Masters expert picks: Our staff’s favorites and dark horses for Augusta
He leads the PGA Tour in driving distance. He used it to win the U.S. Open. He used it “jaw-droppingly” during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club, and he used it “ouch-ingly” on the Augusta driving range.
But Bryson DeChambeau can’t use his driver on Augusta’s greens. (Only Phil Mickelson can. Which is another story for another day.)
Much like how we discussed here earlier in the week with Tiger Woods, betting on Bryson at this week’s Masters is as difficult as driving the 1st green at Augusta. (For me and you, not him.)
Let’s help you hit.
Since the PGA Tour returned in mid-June, 12 members of our staff have been making three $100 bets — to win, top 10 and a prop bet of choice – on each tournament. The leaders of that game, Jessica Marksbury and Josh Sens, along with yours truly, discuss why DeChambeau will win the Masters, and why DeChambeau won’t. At +800 odds on the new Chirp Golf app (which is available in the App Store and at Google Play), DeChambeau is the co-favorite, with Dustin Johnson.
Why Bryson DeChambeau will win the Masters
Marksbury: It’s easy to forget that before his transformation, Bryson, as an amateur, contended in the Masters in his first appearance, all the way back in 2016. A triple bogey on No. 18 derailed him, but he played brilliantly overall and ended up T21. He’s never missed a cut in three total appearances, and in addition to his outrageous length off the tee, Bryson is also one of the best putters on Tour. Add those two skills to his no-detail-overlooked work ethic, and even I can do the math: There is no greater favorite to win at Augusta this year than Bryson DeChambeau.
Sens: Size matters. Given how far he bashes the ball, Bryson will be playing a par-68. And that’s not counting a handful of par-4s that he’ll be taking on with driver and half-wedge. So maybe make that a par-67. Of course, size isn’t the only thing that matters. But as he showed at Winged Foot, Bryson does fine with the touch shots, too
Piastowski: Distance plays at Augusta. The longer you are, the better your odds are at the Masters. Much like at Winged Foot, it’s easier to hit a wedge than a 5- or 6-iron. Bryson has had Georgia on his mind for a while, too. Not that others haven’t, of course. But if the man is resolute enough to put on 50 pounds in a year, I trust his planning.
Why Bryson DeChambeau won’t win the Masters
Marksbury: Hype. The hype for Bryson’s performance at Augusta is simply off the charts, and it’s going to be outrageously hard to live up to. It takes a lot more than bombed drives to win a green jacket, and Bryson’s best finish at ANGC is still his debut from 2016: T21. Will Bryson win a Masters one day? I’m bullish on that. But it will take a few more reps for him to crack Augusta’s fickle code, and it won’t happen this year.
Sens: Yeah, I know, everybody loves the long ball. But the media’s intoxication with the distance beefy Bryson hits it is, well, Freud would have a field day with some of the fan-boy fawning. And let’s not forget that Bryson’s hardly the only basher on Tour these days. On Sunday at Winged Foot, Matthew Wolff was more than keeping up with DeChambeau off the tee, in some instances with 3-wood to DeChambeau’s driver. To think that length alone makes DeChambeau a lock is disrespectful of the nuance of Augusta National (and the nerviness the place produces, to say nothing of the talents of the rest of the field.
Piastowski: The drive is just one shot. Bryson knows it. He told our Dylan Dethier and Luke Kerr-Dineen as much on Monday. Can he get up and down like he did at Winged Foot? That had nothing to do with size. And his past results at Augusta are good, but not great – 21st in 2016; 38th in 2018; and 29th last year.
For this week’s Masters, we have also created a free-to-play, play-money GOLF Magazine league on the new Chirp Golf gaming app (which is owned by GOLF.com’s parent company, 8AM Golf). To play, download the app, sign up and then enter the league here (or enter the code 024470 under the “join league option”). You will have $10,000 to spread around during the first round of the tournament, and you will receive an additional $5,000 each of the next three rounds.
You can spend it before the tournament. You can spend it during the tournament, too. From 3-5 p.m. ET Thursday, 4-6 p.m. Friday and when the final pairing tees off Saturday and Sunday, the Chirp app sets odds in real time. Tiger has a 15-foot putt? Wager on Tiger’s 15-foot putt.
And, and, and …
The top finishers in the global league can win prizes. It’s free to play. The money is fake. The prizes are very real.
The picks (in order of money total)
Jessica Marksbury ($9,309)
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +800. Yeah, he’s the favorite, so not a huge stretch. But I’m all-in on the BDC hype this week.
Top 10: Bubba Watson, +300. Bubba’s a two-time champ who has been playing well this year. A top 10 this week feels right.
Prop: Will Bryson DeChambeau have any 400+ yard drives during the tournament? No, +100. Given the wet conditions we’re likely to see this week, I like the odds on this one.
Sleeper pick: Charl Schwartzel, +20,000. Love those odds for a former champ.
Josh Sens ($8,488)
To-win: Dustin Johnson, +1,200. Betting the chalk is generally a bad idea in golf, I think. Better to go with one of the longer shots on these to-win wagers. But DJ is long past due at Augusta, and he’s been playing so darned well. There’s no way he’s not in the mix down the stretch on Sunday.
Top 10: Jason Day, +275. At the Memorial, Day talked about feeling more comfortable in a fan-less environment. It showed there. It showed at the PGA Championship at Harding. And I suspect it will benefit him this week at Augusta, a course that has always seemed to suit him.
Prop: Which Masters winner will have the best finish (out of Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods or Adam Scott?) I’ll take Adam Scott for plus 400, Alex.
Sleeper pick: Francesco Molinari, +17,500. Why is the man who played in the final group with Tiger last year regarded as a longer long shot than Brandt Snedeker, Matt Wallace, Bernd Wiesberger and Christian Bezuidenhout, among others? Good question. I have no good answer for it. Hence this wager.
Nick Piastowski ($6,143)
To-win: Hideki Matsuyama, +3,500. He looked REAL good last week. It’s finally his time to win a major.
Top 10: Bryson DeChambeau, +110. Such a little payout, but it’s going to happen. I was thisclose to making him my pick to win, so I’ll go with him for the top 10 then.
Prop: Will Jordan Spieth hit a shot into Rae’s Creek? Yes, +2,000. And then he’ll hole out the next shot.
Sleeper pick: Francesco Molinari, +17,500. Redemption.
Jonathan Wall ($5,778)
To-win: Tony Finau, +2,800. He’s going to win a major at some point in his career. You can’t convince me otherwise. This is the week the dam finally breaks.
Top 10: Jason Day, +275. Bet Day to miss the cut last week — and he finishes T7. Lesson learned.
Prop: What company logo will be on the front of the winning golfers headwear, Nike, +200. Taking Finau. Obvious choice.
Sleeper pick: Marc Leishman, +15,000. I’m getting a guy who’s finished fourth and ninth at Augusta in the past six years at +15,000?! I’ll take that any day.
Sean Zak ($5,102.30)
To-win: Jason Day, +5,000. We’ve seen him come plenty close. I like the juice!
Top 10: Justin Harding, +2,200. Let’s keep the train rolling from his T12 last year at Augusta.
Prop: Will Jordan Spieth hit a shot into Rae’s Creek? Yes, +2,000. Feels obvious, right?
Sleeper pick: Marc Leishman, +15,000. The guy has a lot of good experience here. Why not?
James Colgan ($3,976)
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,200. He isn’t on a heater. He hasn’t won any tournaments in 2020. If he’s made a change to his game, it’s that he can now comfortably reach 190 mph ball speed with his driver. But even then, he isn’t too keen on using it regularly. In short, for the first time in years, there’s no good reason to pick Rory McIlroy this week. But maybe the lack of a coherent narrative actually helps. With no external pressure or significant attention paid to him, I think Rory is poised for a Masters breakthrough.
Top 10: Matt Wolff, +350: Oh how quickly we forget that Matt Wolff turned in a pair of stellar performances at the two majors preceding this one. The 21-year-old might have a bit to go before he’s sliding on his first green jacket, but after Winged Foot, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t bet against him again.
Prop: Will any top 10 player hit a shot into Rae’s Creek, yes, +300: A player in contention hits a shot into Rae’s Creek at seemingly every Masters. These odds are too good to miss.
Sleeper pick: Francesco Molinari, +17,500. It’s easy to forget that, if not for his implosion on the 12th hole in 2019, we might be talking about Molinari as the defending champion. Sure, a lot’s happened since then, but for a player with long odds, I’ll roll the dice with Frankie.
Andrew Tursky ($3,050)
To-win: Rickie Fowler, +7,000. With so much hype about driver distance coming into this year’s event, it’d only be right that a player who uses a particular short driver build will win it. Fowler pulls a Sergio Garcia this year and wins his first at Augusta National.
Top 10: Patrick Reed, +550. How quickly we forget that Reed won here just two years ago, and he’s been playing decently well this season, with a T13 (U.S. Open) and T14 finish (Zozo) so far. Reed knows the course, and surely he has some good vibes here. I like a solid top-10 showing from Reed this week.
Prop: Will Jordan Spieth hit a shot into Rae’s Creek, yes, +2,000. Any golfer in the field is at risk of hitting a shot into Rae’s Creek, but Spieth especially has some demons to face. With this much value, I’m willing to give this bet a shot. Sorry, Spieth.
Sleeper pick: Kevin Na, +20,000. While he’s at a bit of a distance disadvantage on the long Augusta setup, Na is an absolute gamer who finds a way to get the ball in the hole and win events. He’s never cracked the top-10 in the Masters, but he has finished T12 twice (2012 and 2015).
