DP World Tour Championship 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.
The Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai. Par 72, 7,830 Yards
The European Tour reaches its crescendo this week in the desert of Dubai as the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estate hosts the DP World Tour Championship for the 10th consecutive year. This is where the European Tour's Race to Dubai will crown its winner, and with just this event to go there are still five players (Bernd Weisberger, Tommy Fleetwood, John Rahm, Shane Lowry and Matthew Fitzpatrick) in contention to take that title, and with it the $3 million winning cheque. Wiesberger currently leads the race, and a finish of solo 2nd or better would see him take the title. Anything worse blows the race wide open.
The host venue is set 20 minutes south from the centre of Dubai and was designed in 2008 by Greg Norman who himself had enjoyed substantial success in this region at the Desert Classic which preceded the World Championship. The Earth Course is a typical desert course; it's long, relatively easy, and forgiving leading to consistently low scores each year. The fairways are generous, typically around 30-40 yards wide, with the only discernible hazards from the tee being the large bunkers placed by their edges around landing distance. This is particularly the case on the left hand side of the opening hole. The rough is not much of a relevance. If the players do find it, which wouldn't be expected more than once or twice each round, then it tends to be fairly easy to play from.
On the closing three holes there is water which is very much in play to replace the other softer hazards with some genuinely challenging shot making proposals for the players. The 18th has a creek running the length of the hole which will likely be found by most players at some point during the week. The greens are large, fast, undulating, Bermuda grass with big run off areas. They will be receptive to good iron shots, and most shots will stop quickly into the up slope as the majority of greens slope from back to front. The keys to success here are precision high long iron shots and being able to navigate the fast Bermuda greens. Previous course form is highly relevant this week
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
Rory McIlroy (9/2) heads the 50 man field in Dubai this week. Rory has a real love affair with both the region (having also won in Qatar and Oman) and this course where he picked up wins in 2012 and 2015 on scores on 23 and 21 under par. In other visits to this course, Rory's form has remained solid with five top five finishes in his other seven starts before a year off in 2017 and a disappointing visit last year where he could only muster a 20th placed finish following rounds of 71 and 73 over the weekend which dropped him back into the pack. Rory arrives in great form and high spirits following his win at the HSBC WGC Champions event in Shanghai three weeks ago, and if he brings even half that game to the Earth Course, he is going to be exceptionally hard to stop. Rory drives the ball incredibly long and has the perfect high ball flight with his irons to be aggressive here. He will also be approaching with more lofted clubs than most due to his length from the tee. If McIlroy putts well and avoids any disasters over the tough closing stretch over the four days, it's unlikely that he will be out of contention come Sunday.
Spaniard John Rahm (7/1) is the second favourite having won in 2017 and finished 4th last year behind Danny Willett. Rahm's game is similar to that of McIlroy in that he drives the ball consistently long and hits high approach shots which will be well received here at Jumeirah. It was an incredible feat to win here on his debut and Rahm is in top form having followed a 2nd place at Wentworth with a win at the Spanish Open before deciding to skip the Asian swing and last week's event in South Africa to come in well prepared for an assault on the big prize here in the desert. Rahm is perhaps a little more inconsistent than Rory and his lack of competitive play for seven weeks could be viewed as a negative, but if he brings close to his A game he also should be right there in contention come the end of the week.
Last week's surprise winner Tommy Fleetqood (14/1) who burst through the field with a final round 65 to eventually win in a playoff at Sun City is the third favourite this week. Fleetwood hadn't shown much before that result, but the win has catapulted him into contention for the season ending riches this week. Fleetwood has a lower ball flight than most of his rivals and has a career high finish of 9th in six appearances at the Earth Course. I'm not expecting a win this week for Tommy, but a player of his class can never be completely discounted. Patrick Reed (18/1) and Justin Rise (18/1) make up the remainder of the top of the market. Reed's support of the European Tour has earned him a well deserved 4th visit in 5 years to Jumeirah. Previously he has two 10th places and a 2nd last year. Reed will be looking to go one better this year and enters in strong form, but for me there are better chances elsewhere. Rose has only missed the top 10 twice in 6 visits here, including 2nd placed finishes in 2012 and 2014, along with a 4th in 2017. This year his form is a bit scratchy, but he can't be ruled out at 18/1, although the lack of a chance to win the big prize might affect his motivation this week.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
I have saved my largest win only tip for the final event of the Tour season and I'm more than happy to have Rory McIlroy on board here in Dubai. I was disappointed not to have made Rory a pick when he won in Shanghai on his last outing three weeks ago, and I've found that display impossible to ignore coming into this week. Before his two previous wins here, Rory had finished 6th and 2nd respectively at the WGC Champions in the preceding three weeks, on neither occasion hitting the heights he managed when beating Schauffele in that playoff at the start of the month. Quite simply put, Rory's game is in fantastic shape and the Earth Course is the perfect canvas for him to close out the season with another victory to add to those claimed on his way to winning the FedEx Cup.
Rory's spectacular driving gives him such a significant advantage here as there is almost no hole that holds any fear for him. Whilst the length, at just over 7,800 yards, will intimidate some, McIlroy can use it to his advantage. At times here in the past, Rory has looked to be playing a different course to the rest of the field. Were it not for such a poor weekend last year (when playing his 4th event in 5 weeks), Rory might well have contended again, but the signs of fatigue kicked in and the season closed with a whimper. Well rested and motivated, I expect a strong start from Rory to continue into the weekend, and for his class in the desert to be enough to claim win number 4 of the year. I recommend 6 points win at 9/2.
Since winning the BMW PGA so impressively back in September, Willett has not kicked on quite as much as I would have expected him to. His highest finish since that event was a tied 18th behind Bernd Wiesberger at the French Open, and Danny will be looking to finish the season with a bang having skipped Sun City last week. When his game is on, this type of venue is a perfect fit for Willett who won the 2015 Masters on a similarly long course. The nuances of Augusta are remarkably similar with back to front sloping greens and undulating fairways. Past winners here such as Westwood, Rahm, and Fitzpatrick have also enjoyed relative success in Georgia.
For his part, Willett has performed here in the past, finishing 4th in 2015 and posting four rounds in the 60s last year to win by two from Reed and Wallace. Coming in as defending champion always has its challenges, but Willet is in far better form than 12 months ago when he could barely make a cut. The course suitability makes this price too big, and I am prepared to have 2 points e/w at 30/1.
Matt Wallace was tied for 2nd place behind Willett last year, and could well have walked away with the title were it not for a disappointing 71 on the Saturday where he found trouble down the closing stretch when holding the outright lead. That was Matt's only appearance here, and he also has had some mixed finishes recently with three top 10s in his last eight starts amongst some less impressive showings, but the signs are that his game is able to burst into life at any moment, and for a player with Matt's ability and win percentage, that makes this price too high. Wallace is a streaky player, and his traditional weakness has been with his driving. That part of the game should be negated this week with the wide fairways, and Matt can hit the ball as long as most in this field, meaning that his ability to get into contention will be based on his mid to long range iron play and his putting; two of his core strengths. It's no surprise to me that Matt has performed well here in his only previous visit and that was on the back of just one top 10 in three months. With his game in conceivably much better shape this year, I cannot ignore the price and will have 2 points e/w at 50/1.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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