A tradition unlike any other. The Masters is right in the conversation with the opening weekend of March Madness and NFL Divisional weekend as the best weekend in sports. Four days of non-stop streaming, watching, and betting at the most magical place on Earth. The Masters has the best website and app on the planet for watching sports and the tournament has never failed to disappoint.
Personally, I would consider myself one step above a casual golf fan. I like golf and watch probably 10-15 tournaments a year intently. But what keeps me really engaged and what I would recommend anyone who wants to get more into golf to do is join a one-and-done pool. For those unfamiliar, this is a season-long golf pool where you pick a golfer every week but once you pick that golfer you can’t use them for the rest of the season. So it keeps you interested in the tournaments you wouldn’t normally want to watch and makes you pay attention to players other than the big names.
All of that being said, I have decided to write previews for all four majors this year. I can’t pretend to be enough of an expert to write golf previews every week (although I am in first place in my OAD pool, nbd but kbd) but for the majors when more casual bettors want to get in on the golf action, I think I can help.
Just to preface this category of picks, I did bet Scottie Scheffler at 10/1 a few weeks ago but I wouldn’t be at the current 7/1/+650 numbers out there. The rest of the numbers I list will be the numbers that I bet these golfers at and they might not all be up to date but if I am writing them up that means I would still bet at the current number.
Jordan Spieth (17/1)- I love Jordan here. Augusta experience is one of the most important things when it comes to choosing a winner so picking a past champion is always nice. Jordan has been playing great golf this season and I think the timing might be perfect for him to take a second green jacket.
Patrick Cantlay (19/1)- Cantlay is the top 10 king. It feels like at every big tournament for the past few years he is towards the top of the leaderboard but hasn’t been able to get it done in a major. He has a top 10 at Augusta under his belt already and finished top 15 in two majors last year. He is also in great form as of late with a top 20 at The Players and top 5s at the Arnold Palmer and the Genesis.
Jason Day (34/1)- Jason Day is a major winner with three top 5s and four top 10s at Augusta. He is also playing his best golf in years with a top 20 at The Players, a top 10 at the API, a top 10 at the Genesis, a top 5 at Phoenix, and a top 10 at the Farmers this year. He is a guy with the experience and poise to compete for four days at this tournament and with the form his irons are in this season, he could really win it.
Hideki Matsuyama (46/1)- I’m sticking with the theme of guys with experience at Augusta by picking another former winner. Hideki is a big-time player with a green jacket and a career-best of at least top six at every major. He’s also another guy in great form with a top 15 at the Valero last week and a top 5 at the Players. He has been hit or miss this season with either a missed cut or a top-20 finish so I wouldn’t overload him in matchups but think he’s very worth the squeeze to win at this number.
Shane Lowry (65/1)- Big Shane is always a fun guy to back and I think he’s worth a sprinkle here. His iron game is as good as anybody’s when he’s on form and he’s proven that by winning the 2019 Open. In fact, he has finished in the top 5 at all four majors in his career including a T-3 finish at last year’s Masters. In 2022 he showed he is capable of competing at Augusta and despite not playing his best golf this year (although he did have a nice top 15 at the Genesis and top 5 at the Honda) he can turn it up on the big stage.
Patrick Reed (75/1)- One of the big questions around this Masters is what will the LIV guys do? Cam Smith was maybe the best player on the planet towards the end of last season but has played poorly since going to LIV. Brooks Koepka has been getting some hype after a win last week but hasn’t even made the cut in his last two Masters appearances so I’m staying away there. Then you have a former Masters champion in DJ who I think is way overpriced in this tournament.
Then there is another former champion that has gone a bit more under the radar. Someone who would love nothing more than to be the ultimate villain to win this tournament and bring a green jacket back to the Saudi royal family. That man is none other than the husband of useGolfFACTS, Patrick Reed.
Reed finished 2nd, just a stroke behind Rory, at Dubai earlier this year. He is also another PTP with a career-best in the top 10 at every major. He has also finished in the top 10 two other times at Augusta since his win so it was not a one-off fluke. Reed also finished top 5 in the LIV event last week.
Sahith Theegala (130/1)- I am pot committed to betting on Sahith Theegala every week for the rest of his career. He is my favorite young player on tour at the moment and I am so ready for him to get a win. I will keep backing him until he finally does it. To win, you first have to make the cut and Sahith has done that in over 75% of his career starts on Tour despite his young age. He has also been on the cusp with 10 career top 10s including a T6 at the Genesis and a T4 at the Farmers this week. It’s always tough at your first Masters but I really just want the extra incentive to root for Sahith here.
Top Five: Scottie (+160), Spieth (+320), Cantlay (+320), Sungjae Im (+600)- these are three guys I like outright and then Sungjae. Sungjae finished 8th last year and 2nd in 2020 at the Masters.
Top Ten: Cantlay (+165), Day (+220), Finau (+200), Patrick Reed (+500)- I wrote up why I like three of these guys outright and like their value to finish T10. I can’t trust Tony Finau to win in a big tournament but he has a top-10 finish in 3 of his 5 career Masters appearances. I like him in this spot.
Top Twenty: Gordon Sargent (+550)- Sargent is the best amateur in the field and top 20 is asking a lot but that’s why this +550. The last time an amateur finished in the top 20 was Ryan Moore in 2005. Moore did it the year after he won the NCAA individual championship which is what Sargent did himself last year. Early reports from practice rounds this week are that he is bombing it past the guys he is playing with. I’m taking the shot here.
(All full tournament)
Scottie>Rory (-116)- The two co-favorites are head-to-head in this matchup and I just trust Scottie way more. He has been better at Augusta than Rory and more consistent this year. Gotta take this.
Spieth>JT (-125), Cantlay>JT (-145)- The double JT fade. JT has been pretty solid at Augusta but he is in bad form entering this tournament. These are two guys I really like and I think they both beat JT.
Day>DJ (-115)- Jason Day is a guy I like and DJ is a guy I want to fade. Easy.
Lowry>Fleetwood(-115)- Fleetwood has a decent track record at Augusta but Lowry is someone I want to back this week.
Reed>Rose (+110)- I don’t even hate Justin Rose in this tournament but getting Reed at + money was too hard to pass up
Tiger>Sergio (-110)- Sergio is an irrelevant loser. I like Tiger to make the cut and I am backing him in this matchup against a guy I don’t expect to play well instead of laying big juice on the make-the-cut bet.
First Round Leader
I am betting on three first-round leaders: one favorite, one mid-tier, and one longshot.
Jon Rahm (18/1)- It has been an interesting season for Jon Rahm. Early on in the year he won three tournaments and looked like the clear-cut best player in the world. Then he had some injury issues that coincided with some bad performances which allowed Scottie to come in and establish himself as the alpha.
Rahm has struggled in a couple of tournaments this year to close out after a strong start and that’s why I’m not backing him anywhere else but here. He leads the PGA in 1st round scoring average but comes in at 30th in final round scoring average. So to be clear, if he comes out and shoots 65 and has the first-round lead I wouldn’t be stunned so I like this value more than his 8/1ish value to win the tournament.
Jason Day (29/1)- I have talked a lot about Jason Day and I want him again here. I think he will come out strong and contend all weekend.
Patrick Reed 50/1– Here he is again. Let the bad guy cook.