GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic | 28th-31st January 2021 | Sky Sports
We have a second straight week of desert shoot-out golf as the European Tour travels across the United Arab Emirates from Abu Dhabi for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
It's a strong renewal for the 32nd edition of this tournament and as the norm, we head to Emirates Golf Club and the Majlis Course, a largely flat track with a few water hazards.
Indeed, it is open to the elements so the wind can become a major factor, whilst it should also pose a more strategic test than last week's event.
History tells us that hitting plenty of greens in regulation on this 7,353-yard par-72 layout is key to performing well. The field's longer hitters have often thrived here too, though only if they're riding a hot putter.
As you'll soon see with my picks for this week, there are some correlations to be made to the season-ending and season-opening events in the Middle East, while it cannot hurt to consider tournaments such as the Qatar Masters or the Portugal Masters. All bear similarities in some form to Emirates GC, which is why my staking plan has a very English feel to it.
Tyrrell Hatton moved into the world's top-5 with a victory in Abu Dhabi last week and he understandably opens the betting at 7/1. He could well go back-to-back. Hes' closely followed by Tommy Fleetwood, who is due a win, and major champion Collin Morikawa.
However, it is Matt Wallace (25/1 Betfred)
who I will open the picks with. The Englishman kickstarted his year with a T7 last week, building on a runner-up finish at the Golf in Dubai Championship before finishing inside the top-30 for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Rewind to 2019 and you'll see a T8 in Portugal – somewhere he's won at (2017) – aside from three other ET victories and not to mention a runner-up here in the same year too.
Interestingly, he seems to have settled on a new caddie. That being Gareth Lord, who was on the bag for Henrik Stenson for many moons as well as more recently, Justin Rose.
As a resident near here, his experience could be the difference-maker in Wallace ending his winless run. He's got the ball-striking ability to take a field like this apart, though he'll need to start hitting some fairways but that 2nd place finish two years ago shows he can do exactly that.
Another guy I like near the front of the market is Christiaan Bezuidenhout (22/1 Coral)
. He is probably the most in-form player in this field right now, aside from Hatton, of course. The South African is now a three-time winner on Tour and has some impressive scalps, including a win at Valderrama. And whilst that may hint towards him being suited to a tougher test, he blitzed the field that week – one that involved Jon Rahm.
After back-to-back wins in his home country, Bezhuidenhout recorded a season-ending T14 at the DP World Tour Championship and started the year slightly improved with a T12 last week, where he ranked 6th for SG: Approach and 10th for GIR. He was 2nd here last year, losing in a play-off to the winning Lucas Herbert and also has a 2nd in Qatar too.
I think a former winner of this very event could go well this week, Danny Willett (55/1 Betfair)
The Englishman seemingly went off the boil after clinching the Green Jacket in 2016 but over the past 18 months or so, he's been a model of consistency, missing only 19 cuts in his last 49 events. This year he really needs it to all come together once again as he needs to now break into the top-50 to qualify for majors and WGCs, whilst the Ryder Cup contention could be a nice carrot to have dangling throughout the coming months.
His last couple of events provide some encouragement. He finished inside the top-20 in Abu Dhabi last week after ending the season with back-to-back T32s, though he was 9th heading into Sunday at Jumeirah's Earth course.
As mentioned, he won this very event in 2016 and has a long history in delivering in the Middle East. Indeed, his ‘comeback' win in 2018 was at the DP World Tour Championship.
And finally, we end with another pair of Englishmen in Laurie Canter (90/1 Betfred)
and Chris Paisley (125/1 Betfair)
I think it could be a major year for Canter. Regular readers of my previews will know that we went close with him twice last season. He really should have won. I think he could be a real dark horse in 2021. The Englishman was runner-up in Portugal, he was just unlucky that he met a redhot George Coetzee, whilst he ended the year with a T5 at the DP World Tour. Now, he missed the cut last week, but I think this more-strategic venue will be up his street.
Paisley, a regular contender in Portugal and Qatar, looks a very nice play at three-figures – especially as he kickstarted his campaign with a T7 last week, where he ranked 2nd for SG: Putting, 7th for Scrambling, 21st for GIR, and 35th for SG: APP. If he can repeat that here, then he'll certainly outplay those odds. He will have to do better off the tee, however.
Omega Dubai Desert Classic – Matt Wallace (25/1 each-way Betfred)
Omega Dubai Desert Classic – Christiaan Bezuidenhout (22/1 each-way Coral)
Omega Dubai Desert Classic – Danny Willett (55/1 each-way Betfair)
Omega Dubai Desert Classic – Laurie Canter (90/1 each-way Betfred)
Omega Dubai Desert Classic – Chris Paisley (125/1 each-way Betfair)