Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning Team Up Against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in Champions For Charity Match
Four legends of their game will tee off in Florida on Sunday to help make an impact on many of the communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Picking the winner in "The Match: Champions For Charity" is not too difficult, as the odds favor Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning. I expect 'Team Tiger' to whack Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, but laying 2-1 to cash in on an exhibition match and modified format that includes amateur golfers can be risky. Fortunately, many leading online sportsbooks offer alternate lines on which team will lead after 3 holes, 6 holes, 9 holes, 12 holes.
* Date: Sunday May 24, 2020
* TV-Time: TNT, TBS, HLN TruTV, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. ET
* Online/Mobile: TBS.com and TNTdrama.com. Mobile apps on TBS, TNT, B/R (Bleacher Report - 2pm live pre-match show)
* Venue: Medalist Golf Club
* Location: Hobe Sound, Florida
* Odds: Woods and Manning (-190) vs Mickelson and Brady (+150) at BookMaker
The buildup for the match, or rematch, has been anticipated since Woods and Mickelson staged a $10 million winner-take-all match in Las Vegas the end of 2018. Phil prevailed as a similar sizable underdog in sudden death extra holes in the darkness of Shadow Creek. Online sportsbooks and TV networks saw the opportunity of what a highly-promoted, big money and even gimmicky event could offer bettors and sponsors. Heck, we've seen that for decades with boxing, and now you had two titanic superstars in their sport, in an event that wasn't actually promoted too heavily 18 months ago.
But now with major sports leagues shut down and a health crisis damaging our world and causing fear and harm in ways unimagined, we turn to relief with the good in people coming forward. Financial donations will be contributed and pour in again Sunday for charities to assist those in most need to benefit from the Covid-19 relief efforts. Golf is the course with fairways and greens the platform to make a path towards recovery and relief.
Last weekend's charity skins match was a start, and TaylorMade for what it's designed to provide: Covid-19 relief efforts to assist those in need and our healthcare workers with necessary equipment and support to provide essential health services. That match of PGA pros also had a similar sized favorite (-180) and Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson prevailed in sudden death on a final shot by McIlroy to win the skins match over Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. The underdog team out-played the favorites, and Fowler/Wolff actually became the favorite during the match with in-play wagering making them a -190 favorite through 12 holes. But that skins format was different, and I feel more confident in 'Team Tiger' in the Champions For Charity event.
The Champions For Charity format is best ball on the front nine and alternate shot on the back nine. Woods and Mickelson will be playing from the "Tiger Tees" near 7,500 yards while Manning and Brady will play tees closer to a total distance of 7,000 yards. You'll likely read plenty about the match, format and considered the lines on the match. But the advantage Woods has playing on his home course cannot be valued enough for this particular match. The motivation of Woods and Manning is stronger, Tiger is better now that Phil even with the layoff, and we know Manning (6.4) has a slightly better overall game and handicapping index than Brady (8.0), as long as Tom is not sandbagging. Brady has admitted his game is somewhere between 'piss poor and pitiful', and with his whirlwind over the past two months in NFL free agency and landing in Tampa Bay, he can't be nearly as focused or motivated as Manning.
So we have a focused favorite, and golf's all-time great Tiger Woods playing on his home course with more familiarity and motivation. The layoff from competitive golf was evident in last weekend's match as none of the players were sharp although Fowler was better on approach and putting overall while Dustin Johnson was mostly piss poor himself. Mickelson is far more likely to be off his game and more wayward, which of course will hurt him on some of the tighter fairways and having to try to carry more of the load on the front nine and best ball format.
Prop Bets and Match Specials
Plenty of props are available, and bettors who prefer to lay less on Tiger can do so knowing the front nine is likely to be more reliant on the two PGA pros in a best ball format. Woods and Manning are -150 to be leading after 9 holes with Mickelson and Brady +120.
But the preferred bets are the 3-way lines offered at sportsbooks like MyBookie where you can bet Woods/Manning (+120) to be leading after six holes. Tigers iron play should be stronger on four of the six opening holes with three Par 4's and a Par 3 of particular note after the shorts opening hole and a Par 5 on No.3.
Tiger Woods (+115) to hit the ball closest to the pin of the four players on the 200+ yards Par 3 on hole No. 8 is also a bet.
The alternate shot format starting on the back nine will be interesting, and if Tiger tees off first on the Par 3 on No. 12, then that will be a benefit. I expect Woods and Manning to be leading into that hole, and betting on Tiger and Peyton to be leading after hole 12 at odds of -110 on the 3-way line is a bet worth strong consideration if you like that team and prefer to lay a smaller price than the full 18-hole line.
The Champions For Charity match is going to be entertaining and have additional wagering options during the match, in-play betting at leading online sportsbooks, a one-hole chip-in for charity by TNT announcer Charles Barkley and his terrible swing adding $200,000 more towards Covid-19 relief.
And hole No. 5 will be played with just one club by each player. Betonline sportsbook has special props offered and set the odds at -260 individually that Brady and Manning will choose a 5-iron or lower for the one-club challenge on hole 5 with 6-iron or higher +200. Woods and Mickelson's individual odds are -195 for 5 iron or lower and +165 for 6 iron or higher.
The four star athletes and WarnerMedia have pledged a minimum donation of $10 million to benefit a host of charities. Competitive challenges and side bets will push the total far higher.
You can bet on it, along with a Woods win.