Ultimate 2021 Masters betting guide: Sunday's best bets

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

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Masters Betting Guide

The 2021 Masters will be played less than five months from the previous major held in November. Which golfers are in form? Which players offer the best betting value? Which matchups are best to bet on?

Our mega Masters betting tournament preview from Brady Kannon, Wes Reynolds, Jeff Sealey, Matt Youmans gives their best value bets, matchups they like and a breakdown for every player in the field.

We'll also update the file after every round to give best bets for the next day.

Enjoy!

Round 4 best bets

Kannon: If the thunder don't get you, then the lightning will.

A weather delay interrupted Moving Day at Augusta National Golf Club for over an hour, but after returning to action around 2:15 p.m. Pacific Time/5:15 p.m. ET, lightning was still striking in the area in the form of Hideki Matsuyama. Matsuyama made a brilliant par save with a putt from over 10 feet on the 10th hole before the weather stoppage. On VSiN’s The Green Zone, I made the comment that often a big putt for par like that can propel a player to greater things. When the delay hit, both my co-host Wes Reynolds and I thought this might be a bad break for Matsuyama, possibly putting a halt to his apparent momentum.

Won't you try just a little bit harder? Couldn't you try just a little bit more? 

But Matsuyama picked up right where he left off, birdieing holes 11 and 12 and then making eagle on the 15th. He added birdies at 16 and 17 and made a beautiful scrambling par at 18 to finish off a round of 65, which included a 30 on the back nine.

Matsuyama owns a four-shot lead at 11-under par, better than four players at 7-under for the tournament (Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris). Schauffele will join Matsuyama in Sunday's final pairing.

Twenty-five of the last 30-Masters winners have come from the final pairing on Sunday.

The last Masters winner to come from beyond the Top 5 on the leaderboard was Nick Faldo in 1985. Corey Conners is currently in sixth place at 6-under par, while Jordan Spieth is in seventh at 5-under.

The last 24 Masters champions have been within four shots of the lead.

Only four players in Masters history have blown a 54-hole lead, when leading by 4-strokes or more.

If you are currently holding a ticket on Matsuyama to win, you likely have him anywhere from 40 to 60-1. You can hedge by taking Xander Schauffele against him in a final round head-to-head matchup and possibly still win both bets. Xander might shoot a lower final round -- to win the matchup bet -- but Hideki could still win the tournament to cash the futures ticket.

Schauffele is in the neighborhood of 5-1 to come from four shots back and win, while Zalatoris is at 10-1 (as are Rose and Leishman). Once again, the best value may be on Zalatoris because he is a Masters rookie. I would not mind having Schauffele to pull off the upset because he is in the final pairing -- where the winner typically comes from -- and he'll be able to deliver direct pressure to his playing partner if he can get on a roll, but his price is not terrific. I think I'd want to get at least 7-1 before getting involved on Schauffele.

Matsuyama is a -120 or -130 favorite to go on and win The Masters on Sunday, and that might actually be a little cheap. The problem is the situation for him: Incredible pressure and he’s coming off of a scorching-hot back nine on Saturday. As was the case with Justin Rose after his opening-round 65, Matsuyama is likely to cool off. Can he stay calm? Can he avoid a blow-up round?

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down. You can't let go and you can't hold on. You can't go back and you can't stand still.

Hideki Matsuyama will likely be spinning in a number of different directions on the eve of possibly his first major championship and it could be one very difficult night's sleep, having never been in this position before in his long and decorated career.

Faring thee well now, Hideki.

Let your life proceed by its own design. Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine.

Round 3 best bets to make

Kannon: I lit out from the first-round lead, I was trailed by 20 hounds. Didn’t get to sleep last night ‘til the morning came around.

Justin Rose showed signs of the inevitable regression round early on in Day 2 of the tournament after firing a Masters career-low 65 on Thursday and was at one point, 3-over par. But Rosey rambled on once again and was able to salvage an even par round of 72 to maintain the lead at 7-under par heading into Moving Day at Augusta National Golf Club.

Don’t tell me this kid ain’t got no heart. Will Zalatoris, from San Francisco and out of Wake Forest University, is basically fresh off of the Korn Ferry Tour and without a PGA Tour win yet to his credit. He is currently tied across all world golf tours for the most Top 10 finishes with 15. The Demon Decon fired a 68 on Friday to sit one back of Rose’s lead and is trying to become the first debutant to win The Masters since 1979.

Justin Thomas put together the round we figured he would off of a pedestrian 73 on Thursday, shooting 66, getting to 4-under par and three shots off of the lead. Webb Simpson on the other hand, really surprised and shot a gas station (76) on Friday to plummet down the leaderboard, now tied for 40th at + 2.

From a value standpoint, Zalatoris is probably the best play to make at this point at better than 10-1 but there is a reason the price is nice on a guy who is yet to win on Tour, let alone a major.

I don’t think the price on Justin Thomas is advantageous, but I do believe it is his tournament right now to win. Oddly enough, I think it may come down to the two boyhood friends, Thomas and Jordan Spieth down the stretch -- and boy would that be a great watch.

Well, the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry anymore. When life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door. Patience is the key just as it is for the players. If you have a ticket on Spieth or Thomas right now, I think you are in for one heckuva weekend. I personally have tickets on Thomas and am going to sit tight.

I’ll check in back after Round 3 for a final day preview. Enjoy Moving Day and One More Saturday Night.

Round 2 preview and bets to make

Kannon: After one round at the 85th Masters, 2013 United States Open champion Justin Rose is sitting plush with a royal flush atop the leaderboard after firing a career-low round at Augusta National of 65. Fellow countryman, Tommy Fleetwood, carded aces back to back, having done so at the WGC Match Play two weeks ago and again on Thursday at The Masters on the 16th hole. But after making an eagle at the 8th hole, for Justin it was indeed Ramble On Rose.

