Get ready for perhaps the best Sunday sleep on the annual sports calendar, folks. It’s early April and that means it’s time for the Masters.
It’s been nine months since the last major of the sport, and the news that Tiger Woods could return only raises expectations for the most prestigious golf tournament.
Tiger has not competed since the 2020 Masters – except for the PNC Championship in December with his son Charlie – but his presence in Augusta, Ga., Has caused a stir among golf fans.
A 46-year-old five-time Masters champ and course acquaintance is a huge factor in this tournament, but the iconic Augusta National layout has changed since the recent appearance.
The par-72 course is longer this year at 7,510 yards this year after some significant changes, including the 11th, 15th and 18th holes.
So, what does it usually take to win a green jacket?
Hitting the fairways at The Masters is not nearly as important as one might think because the roughness of this course is so playable. A good second shot is best for success in Augusta, though, so the strokes acquired in the method are a key statistic that often leads to low scores in this course.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the field and highlight some of the golfers we think might be strong performances at the 86th Masters.
John Raham +1100 | Justin Thomas +1200 | Dustin Johnson +1600 | Cameron Smith +1600 | Scottie Scheffler +1600 | Rory McIlroy +2000 | Victor Howland +2000 | Brooks Koepka +2000 | Colin Marikawa +2000 | Jordan Spith +2200 | Patrick Cantley +2200 | Xander Schauffele +2200
You see, there are a lot of well-known names at this top level, including 2020 winner Dustin Johnson, 2015 champion Jordan Spieth and a few former World No. 1s.
The irony of being an odds-on favorite to win this tournament is that a green jacket will not result. Since Fred Couples did it in 1992, Tiger has been the only bet to win the Masters. Woods did it four times as a chalk pick in 1997 (+800), 2001 (+150), 2002 (+200) and 2005 (+350).
That trend is not good for John Rahm, although the 2021 US Open winner finished fourth, T9, T7 and T5 in his last four appearances at The Masters.
Of all the competitors listed above, Scottie Scheffler is probably the proudest with the best quality, despite the fact that her relative name is not recognized here compared to others.
Sheffler is the current No. 1 ranked golfer on the planet and plays like him, so he has the underlying value of not being an odds-on favorite.
Justin Thomas may raise some eyebrows with the second-shortest odds considering he has just finished a top-10 Masters, but he is hitting the ball extremely well this year.
Thomas and Schaefler are ranked one-two in Augusta National’s 18-hole, 4-stroke and 10-stroke strokes, respectively.
Cam Smith is another popular pick this week. The 28-year-old Aussie finished 21st in the world by the end of 2021 and has already risen to 6th position in the official world golf rankings, thanks in part to winning the Players’ Championship in March. Smith’s Nirvana gave him the most lead on the field.
Rivalry with price and long shot
Once you cross the +2200 or less listed golfers’ level, you get a sharp jump in potential value, yet you still find yourself among the potential winners.
Hideki Matsuyama was the first Japanese person to win a major tournament when he took the green jacket a year ago. Prior to the 2021 Masters, Matsuyama’s pre-tournament odds ranged from +3500 to +5000, rewarding those who supported him.
Matsuyama, whose 2022 champion dinner List Unveiled earlier this week, this year it is listed at +4000 but has been dealing with neck injuries lately which could lead the Masters back to winning even bigger ups and downs.
There are a few more mid-level competitors and longstates who can finish the memorable tourni.
Will Galatoris (+3300) She is young in her professional career but has already seen ice in her veins during stressful times. He shot a steady 70-68-71-70 to finish one stroke back of Matsuyama in his first Masters a year ago.
It’s no wonder why Sam Burns (+4000) A popular standard drama this week. Arnold Palmer has somewhat better momentum after winning the March booking and the Valspar Championship with a T9 at the Invitational. Could he pull out a page from the 2021 playbook of 25-year-old Galatoris and make a splash on his Masters debut?
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4500) For his first top-five in the rounds of 67 and 68 at the Valspar Championship and his fourth top-10 result since the beginning of February. The relative lack of distance from the 27-year-old T-T could hit him against the Long Bombers, for sure, but Mattie Fitz is in the top-20 rankings in all strokes with the exception of T-T, where he ranks 31st. He led all golfers on the PGA Tour in terms of total strokes achieved in 2022.
Corey Connors (+5000) There have been a few miss cuts and zero top-10 results outside of match play this year, which is worrying. The Canadian has finished the top-10 Masters in a row though. Conners are hard to close and that often makes life easier for him.
If you are really going to swing for the fence on a longshot Brian Herman (+10000) Par 4s very strong. The leftists have a strong reputation in Augusta and Herman finished T12 at The Masters just over a year ago, his second-best result in a major. A top-20 result at +250 could also be a smart game for Harman.
Look List (+11000) Potentially another golfer with long differences over the price of a flyer. His strokes line up the matrix with this course just until his potter disappoints him.
There is no shortage of prop bets if you are a direct winner and looking out of the market in every way. Here are a few master props to consider.
Conners / Leshman / Rose to finish top 10/20: Conners can dispute why you can see above. Mark Lesman and Justin Rose have also done well in Augusta over the years. A third consecutive Top-10 finish for Conners will return +400 for betting, while its probability for a Top-20 finish will be +160. Leshman (+550 for the top-10; +200 for the top-20) finished three top-10s in The Masters, including a T5 from last year. Rose (+550 for the top-10; +210 for the top-20) will play in her 17th career Masters Tournament and will finish seventh in 2021.
Leftists can cut (+240): Augusta is historically favorable for left-handed golfers. American Bubba Watson (-225), Brian Herman (-200) and Scotland’s Robert McIntyre (-175) all have some favorable odds to cut. If you group these three lefties together in one parle, you can get +240 for extra pay on weekends.
To cut Tiger Woods (-110): 91 golfers are expected to compete on the field and at least 50 golfers will be cut. Tiger knows his way along this course so if he really hit the ball rationally, as reported, then this latest cut is absolutely out of the possibility to go to the right of the cut line regardless.
If you’re a Bobby or Betty Bazkil and you want to fade GOAT, chances are Tiger will miss the cut -125.
The odds of all the bets listed above are bet365 through Wednesday afternoon