WGC-Cadillac Championships Picks
Dates: March 8th-11th, 2012
Course: TPC Blue Monster at Doral - Miami, FL
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Handicapper of Predictem.com
With only about a month left until the Masters, the players on Tour are looking to peak at the right time and the time couldn’t be more right than at this week’s WGC-CA Championship. The TPC at Doral has been a fixture on Tour for decades and while the name of the event has changed the course has remained as one the jewels in the Tour rotation. Nick Watney solved the Blue Monster on the way to victory last year and he is back to defend his title against a very strong field that includes Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. McIlroy and Woods are the favorites according to the online betting sites but Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood are also getting short odds to win.
The TPC at Doral is Florida golf at its best. The course is long and features plenty of bunkers and water hazards but also can be scored upon, especially by those players that will take advantage of the par-5’s. The 7,266 yard, par-72 layout does require some good drive placement in order to avoid fairway bunkers and shots from the fairway have the best chance to stay close to the hole locations. The Bermuda greens will also challenge the players to get the right pace and chances for up and downs will need to be cashed in as much as birdies. The hardest hole comes famously at the 18th but the par-3’s are tough as well with two measuring over 230 yards. Bombers can have an advantage if they can find the fairways but look for the good iron players to keep pace as well and of course, a hot putter will be needed to finish off a win.
Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think are good bets to win it all. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any quality betting site. Here are our picks to win the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Short Favorite: Dustin Johnson (25 to 1 odds to win)
Johnson looks to be closing in a win with three top-10 finishes in his last three starts. Dustin was the runner up to Watney last year and has the game to take a run at Doral again. DJ is as long as he has ever been, but he’s hitting enough fairways to be ranked 28th in total driving and comes into the week 15th in ball striking. Johnson hits a lot of greens but his scrambling stat is in the top-25 so his mistakes are costing him much right now even when he misses a green. The Blue Monster can be had and it is usually the long hitters that have the best chance.
Middle of the Road: Keegan Bradley (33 to 1 odds to win)
Even without a win in 2012, Bradley may have the best overall season so far with no missed cuts in seven starts and no worse finish than T22. Not suprisingly, Keegan has a great stat sheet going with top-25 marks in driving distance, greens hit and overall ball striking. The putter is also in the top-25 and all that together has produced the 6th best scoring average on Tour. Bradley has quickly put himself at the top of the young player ranks and seems to welcome the challenge of playing against the strongest fields.
Longshot: Steve Stricker (40 to 1 odds to win)
I do not recall a time when Stricker had this long of odds attached to his chances to win, especially since he won the season opening TOC and hasn’t finished worse than T18 at Doral since 2005. There are some sites that have him a bit closer to 30 to 1 but Bovada listed him at 40 to 1 and anything in that range isa great value for a player of this caliber. Stricker has not been driving the ball well in 2012 play but he is still hitting greens at a top-5 rate and his putter never seems to slump so his scoring average and scrambling are both top-10 entering the week. Steve doesn’t really fit the mold of the bombers that can dominate Doral but he has no real weakness and is as veteran as they come.
Head to Head Matches *picks to win matches based on finish after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online bookie for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Matt Kuchar (-110) v. Nick Watney (-110) (our pick to win: Kuchar)
Watney will surely have some good mojo as the defending champion but his 2012 hasn’t been up to standards and faces a tough test to come out on top against Kuchar. Matt has been hitting more fairways and is putting better than Nick so Kuchar is scoring at a better rate and owns a significant advantage in ball striking. Watney is the longer player but Kuch looks to be the better bet as the more consistent player right now.
Ben Crane (-110) v. Mark Wilson (-110) (our pick to win: Crane)
Wilsonhas a victory in 2012 but Crane is making more putts right now and that counts on Bermuda greens. Crane’s edge in scoring average is coming almost directly from the more consistent putter as the rest of the stat sheet is very comparable. Wilson can get it going when it comes to birdies but Doral doesn’t have too many easy stretches and the par-5’s will be kind to the entire field so Crane should be able to win this match on the 3’s and 4’s.