Thank you for allowing me to weave some Grateful Dead lyrics into the post-round story. Now let's get into what we learned in Round 1, and some futures bets to make before Round 2.

A full 17 of the 84 Masters champions led have after the first round (20%). According to Data Golf, Justin Rose has a 25% chance to go on to win, so if you can find odds at better than 3-1, that could be considered a good value.

In the week leading up to The Masters, we spoke at length on VSiN about how we thought this traditional April version of the tournament would play much tougher than it did last November -- when the conditions were soft and the greens were so receptive -- due to the heavy rains and the difference in time of year for the golf course's maintenance practices. Well, so far we were correct.

The average score in Round 1 was 74.8; in Nov. 2020 it was 71.4.

The field was a combined 54-under par after Round 1 in Nov.; today, the field was 220-over par.

The greens are firm, extremely fast, and they are not holding shots nearly the same way they were last fall. The fairways are firm and fast as well, and tee shots are rolling into the rough and into the pine straw rather than staying in a safe position due to the soft, moist, fairways the players faced in November.

From our friend and frequent "Long Shots" guest, Justin Ray, we note the following Masters opening-round facts:

1. The largest comeback after Round 1 is from seven shots back, pulled off by both Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo. By position on the leaderboard, it was Tiger, coming back from being tied for 33rd after Day 1.

2. This is the third time a first-round leader has had a four-shot advantage at The Masters. The other two did not go on to win the tournament.

3. Since 1985, Justin Rose is the 24th player to have the lead alone at The Masters after Round 1. Only one other player has then gone on to win, and that was Jordan Spieth in 2015.

So, while the metrics give Justin Rose a 25% chance to slip on his first green jacket and collect his second career major championship, history tells us it won't hold. Typically in golf, when one goes out and shoots not only an especially low round but a career-type round, it is not sustainable the very next day. I do expect Justin Rose to come back to the pack and I will not be betting on him at 3-1 or better.

Round 2 futures bets I like

So whom will I bet on after Round 1? I usually like to wait until after Round 2 before I decide to whether to jump back in the futures pool, but let's take a look at the adjusted odds board and some facts to go along with it.

Each of the last 15 Masters winners were under par after Round 1 and 14 of the past 15 winners were in the Top 10 on the leaderboard after Day 1.

Knowing this and figuring that Rose will come back to the pack -- or at least not run away even further -- I think players down the board as far as 1-over par (and maybe 2-over) are still in this thing. That would include pre-tournament short shot, Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Brooks Koepka, all of whom I backed before they teed off on Thursday. I could see Thomas coming back with an excellent round on Friday but at 14-1, I don't think that is high enough. I'd consider playing him at anything higher than 20-1.

A player who is in that neighborhood of 20-1 and I would take a shot on, is Webb Simpson. In his last 10 rounds at Augusta, he is 27-under par with a scoring average of 69.3. The epitome of your typical US Open type player, Simpson looks like he is starting to figure out Augusta National, and at odds much higher than Thomas, Webb sits only five shots off the pace at 2-under par.

I do have one other player in pocket pre-tournament who I think is in a good spot … and that is Jason Kokrak (170-1). I wasn't sure if he could win it when I bet on him, but I liked the number. The case is the same now as we are seeing Kokrak around 50-1 or 60-1. A great number in my opinion for a guy that is off to a 1-under par start and is tied for eighth.

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Reynolds: After Day 1 at Augusta National, our leaderboard is as follows:

-7: Justin Rose

-3: Brian Harman, Hideki Matsuyama

-2: Will Zalatoris, Webb Simpson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Patrick Reed

-1: Si Woo Kim, Jason Kokrak, Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton, Jordan Spieth

The in-play odds board at Bet MGM looks like this:

Justin Rose 7-2

Jordan Spieth 15-2

Jon Rahm 12-1

Patrick Reed 12-1

Justin Thomas 14-1

Hideki Matsuyama 16-1

Dustin Johnson 20-1

Webb Simpson 20-1

Xander Schauffele 25-1

Brian Harman 28-1

Tyrrell Hatton 28-1

Collin Morikawa 35-1

Will Zalatoris 40-1

Christiaan Bezuidenhout 40-1

Tony Finau 50-1

Viktor Hovland 50-1

Brooks Koepka 66-1

Cameron Smith 66-1

Si Woo Kim 66-1

Bryson DeChambeau 66-1

Paul Casey 66-1

Scottie Scheffler 66-1

Jason Kokrak 66-1

Shane Lowry 66-1

Rose is four shots clear of the field as the first-round outright leader. He is the 24th first-round solo leader at The Masters since 1985, but only one of the previous 23 have gone on to win the green jacket on Sunday (Jordan Spieth, 2015). So, Rose looks like he can be taken on in the in-play market. Furthermore, Rose gained 5.14 strokes gained putting (No. 1 in the field) and that makes him a decent candidate for regression. 

Speaking of Spieth, he is the second choice now at 7-2 and got in at 1-under. However, he was already no bargain pre-tournament at 10-1 and it is hard to bet him now, having lost so much value already. 

Jon Rahm is even par and arrived late to Augusta (Wednesday) due to the birth of his first child. Thursday's round may have knocked off some rust and a slower start was not surprising considering the lack of practice time on the course. He looks like a good candidate to go low on Friday, but at 12-1 Rahm is the same price as he was pre-flop. 

In 16 straight years at The Masters, no one not named Tiger Woods has come from outside the Top 10 after Round 1 to win the event. So that would mean that everyone either 1-under or better would qualify for that trend. 

In addition, no one outside the Official World Golf Ranking top 16 has won the Masters in the last nine years. Those in that ranking category currently in the Top 10 include: Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson and Tyrrell Hatton. 

