Betting Advice

The Match 9 picks: Our 5 favorite bets for tonight’s skins game

February 26, 2024
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 22: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland laughs on the range during round two of the World Golf Championships - Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 22, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

There’s many reasons to be excited about The Match 9, the latest in the Capital One’s The Match series, which will air at 6:30 p.m. eastern on Monday on TNT. First, the participants—for the first time in the five-plus year history of The Match, we have female golfers. Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang will tee it up alongside Rory McIlroy and Max Homa in a skins format, which is also a departure from the usual two-person best-ball format.

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Finally, it’s the golf course, which deserves star billing along with the A-list talent. The Park West Palm, transformed by Gil Hanse and his design partner Jim Wagner last year, is a municipal course that reshapes the definition of a muny. It’s an affordable public course with intrigue on every hole—fun and undulating green complexes, decent land movement for a Florida course and firm and fast turfgrass.

We’re also excited because DraftKings Sportsbook has dropped a ton of prop betting markets for the Monday night match. Based on Golf Digest's “Every Hole At” video, we think we have a few clues as to what to expect from the action tonight. Find our best bets for The Match 9 below:

All Players to hit the fairway with tee shot on Hole 1: Yes (+200)

We often see nerves get the best of Match participants, but this is one of the only times we’ve seen all tour pros playing. I don’t know that the nerves will quite affect these players quite as much. The fairway the opening par 5 looks pretty wide open, so I’m willing to bet we get four balls in the fairway at the opener.

All 4 Players to hit green with Tee Shot on Third Hole: Yes (+140)

I think there’s an edge here. The third hole is only 140 yards from the back tees (all four participants will play the back tees), so this club will be a wedge or short iron for all. Plus, the green is massive for a short par 3. Hanse and Wagner designed a double plateau green here with a hint of a Biarritz, so there is ample room to hit a poor-ish shot and get away with it. I understand there will be nerves and adrenaline—and if the pin is on the back and someone gets too aggressive, this could get away from you. But I’m willing to bet on four of the best golfers in the world to hit a massive green with a short club.

All 4 players to hit green with tee shot on Hole 5: No (-250)

The fifth hole is a bomb. It can play as far back as 227 yards, though it’s unclear if the tournament organizers will be using the back tees here (I would guess not). I think it’s worth laying the juice here regardless.

Closest to the Pin at Hole 5: Max Homa (+230)

On the longest par 3, I think it’s reasonable to expect one of the PGA Tour players to step up and win this market with their distance advantage. I’ll take the slighter better price here with Homa.

Most Skins Won: Rory McIlroy (+200)

The betting splits are worth studying for this one. It’s an interesting to note that at BetMGM, for example, Max Homa is getting 55 percent of the betting tickets, but only 14 percent of the handle (aka the money bet). Rory, on the otherhand, is getting 73 percent of all money wagered, despite just getting 27 percent of the ticket count. That means larger bets are being made on Rory, which is usually a sign of sharp action.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Rory lives less than 30 minutes from The Park West Palm. Not only will he be nice and rested headed up there, but it’s safe to assume he’s played the course before—being that Tiger Woods was there for the ribbon-cutting and he’s also tight with Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, who was very involved in the development of the course’s reinvigoration.

The Park at West Palm Beach
The Park at West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, FL

In the current age of new elite private clubs and faraway destination resorts, the opening of a public municipal-affiliated golf course in an urban area is major news—especially when Tiger Woods shows up for the grand opening, like he did in March 2023. The Park is the latest in a growing trend of public/private partnerships that have fueled the redevelopment of numerous municipal courses around the country. The new course is set on the site of the former Dick Wilson-designed West Palm Beach Golf Course, one of the first notable designs of the post-World War II years when it opened in 1947 and long considered among the top municipal courses in the country. That course closed in 2018 due to deteriorating playability and diminished interest and sat fallow for several years. Several plans for different uses of the land were proposed before a group of local citizens, led in part by Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, raised $56 million in individual donations to re-imagine the property as a community gathering space with a number of amenities. Read Derek Duncan's full piece here.

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The Match 9

Who: Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang
When: Monday, Feb. 26
Time: 6:30 p.m. eastern
Where: The Park West Palm
Format: 12-Hole skins game
TV and Live Stream: TNT, truTV and HLN, B/R Sports Add-On on Max

Please have a listen to the latest episode of The Loop below, where we include a preview of the golf course and some of our best bets. Like and subscribe to The Loop wherever you get your podcasts: