Dubai Desert Classic Predictions, Betting Odds & Top Picks
- This is the second tournament of the European Tour’s 2021 Race to Dubai
- Tyrrell Hatton heads the betting for an event that started in 1989
- The Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates hosts again
Dubai Desert Classic Odds
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Dubai Desert Classic Picks and Predictions
Matt Wallace was runner-up in this event two years ago and can build on last week’s tied seventh in Abu Dhabi. Back him for the win at +2500 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Adri Arnaus was third in this event last year and T12 in Abu Dhabi last week. He can outscore Rasmus Hojgaard over 72 holes at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher is a two-time winner of this event; a top 20 last week suggests he can land another here at +550 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Matt Wallace to win +2500 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Adri Arnaus to beat Rasmus Hojgaard in a 72-hole match -120 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Stephen Gallacher to land a top 20 +550 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Dubai Desert Classic
|Dubai Desert Classic Information|
|What||Dubai Desert Classic|
|Where||Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
|When||Thursday, January 28 – Sunday, January 31|
|How to Watch||Thursday 12.00am-11.00am ET (Golf Channel), Friday 2.30am-11.00am (Golf Channel), Saturday 3.30am-8.00am (Golf Channel), Sunday 3.30am-8.00am (Golf Channel). All 4 days on Sky Sports|
Dubai Desert Classic Profile
The Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club was the trailblazer for European Tour golf in the Middle East. The Desert Swing now involves five early-season events but it all started with this tournament in 1989. The Majlis course, designed by Karl Litten, has staged every edition apart from the 1999 and 2000 renewals so there’s plenty of course form to peruse.
As is often the case in this corner of the globe, the wind is prevalent. And the exposed nature of this desert track means it’s usually a factor. That explains why so many good Open players have done well and a look at the trophy shows the names of Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson, Mark O’Meara, and Sergio Garcia.
Tyrrell Hatton, fresh from his superb win in Abu Dhabi last week, suits up again and is the clear betting favorite. Fellow Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick – both winners of desert events – also take their chance once more while the field is given an added touch of class by the presence of Collin Morikawa.
The PGA Championship hero will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Bryson DeChambeau who won this event, by seven strokes no less, in 2019. DeChambeau carded 24-under but last year’s winning score was just 9-under. It’s likely to fall somewhere between the two this time but birdies are certainly the name of the game for those wanting to challenge.
The Bermuda grass layout measures 7,353 yards from the tips and features three back-nine par 5s. That includes the 564-yard closer.
Wallace Can Get the Win
Fleetwood and Hatton were the stars of the European Tour’s brilliant ‘Angry Golfer’ video which lit up social media last week. But there was also a nice cameo from Matt Wallace, who joined in the self-deprecation by sending up his sometimes hostile attitude towards caddies.
Wallace had a new man on the bag last week, Gareth Lord, and the experienced looper looks a great fit. He’s won an Open with Henrik Stenson, caddied for Justin Rose, and basically knows all there is to keep Wallace in check.
They made a promising start together by finishing tied seventh in Abu Dhabi. That was Wallace’s best finish at Abu Dhabi GC and it bodes well for a title push here. At this week’s course, the 30-year-old was runner-up two years ago and he also opened 69-66 in 2018. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as he often practices at the Majlis and says it “suits my eye”.
Wallace and his girlfriend spend lots of time in Dubai and it’s shown in his results. Just before the Christmas break, he was runner-up in the Golf in Dubai Championship while he also posted second place in the 2018 DP World Tour Championship.
Putting is usually a big factor in this event and Wallace ranked fifth for Strokes Gained: Putting last week and also fifth for SGP in the Golf in Dubai Championship. In other words, he can’t get enough of these pure, immaculate greens and the flagstick should be a key weapon from him over the four days.
Wallace is due a win after all these second places in the region and he can get it at +2500 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Arnaus To Outscore Hojgaard
Adri Arnaus is paired with Rasmus Hojgaard in a 72-hole match and it’s the Spaniard I like to come out on top. These are two of the most promising youngsters on the European Tour and, admittedly, Hojgaard has hit the greater heights so far.
The Dane, still just 19, already has two wins – the 2019 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and the 2020 ISPA Handa UK Championship. But as with most young players, consistency is a harder goal to achieve and he’s not had a top 20 in nine starts since his second victory in August. He did play quite well last week in Abu Dhabi when T25 but he missed the cut here last year (75-77) and hasn’t shown his best form in the desert.
The putter is still fairly cold so he looks vulnerable.
By contrast, Arnaus does have a good body of work in the Middle East. He won the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2018 and his last four starts in the region show 12-10-MC-3.
At this week’s course, he was third last year after T29 on debut in 2019. And he returns on the back of T12 in Abu Dhabi last week where he ranked ninth for Strokes Gained: Putting.
Arnaus holds the aces; back him at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Gallacher To Land In Top 20
Stephen Gallacher had an extraordinary run in this tournament between 2012 and 2015. He finished second in the first year of that streak, scored back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014, and then took third when going for the three-peat.
You can add in further top 10s in 2011 and 2017.
This is a regular vacation spot for the Scot so it holds some very special memories. The only real question is this: is his current form good enough to produce another decent finish? He certainly didn’t do much in 2020 but the former Ryder Cup player ended the year with tied 30th in the Golf in Dubai Championship. And of particular encouragement is his tied 16th place in last week’s Abu Dhabi Championship.
Gallacher’s short game was solid and the T16 was his second-best finish in 15 starts at that event.
The +550 for a top 20 finish at DraftKings Sportsbook makes plenty of appeals.
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
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