Portugal Masters 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.
Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course - Vilamoura, Portugal - Par 71, 7,200 Yards
The late Arnold Palmer must have been in a very forgiving mood the day in 2004 when he designed the Dom Pedro Golf Course here in Vilamoura; Europe's golfing Mecca. With an average winning score over the past 12 years of 21 under par, and with Oliver Fisher managing to shoot a 59 last year, this really is one of the genuinely most forgiving and enjoyable courses on the Tour, and often brings good fields to the Algarve. On the South Atlantic coast some two and a half hours drive south of Lisbon, the Dom Pedro Course (which was originally created to host the 2005 World Cup of Golf) is an open, yet still exposed birdie haven.
Though a typically easy venue, the organisers have decided to toughen things up a little this year, as much as they can against the backdrop and geography of the venue. The exposed, generous, undulating fairways are in places as wide as they are long, and there is little by way of natural protection from trees making driving extremely easy. Water is in play from the tee on 6 holes, but the bail out zones are so vast that in reality it has little effect on this quality of field. One change that has been made this year is that the bermuda rough has grown up, and has tightened a couple of fairways; 14 and 18 most notably. This will have little impact, but is a fair gesture given recent scoring. The green complexes are largely designed for average standard tourist players, and are huge, soft, and undulating.
The keys to success this week will be birdie average, putting, and scrambling for the odd occasion that players manage to miss the large greens; bogeys do not go down well here and will heavily impair a players chances. Another point to note is that this has historically been a graveyard for favourites, and we might be looking further down the market for this week's value.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
England's Matt Wallace (9/1) comes into this week as the market favourite having placed what was a slightly disappointing 7th place for us in the Italian Open two weeks ago on his last start. Wallace is a good all round player, and ticks a lot of the boxes here. He is slightly errant off the tee, but will be well served by the more forgiving fairways, and his putting, when hot, is some of the best on Tour. With that said, i'm surprised to see that in his two previous starts here he has failed to break into the top 40. Coming into the event last year, Wallace had won just three weeks earlier and, although the field was stronger, those lacklustre showings around Dom Pedro are giving me cause for concern. In recent weeks, Wallace's form has been good. That 7th at the Italian Open was preceded by a 3rd place behind Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open on a similarly blustery and forgiving course where he finished on 14 under par. Matt can contend at any venue but, as a single figures favourite here, I'm unconvinced
Martin Kaymer (16/1) is the second favourite this week following a somewhat unexpected 5th place finish last week at Golf Nacional in Paris. Prior to that strong showing, Kaymer had missed three cuts in 5 weeks and appeared to be struggling with his game. That venue was undoubtedly more suitable to him, but posting 8 under par represents impressive golf regardless. Whether that sees an end to Kaymer's poor form, I'm unconvinced, and his record here is patchy. A 50th placed finish back in 2015 is Kaymer's only return here in the last 5 years, although prior to that he had managed an 8th place in 2011 and 13th two years later. If his form from France holds, then the key for Kaymer this week will be his putting. On form a good putting week could see him getting right into contention. The price seems about right for Kaymer.
England's Eddie Pepperell (20/1), Tom Lewis (20/1) and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaad (20/1) take up the rest of the front of the market. Pepperell has a strong affinity with Portugal having been runner up to Tom Lewis last year, and 3rd behind Bjerregaard the year before. Despite a strong start to the season, he has struggled of late to get into contention, however if there's any place for Eddie to turn that around, the forgiving setup of Dom Pedro seems about the best place. Lewis showed real promise in August when he unexpectedly won the tour Championship on the US Korn Ferry Tour to guarantee his playing rights there for the 202 season should he choose to accept them. That has been followed by a smattering of missed cuts on both sides of the Atlantic, however they were interspersed with a 5th placed finish at the Dunhill Links in what is the preferred type of challenge for Lewis. He is a two time winner in Portugal having won both last year and in 2011, but the form is a concern for me and I don't expect him to repeat that success. Bjerregaard has fantastic form on the Algarve having won in 2017 and finished in the top 20 in his other three most recent starts here. The course is clearly a great fit, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a player of his class put some poor recent form behind him to contend this week.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
This is one of the harder and more unpredictable weeks to find value given the huge number of mid range contenders, and I'm going to keep stakes relatively small and consistent. The best of the bunch for me is Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard. Bjerregaard is a classy player with five victories worldwide, and who has finished in the top 5 of the USPGA, and was inside the top 20 at The Open this year, before that was followed up by a current slightly poorer vein of form. Three missed cuts and three top 30 finishes in the last six starts are a bit of a mixed bag for Lucas, and would not usually be considered the form of a player that I would be looking to back at this price, but Bjerregaard has a chance. Most of his golf lately has been in the US with his last finish being a solid display in Houston two weeks ago. Those challenges are very different to this one and, whilst not unsuitable, do not provide him with such an easy platform to rediscover his best form.
