The Match: Why we’re betting on Mickelson and Brady over Tiger and Peyton

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will play 18 holes Sunday in the “The Match: Champions for Charity” event that you can — and should — wager on.

Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, will host the match that pairs Woods and Manning against Mickelson and Brady. Now, I didn’t wager on golf’s return last weekend, when Rory McIlroy won a charity skins match, but I’m going to fire this weekend because the quarterbacks are involved. Of course, Champions for Charity won’t have the juice of a major, but the football aspect is an easy hook for me.

I’ve watched all 17 Brady/Manning matchups in the NFL (Brady has an 11-6 advantage, but Peyton went 3-2 in the playoffs vs Tom) and I remember gambling — and winning—- the last time they met in January 2016, when the Broncos won at home, 20-18. After all, who doesn’t love a home underdog? The Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl when Tom Brady’s 2-point conversion attempt in the final minute was intercepted, and Peyton was victorious in his next and final game.

So Sunday, for the first time in over 4 years, Brady and Manning will again do battle, flanked by two of the greatest to ever hit the links. And as a neophyte golf gambler — I’ve entered some underground majors contests, but never won — my approach is pretty simple: I’m taking the underdog duo.

Sports going on an unprecedented hiatus has set up a strange feeling as we all tip-toe back into wagering. Where is the edge picking a side? Whether it’s investing or sports gambling, you need an edge. I don’t know where this quote is from, but I jotted it down in the notes section of my phone, and I like it: “They would have no edge if they if they tried to evaluate every horse. They have an edge only if they pick their spots.”

You can look at the handicaps of the QBs — according to two golf clubs outside Denver, Manning is listed as a 6.4 handicap; while two clubs in LA and Massachusetts have Brady at an 8.1 — and think that’s another reason to side with Tiger and Peyton. But the house is well aware of that, and it’s already baked into the line.

The format is best ball on the first nine holes, and the golfers alternates shots on the back nine after the best drive. All the information about the QBs points to Brady being stronger off the tee, and Peyton being stronger in the middle game.

And while much is being made of Mickelson’s struggles on the PGA Tour this season, missing the cut in four of his last five events, I’m not sure how much that matters given a two-month layoff due to Covid-19. Similarly, how do you factor in Tiger’s back issues? Or the fact that the last time Phil and Tiger met head-to-head (2018), Mickelson won in Vegas?

Everything lines up for the betting public to lay the -200 with Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods. Manning is retired and has all the time in the world to golf; Brady just left the Patriots and is adjusting to a new team, new offense, and new city. Tiger has the home course advantage here and is currently ranked 11th in the world, while Mickelson is floundering way back at 61.

Naturally, give me Mickelson and Brady +170. If you’re looking for some action this weekend, and you’ve got some pizza money you want to put on the line to have some skin in the game and making Sunday afternoon that much more enjoyable, why not root for the underdog?

That’s my instinct, and my strategy, but a word of caution: Depending where you shop, the price for Tiger/Peyton has come down a tad from the open of +212, and it appears some money has come in on Mickelson/Brady.

Is that recreational money from gamblers looking to fire on anything? Or have some betting syndicates been doing in-depth reporting — hey, we’ve all got the time — probing the country clubs and private coaches who work with the quartet for the latest and greatest intel? It’s worth keeping an eye on. When you’re looking at wagering on a new sport, you have to set your strategy, adjust based on new information, and keep tinkering to get to the window.

 

Tiger vs. Phil II

Where: Jupiter, Fla

When: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.

Odds:

Tiger/Peyton -200

Phil/Brady +175

 

My action plays for the event:

Outright Winner: Mickelson & Brady +170

First To Go 1-Up: Mickelson & Brady +120

Either Team to Win 3 Consecutive Holes: +500