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The Match 3 Picks: DraftKings Sportsbook Golf Pool Predictions

Geoff Ulrich shares his thoughts on the two free-to-play pool questions on DraftKings Sportsbook for The Match 3.

This week doesn’t have an official PGA TOUR event on the card, but it does have an exhibition that should offer some great Thanksgiving viewing. The Match 3 is being played out in Stone Canyon in Tucson, Arizona and will build upon the last two exhibition matches that featured Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. There’s no Tiger for this one, but Mickelson is back and will be teaming up with Charles Barkley of all people. If you haven’t seen Barkley play golf, you may want to google his swing prior to tee-off.

The other side of the Match will feature two athletes from other sports in Peyton Manning and Steph Curry. While neither are pro golfers, Curry has a handicap under 1 and did make a start in a Korn Ferry event last year. The Match will be a modified alternate shot event with each golfer hitting a shot off every tee. From there. though, players will choose whichever tee ball works best for them. It should make for wild viewing as certain holes may feature Mickelson hitting approaches out of tough lies (due to Barkley’s tee shot), or basketball hall of famer taking on tough chips or wedges. It will also offer lots of interesting potential betting scenarios.

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Regardless of how you’re approaching things for The Match 3, I’ve written up my thoughts on this week’s DraftKings Sportsbook free $50,000 pools (again, there are two) and have tried to give you decisive picks and strategies to employ at each level. Hope you enjoy!

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Who will win the match? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry or Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley

How this match will go is really anyone’s guess. Barkley is a complete wildcard. If he can somehow have a decent day off the tee and give Mickelson good looks on his approaches, it could be a romp for team Mickelson/Barkley. I suspect that Manning and Curry are too competitive to let this one slide though. Curry isn’t a professional but he’s about as good a non-pro as there is. Manning can clearly hold his own, as we saw in The Match II, and has had more time to prep for this one. I think the modified alternate shot format actually helps Curry/Manning more. Proceeds from The Match III are going to help HBCUs (historical black colleges and universities), a cause Curry has championed in the past. I think the point-guard-quarterback combo will be too tough to take down here.

Choice: Manning & Curry

What will the outcome of the first hole be? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry win/Hole is halved/Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley win

The first hole is a medium-length Par 4 which appears to have a slight dogleg. This could take away Mickelson’s advantage off the tee, and I’m sure he’ll be looking to drive as many greens as possible this week. Unfortunately, even if he hits his drive in a great spot here, he’ll have Sir Charles playing his second shot. This hole should play relatively straight forward for Curry and Manning, and there’s a great chance they’ll give themselves a short-to-medium approach to work off here. Given the setup, I’d bet on them jumping out to an early lead.

Choice: Manning & Curry

Which team will go 2 up first? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry/Neither team goes 2 up/Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley

Look, if I’m picking Manning and Steph to win, I almost have to pick them here right? The most inconsistent golfer of the four is Barkley by a longshot, which will likely make if harder for Mickelson/Barkley to win multiple holes in a row. That’s the logic I’m going with anyways. This one goes to Curry/Manning, too.

Choice: Manning & Curry

Hole 3: Who will hit the longer tee shot? Peyton Manning or Phil Mickelson

Hole 3 looks like it will set up as a Par 4, between 350-380 yards. The only fear of Mickelson getting outdriven here is that he takes too aggressive a line and ends up out in the desert (that’s a real possibility with Mickelson, folks). At the same time, you have to go with the guy who is still averaging over 300-yards per drive at the age of 50 on the PGA TOUR.

Choice: Mickelson

Hole 6: Will anyone hit a hole in one? Yes/No

According to the Google machine, the odds of a hole-in-one for a non-pro golfer are 12,500 to 1. For a pro, they’re around 2,500-1. If you want to bet on lightning striking here, be my guest, otherwise take the free square and vote No. We can always look to differentiate our answers elsewhere.

Choice: A resounding heck No

Hole 9: Nearest to the hole after tee shot? Peyton Manning/Phil Mickelson/Steph Curry/Charles Barkley/No golfer hits onto the green

Hole 9 looks like it will play as a 200-plus-yard Par 3 (there is some talk of moving up tees for Barkley, but we’re not sure which ones). A longer Par 3 should play to Mickelson’s favor. He should have a big advantage on longer and mid-iron shots, enough that you’d rather take his tee ball here. If you’re worried everyone will take Mickelson in this spot, Curry would be the pivot, but there’s no doubt Mickelson would be the massive betting favorite if we had odds up for this one.

Choice: Mickelson

Which team will finish with more birdies? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry or Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley

Even if he has to hit his approaches from some terrible lies, there’s no doubt that Mickelson is the best birdie producer of the bunch, by a mile. The problem here, is that if Mickelson is putting, it will be off of Barkley’s approaches this week — and we have no idea how that will go. It’s tempting to take the pro-side here and hope Barkley comes up with a couple great shots or putts to them over the top, but I’d rather take two consistent players who should be giving themselves some decent looks on every hole with the alternate shot format. Let’s not forget, Manning carried his weight when playing with Tiger Woods in The Match II, sinking multiple birdies. As mentioned above, Curry is nearly a scratch golfer, too. So, if he plays even halfway decent, he and Manning should be winning out here.

Choice: Manning & Curry

How many birdies will be made? Over 8.5/Under 8.5

Maybe this is being optimistic, but I’m going to take the over here. It’s an alternate shot format, but it’s also modified to have players hitting tee balls off every tee, so there’s still four balls in play every hole. Two of the four players are very, very good (one is a five-time major winner), we have one a 6.4 handicapper in Manning. Even a couple good drives from Barkley could result in Mickelson stuffing some approaches close. This one could be tight, but leaning to the over here seems correct.