Zephyr Melton ($2,975)
To-win: Bubba Watson, +3,300. Bubba is having a sneaky-good start to his 2020-21 campaign, already with two top 10s under his belt. Plus, we all know about his history around Augusta. Love me some Bubba golf this week.
Top 10: Justin Harding, +2,200. This pick is a little off the wall, but I’m trying to make a comeback in the final week of this thing. Harding made a memorable putt on the 18th last year to secure his start this week, and I like him to play more solid golf this time around.
Prop: Will a previous Masters winner be the champion, yes, +3,000. See my pick above for who I think will win. I’m double-dipping with this prop.
Sleeper pick: Mike Weir, +100,000. You wanted a sleeper, and this might be as long shot as they come. He recently said he’s feeling the “best he’s felt in a long time,” and plus, it’s 2020 – let’s get Weir(d).
Josh Berhow ($2,899)
To-win: Justin Thomas, +1,200. He’s been trending in the right direction every year he’s played the Masters (39th, 22nd, 17th and 12th) and ranked second in approach the past two years. He’s a ball-striking savant and that’s one of the keys to Augusta, but he just has to putt a little better. I’m predicting he gets hot this week.
Top 10: Jon Rahm, +125. Top 10s in his past two Masters starts. He’s going to be a threat here for years to come.
Prop: Will Jordan Spieth hit a shot into Rae’s Creek, yes, +2,000. I feel like such a terrible person taking this one, but Spieth’s past couple of years have been a roller coaster, and the same can be said for his weekly tournament rounds. Crazier things have happened.
Sleeper pick: Justin Harding, +35,000. Had to scroll way down the list to find Mr. Harding, who had golf fans everywhere Googling his name last year when he was in the mix and ultimately finished T12. He’s had an up-and-down season making the majority of his starts on the European Tour, but he made the most of his first Masters start, and we’re about to see if last year was a fluke or not.
Tim Reilly ($2,330)
To-win: Dustin Johnson, +1,200. After a two-week hiatus, DJ returned to action, and his game looked sharp. DJ had a close call at the PGA Championship, and this week, he gets the job done at Augusta National. The in-house tailor can get to work now on stitching up a green jacket with arms long enough for DJ.
Top 10: Jordan Spieth, +500. There’s nothing quite like a Spieth Masters roller coaster ride. I don’t care what his game looks like elsewhere. Augusta National brings out the best (and worst) in Spieth. Look for him to make an appearance near the top of the leaderboard and then settle into a Top 10 spot on a course he plays extremely well.
Prop: Will Jordan Spieth hit a shot into Rae’s Creek, yes, +2,000. While I have Spieth slated for a Top 10 finish, a fatal splash is what helps keep him away from making a serious push at winning.
Sleeper pick: Brendon Todd, +20,000. This is Todd’s first appearance at Augusta since becoming one of the most consistent players on Tour. I’m not saying I’m 100 percent confident in Todd making a run this week, but I would take a flier at those odds on a steady performer who proved he can compete in majors with a Top 25 finish at Winged Foot.
Alan Bastable ($960)
To-win: Bubba Watson, +2,800. Three-time Masters champion Bubba Watson? Believe it, people. It’s about to go down. After a rough mid-summer stretch, Watson has been showing signs that he’s ready to break out, including top-10s in his past two starts.
Top 10: Justin Rose, +450. Weirdly unsteady 2020 accounts for his tasty odds. But I like what I saw from Rose’s three 67s at the Zozo. Fully expect a strong week from him in a tourney where he has two runner-ups since 2015.
Prop: Will a previous Masters winner win the tournament, yes, +3,000. Love, love, lovvvvvve this bet. Bubba, Scotty, Tiger, Zach, P-Reed — the list of viable threats goes on and on.
Sleeper pick: Corey Conners, +20,000. Supreme ball striker, finished 12th on Tour in 2019-20 in SG: Approach. And everyone knows at Augusta, you gotta hit greens.
Dylan Dethier ($750)
To-win: Jason Day, +5,000. He might not be the most likely player to win, but damn — at this number?! Day’s been really good, and he might not mind a fan-free environment. Look for him to contend.
Top 10: Sebastian Munoz, +1,100. This bet will singlehandedly bring me past Bastable. Sebastian Munoz has the game. He’s played well. It’s time he puts it together at a major championship.
Prop: Will Tiger Woods finish in the top 10, yes, +400. Tiger Woods is still a fantastic irons player, and this is Augusta National. He’s got a great chance to finish inside the top 10.
Sleeper pick: Francesco Molinari, +17,500. Remember when this dude almost won the Masters — last year? He may not have figured everything out in his half-year away from the game, but he might have figured out just enough to conjure up some Masters magic again.
All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy a linked product, GOLF.COM may earn a fee. Pricing may vary.