The latter two players seem to have the most value within the current in-play market based on those parameters. 

Webb Simpson (20-1) is the most overlooked player in the OWGR Top 10 (currently No. 9). He is a former major champion (2012 U.S. Open) and has progressively improved at Augusta National every year. He finished in the Top 5 in 2019 and in the Top 10 last year. While not the longest hitter, he is a fairly elite ball striker (sixth in Driving Accuracy, 71.43%; 17th in Greens In Regulation, 70.61%). In addition, he is an excellent scrambler (second, 70.65%) and one of the game's best around the green (eighth in Strokes Gained: Around The Green, 0.474) and on the greens (13th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 0.676). 

He was once on the lead at 4-under before taking a double-bogey on 16 due to a shot into the water. 

Tyrrell Hatton (28-1) four-putted at No. 4 to go two-over par after just four holes. However, he kept it together and got in the clubhouse at 1-under. The World No. 8 Englishman ranks 18th for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (0.490), 10th for Strokes Gained: Approach (0.773), and 15th for Proximity To Hole (34'0). Hatton also goes out in the morning groupings Friday and carries some momentum for what will look to be easier conditions early. 

Best value bets to win The Masters

Jon Rahm (13-1)

Reynolds: A couple of weeks ago, Rahm encouraged folks not to bet on him for the Masters since he and his wife Kelley were expecting their first child. Their baby boy, Kepa, was born early Sunday morning and it is now expected that Rahm will make his way to Augusta to try and win his first major. Five years ago, Danny Willett and his wife had their first child just days before the Masters and he went on to win. A nappy factor omen? Perhaps, but Rahm has been slower than usual out of the gate in 2021 largely due to new sticks (Callaway) in the bag; plus, his putting has not been up to snuff. However, he did make some of his usual difficult putts at the Match Play and was the only top-seeded group player to advance into the weekend tournament before being knocked out in the quarterfinals by Scottie Scheffler.

Rahm is still as good as it gets in the world Tee-To-Green (second on PGA Tour) and third for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. He consistently hits a lot of greens (sixth in Greens in Regulation) and is 14th for SG: Approach. This will all come down to the flat stick, which has been slow to catch fire in 2021. Three straight Top 10-finishes at Augusta should be enough of an indicator that he will likely be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.  

Rory McIlroy (19-1)

Reynolds: McIlroy finds himself out of the Official World Golf Ranking Top 10 for the first time since 2018. His last win was in November 2019 at the WGC-HSBC Champions. He is not playing poorly, but he is not playing like the lad that had four major championship victories by age 25. The only other players to accomplish that feat were Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods -- not bad company to be a part of but that also comes with the highest of expectations. It has been tough to target what the issue is with Rory, but it has been clear that he needs to make some sort of adjustment.

McIlroy has decided to start working with Pete Cowen, who has worked with Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Danny Willett, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and Henrik Stenson. McIlroy is still one of the world’s best off the tee, but the iron play has become shaky in addition to his usual hit-or-miss putting. No player, at his best, plays a more artistically pleasing game than McIlroy, but the colors have not quite fit together on the canvas of late. McIlroy had won four majors by age 25, but now at 31, he is still searching for that elusive Masters title to complete the career grand slam. It has been said that it is not a matter of if, but when. However, “when” has been six years now.

Last fall, he had 10-1 odds and now he is almost double the price. He has already missed two cuts this season, so he does not come in on great form. Nevertheless, he never quits at Augusta, as proven last year. After shooting an opening-round 75, he shot 14-under over the last 54 holes. You still feel he is going to get that green jacket at some point. Is this the time when we least expect it? 

Patrick Cantlay (23-1)

Youmans: His body language is typically negative and his demeanor is usually miserable. Appearances aside, there should be optimism about Cantlay, who finished in the top 20 in his past two Masters starts. He has all the tools to win.

Brooks Koepka (30-1)

Reynolds: Koepka got back to his winning ways for the first time since the summer of 2019 with a victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. He also finished T-2 three weeks later in the WGC-Workday at the Concession. Then, he had right knee surgery on March 16 to deal with a kneecap dislocation and ligament damage and hasn’t played an event since. It has not been all bad news for Koepka, as he did get engaged in early March (announced on April 1) to his longtime girlfriend Jena Sims. Koepka is a little over double the price he was here back in November. He has back-to-back Top 10 finishes here and has progressively improved his form at Augusta.

Betting him is a risky proposition due to the injury and layoff, but this is an attractive price for a player that has won four major championships over the course of the last four years. Furthermore, there is a sense that he could be playing a little possum here and he is healthier and more fit than most believe. Koepka is also a player that notices everything that is said about him and uses it as motivation. He relishes being doubted and should show up big on the major championship stage.

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Tony Finau (39-1)

Reynolds: Many bettors are likely losing patience with Finau considering he is the ultimate “come close” player and has not garnered a win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. He has seven Top 10s or better in his last 11 majors including a T-4 at the PGA and a T-8 in the U.S. Open in 2020. He does not have a particular weakness in his game, but he can never have all aspects of his game firing at the same time. Either he is great around the greens and the ball striking is not up to snuff or the tee-to-green game is impeccable, and he can’t make a putt to save his life. His price has drifted a bit with two missed cuts in his last three events, but he had a finish stretch of 4-2-2-2 just two months ago, so he is not that far removed from top form. Finau has a Top 5 and Top 10 in just three appearances largely to his dominance on the Par 5s (33-under in 48 holes).  

Cameron Smith (45-1)

Reynolds: The Australian mullet-man has two Top 5 finishes here in just four appearances. Smith became the first player in Masters history to shoot all four rounds in the 60s, and yet still lost by five strokes to Dustin Johnson. Although last fall's soft conditions proved to be the easiest setup with the lowest scoring in Masters history, Smith showed that his Top 5 in 2019 was not a one-hit wonder. He is not particularly powerful nor accurate off the tee and his ball striking is about average by PGA Tour standards, but his short game can be stellar. Perhaps having these two Top 5s in four appearances is still under the umbrella of coincidence, but a third one could be a pattern. Smith also posted a T-4 earlier this season at Riviera against one of the better fields of the year, so he is comfortable playing with the big boys.  

Sungjae Im (51-1)

Reynolds: Im finished T-2 last year here in his debut. The South Korean has already been his usual active self, having played ten events already in 2021 and making all ten cuts. Im currently ranks No. 6 on the tour for SG: Off-The-Tee and eighth for Driving Accuracy. His putting is solid, but he does need to improve upon his iron play. A little over a year ago, he was one of the world’s hottest players, having won the Honda Classic and nearly winning in back-to-back weeks before settling for T-3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Then, COVID-19 stopped tour play for three months and halted his momentum. He went 18 events without a Top 5 finish, but what event broke that streak? The Masters. While last fall's conditions were fairly easy, Im does not have to look of a player that will have one random high finish at Augusta. He has the look of a player that will be a top contender here for many years to come. 

Adam Scott (78-1)

Youmans: The Australian excels at Augusta. In his last 11 starts, he has seven top 20s, highlighted by the Masters win in 2013. Scott ranks in the tour’s top 20 in driving distance and should make a run for the money if his putter gets hot. He’s inconsistent yet irresistible at this high price.

Reynolds: The 2013 champion has made 11 straight cuts here at Augusta. Scott has been more deliberate and selective in terms of his playing schedule. Age 40 has perhaps provided the golfing mid-life crisis as he is now more focused on majors and other bigger events, with opportunities to add those to his trophy case become more fleeting. For many years, the Aussie was a great driver of the golf ball and shaky with the flat stick. Now his putting might be the most stable portion of his overall game, although he still misses his fair share of short putts. This year, his driver has been terrible as he is losing almost 0.75 strokes per round off the tee.

He shot three of four rounds in the 60s last time out on a usually difficult PGA National course at the Honda Classic. Scott is consistently solid and oftentimes excellent here, so he could definitely hit the first page of the leaderboard at a big price.  

Joaquin Niemann (82-1)

Reynolds: The 22-year-old from Chile has not made an appearance here since he was an amateur in 2018. This is his first appearance at Augusta as a professional. He was supposed to be in the field last year, but withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 test. Niemann is back this year due to reaching last season’s Tour Championship. He began 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in Hawaii but has cooled off a little bit. His game has very few weaknesses as he can bomb it off the tee (ninth in Driving Distance), hit plenty of greens (10th in GIR), and make plenty of birdies (sixth in birdie average). Experience is the only deficit for him here at Augusta. 

Kevin Kisner (325-1)

Youmans: Bombs away. Kisner lives 20 miles from Augusta, so this is essentially a home game for him. At these Circa odds, a $20 bet would pay $6,500. Why not? It’s a little lottery ticket and a big story to tell if it hits.

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Sealey: My top five Masters picks are Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger. Koepka has an inflated price due to his recent injury, and Berger’s price is up there a little because he has never won a major and is trending in the wrong direction here. 

But my focus is not to persuade you which favorite can win, but to make a case for guys much further down the betting board. 

Jason Kokrak, Will Zalatoris, Corey Conners and Max Homa have odds at Circa Sportsbook of 100-1 or higher, so let’s get into why you should consider betting a few dollars on them. 

Kokrak grades out very highly in my model this week fresh off back-to-back top-10s. Kokrak’s tee-to-green game has never been in question; his putting has usually held him back. But Kokrak’s putter has found some hot streaks over the last year. After an 18th in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational and a third at the Charles Schwab, Kokrak lost strokes putting in five straight tournaments before gaining in five of his next seven. In that mix was his first PGA Tour win at the CJ Cup, where he gained a whopping 10 strokes putting to go with seven strokes gained tee to green. In that tournament he outlasted a very talented field, including Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa, Thomas and Rahm. So he can win a big event. 

In his last 12 rounds, Kokrak is second in par-4 scoring from 400-450 yards, fourth in par-5 scoring and top 30 in putting, approach and driving distance.  

If Kokrak can keep the putter hot, he can make some noise Sunday at Augusta. 

Zalatoris isn’t a household name to casual fans yet, but he soon will be. He finished sixth in a very difficult U.S. Open last year and rattled off three top-10s in his next six tour events. He is coming into the Masters with four straight top-25 finishes, including a 15th at the Genesis Invitational, perhaps the biggest corollary course for success at Augusta.  

Like Kokrak, Zalatoris’ biggest weakness is chipping and putting. He has gained strokes with his irons in every PGA event he has played except one, but he has lost strokes putting in two of his last three events.  

Show me a golfer at 125-1 who is top-7 in par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring and approach and I’ll be heading to the window to bet him.

Conners will be far and away the most popular long shot this week. He finished 10th at the Masters in November, and since late October his game has been on fire. He has 10 top-25s in his last 12 tournaments. He finished 14th last week at the Valero Texas Open, seventh at the Players Championship and third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March.  

Always strong tee to green, Conners has gained strokes on the field tee to green in his last 11 tournaments. His putting, which has traditionally been a big weakness, has greatly improved. He has gained 2.5 strokes or better in three straight tournaments with the flat stick.  

Conners’ big weakness, and one that can kill you at Augusta, is his chipping. He has lost strokes around the green in five of his last six tournaments.  He hopes his irons stay hot enough this week that he doesn’t need to chip many and can ride hot putting to the winner’s circle.

Homa is best known for his very popular critiques of amateur golf swings on Twitter. People send him videos of their swings (or their unsuspecting friends’ swings), and his comments are golden. 