Choice: Over 8.5 birdies

Will either team make an eagle in the match? Yes or No

The venue does have four Par 5’s and the two on the front nine are listed at under 550 yards. Remember though, if Mickelson is hitting an approach on these holes, it will be from wherever Barkely’s tee ball lands — so I’m not sure if he’ll get a great shot at landing one close. But we did see an eagle in the The Match II, and it was made by an amateur in Tom Brady. This course has lots of action holes, so this might be a good chance to differentiate your pool lineups/answers by taking a yes.

Choice: Yes

First golfer to hit a ball in the water? Peyton Manning/Phil Mickelson/Steph Curry/Charles Barkley/No one hits a ball in the water

Despite this week’s venue being square in the middle of the desert, there are some built-in water hazards in play. It almost doesn’t mater what the format is because we have a clear pecking order in terms of quality of golfer here — and Barkley is dead last. The fact all four players will be hitting tee shots on every hole though definitely skews it even further toward Barkley as the big favorite to find the drink first. If you want to fade Barkley, or just think he’s not as bad as I’m making him out to be, it might be better to take a shot with Curry or Manning. With four tee balls in play, there could be some aggressive drivers hit from them, especially if the first guy hits the fairway.

Choice: Barkley

THE BACK NINE (The Match III-Pool #2)

Who will have the better back-nine score? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry/Tie/Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley

Even if you like Manning and Curry to win the event (they are -175 favorites as of writing), you could still take Mickelson and Barkley to win the back nine, I guess. Perhaps a late surge keeps things close, and I’m sure Mickelson will want to be aggressive down the stretch if they’re behind. I’m sticking with my call, though. Manning and Curry are the better team and the favorites to win, which means they’re more likely to win the back nine as well.

Choice: Manning & Curry

What will the outcome of the 10th hole be? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry win/Hole is halved/Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley win

Hole 10 is a long Par 5, which means that no matter what, the player hitting second will have a long approach. Mickelson and Barkley could take this hole, but they’d need a great tee ball from the latter to work off (and may still need Manning and Curry to screw up). I think going with the halve here is a good way to differentiate. The longer hole means less chance of a birdie. Par could be good here.

Choice: Halved

Hole 11: Will any player hit the ball on the green in one shot? Yes/No

We have four tee shots to work with on this short and straightforward Par 4 — but really, we only have three (sorry Chuck). I’ve looked at this hole on Youtube and even if the tees are up, the opening to the green is small and the green is both elevated and a little saucer-like (so the ball will likely fall off if it’s even a little short). I’d be pretty shocked if this one ends up happening. Although, Mickelson is certainly capable and will likely give it a whirl.

Choice: No

Hole 14: Nearest to the hole after tee shot? Peyton Manning/Phil Mickelson/Steph Curry/Charles Barkley/No golfer hits onto the green

This looks like a pretty straightforward Par 3, that could play anywhere between 170-200 yards. I’d be pretty shocked if no one hits the green here. Barkley also seems like a terrible choice for these questions. This one might be a good time to differentiate a bit with Curry, who is the clear second-best of the four. Mickelson would be the deserved favorite in all these questions, but he’ll also be the most popular choice. Curry is certainly capable of smashing one close on a straightforward Par 3. Let’s give him this one.

Choice: Curry

Hole 15: Will Team Mickelson and Barkley only use Phil Mickelson’s shots the entire hole? Yes or No


“Mickelson and Barkley will both tee off and then swap balls for their second shots (Mickelson hitting from where Barkley’s tee shot went and Barkley vice versa). After the second shots, the team will determine which ball is better and alternate shots from there.”

I’m pretty sure Barkley has to hit a shot (that will be used) on every hole unless Mickelson holes out. Hole 15 is a long Par 5, so that seems unlikely.

Choice: No

Hole 16: Will anyone hit a hole in one? Yes or No

See my answer to question Hole 6.

Choice: Another resounding heck No

Hole 17: Who will have the longest drive? Peyton Manning/Phil Mickelson/Steph Curry/Charles Barkley

Hole 17 is a drivable Par 4 that could play under 300-yards. That means Mickelson may even be clubbing down here. Curry could be a sneaky play, but much it’s pretty hard to pick against Mickelson on the long-drive questions — he’s a massive favorite in these.

Choice: Phil

Which team will finish with more birdies on the back nine? Peyton Manning & Steph Curry or Phil Mickelson & Charles Barkley

You could get fancy here and say that, with the pressure off (assuming they are trailing), Mickelson and Barkley come on strong at the end. But the same principles from the question about overall birdies. Manning and Curry are the clear favorites. They should make more birdies (*insert shrug emoji here).

Choice: Manning & Curry

First golfer to hit a ball in the water on the back 9? Peyton Manning/Phil Mickelson/Steph Curry/Charles Barkley/No one hits a ball in the water

Same principles apply from the first water-related question.

Choice: Barkley

Will any player record an eagle or better on the back nine? Yes or No

The back nine looks pretty interesting. There are two Par 5’s and a drivable Par 4 (17th) that might play under 300 yards. Mickelson or Curry could stuff a good drive up near the hole on 17 and really cause some fireworks. The Par 5’s may not play so easy, though, Both are listed at well over 600 yards — but they could play shorter than that. The Par 5’s on the front here are much shorter. I know I answered yes to the “will there be an eagle question” but Let’s assume that if it does happen it’s coming on the front where the easier holes exist.

Choice: No

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