Masters expert picks to win, sleepers to watch at Augusta National
A good number of golf gamblers are thinking he won’t have to wait quite nearly as long for his next win.
According to oddschecker.com, a site that tracks both odds and which players are the most popular with bettors, Spieth has received 7.6 percent of the bets over the past week to win this week’s Masters, the highest figure among the players in the field at Augusta National. (Following Spieth are Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood.) When looking at odds among sportsbooks, according to oddschecker.com, Johnson, the defending champ, is the favorite — and is now followed by the resurgent Spieth.
Is there a takeaway from the betting public’s favorite? Possibly. It is convenient to know where other folks’ hard-earned money is heading toward — the thought being, hey, if Joe and Jane are betting on Spieth, maybe I should too. That being said, the casual bettor tends to bet “names” — the DJ, Rorys and, now, again, Spieths of the world. That may help you, too. The casino will “balance out” odds — meaning if one player rises, another falls, and that, in turn, could give your personal favorite a better line. (Remember: The books don’t care who wins, as long as they do.)
Considering that, along with various other factors, let’s try to find a winner. Members of our staff have each made a to-win and sleeper bet using odds from DraftKings to help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook or through free-to-play Chirp Golf, an app from our parent company that is available in the App Store and at Google Play.
On to our expert picks — and info on how to bet for free.
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +1,150. The BDC hype machine at the November Masters was too much for any player to handle, even golf’s Hercules. With some of that spotlight dimmed, I think DeChambeau comes into this week in a much better headspace. The firm and fast conditions also bode well for Bryson. When Augusta’s greens are breathing fire, hitting wedges and 9-irons into them — when your competitors are hitting 7- and 6-irons — is a massive edge. Bubba Watson told me that he played a practice round with Bryson on Sunday. On 14, they both tagged their tee shots. Bubba isn’t short, but he found himself 70 yards behind his playing partner.
To-win: Patrick Cantlay, +2,050. Jordan Spieth’s recent surge is intriguing, and I expect him to be in contention, but I’m sticking with my pick I nailed down a couple of months ago. Cantlay has played well in his previous trips to Augusta National (T17 and T9 past two starts) and has a game well-suited for succeeding there — solid ball-striker and a good putter with superb touch around the greens. He missed the cut at the Players, but other than that, he’s finished no worse than T15 in his four other stroke-play events of 2020.
Sleeper pick: Abraham Ancer, +8,000. Ancer might be a trendy sleeper pick, so who knows if that disqualifies him as a sleeper. Either way, keep an eye on him. Last year, in his first Masters, he was T2 after 54 holes but stumbled with a final-round 76 to finish T13. Now he’s gained some key experience for Year 2. He’s also had nine top 25s in 14 events this year, so he’s in good form.
To-win: Justin Thomas, +1250: In what world are we living that Jordan Spieth has once again usurped Justin Thomas as a Masters betting favorite? Apparently, the present one. Not long ago, there was some question whether JT would be the overall Masters favorite after winning at the Players Championship. If his approach game is as dialed as it was at Sawgrass, he’s going to be in the thick of it on the weekend.
Sleeper pick: Matt Wolff, +10,000. Man … has it really been that long since Matt Wolff was in the final group at Winged Foot? Ah, yes, it has. Wolff is still young, and if he’s fully healthy this week, he could get hot at the right time.
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,600. He’s been among the best players in the game this PGA Tour season. If Augusta plays firmer and faster, he’ll be well-suited to handle tougher conditions. And his game is just so bulletproof that I expect he’ll be there at the end. A big win is coming. And at this price, he’s a bargain.
Sleeper pick: Will Zalatoris, +8,000. He’s one of the best ballstrikers in all of golf, and I expect iron play to be at a premium this week. Plus he’s a big hitter, which Augusta National rewards. If he can get hot with the putter, look out! Most importantly, I ran into him at the grocery store, which is a key qualification for my model. (Bonus super-sleeper: Mackenzie Hughes, +40,000. We’re running out of words so just trust me on this one.)
To-win: Dustin Johnson, +950. Yeah, he’s the favorite — but for good reason! Not only is DJ the world No. 1, but his record at Augusta is top-notch: He’s finished in the top 10 in all five of his most-recent starts at the Masters. There’s no reason to think this year will be any different.