Unlike the others, Homa has improved his chipping and putting, and it has been pretty consistent for him in 2021. His only weakness has been with driving accuracy, ranking 51st in this field in fairways gained. But it’s impossible to hit it out of bounds at Augusta — you just might have to punch out. 

Homa’s game came to light at Riviera Country Club, where he won the Genesis in late February. He won that in the midst of a four-tournament stretch when he gained an average of four strokes putting on the field. During that time he finished seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, first at the Genesis, 22nd at the WGC-Concession and 10th at the Arnold Palmer. That’s a fantastic stretch of golf.  

Homa struggled off the tee and with the putter at the Players, but I believe his experience in the November Masters combined with his recent success will make him one to watch this weekend.  

Remember, all these guys are priced over 100-1 for a reason. I recommend betting players like this top 20 if you can bet that in your area. But if you’re looking to turn a small wager into a big potential payday, one of these hot players could be your ticket.

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Kannon: The 2020 edition of The Masters was played just five months ago in November. Rain hit the course pretty hard leading up to -- and into -- the opening round of the tournament. That’s not atypical for that time of the year but it made for a very soft course and more receptive greens than we are used to seeing when the tournament is played in its normal April slot. This spring has been dry in Augusta, Georgia and in watching the recent Women's Amateur event, one could see that the golf course was much firmer and dryer than we last saw in November.

Dustin Johnson won last year’s The Masters and set a record for the lowest-ever winning score at 20-under par. Oddly enough, many of the statistics scoring-wise in November, were similar to those of past Masters held in the traditional April spot -- although it is widely felt among the players that the course is much more difficult in the springtime. The average winning score in the 10 Masters tournaments prior to November of 2020 was less than 12-under par.

I believe Augusta National will be a very different golf course this week from what the players experienced five months ago. The greens will be very firm and it will be far more difficult to hold a shot. The fairways will be much dryer, faster, and balls will be more likely to run into the rough or into the pine straw. Around the greens, lies will be super tight and executing chip shots with the softest of touch will be of the utmost challenge. Because of all of this, I think you will see a leaderboard on Sunday more like that of April of 2019 than we saw in November of 2020. Sure, there will be some surprises, but for the most part, I think the cream will rise and I have placed my bets to win this edition of The Masters accordingly.

I have bet Justin Thomas at + 1525, 19-1, and 18-1. I bet Patrick Cantlay at 30-1, Louis Oosthuizen at 75-1, and Matthew Fitzpatrick at 100-1. Thomas' price has since dipped as has Cantlay's and so has the price on Fitzpatrick. Oosthuizen is still trading at around the same number.

I did take two longer shots on Francesco Molinari at 125-1 and Jason Kokrak at 170-1. I do give each of them a puncher's chance but they are not at the top of my confidence rankings. For what it's worth, I felt the same way about my 150-1 ticket on UCLA to win the Men's NCAA Basketball Championship. Both players have been playing well, Kokrak even more so, but at the time of purchase, the prices I was able to find were real outliers in the market.

Finally, my last add to the outrights portfolio was Brooks Koepka at 40-1. This is a gamble because of his health, but this number is 3-4 times higher than we would normally see on Brooks Koepka in a major championship. If he is committing to play, he must feel he can do it physically -- and Brooks Koepka at 85% might still be a top 20 player in the tournament.

Every Masters winner in the last 10 years has ranked in the Top 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the tournament. Six of my seven futures plays are on players ranked in the Top 33. We'll see if it holds -- but then again, The Masters doesn't even really begin until the back nine on Sunday, right?

Prop bets 

Justin Thomas to finish in Top 10: Yes + 130

Youmans: Driving distance is imperative at Augusta, where shorter hitters off the tee are at a distinct disadvantage. Thomas is long off the tee, and his precision iron play is about as good as it gets on the PGA Tour. He leads the tour in putting average this season and there are few flaws in his all-around game, which was strong enough to win The Players Championship in Florida in mid-March. In 2018, Thomas tied for 17th at Augusta at four under par. When Tiger Woods won the following year, Thomas tied for 12th at eight under. In November, he finished fourth at 12 under, eight strokes behind Johnson. Thomas is trending toward green jacket contention.

Jordan Spieth (-105) over Rory McIlroy

Youmans: Too many bettors are showing up late to the party on Spieth, whose Masters odds soared as high as 60-1 in February and now are as low as 8-1. I would not bet him to win at the current odds, and it’s rare for any player to win in back-to-back weeks, so look for other options. The 2015 Masters champion is a horse for the course. He’s comfortable, confident and in strong current form, and that’s more than can be said for McIlroy.

Capsules for every player in the 2021 Masters

​Reynolds: Here are capsules at all 88 players in the Masters field and their odds to win at Circa Sports (in alphabetical order):

Abraham Ancer 94-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: 13th (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

In his debut here last November, Ancer was in the final group Sunday and had a front-row seat to Dustin Johnson’s green jacket coronation. A disappointing final-round 76 dropped him to a 13th-place finish. A deadly accurate driver ranking second on the PGA Tour, Ancer is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. 

Daniel Berger 47-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 3/3

Best Career Finish: T-10th (2016)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 0

Berger won the first tournament after the restart last summer in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial but was unable to enter the 2020 Masters due to entries being frozen at the time of the shutdown. He has since added another win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Berger now ranks in the OWGR top 15, and a debut Ryder Cup appearance seems likely later this year. He had to withdraw from his hometown Honda Classic three weeks ago due to a rib injury, yet he won two of three matches in group play the next week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play before losing to Erik van Rooyen in sudden death. With a win and four top-10 finishes in seven 2020 starts, Berger is certainly a player not to overlook. 

Christiaan Bezuidenhout 240-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T-38th

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Bezuidenhout is back for a return appearance after earning back-to-back wins on the Sunshine Tour in his native South Africa last fall. Those victories propelled him back into the OWGR top 50. His short game is top-notch, and he currently ranks first on the PGA Tour for strokes gained around the green and sand save percentage. His ball striking, normally a strength, has been hit-or-miss stateside in 2021. But if he can put it together, he could be a good bet in the top-10 and top-20 prop markets. 

Patrick Cantlay 23-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/3

Best Career Finish: T9 (2019)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 2

Cantlay started his 2021 season with a runner-up at the American Express, where he shot a course-record 61 in the final round before falling a shot short of victory. Three weeks later, he tied for third at Pebble Beach. The incoming form is a bit erratic, though, as he rarely plays during the Florida swing and missed the cut in the Players Championship, his only Sunshine State appearance this year. He probably should have advanced in the Match Play but lost in sudden death to Brian Harman, whom he had already beaten. Cantlay was in the mix here two years ago and had the lead in the final round after an eagle on No. 15 before making two straight bogeys and falling to a T9 finish. His tee-to-green game fits Augusta National. Cantlay was a winner of the Memorial Tournament in 2019 at Muirfield Village, which is one of Jack Nicklaus’ signature designs that was most inspired by Augusta.

Paul Casey 48-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 14/10

Best Career Finish: T4 (2016)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 5

Top 25s: 8

Casey is already a 2021 winner, having taken the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour. He has continued his solid play stateside with top-5s at the Players Championship and Pebble Beach. Casey did look to be favoring his wrist during the Players but still managed a high finish. He has contended here several times and was the first-round co-leader in November. Collin Morikawa’s superb ball striking late on the back nine was the only thing that kept him from nabbing his first major championship at last summer’s PGA Championship. He rates top 15 on the PGA Tour for strokes gained: approach and scrambling, and he finished 6-4-6 here over a three-year span from 2015-17. Casey certainly is a mid-priced contender. 

Cameron Champ 240-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T19 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Champ is one of the PGA Tour’s biggest bombers at No. 4 in driving distance and No. 6 in strokes gained off the tee. But he is also one of the PGA Tour’s worst putters, ranking 214th in three-putt avoidance, 218th in strokes gained putting and 219th in one-putt percentage. The putter is the reason he has missed five cuts in 2021, and the only finishes he has in 2021 are from the two no-cut events. Champ made eight birdies in the final round last year en route to a T19 on debut, but he also carded a triple bogey at No. 4 and a quadruple bogey at No. 12 and ended up playing the par-3s in 8 over par for a disappointing but highly eventful 72. 

Stewart Cink 1200-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 18/12

Best Career Finish: T-3rd (2008)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 9

Cink played his college golf at Georgia Tech and lives in Duluth, Ga., so he must be excited to be playing at Augusta again at 47. He got into the field by winning the Safeway Open, the opening event of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season. Cink held form for a few weeks thereafter, but 2021 has been a bit of a struggle with just two top-20 finishes in seven events (Sony Open in Hawaii, Honda Classic). 

Corey Conners 109-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 3/2

Best Career Finish: T10 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 0

The Canadian is arguably one of the best pure ball strikers in the game. Conners rates ninth in driving accuracy, 10th for strokes gained off the tee, 12th for strokes gained tee to green and 13th for strokes gained: approach. He finished 10th here in November after an opening round of 74. Conners also had a couple of good looks at being in contention this season with a third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a seventh the next week at the Players. The putter has improved (74th in SG: Putting) but can still go away from him in a hurry. It still would not surprise to see a top-10 or top-20 finish for Conners. 

Fred Couples 4500-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 35/30

Best Career Finish: 1st (1992)

Top 5s: 5

Top 10s: 11

Top 25s: 20

The 1992 champion is now 61 but still will likely get action in matchups and props and in the first-round leader pools. Those were good bets seven to 10 years ago, but no longer. 

Jason Day 69-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 10/8

Best Career Finish: T2 (2011)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 4

Top 25s: 7

Last summer it seemed Day was not quite getting to his 2016 form of No. 1 in the world but was inching toward his 2018 form of top 15 in the world. Then came some struggles, including a rare missed cut here in November. Day claims his fitness is back, and he has been working with new swing coach Chris Como. He has always been excellent off the tee, but the approach game has regressed and the short game, which helped him become one of the top players in the world just five years ago, has been the biggest disappointment. Day finished runner-up here on debut in 2011 and has always seemed to fit the champion’s profile at Augusta. His recent form is not great, with just one top-10 in seven 2021 events, but he certainly knows his way around this layout. He could have some value in a variety of markets. 

Bryson DeChambeau 12-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/4

Best Career Finish: T21 (2016) Low Amateur

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

DeChambeau has already reached the winner’s circle in 2021 with one of the best driving performances of his career at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Many bettors and prognosticators were willing to hand him the trophy last year as the pre-tournament favorite. DeChambeau, perhaps arrogantly, had been calling par at Augusta to be 67 for him. By the way, he has shot 67 here only once in his last 16 rounds. He can obviously bomb and gouge at just about any course, but he has yet to figure out these Bentgrass greens. No one in the world is better tee to green (largely due to his marks off the tee), but he has made progress with his irons and now ranks No. 15 for strokes gained: approach. Last year’s pricing got out of control after he won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He is still one of the shorter prices on the board, but 12-1 is way more in line than some of the 6-1 and 7-1 markers we saw last fall. 

Harris English 180-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/1

Best Career Finish: T-42nd (2016)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

English’s season-opening victory at Kapalua got him back in the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013. He had been knocking at the door for another win during the better part of 2020 with six top-10 finishes. Since the opening-week win, English has been unable to follow up. He withdrew from the Players and failed to advance out of his group at the Match Play. It is hard to anticipate him being a contender. 

Tony Finau 42-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 3/3

Best Career Finish: T5 (2019)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 2

Many bettors are likely losing patience with Finau, considering he is the ultimate come-close player and has not garnered a win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. He has seven top-10s or better in his last 11 majors, including a T4 at the PGA and a T8 in the 2020 U.S. Open. He does not have a particular weakness, but not all aspects of his game seem to fire at the same time. Either he is great around the greens and the ball striking is not up to snuff, or the tee-to-green game is impeccable and he cannot make a putt. His price has drifted a bit with two missed cuts in his last three events, but he had a finish stretch of 4-2-2-2 just two months ago, so he is not far removed from top form. Finau has a top-5 and a top-10 in just three appearances largely due to his dominance on the par-5s, where he is 33 under in 48 holes. 

Matthew Fitzpatrick 56-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 6/5

Best Career Finish: T7 (2016)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 2

Fitzpatrick ended 2020 with a victory in the European Tour finale at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. After opening 2021 with a missed cut in Abu Dhabi, he has finished top-20 or higher in six consecutive starts. Fitzpatrick has never missed the cut here, but his ball striking will need to be in top shape since he is not a long hitter at 186th in driving distance. The course is also expected to play longer than it did in November. However, much like fellow Under Armour endorser Jordan Spieth across the pond, Fitzpatrick always has the potential to overcome lack of power with elite putting. 

Tommy Fleetwood 68-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/3

Best Career Finish: T17 (2018)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 2

Fleetwood’s year to have a major championship breakthrough was supposed to be 2019, when he was ranked inside the OWGR top 10. He is still just inside the top 25, but he has been searching to rediscover the form that was on the precipice of potential greatness. He posted a top-10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational five weeks ago, but a disappointing 77 Sunday took him out of contention to get his first title in two years. Fleetwood may have found something two weeks ago at the Match Play, where he advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual winner Billy Horschel. However, he is losing strokes off the tee, and Fleetwood is normally an excellent driver, so he will need to rectify that to contend here. 

Dylan Frittelli 240-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/1

Best Career Finish: T5 (2020)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 1

The South African finished T5 here last fall in just his second appearance, largely due to the added power off the tee. He was second for the week in driving distance behind only Bryson DeChambeau. His game has been spotty in 2021 as he is losing strokes off the tee, on approach and for putting. He was the last player to get into the field for the Match Play and responded with two easy wins in group play over Tony Finau and Jason Kokrak to advance to the round of 16 as the No. 64 seed. It remains to be seen if the good play in Austin was an aberration, but he could be an interesting play in the top-10 and top-20 markets or in the nationality (South Africa) markets. 

Sergio Garcia 71-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 21/14

Best Career Finish: 1st (2017)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 4

Top 25s: 6

The 2017 champion missed the 2020 event due to COVID-19. He has made only four of his last 13 cuts in majors. Garcia is still the same player he has always been. He is still one of the best in the world off the tee (second in SG Off The Tee, 15th in driving distance) and can pepper the greens with the best of them (19th for greens in regulation). He is also still shaky with the flat stick (190th for SG putting, losing over a half-stroke per round). Perhaps Garcia’s recent form makes him backable this week as he finished T9 at the Players, where he has made 16 straight cuts, and reached the quarterfinals at the Match Play, where he easily dispatched two likely Ryder Cup teammates in Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood. Garcia is one of the more prominent boom-or-bust candidates in the field. 

Brian Gay 1775-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/1

Best Career Finish: T38 (2013)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0      

Gay has not played in the Masters since 2013. He got into this field by winning a playoff at the Bermuda Championship last fall for his first PGA Tour victory in almost eight years. At 49, this is likely his last opportunity to play at Augusta. The course will overpower Gay, who loses 0.8 strokes per round off the tee. Making the cut would be a tremendous accomplishment. 

Lanto Griffin 303-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Like a multitude of players in this field, Griffin qualified by finishing in the top 30 of the FedEx Cup and making the Tour Championship. He is very solid with the irons and the flat stick but has problems with accuracy off the tee. Griffin missed the cut on debut last year. It is difficult to see him contending, but he could have some value on a bet to make the cut at a plus price. 

Brian Harman 157-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/1

Best Career Finish: T44 (2018)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Harman has shown he can perform when the pressure is on, as he was one of the last players in this field. A T5 at the Players and a run to the quarterfinals at the Match Play got him into the OWGR top 50 to qualify for a spot here. Harman will be making his first appearance at Augusta since 2018. He is not a big hitter but is a solid putter. The course may be a bit too long for him, but fellow left-handers like Bubba Watson, whom he defeated two weeks ago at the Match Play, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir have green jackets hanging in their closets. 

Tyrrell Hatton 67-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/2

Best Career Finish: T44 (2018)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Hatton’s victory in January at Abu Dhabi got him into the OWGR top 5 for the first time in his career. However, his play has been spotty since then. He ranks in the top 20 for strokes gained off the tee and on approach. His short game has been up and down for most of his career, but his putting has been relatively solid of late. The Englishman generally avoids three-putts (fifth best on the PGA Tour) and can get it rolling well. Nevertheless, his price has drifted upward because he has been a no-show in the big events with missed cuts at the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, the Players and of course last year’s Masters. He does have three top-6 finishes in majors over the last five years, but he is traveling with a different pack now being ranked top 10 in the world, and there is no time like the present to live up to that ranking. 

Jim Herman 1975-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2016)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

It is remarkable that Herman has three career PGA Tour victories while Tony Finau is still stuck on one. It is even more remarkable that Herman was an assistant professional at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., during the mid-2000s and was bankrolled by that course’s namesake at the start of his professional career. Nevertheless, Herman, who gained an invitation here by winning the Wyndham Championship last August, has missed five of seven cuts this season, and making the cut here would be by far his best feat of 2021.

