How to bet ‘The Netflix Cup’: Strap in, enjoy the ride
6 Min Read
Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet
Can Alex Albon putt? Can Pierre Gasly break 90? Does Lando Norris really carry his driver 241 yards? Is Carlos Sainz Jr. a single-digit handicap?
These questions (and more) may not have been priorities for the millions of Formula 1 and PGA TOUR fans out there, but now they can be answered as we gear up for “The Netflix Cup” to be held Nov. 14 at Wynn Golf Club, Las Vegas, and featuring athletes from two of Netflix's most popular sports series: “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” and “Full Swing."
Set to be broadcast live on Netflix beginning at 6 p.m. ET (and also available on the streaming service following the event), the first matchup will feature British-Belgian racecar driver Norris and PGA TOUR player Rickie Fowler taking on Spanish driver Sainz and TOUR player Justin Thomas. The second matchup pits Thai-British driver Albon and pro Max Homa against French driver Gasly and pro Tony Finau.
Each of the four teams will play eight holes of match play featuring some surprise challenges. Following the match play, the top team from each foursome will compete in a playoff hole to crown a winner. Each match will be a scramble, with each player teeing off on each hole. After selecting one of their drives, both players will hit from that spot, repeating the process until they finish out each hole. The team with the lowest score wins the hole.
And given this is being held in Las Vegas – of course, there is a betting market, should you be so inclined! As with anything played in this atmosphere, caution with your bets is always first and foremost, but perhaps we can help you with a leg up on your potential choices.
DraftKings has set the outright market as follows:
Right away, we know that one of the two underdog teams will make it to the final-hole shootout for the victory – so is there value in picking one of them as your champion?
To know that we need to know more about our drivers and their golf abilities. Even though this is being billed as a scramble event – and as such likely to lean heavily on the TOUR players – you can probably safely assume the line, “featuring some surprise challenges” will ensure the drivers will be held accountable on occasion!
Handicapping an eight-hole scramble match with celebrity involvement is no easy feat. But after some digging on the old Google machine, we found some nuggets.
Match 1: Lando Norris (McLaren Racing) and Rickie Fowler (+100) vs. Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari) and Justin Thomas (-120)
Norris has already found himself in the company of many TOUR pros, playing various pro-ams and also playing privately with some of the TOUR’s biggest stars including Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
The 24-year-old only took up the game in his late teens – at the insistence of Sainz, no less – and has seen his handicap trend toward single figures if not there yet.
“I’m fully addicted, like I can’t describe how addicted I am to golf,” Norris told Golf Digest a year ago. “I watch it every weekend. I’m looking at the scores. I’m watching the live streams. The golf bug has really bit me hard, but it’s really enjoyable.”
There is video evidence of Norris hitting every club in his bag giving launch angle, carry and hang time if you really want to go down the rabbit hole. Spoiler – he carries a pitching wedge 122 yards, a 6-iron 180 yards and his driver 241 yards.
His TOUR partner Fowler returned to the winner’s circle this season at the Rocket Mortgage Classic but hasn’t finished higher than 16th since and wasn’t in the best of form at the Ryder Cup.
Sainz appears to be the ringer of the F1 group, with a single-digit handicap around nine. The 29-year-old is also a regular on the pro-am circuit when he gets a chance and was a recent participant in Rome during a celebrity challenge at the Ryder Cup. Sadly, he went down to tennis ace Novak Djokovic on that occasion, but he will certainly be up for this challenge.
Paired with Thomas – who is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa last week – Sainz will just need to make sure his TOUR pro is refreshed enough to get after it following a long travel journey.
Verdict: Everything points towards the JT/Sainz combo.
Match 2: Alex Albon (Williams Racing) and Max Homa (-120) vs. Pierre Gasly (BWT Alpine F1 Team) and Tony Finau
Albon has the advantage of being around golfing greatness a lot thanks to his LPGA playing girlfriend Muni He (Lily) but the 27-year-old only began playing in 2019 and recently voiced his concerns he might get exposed on the course in front of a large audience.
“I started pretty badly when I was with her, and I have improved. But I wouldn’t say much of my improvement has come from her. I can watch and I can learn and I looked at her tempo and she has an amazing swing. It’s almost textbook the way that her swing looks,” Albon told Golfweek last year.
“But the problem with us is that she doesn’t know where to start with me," he added. "She’s not a golf coach, and she’s not used to having to change absolutely everything in a swing. I’ll shank the ball and be like ‘Lily, what went wrong?’ And she’s like, ‘I don’t know where to start; it’s all wrong.’"
But he has the advantage of playing with Homa – who just won the DP World Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge. If he can get off the plane with minimal jetlag – and it is just eight or nine holes – then he could carry the day.
Gasly has also taken a deep dive into golf in recent times after only playing sporadically prior. In a recent interview with CBSSports.com, he outlined his newfound passion.
“Last year, I started to really get into it and really enjoy and get that sort of addiction of trying to level up your game every single time you go there," Gasly said. “I’m still far away from where I would like to be. I've gotten into that process where I really enjoy going out there and the game itself. Going outdoors. Using this time to socialize. I find it really amazing for your headspace mentally, psychologically, just for your focus which is really long in our sport in F1, but it's so important in golf. There's a lot of benefits from it.”
While currently hovering around the low 20s in terms of handicap, the 27-year-old has a strong desire to dip into the teens and beyond in the coming years.
He is paired with Finau, a late replacement for Collin Morikawa. Finau is no stranger to big money matches in Las Vegas, famously playing in big cash skins games before he was a TOUR pro despite not having much money to his name.
He was even staked in the “Ultimate Game” – a $50,000 buy in for winner take all $2 million match – so the bright lights of Vegas won’t be an issue for the latecomer.
Verdict: I’m banking on the upset in this one! Homa is fresh off a heavy celebration and is in Vegas during F1 week. … It might take him time to get started, and with just eight holes that could make life difficult. And it would be just like Finau to roll up nonchalantly and win.
OVERALL: A one-hole final match is a true toss-up. I’ve got the Sainz/Thomas combo against the Gasly/Finau crew facing off and the Finau odds are juicier at +280 … but it’s Sainz/Thomas for me at the +230!
Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.