said he actually liked another Pete Dye course, TPC Sawgrass, so maybe he’ll get along well with Austin Country Club.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Jason Day. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Patrick Cantlay. Sony Open: Matt Kuchar. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Will Zalatoris. AT&T Pebble Beach: Seamus Power. WMPO: Collin Morikawa. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Keith Mitchell. Players: Rory McIlroy. Valspar: Adam Hadwin.
Powers: Tom Kim — Admittedly a bold play considering he’s in the same group as Scottie Scheffler but I think Kim starts 1-0 and picks up some momentum before meeting up with Scheffler later in the week.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry. Houston Open: Sepp Straka. RSM Classic: Davis Riley. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Gary Woodland. American Express: Cameron Young. Farmers: Taylor Montgomery. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Sungjae Im. Genesis: Collin Morikawa. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Will Zalatoris. Players: Patrick Cantlay. Valspar: Justin Suh.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for RickRunGood.com, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports