The Masters Betting Preview
The best four-day stretch in sports is finally here, as golfers head to famed Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters.
Jon Rahm, the favorite at 10-1 odds, headlines the field for the first major of the year. However, there's no bigger storyline than Tiger Woods set to tee it up on Tour for the first time since the fall Masters in 2020. The field is comprised of 91 players, and the top 50 and ties will make it to the weekend. Last year, Hideki Matsuyama, at 35-1, claimed his first major championship with a one-stroke victory over Will Zalatoris.
Following Dustin Johnson's dominant 20-under-par performance in the fall of 2020, scoring reverted back to the norm last year, and Matsuyama took home the green jacket at a reasonable 10-under. Playing well on the par-5s is key to going low, and Mastuyama played them in 11-under-par while going one-over on the remaining holes. Surviving Amen Corner is also paramount, as the three-hole stretch to start the back nine features a pair of long par-4s and the par-3 12th hole over water that has derailed the hopes of many over the years. One thing not necessary to win at Augusta is accuracy off the tee, as wide fairways and little penalty for inaccurate drives creates a bigger advantage for the longer hitters than you'll see at a typical Tour stop.
I'll be looking for players with experience at Augusta and golfers that excel from 175 yards and above, as many approach shots will be struck in that range.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 5:00 ET Tuesday.
Awesome at Augusta
The following five golfers, with a minimum of three appearances, have the lowest scoring average at Augusta National since 2017.
Dustin Johnson: 69.6
Jon Rahm: 70.3
Cameron Smith: 70.4
Tony Finau: 70.6
Brooks Koepka: 70.7
Johnson tops the list despite missing the cut last year for the first time since 2014. The reason for that? He entered last year's event coming off five straight top-10s at Augusta. Can a return trip to a course that fits him very well right the ship? Johnson has struggled since his 2020 win here, failing to record even one top-5 finish in a PGA Tour event since. Bettors will have to pay up for him if they want to back him, as he is the fifth choice on the board at 16-1. Further down the list is Finau, who much like DJ is looking for his form. Since winning the first playoff event last summer, Finau has not finished top-10. However, he has made the cut in all four of his trips to Augusta and has posted three top-10 results. A win may be a big ask, but at 60-1, the potential for a payoff is there. If nothing else, Finau is an attractive mid-range option in daily fantasy sports contests.
The Proper Form
These players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes from tee to green over their last 20 rounds.
Will Zalatoris: 1.82
Justin Thomas: 1.76
Joaquin Niemann: 1.76
Jon Rahm: 1.64
Luke List: 1.62
Playing well from tee to green – especially on approach – is pivotal at Augusta. Last year's runner-up, Zalatoris, showed that while experience provides a big boost, it isn't needed to succeed. After battling since inconsistency for a while, Zalatoris has been in great form to start the year. Although his putter has let him down at times, his ball striking numbers have been phenomenal, and he's the only player that ranks top-10 this season in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Approach. Rahm recently ceded the No. 1 spot in the rankings to Scottie Scheffler, who won three times over a five-tournament stretch. That doesn't mean he isn't close to getting on back, though. While Rahm's recent results haven't quite been up to par, that was mainly the result of struggles in the short game. With four straight top-10s at Augusta, Rahm should be in contention if he can shore things up when he gets close to the pins.
Rory McIlroy (20-1)
McIlroy heads to Augusta once again looking to complete the career Grand Slam, and I like his chances to finally break through. He recorded six top-10s over a seven-year stretch here, and his ability to work the golf ball both ways makes him a great fit for the Masters. McIlroy appears to be flying under the radar a bit, and that should relieve some of the pressure.
Sam Burns (50-1)
Handicappers often shy away from golfers making their first appearance at Augusta National, as knowing the nuances of the course is important. Still, we've seen young stars such as Spieth and Zalatoris find immediate success in their Masters debuts. As the 20th choice on the board and coming off a win in his last start three weeks ago, Burns is arguably the best value on the board.
Gary Woodland (100-1)
This is a lofty number for someone who won a major three years ago and has three top-10s over his last five starts. Woodland is gaining shots in all four Strokes Gained categories and ranks 14th in driving distance.
Max Homa (6-1)
Outside of Scheffler, you'd be hard-pressed to find many golfers that are in better form. On a per-round basis, Homa gained 1.2 shots on approach over his last two tournaments, and success in that area is key to finding success at Augusta. A top-10 bet on Homa looks like a great value, has he has found himself in contention constantly, recording five top-20 finishes in six starts this year.
Cameron Young (8-1)
Young looks like an up-and-coming star, as the PGA Tour rookie has already entered the top 50 in the world at age 24. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get his first win at some point this season and climb into a top-20 spot in the OWGR. Young ranks second in driving distance and can make birdies in bunches when he's on top of his game.
Erik van Rooyen (14-1)
van Rooyen has been trending upwards since last summer, with just two missed cuts in 18 starts since The Open Championship. He's showed he can play well against elite competition, posting a pair of top-10s in the playoffs en route to the TOUR Championship. He also owns a top-10 finish in a major championship and was in contention at THE PLAYERS last month. van Rooyen has past experience here and ranks 22nd in SG: Approach.
Hatton has five top-10 results in majors, but none of them have come at Augusta, where he's missed the cut in two of his five appearances and has finished top-40 just once. Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick is playing excellent golf, with five top-10s in six stroke play events this season. He plays his best on tough courses, and his lone major championship top-10 came in the Masters.
This is mainly a play against Kokrak, who in two appearances here has a missed cut and a 49th-place finish. He hasn't shown much this year either, with a best finish of T17 in eight starts. Power is one of 18 players making his maiden trip to Augusta, but it's hard to envision any course tripping him up consider he does everything well. Power has two top-10s this season and most recently made the quarterfinals in the Match Play event.
Prop of the Week
Tiger Woods To Make the Cut (-115)
Tiger often defies the critics and shines when people doubt him the most, and he said in his press conference Tuesday that he thinks he can win. With experience mattering more here than perhaps anywhere else, I expect Woods to take advantage of his course knowledge and make it to the weekend. I wouldn't be surprised to see him fade over the final two rounds in his first tournament back from an extended absence, but that won't matter if you place this wager. Typically, at least 55 percent of the field makes the cut here – about 10 percent more than most events – and there are many amateurs and past champions that have little chance to find themselves on the course on the final two days.