Here’s our very best bet for The Match (plus 9 bonus winners!)
I cannot shake the feeling that betting this match is too easy. Tiger Woods is a better golfer than Phil Mickelson. Peyton Manning is theoretically a better golfer than Tom Brady. The Match II will be played at Tiger’s home course, practically in his backyard. Phil Mickelson’s game does not traditionally mesh well with the state of Florida. Tom Brady says his game is “s—poor.” He and Mickelson are supposed to take down the greatest golfer of all time?
The voices in my head are telling me a few things. They’re reminding me that Mickelson was made for events like these, while Woods does them somewhat against his nature. That Brady thrives under pressure and uncertainty, notably more so than Manning. That Brady’s golf swing is unquestionably better than his counterpart’s. That Keegan Bradley said Brady once took his lunch money, and James Driscoll said he played one stretch at Pebble Beach like a Tour pro.
But let’s not overthink this. Instead, let’s get to the betting board. If you’re wondering about my credentials, let’s just say you should have followed my advice for last week’s match and doubled your money. (I should have followed my advice, too — somehow I won 800 Internet Dollars and lost 20 real-life dollars. Anyway…) Here are 10 bets you should have in mind when you’re checking out the numbers for The Match II. Let’s start with 2000 Internet Dollars and spread ’em out accordingly — thanks again for my bosses at GOLF.com for the investment!
1. Peyton Manning/Tiger Woods to win the match (-190)
The bet: $750 to win $394.74. Here we go! This one’s our best bet, and even at these odds we’re happy to invest.
2. Tiger Woods to hit more front-nine greens than Phil Mickelson (-126)
The bet: $100 on Woods (-138) to win $79.37. The man’s the best irons player in history and he’s teeing it up at his home course. Against Phil Mickelson. C’mon.
3. Tom Brady to make most birdies on front nine (+2000)
The bet: $50 to win $1000 on Tom Brady (!) at 20-1. What if nobody makes more than one birdie but Brady drips in a couple from the front tees? That’s worth a longshot.
4. The match will finish on No. 15 (+550)
The bet: Let’s go with the moderate blowout. $100 to win $550, with a Peyton Manning six-footer for par on No. 15 to seal the deal.
5. Tom Brady to hit the 1st fairway (+102)
The bet: I sort of feel like Brady is MOST likely to hit the first fairway. Who knows what’ll happen down the stretch, but to get plus money at No. 1? We’ll take it. Find your slot receiver, Tom! Nice short completion. $250 to win $255.
6. The match will finish on holes 15-17 (+115)
The bet: $200 to win $230. We’re not going all 18 like we did in The Match, Vol 1, when we went 19.5 holes, or whatever. An early conclusion is far more likely.
7. Team Phil after nine, Team Tiger on the overall (+500)
The bet: I don’t see the modified alternate shot going well for team Mickelson/Brady. $100 to win $500 on Tom/Phil to lead at the turn but lose to Tiger/Peyton overall.
8. Tiger Woods will wear red and Phil Mickelson will wear black
The bet: Red is listed at -350 for Tiger, while Mickelson is listed at -285 to wear black. Both are nearly guaranteed winners. I’d have to take out a GOLF.com loan to bet enough money to make it worth my while, though, so let’s just move on without a technical bet added to the ledger.
9. Tiger will be closest to the pin at No. 12 (+125)
The bet: They’ve made the turn and it’s time for Tiger Woods to take command of this match. At this price, there’s plenty of incentive for $200 to win $250 that Woods will take the greenie at 12.
10. Tiger Woods will make an eagle (Yes is +600)
The bet: Let’s live a little! With any luck the tees will be pushed up on a couple par-5s to make them reachable. Plus you’ve won your first nine bets, so there’s money to play with. The final bet is Yes, $250 to win $1500. What a moment this will be…
Good luck — to you and to me!