The Match: How to Bet Tiger and Peyton vs. Phil and Brady
Details for the second iteration of the celebrity match play between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were released this week, with the stakes changed from a huge cash grab to a charitable endeavor to raise money for victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
We don't know much about the format, but we do know that FanDuel Sportsbook has put up odds for us to break down. Woods/Manning (-220) opened up as a sizable favorite over Mickelson/Brady (+175).
Without too much firm information about the venue, format, or date, we can look at this matchup pretty straight up and see who we like between the two groups independent of any variables.
Tiger vs. Phil
Undoubtedly, Tiger's 2019 was far superior to Mickelson's. Woods won the Masters and the inaugural ZOZO Championship in Japan, and he peaked at fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking in May. Mickelson, on the other hand, started strong with a runner-up at the Desert Classic and a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, but he had been in a downward spiral since then, with just two top-30 finishes in the 12 months following his win. He had plummeted to a low of 86th in the world as recently as January.
But Woods has not played in competition since the Genesis Invitational, and leading up to the shutdown, he was forced with withdraw from THE PLAYERS Championship. His health would have been a major question mark and arguably the biggest story on Tour for the remainder of the season. Mickelson, meanwhile, had booked two 3rd place finishes sandwiched between a slew of missed cuts leading up to Sawgrass. His game had been very inconsistent, and the hot putter he enjoyed in 2018 and early 2019 had vanished.
Phil would have needed a strong showing at the Masters and probably at least a couple top-10 finishes to be considered for a Ryder Cup spot. Woods reveled in the match play competition at last year's thrilling Presidents Cup, dominating his events while balancing Captain's duties. The two legends were at opposite ends of the spectrum, with Woods riding two marquee victories and Phil looking very much washed.
Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, and motivation questions between the two are something we can glean from their last head to head matchup. Phil plays the funnyman on Twitter, but there is little doubt which golfer takes these club measuring contests more seriously, or which stands to gain by the roiling "rivalry" of stars on the back end of their careers -- and it ain't the one hosting a faux Champion's dinner at his house wearing a green jacket.
Mickelson bested Woods in the first edition of The Match, and in a charity event, we can't help but give the edge to the golfer with the bigger share of pride on the line.
Manning vs. Brady
Both golfers have a decent game, with Brady conceding that Manning's game is in a better place this past February thanks to a, well, bit more free time these past few years. Recent reports give both golfers about an eight handicap, certainly good for any layman playing the game for leisure. Each is fiercely competitive and unbelievably rich, so we'll call motivation a wash.
So how do we calculate the tale of the tape between these two Hall of Famers? Should we give Manning the edge, having honed his game in retirement these past few years? Or do we give the more virile Brady, with his dearth of neck surgeries and glut of avocados, an advantage?
Let's put it this way. Say I were to offer you two potatoes. Potato A has six Super Bowl rings and Potato B has two. Which would you choose?
How about this way. I ask you to choose between two pumpkins. The two pumpkins played football against each other 17 times, and Pumpkin A won 11 times and Pumpkin B won 6.
Now let's say I tell you that Potato A and Pumpkin A are the same guy, and he's getting almost 2:1 odds against Potato/Pumpkin B in a competitive sporting event. I know where I'm putting my money.
The pick: Mickelson/Brady +175