The Match V betting preview: Value lies with Koepka
For those still in a food coma from Thanksgiving, what better way to spend Black Friday than posting up on the couch and watching two of golf's most polarizing stars go toe to toe?
It's not an actual PGA TOUR tournament, but The Match V will pit Brooks Koepka against Bryson DeChambeau in a 12 hole match-play exhibition that's sure to entertain.
This is the fifth edition of the made-for-TV golf event and the first appearance by Koepka in the series. DeChambeau, along with partner Aaron Rodgers, claimed victory in The Match IV against Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson in July.
On the ScoreBet, DeChambeau is currently a -120 favorite for the event that begins at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, and the world No. 7 could arguably be a far greater favorite - at first glance, everything points his way.
The eight-time PGA TOUR winner hasn't played this fall, but DeChambeau wrapped up the 2020-21 season with three top-10s in his final four starts, including a playoff loss at the BMW Championship. The big-hitting Dallas native looked as dominant as ever at the Ryder Cup in September as well, securing 2.5 points and failing to lose any of his three matches.
Koepka, meanwhile, has been reeling. The world No. 16 has played four times during the fall swing and failed to record anything better than a 38th-place finish. He ended the year with back-to-back missed cuts at the World Wide Technology Championship and Houston Open. Koepka is the first to say that he is searching right now. Did we mention that he just changed equipment too?
Finally, Koepka has admitted that the intensity of major championships brings out the best in him, while he can sometimes lose focus on easier golf courses. Wynn Golf Club, a Tom Fazio design in the heart of Las Vegas, hosts this event, and it will be a far cry from a major championship test. If we've learned anything from previous iterations of The Match, the course will be set up to allow both players to make birdies in bunches. DeChambeau ought to be more comfortable with a tame setup, as six of his eight PGA TOUR wins have come at 15-under par or lower.
Given all of that information, DeChambeau seems like the obvious play, right? Wrong. Golf betting is never that easy. First of all, it's a 12-hole match, which means an incredible amount of variance. My No. 1 rule when betting 18-hole matches: Look toward the underdog. I'm hesitant to back a favorite in a single round of golf where anything can happen, and the fact that this is only 12 holes gives me even more reason to be wary.
Second, with all the negative narratives surrounding Brooks, why isn't Bryson an even bigger favorite? The short line might be telling us something.
Any way you slice it, a 12-hole match between two of the best golfers in the world is a coin flip, so I'm not willing to pay the -120 price on DeChambeau.
Since the beginning of their feud, DeChambeau has objectively outplayed Koepka. My hunch is that the four-time major winner is ready to flip the script.
Pick to win: Brooks Koepka (+100)