Lucas has been struggling somewhat with his long game since Portrush, and that has been the predominant cause for his decline. It's long been the most inconsistent part of his game as he has a lovely touch with the putter on and around the greens, and that offers sensible justification for his previous strong showings here. Lucas has never missed a cut here, and the 4 stroke victory in2017 was in a year where conditions were a bit tougher, similarly to what is expected this week. Bjerregaard will need a good week on the greens, and to get off to a good opening round, but of the mid range players he is the best value for me, and I shall be having 2 points e/w at 20/1.
Other Betting Tips
South Africa's George Coetzee had been enduring a tough and unsuccessful season until last week when he unexpectedly burst into form at the French Open, eventually finishing 3rd having pushed eventual winner Nicolas Colsaerts all the way on Sunday before succumbing by three strokes. Coetzee is a great wind player, as are most South Africans, and has a similarly impressive short game. Similarly to Lucas, his struggles have come more usually with his long game, and again are far less exposed in Portugal. Between 2011 and 2018, Coetzee played this event six times, finishing outside the top 20 only once and as high as 3rd, 6th, and 7th. Before that 7th place, Coezee was again coming in off a 3rd place finish and had missed all previous cuts in the last three months, so this would seem a distinct improvement in form. George is a streaky player, and I am expecting some big performances from him over the next 3-4 months, particularly as the Tour goes through it's Asian and South African runs. That can begin this week, and i expect Coetzee to contend. I recommend 2 points e/w at 25/1.
Matthew Southgate has shown some great form lately, form that should have resulted in his maiden European Tour win at St Andrews, only for him to be edged out by Frenchman Victor Perez over the closing two holes. Matt is a strong player with a great long game that is firing on all cylinders at the moment. The 2nd at St Andrews followed quickly on the back of a top 10 at the KLM Open where I see synergies with this event, and I was surprised given the strength of his long game and ability to play in the wind that he did not play at the French Open following a missed cut in Italy. That decision might work well this week, however,and Southgate will not be lacking in motivation as he arrives in Portugal.
Southgate has played here twice before; he missed the cut last year, but did show an ability to perform at Don Pedro with a 17th placed finish two years earlier on his debut. Southgate is a far better player than he was on either of those visits, and the fact he has been in contention lately will have given him a taste of the success that the man from Kent so craves. I expect him to challenge once more, and can find value in backing him with 2 points e/w at 33/1.
Chris Wood continues his recovery from injury this week at one of his favourite and most comfortable venues. It is no secret that 2019 has been something of an annus horribilis for Wood who underwent surgery in January and has been struggling to get back to his best. He has shown flashes of improvements in more recent times, and had made four consecutive cuts before struggling on tougher venues over the past few weeks. The struggles for Wood have been in the long game, and similarly to our top two picks, this is the venue where they can be put to bed.
Wood has a fantastic record in Portugal. Last year he finished 12th, and his previous two starts in 2015 and 2016 had seen a 2nd and 7th placed finishes, so his comfort with, and ability to contend around, this venue are indisputable. Wood obviously comes in this week in a weaker position than previously, but if his putting is up to the standard it has been, and with the course a great leveller, he should not be near this price, and there is definite value to backing him with 1 point e/w at 125/1.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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