Betting Stuff: How to bet the Masters
The Masters is an interesting event to bet on. Golf fans have visions of legends adding to their mystic by slipping on the Green Jacket, yet this particular tournament has proven to be accessible to longshots time after time. In just the last 10 years, 5 first-time major champions have won this tournament. From Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott to Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia, longshots have paid handsomely at Augusta National.
But to put together an attractive card ahead of Thursday’s start, you need to balance outright winners, top 10s, and exotics in such a way that you’re not overly committed to one particular outcome. That’s why I’m sharing my entire strategy for this year’s Masters as an example of how to diversify your wagers and maximize your potential return.
The promo at DraftKings
DraftKings is offering a special promo for this year’s Masters. You can bet $1 on any golfer to finish in the top ten, and win $100. You can click here to get started. With that in mind, the rest of this Masters betting preview discusses some potential candidates to choose for this DraftKings bet should you take advantage of it.
Rory McIlroy (+175): This number may not seem attractive, given that your money will be tied up over the weekend, but a Rory top-10 finish remains one of the safest bets of the tournament. The 4-time major champion has been knocking on the door at the Masters in recent years with 6 top-10 finishes in his last 7 outings. In his last 3 rounds at Augusta, back in November, the pride of Northern Ireland shot 66-67-69.
Cameron Smith (+320): Just 27, Smith already has a pair of top-5 finishes at the Masters. And most importantly, in my eyes, he has excelled on par 5s. Smith is tied with Bryson DeChambeau for the Tour lead in par 5 scoring, and he’s No. 3 in 3-putt avoidance. Taking advantage of your eagle opportunities and avoiding 3-putts on Augusta’s lightning-fast bentgrass greens is a recipe for success.
Outright Winners (Favorites)
Jordan Spieth (+1000): It’s all lining up for Spieth here in 2021. His average finish at the Augusta National is 4th. He remains an elite ball-striker, he’s finished in the top 5 in 4 of his last 6 starts and his win at Valero appears to have given him his edge and confidence back.
Justin Thomas (+1300): Thanks to the impressive statistical work being done by Matt Vincenzi of The Action Network, we know that 6 factors play a large role in who wins at the Masters. Strokes gained in 5 areas: approach, par 4s, around the green, putting on fast greens and total shots gained on fast and firm courses. The sixth area is course history at Augusta. When you chop all that data up and plug it into Vincenzi’s formula you get the 20 golfers most likely to win the Green Jacket. Top of the list? Justin Thomas.
Outright Winners (Middle of the Pack)
Collin Morikawa (+3150): In the past 24 rounds, the PGA Tour’s leader in shots gained via approach and on par 4s is Morikawa. His underwhelming (T-44th) Augusta National debut 6 months ago is driving these generous odds. The 24-year-old superstar has the game to consistently shoot in the upper-60s. I had previously circled his name last week hoping for odds at 25:1 or better, so I was thrilled to see him above 30:1.
Scottie Scheffler (+3500): This Texas Longhorn has the game around the greens to make a surprising run this weekend. The 24-year-old acquitted himself very well last fall in his first Masters (T19th) and finished runner-up to Billy Horschel at the WGC-Dell Match Play. Toss in his 3 top-20 finishes in his past 5 stroke-play starts, and you can see a golfer getting hot at the right time. The key for him will be avoiding 3-putts, a killer at Augusta. He’s just 82nd on Tour in that department.
Outright Winner (Longshots)
Si Woo Kim (+15000): As I referenced in the favorites section, there is a “winning” formula when it comes to the Masters and you can’t really skimp on any element of it and still expect to come out ahead on Sunday afternoon.
But here’s the thing: At 150:1, I’m willing to take a golfer who is elite in one of the major categories and hope that his game holds up for 72 holes in the other departments. According to The Action Network’s Vincenzi, “The USGA calculates that on average, (The Masters) have the fastest greens in the country. Three-putting is fairly common at Augusta and golfers must be able to combat the speed of the greens with effective lag putting.” And guess who leads the PGA in total strokes gained in the last 24 rounds when putting on lightning-fast greens? Kim. The greens are expected to play much faster than they did in November, so I’m baking on the best golfer in such conditions to have a great week.
Top South American Finisher (Joaquin Niemann -190): Niemann is a bit of a mystery in Georgia, after withdrawing due to COVID-19 concerns in November and missing the cut back in 2018. But this is essentially a head-to-head bet against Sebastian Munoz. I’ll back Niemann who is long off the tee and a birdie machine when he gets hot. He’s 10th on Tour in total strokes gained per round.
Straight Forecast (1st & 2nd): I’ll be playing both combinations of my top 2 outright winners to finish first and second, with a Justin Thomas-Jordan Spieth bet and a matching Jordan Spieth-Justin Thomas bet. Both pay out 170:1 and should one jump out to a significant weekend lead, there are ways to hedge out of this spot to recoup some value.
Misses The Cut (Harris English +200): The buzz around Augusta this time of year is for all the golfers who are playing their best at exactly the right time. The other side of that coin is a few golfers pulling up Magnolia Lane with doubt in their mind and poor rounds in their wake. The Georgia native is +15 in his last 10 rounds of tournament play and a back injury reared its ugly head just a month ago. Time to fade the native son in this spot.