Abu Dhabi Championship Golf Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers. For the latest golf betting odds for the Abu Dhabi Championship, make sure to head over to Bet UK’s online betting and live in-play betting markets.
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Rob Cobley’s World Tour Championship Betting Tips
The National Course, Abu Dhabi Golf Club - UAE - 7,600 Yards, Par 72
The ever cosmopolitan European Tour heads out to the gulf this week for one of its richest and most prestigious tournaments at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The now-iconic falcon-shaped clubhouse that overlooks the 18th green at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club has become as much of a symbol of European Tour golf as the bridge over the Swilken Burn, and it has overlooked some high profile and high-quality victors in the last 15 years. The likes of defending champion Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, and Tommy Fleetwood (twice) have recently held this trophy.
Located on the coast some 15 minutes drive from Abu Dhabi centre, the National Course was designed by Peter Harradine. He also oversaw the design of Doha Golf Club in Qatar, and the two bear several similarities.
Abu Dhabi is an open, long, flat, and very exposed course and the performance and degree of difficulty is, as with many courses in the region, dictated by the elements. Despite being regularly lengthened and toughened (see more bunkering and added trees) since it was first opened, as Fleetwood and Lowry have shown in the past couple of years, the course is still susceptible to low scoring. It will be attacked throughout the week by this field if the wind doesn't blow significantly (which it isn't forecast to). There are hazards from the tee, but the issue is that the players have to stray so far from the substantial fairways to find them. Over 50 fairway bunkers, some mean rough, and a couple of saltwater lakes are all in play at various times in the landing areas, but only the most errant of shots are likely to be punished.
The green complexes are large and fast but soft and can quickly become tricky to putt on throughout the week, with spike marks adding an extra degree of difficulty to the putting. This is the reason why, looking back historically at the event, links players have performed so admirably; see Fleetwood, Kaymer, Lowry and Fowler, who have all won in recent years. Abu Dhabi requires pure ball-striking, large numbers of greens in regulation and seasoned intelligent putting. It's a competitive field, but will only suit a certain number of players, and course form is relevant more here than at most venues.
Last Five Winners
The Market Leaders
Rory McIlroy (6/1) will be hoping to put a mostly lacklustre 2020 behind him as he returns to one of his favourite Middle Eastern venues, though one that has continued to frustrate him for the last ten years. In eight starts here, Rory has finished worse than 3rd only once (a missed cut back in 2013), but still awaits his maiden victory. McIlroy's record around the Gulf is stunning, with nine career victories in the region, and the Abu Dhabi Golf Club suits his game and the Jumeirah or the Earth Course where Rory has multiple wins. The long, open, course with clear sightlines and huge greens play to all of his strengths. Rory finished 5th in his last start seven weeks ago, and it is always an unknown when a player makes their first start of a new year. Rory is almost guaranteed to be up there this week, however, and the price is not unreasonably short.
Justin Thomas (6/1) is slightly bigger on the exchange markets but ties Rory McIlroy with the fixed odds books as he makes his first-ever appearance in the region. Justin comes straight from a 3rd placed finish in Hawaii, so travel is a concern. His game should suit the course reasonably well, but with no form, and a history of Americans not performing here (including Tiger), I am inclined to pass him by. Indeed, of the two, Rory represents the better value.
Tyrrell Hatton (12/1) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (12/1) make up the remainder of the market’s top end. Tyrrell had a great 2020 and achieved a promising 3rd in the US tournament of Champions a couple of weeks ago. He is another to have won in the region (Dubai), but he has no top 10 finishes in his last four starts here, including a missed cut last time out. Fitzpatrick won on his previous start at the end of last year in Dubai and has 2nd and 3rd finishes in his previous two starts. He looks by far the better value of these two.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
With three wins and four further top 10 finishes, Martin Kaymer is the most successful player in the Abu Dhabi Championship history. There was a time that he was almost as synonymous with the event as the falcon that overlooks the 18th green. Martin is a very straightforward and simple player, and this is the epitome of a straightforward golf course, where the players can see all hazards and there are no tricks whatsoever. Fairways, greens, and birdies get the job done. Simple.
Martin Kaymer does the above as consistently as any player. He averages four under par per round here over 40 rounds, which is a stunning return. Two of his last four starts were top 10 finishes, albeit on the UK swing which represents a very different challenge. With many players coming in cold, Martin's experience and complete comfort will count for a lot here. I expect a fantastic season for the German as he pushes towards a place in the Ryder Cup side in Wisconsin. That should begin here. I have backed him with 3 points e/w at 28/1.
Other Betting Tips
Lee Westwood entered the winner’s circle for the first time in four years with his victory here last year. The win took many by surprise, but Lee is another who enjoys this type of challenge. He hits the ball long and straight, and at Abu Dhabi that is all you need to give yourself an excellent chance. With four reachable par 5s being well within his wheelhouse, Lee has a big advantage on 75% of the field. Even at 46, he still hits the ball a long way and should set up many chances again this week. The break is less of a concern for Lee than it might be for other players as he admittedly does little practising these days, relying instead on his immense natural talent to elevate him into contention. Given that, and the fact that he also would love to push for a Ryder Cup spot this year, Lee has the motivation and the game to challenge. I will be looking to have 2 points e/w at 33/1.
Frenchman Victor Dubuisson did his best to get himself back into regular contention last season as he continues to recover from injury and an associated loss of form. That brought about several encouraging results and incredibly encouraging rounds. Victor was in contention going into the weekend on four occasions, but dropped away, so his game is not too far from where it needs to be. If he can get the mental toughness he previously had in spades back, he could also be a real threat and more so a Ryder Cup dark horse this season.
Victor plays open, desert-style courses very well. He finished 4th here in 2014, has won at the Earth Club in Dubai, and also finished in the top three at Dove Mountain during the WGC Matchplay, on what is an exceptionally similar layout to this week. He is a good value selection with 1 point e/w at 125/1.
Following a rolling profit of 300 points for the 2019 & 2020 seasons, I am looking for a great 2021, and have some fantastic bets lined up for events throughout the year on both the PGA and European Tours. Each week I will pick between two to four selections at each event, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
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