By: Josh Gamble
*All odds are current as of Tuesday evening*
Will the pimento cheese sandwiches taste as good at home as they do on the course? Are the azaleas in bloom on the course? Will Jordan Spieth hit the ball in the water on 12? These are some of the questions I am asking myself as we prepare for The Masters in November. Yes, I said November. Whether or not the course plays any different remains to be seen, but we are going to toss some bets down on it anyway.
Now before I get into who I like this weekend, let’s first take a dive into how I approach betting any golf tournament. Betting on golf can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of players to look at. I have always felt that it help my breaking the players down into tiers and going from there. Here is how I break down the players into subsections based on gambling odds:
· Tier 1: Odds at +100 to +2000
· Tier 2: Odds at +2100 to +5000
· Tier 3: Odds at +5100 to +8000
· Tier 4: Odds at 8100+
I usually like to narrow each tier down to 2-4 guys that I like in that tier. From there, I look at who I think will play well based on a number of factors and who I think has value. Just because you picked 4 guys from each tier does not mean that you have to bet each of those guys. Who you bet on will come down to personal preference and comfort level. Some bettors won’t touch the long shots while others want no part of the favorites. Personally, I like to spread my money around relatively evenly throughout the tiers. I will allocate about 60% of my available funds for the tournament on outright winners. Now that you know my overall philosophy, let’s take a look at who I like this week.
Tier 1 (Odds at +100 to +2000)
Jon Rahm (+1000) – First off, he is the second ranked player in the world so this is not really going out on a limb. He has had success at Augusta in recent years going T9 and 4th the last two years. Jon Rahm’s biggest problem has always been his head. He tends to go off the rails when things start to go awry. If he can keep his head on straight, I like him to win this week.
Xander Schauffele (+1600) – Xander Schauffele is the type of guy who always plays up for the big ones. Anyone not giving him at least a look this week is foolish in my opinion. He tied for 50th in his first trip to The Masters and followed that up last year with a T2.
Tier 2 (Odds at +2100 to +5000)
Bubba Watson (+3000) – People that know me know that I love Bubba Watson, but I promise that has nothing to do with this pick. Bubba is a 2-time winner at Augusta and finished T5 last year and T12 the year prior. He has had his ups and downs in recent years but he has definitely been up this season. He saw the top 25 nine times in 2020 with 5 of those being the top 10.
Jason Day (+4000) – Jason Day is probably the biggest wild card out of the guys that I have selected. When Jason Day is good, he is really good. On the flip side, when he is running cold, he is really bad. On that train of thought, he always seems to show up for The Masters regardless of form. He has only missed one cut in his last nine tries at Augusta with a T5 last year. Out of those eight times he has made the cut, he has finished in the top 10 four times.
Tier 3 (Odds at +5100 to +8000)
Louis Oosthuizen (+6600) – Louis has made the cut in his last six trips to Augusta and made the cut in seven of the last eight. He owns a handful of top 20s and has finished as high as second, albeit that was back in 2012. His track record of making cuts at The Masters gives you a punching chance of having someone in contention.
Rickie Fowler (+6600) – T9, 2, T11, T69, T12, and T5. Does that sound like the recent track record at The Masters for someone who is +6600? Didn’t think so. I am not as concerned as others may be by Rickie’s current overall form. This is by far the biggest value play of the whole tournament.
Tier 4 (Odds at +8100 and over)
Lee Westwood (+15000) – Westwood has killed it over in Europe and recently finished 13th at the US Open. Despite his age, the form is there and Masters track record is certainly there. He has six top eight finishes at The Masters and five of those have come in his last eight appearances. Historically, he is great off the tee and around the greens, which is key at Augusta. I really like him as a top 10 play as well at +700.
Zach Johnson (+15000) – This is kind of a flier pick, but aren’t they all once you get into these odds? He has played well the last month, so the current form is there. He is a former Masters champ and has had moderate success otherwise. Whether or not he can win remains to be seen, but I will take him at these odds. He is a great top 10 play at +1000.
Another popular bet for major tournaments, and other golf tournaments alike, is the First Round Leader bet. This is a great way to potential make some money on the first day and not have to wait until Sunday to learn your fate. There are two things that I take into account when picking my bets for first round leader. The first thing I look at is current averages for first round scoring. From there, I look at the player’s track record at the Masters to choose who I like. Keep in mind when betting FRL that when players tie for the low score then the odds you receive on your bet will also lower. For instance, the player that I bet is +2000 but tied with another guy, it would then reduce down to +1000 payout. If he tied with 3 other guys, it would reduce down to +500. (+2000 / 4 players tied = +500) My allocation of funds for these bets is usually around 30% of my stack for the tournament. Below you will find the guys I like for first round leader with their first round scoring average for 2020 in parentheses.
· Bryson Dechambeau +1600 (1st)
· Jon Rahm +1600 (19th)
· Xander Schauffele +2000 (14th)
· Justin Thomas +2000 (T8)
· Louis Oosthuizen +4000 (T8)
I hope everyone is as excited as I am that we are getting a Masters tournament this season and potentially two in the span of about five months.As always, if you have any questions, need betting advice, or want to stay up-to-date with all of my current plays, follow me on Twitter @Jtothe_ROC. Let’s cash those tickets!