Dubai Desert Classic 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 Dubai Desert Classic, make sure to head over to Bet UK’s online betting and live in-play betting markets.
Rob Cobley’s World Tour Championship Betting Tips
The Majlis Course, Emirates Golf Club - Dubai, UAE - 7,350 Yards, Par 72
The 1988 Karl Litten designed Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club is the venue for the 32nd Dubai Desert Classic. Having played host to the event every year bar a brief hiatus in 1999 when Dubai Creek hosted David Howell's victory, The Majlis Course again provides the backdrop to one of the richest, and strongest, fields on the European Tour. The Emirates is a mostly flat desert complex, strewn with water hazards and substantial bunkering, making it one of the more visually impactful courses in the region, and indeed the World.
The players are driving into average width Bermuda fairways from the tee, and the punishments for not finding them vary. The rough is around three inches long which is deeper than on most courses, but it is not thick, and it's some of the easier rough to play from on the Tour. There is water in play at landing distance on five of the eighteen holes, including the tough 9th where any drive too long will find the water on a sharp dogleg. Other than that, only the most wayward of tee shots will be in danger of a watery grave. The bunkering is more penal on the fairways than the greens with several deep faced fairway bunkers making reaching the greens challenging. Some players will opt to play more strategically short of these; others in the bigger hitting category can simply carry their ball over them.
The approach shots are to large Bermuda putting surfaces that probably make up most of the slopes on the course. They are overseeded with rye, which makes them very fast (around 13 on the stimpmeter), and players will need to control their irons’ speed and trajectory to achieve the right distance control.
The four par 5s on the Majlis Course are all eagle opportunities, and if the wind stays away, then the scoring is typically very low, and almost always below 20 under par. A right to left ball flight (players such as Garcia, Fleetwood and most left-handers such as MacIntyre) is favoured with the shape of the holes; a feature similar to Augusta National. Driving is essential here, as is a record of good putting displays on Bermuda greens. If the wind blows, it really blows, and wind management becomes an equally critical factor if so. Due to the prevalence of wind later in the day, the morning wave can often average three strokes lower than afternoon players; a point worth noting if looking at betting in play or on round leader markets.
Last Five Winners
The Market Leaders
With several of the usual big names disappointingly absent this week, last week's winner Tyrrel Hatton (7/1) leads the market. Hatton had a fantastic year in 2020, mainly putting in some solid performances in the US, and it was little surprise to see him take the win in Abu Dhabi. The Englishman is being tipped up as a likely Major winner in 2021, and it is hard to argue against given his links form, and that they are being played at the likes of Sandwich and Torey Pines. At the Emirates Club, Hatton has enjoyed some success. He finished 3rd in 2017 and 2018, although he didn't play the event last year. I have no concerns about his ability to win back to back and think the price is relatively reasonable.
Tommy Fleetwood (10/1) had a strong weekend in Abu Dhabi to finish 7th, and he will be looking to improve upon a relatively lacklustre career record around the Majlis course. In nine starts here, Fleetwood has just two top-ten finishes and has never realistically contended. That record does surprise me. He has similar strengths to Hatton, and there is no reason why he shouldn't challenge the title here. Fleetwood has the right shot shape, would enjoy and wind, and putts beautifully on large, challenging, greens such as these. Given his better record here, I would make Hatton the better value of the two market leaders.
The final player in what can be considered the top echelons of the market is America's USPGA Champion Collin Morikawa. A surprise inclusion in the field, and no doubt here for mostly commercial reasons, Morikawa is an undoubted talent who could very well contend if bringing the same form he has shown in the early part of the PGA Tour season. He has a low ball flight and will love some of the longer challenging holes where his length can come to the fore. My one reservation is that last year's winning score was an anomaly in incredibly tough conditions, and I am unsure whether winning scores of sub 20 under par are playing to the strengths of the young Hawaiin. For that reason, along with the travel, and lack of course experience, he is one to leave alone for me here.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
Rafael Cabrera-Bello: 40/1 To Win
Rafael Cabrera Bello won the Dubai Desert Classic back in 2012, and that has sparked a love affair between the Spaniard and this event ever since. A consistent performer in the gulf having won in Abu Dhabi also, Rafa had before finished runner up in 2016, and 6th in 2018 where only a bad 3rd round prevented him from seriously contending for the title. Cabrera Bello loves this type of golf. No tricks, just the course in front of you to hit the ball long and straight, and he benefits from an excellent short game as most Spaniards do. His form is excellent having finished 4th last week, and there are few better matches amongst the field for the course and current form, if any.
Cabrera Bello will be desperate to continue the strong start to the season with an eye on the Wisconsin season-ending Ryder Cup. He has still only played the event once and would make a great addition to the team if playing well. Rafa is a steely competitor, and if he can get himself into contention will have a great opportunity this week. I have backed him with 3 points e/w at 40 /1
Other Betting Tip
Andy Sullivan: 30/1 To Win
Andy Sullivan returned to action last week with a top 25 finish in Abu Dhabi to open his season, and that seems like a good solid foundation for him to build on this week at a course where he has three top-six finishes in his last five starts. Sullivan picked up his first win in three years last season and followed it with a 2nd and a 10th at the end of year Continental swing. On form, he remains one of the top players on Tour with six career victories and a whole host of strong performances in significant events; and they don't come a lot bigger than the Dubai Desert Classic.
Andy can hit low winning scores as he has proved by shooting sub 20 under par for wins both in the UK and in South Africa. He has yet to claim a career win in the Gulf, but he looks great value to me at 3 to 4 times the price of the likes of Sullivan and Hatton. I suggest backing him with 2 points e/w at 30/1
Following a rolling profit of 300 points for the 2019 & 2020 seasons, I am looking for a great 2021, and have some great 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.