Sleeper pick: Abraham Ancer, +8,000. Loved his inspired debut at Augusta in November when he finished T13, and he’s been playing well since, with seven T23 finishes in his past nine events. He seems ripe for a breakthrough.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +5,500. The guy just oozes with talent. He’s been close several times in his young career (PGA, Match Play), and eventually he’ll break through. Why not this week?
Sleeper pick: Will Zalatoris, +8,000. Has there been any player who has experienced as meteoric a rise as Zalatoris over the past 18 months? He’s already one of the best ballstrikers on Tour, and once he figures out the putting, watch out.
To-win: Sungjae Im, +4,150. I know, I know. I just wrote an entire story above detailing that last year’s results don’t mean much this year. But I’m looking at more than Im’s runner-up finish last year (though I’m not completely ignoring it, either). It takes iron excellence to win at Augusta, and Im has it. And those odds are so very lovely. (Put me down for thinking that Patrick Reed may make a run, too.)
Sleeper pick: Brian Harman, +12,500. Do I expect him to win? Not really. But at those odds, it’s worth a flier, considering he tied for third at the Players and made a nice run at the Match Play. (And if you’re really feeling frisky — Phil’s at +17,500!)
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,150. Call me a sucker for getting caught up in the moment all you want. Spieth’s back. Like, really back. That gets solidified with another Green Jacket. It won’t happen easily (nothing ever does for Spieth), but it will happen.
Sleeper pick: Francesco Molinari, +17,500. IF Spieth is unable to win the Masters as my pick, I’d love to see a comeback of another kind. Francisco Molinari has never been the same since his Masters meltdown. At +17,500, that’s a miracle I want to cheer for.
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +1,150. After all the breathless talk of Bryson headed into last fall’s Masters, there’s been (comparatively) little buzz around him this time around — understandably so, what with Spieth ascendant and DJ defending and Rahm chasing his first major. All of that will benefit DeChambeau, who is guaranteed not to make a lost-ball triple bogey on 3. Beware of the man walking softly and carrying a big stick.
Sleeper pick: Sebastian Munoz, +15,000. A T19 in his first Masters last year showed that he’s a quick study. He also showed good form this past week in Texas. At 150-1, he’s more than worth the play.
To-win: Collin Morikawa, +3,150. Rumor has it that Augusta is already playing quite firm, which could mean golfers who control the ball well will prevail. And no one controls their golf ball better than Collin Morikawa. Although he primarily plays a fade, and Augusta is typically seen as a drawer’s course (for a righty), I think Morikawa’s control off the tee and deadly iron play will keep him from making costly mistakes that will plague others. He’s already got the major monkey off his back, so he’ll be coming into this week with confidence. +3150 feels like great value for Morikawa, too, which is always nice.
Sleeper pick: Ian Poulter, +15,000. Like my pick to win, Collin Morikawa, Poulter controls his golf ball well. And not only does he hit it on a string, but he’s the grittiest of gritty competitors. Even though he has low odds to win the event, I wouldn’t be shocked to see his name on the leaderboard come Sunday. If he can roll in a few putts at the right time – and we know he can – Poulter could slip on the Green Jacket this week.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +5,500: I’m taking a Longhorn this week — only it’s not the one you were expecting. Spieth was my pick for months until he became the popular betting choice. So instead of sticking with my gut, I’m shaking things up and going with Scheffler. He finished runner-up to Billy Horschel at the WGC-Dell Match Play and has three top-20 finishes in his past five stroke-play starts. Oh yeah, he was also T-19 last season in his first Masters. I love this pick.
Sleeper pick: Marc Leishman, +15,000. Taking a flier on Leishman, who has finished inside the top 15 in his past three Masters starts. Recent form isn’t great — just one top-10 finish in seven starts this year — but he has the course knowledge.
To-win: Jon Rahm, +1,250. The man has only improved in each trip he’s taken to Augusta National. Three top 10s in the past three years. The new-father storyline is already playing on a loop in Jim Nantz’s ears.
Sleeper pick: Corey Conners, +8,000. Conners flirted with a win at the API, then made a late charge at the Players. He’s a solid ball-striker who has fared all right at Augusta in the past. How long can he hang around?
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