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Okay, you’d love to bet on golf, but picking the winner out of a 144-plus man field just seems like a losing proposition. And a challenging one at that.

Never fear, we’re here to help.

Maybe it’s time to check out the head-to-head matchups that are available most weeks. Just like football or basketball, it’s simple: Pick the winner of the matchup between two players and cash in.

But wait, there’s more. With golf betting, you’ve got the option of the four-round matchups but there are also matchups for each individual round. That gives players more bang for the buck during the tournament. Or it could wind up costing bettors more money depending on the outcomes.

The difference between golf and the other sports when it comes to head-to-head matchups is the key here. In football, you may get the Packers against the Jets (sorry Jets fans, it’s just an example) and be expecting a blowout. With golf, it’s played a little closer to the vest.

2021 Genesis Invitational Matchups Odds At BetMGM

BetMGM Sportsbook
Dustin Johnson (-175) vs. Xander Schauffele (+138)
Jon Rahm (-125) vs. Patrick Cantlay (+100)
Justin Thomas (-125) vs. Rory McIlroy (+100)
Bryson DeChambeau (-125) vs. Tony Finau (+100)

It’s Star Vs. Star

In the golf matchups you’ll see top-ranked player vs. top-ranked player just about every time. Likely matchups will be Rory McIlroy against Dustin Johnson. It will be Jon Rahm against Justin Thomas. You get the picture. About the only time you’ll have a big gun going against a rookie or a lesser name player is during the latter rounds if the two are paired together. If, and when, that is the case, look for the big gun to be a heavy, heavy sports betting favorite.

And here’s another difference between the sports. Unlike the other events, golfers don’t get the chance to play defense. If McIlroy gets hot, there’s simply nothing DJ can do…except get just as hot.

Top Form Is Key

This is the kind of betting where recent form really pays off. And the bookmakers definitely take that into consideration when putting out the lines.

A player coming in off a top-10 finish will definitely be favored over a player who may be coming off a missed cut…or even a week off.

Now that can change during the run of the tournament which is why daily matchup bets make sense.

Our gameplan is simple: Make an overall pick for the week but skip the first-round matchups. We then check out daily matchups for rounds two, three, and four and look for value.

There’s usually momentum involved. This is especially true when it comes to the star players. If a guy like Johnson has a poor first round chances are he’ll be more aggressive in trying to get back into the tournament…or even just make the cut. That’s both good and bad news. More aggressive play means more water or bunkers coming into play as he goes flag hunting. That can mean your pick can go from a 65 and playing the weekend to a 75 and slamming the trunk on Friday in a couple of holes.

This week’s Genesis event is filled with big-name firepower. Check out the last couple of years for players you may like and compare their finishes in tournaments they may have both competed in. If you like the number, jump on it. If you have reservations, live to bet another day. That’s not a profound conclusion, it’s common sense.

Schauffele Vs. Johnson Matchup: One To Watch

For the week-long Genesis event, we’re leaning to Xander Schauffele at +138 at BetMGM against Dustin Johnson (-175). Schauffele is coming off yet another T-2, this time in the Phoenix Open. He’s been second seven times since his last victory. Johnson is coming of a win in the Saudi International. But he withdrew from last week’s AT&T event at Pebble Beach. Both are on good streaks but Johnson’s WD before the event started last week is worrisome. Did jet lag and rest come into play? Did the weaker field dampen his enthusiasm?

Is this guaranteed? Absolutely not. Bets, like we all know, never are. Is this a solid choice? We’re betting on it.

About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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