There is only one place to start this week as the 82nd US Masters prepares to tee off in Augusta. It is the first golf Major of the year and the strongest field of 2018 so far, so it will be a tough task finding the winner.
The usual suspects may be at the top of the betting market this week but form is very mixed among the highest ranked golfers so can we find any value with the American betting sites as we work through the field? We will peruse the likely candidates and then conclude with our Masters predictions and betting picks.
The bookies can’t decide on a clear favorite and it is a confused market at the top with four golfers all within a few points of each other. Some have Jordan Spieth in front (+900 or 9/1 with Bovada, whose odds we will reference in this Master preview) while for others, it is either Rory McIlroy (+1000) or Dustin Johnson (+1100) leading the way but the biggest shift in pricing saw Spieth shorten after a return to form at the Houston Open.
The 2015 Masters Champion is without a win on any tour since claiming the British Open championship last July but a third place and a closing round of 66 at the weekend suggest he may just be finding form at the right time.
McIlroy looks too short for us but after a dominant win at Bay Hill last month he is getting plenty of interest while Johnson heads the Power Rankings for Augusta and for this US Masters preview that’s a more tangible indicator.
PGA Champion Justin Thomas (+1100) is also in the mix at the head of the Masters outright betting so we can already see that this is the strongest field of the year so far.
Tiger Woods has threatened many comebacks but we finally have to admit that this latest return looks to be the real deal
Tiger Woods (+1400) has threatened many comebacks in the past but we would finally have to admit that this latest return looks to be the real deal. Having come close to claiming the Valspar last month, we expect him to lift a trophy in 2018 providing he stays fit but can he take the Green Jacket in Augusta?
Tiger is a four-time winner of this event and just a few points behind the favorites as we move into Thursday.
Slightly further back from Woods is Bubba Watson (+1600) who has emerged from a dismal run of form to take two trophies this season. The left hander claimed two wins in three years here but interestingly, those were his only Top 35 finishes since 2009.
Also in mid-price range is Jason Day (+1800) while Paul Casey (+2200) and Phil Mickelson (+1800) have also enjoyed success in 2018. As far as US Masters predictions go, none of the names we have mentioned can be written off as likely betting picks at this stage.
The real value starts to come as the prices drift and included in the list of outsiders is our defending Champion Sergio Garcia (+2800). The Spaniard hasn’t followed up his win in 2017 with any great success on either tour but clearly has the game to get over the line at Augusta.
Rickie Fowler (+2200) now inherits Garcia’s title as the best player never to win a Major but he has yet to find the form that closed out 2017. Jon Rahm (+2200) is also in the batch of outsiders as he makes his second Masters appearance and the list of potential high-priced winners goes on.
Matt Kuchar (+5000) is a golfer who we have followed closely and he gave us a huge each-way profit at the Open last year. Ian Poulter (+6600) squeezes in after winning the Houston Open while Alex Noren (+4500), Tommy Fleetwood (+4500), Tyrrell Hatton (+8000), Patrick Reed (+5000) and many others have the stats to suggest that they should be taken seriously. It is such a tough call so what are the keys to success at Augusta?
Masters Predictions & Picks plus Course & Betting Trends
Having been extended by designer Tom Fazio in 2002, the Power Hitters can have an advantage on this course and Bubba Watson is one of those to have benefitted from the remodelling. Driving accuracy isn’t so vital but Greens in Regulation and Scrambling are essential qualities and form with the putter is critical.
Recent winners have come from a mix of nationalities and we have three multiple winners since 2000 while Tiger Woods was the last to complete a back-to-back in 2002. Keeping those stats in mind we are drawn to Woods but would prefer the relative safety of a Top Ten Tip.
Tommy Fleetwood also has the form and composure for a single digit finish but as for the winner, Jordan Spieth’s showing at the weekend suggests success for the 2015 champion. He has let us down this year but with that tendency to raise his game for the Majors, statistics and form point us to Spieth. These are our Masters predictions and golf betting picks for this first Major:
- Jordan Spieth to win @ best odds of +1100 (11/1) with BetOnline. To give you an idea of the variance in betting lines, Spieth is currently +1055 with Bookmaker, +1000 with Intertops, +900 with Bovada and +890 with 5Dimes.
- The following three players should be bet on for Top 10 finishes: 1) Tiger Woods @ best odds of +110 with Intertops (it is evens with Bovada & BetOnline). 2) Paul Casey @ +175 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline. 3) Tommy Fleetwood @ best odds of +300 with Intertops, Bovada or BetOnline.