Max Homa 155-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Homa won the Genesis Invitational against one of the best fields of the season, besting Tony Finau in the playoff. He was in poor form last fall when he missed the cut on debut. Riviera, the host course for the Genesis, has proven to be a solid corollary with Augusta National with dual winners including Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson. It is probably a big ask to see Homa join this group right now, but he is certainly live for top-10 and top-20 props and should fare better in his second Augusta appearance. 

Billy Horschel 135-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 6/4

Best Career Finish: T17 (2016)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Horschel has never really been a contender in any of his six career appearances, but he comes in off the biggest win of his professional career, having won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as the No. 32 seed. He certainly made the case for selection to the Ryder Cup team, which would be his first appearance. On the other hand, it might be too tall a task to contend here, considering he has only one career top-5 in 28 career major championships. That came in the 2013 U.S. Open.

Viktor Hovland 36-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T32 (2019) Low Amateur

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Hovland finished 2020 with a victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, then flew across the world to finish T3 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai the next week. Earlier this year, the Norwegian had a run of 2-6-5-2 over a five-week span. This run likely ensured him a spot on the European Ryder Cup team this fall. However, the most recent form has shown a cooling off, as he finished T49 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, missed the cut at the Players and failed to get out of group play at the Match Play. Hovland has not played here since he was the low amateur in 2019, so perhaps he needs another try at Augusta before he figures out the place.

Mackenzie Hughes 506-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2017)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

The highlight of Hughes’ 2021 campaign came two weeks ago at the Match Play, where he defeated Paul Casey and Webb Simpson in group play to reach the round of 16 before bowing out to Sergio Garcia. The Canadian got into this field by making the Tour Championship last fall. Hughes is losing almost 0.75 strokes per round tee to green, but he is one of the game’s best when he gets on the greens. He ranks 12th on the tour for strokes gained putting. He has not played here since 2017. His elite putting might be able to get him to the weekend, but that is likely his ceiling. 

Sungjae Im 48-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T2 (2020)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 1

Im finished T2 last year here on debut. The South Korean has already been his usual active self, having played 10 events in 2021 and making all 10 cuts. Im ranks No. 6 on the tour for strokes gained off the tee and eighth for driving accuracy. His putting is solid, but he needs to improve his iron play. A little over a year ago he was one of the world’s hottest players, having won the Honda Classic and nearly winning in back-to-back weeks before settling for T3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Then COVID-19 stopped play for three months and halted his momentum. He went 18 events without a top-5 finish, but what event broke that streak? The Masters. He is slightly under the radar and should find his way into contention. 

Dustin Johnson 9-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 10/9

Best Career Finish: 1st (2020)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 5

Top 25s: 6

The defending Masters champion already has a 2021 victory at the Saudi International but does not exactly come in with crackling form, having played poorly at the WGC-Workday and the Players and failing to make it out of group play in the Match Play. Perhaps these results can be overlooked since he has had at least one eye on defending his Masters title. He has five straight top-10s here, and only Tiger Woods has finished ahead of him over the last two editions. Johnson also has the tall task of defending his title, which has not been done here since Woods accomplished it in 2002. As the defending champion and world No. 1, he is the justifiable favorite. The world’s best and most consistent winner over the last decade is certainly capable of flipping the switch at any moment. Nevertheless, he is the same price in the market that he was last year, when he had two wins in the restart, five other top-5 finishes and had just won the FedEx Cup. He is not playing near that level now. 

Zach Johnson 312-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 16/10

Best Career Finish: 1st (2007)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 3

Johnson won the 2007 Masters with a score of 1-over 289 in very windy conditions. He joined Sam Snead in 1954 and Jack Burke Jr. in 1956 as the only players to win the green jacket with over-par scores. Johnson’s last victory was in 2015 at the British Open at St. Andrews, and his last top-5 finish was in 2017 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Since his ’07 win, he has never really contended here. He has one top-10 this season, a T8 at the Honda three weeks ago. Johnson is always a good putter and ranks in the top 10 for strokes gained putting, but this course is too long for him to contend.

Matt Jones 358-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2014)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Jones worked his way into the OWGR top 50 for the first time in his career after a victory three weeks ago at the Honda Classic. This was the 40-year-old Australian’s first PGA Tour victory since 2014, when he won the Shell Houston Open the week before the Masters to get the last invitation for the 2014 Masters. That Masters was also the last one in which he participated. His best major finish was a T21 at the 2015 PGA Championship, so it is hard to expect much here. 

Si Woo Kim 200-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/3

Best Career Finish: T21 (2019)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 2

Kim broke a winless drought dating to the 2017 Players with a victory on another Pete Dye design at the American Express. He is still seen as mostly a Dye specialist, but his game has shown some decent improvement since coming under the tutelage of Claude Harmon. He has made three consecutive cuts at the Masters but has never finished in the top 20. Kim is more consistent now but is still a bit of a boom-or-bust candidate. 

Kevin Kisner 325-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 5/4

Best Career Finish: T21 (2019)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Kisner is pinpoint accurate off the tee, ranking fifth in driving accuracy, but not an exceedingly long hitter, which is why he is usually mid-pack. He makes cuts but never has finished in the top 20 at Augusta. Kisner is always strong in match play, which prompts the question of why he has never been selected for the Ryder Cup team. Two weeks ago, he defeated Justin Thomas and Louis Oosthuizen in group play before running into Matt Kuchar, who went to the final four. The lack of length will likely have him finishing where he usually finishes here. 

Brooks Koepka 26-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 5/5

Best Career Finish: T2 (2019)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 4

Koepka got back to his winning ways for the first time since the summer of 2019 with a victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. He also finished T2 three weeks later in the WGC-Workday at the Concession. Then he had right knee surgery March 16 to deal with a dislocated kneecap and ligament damage and has not played since. It has not been all bad news for Koepka, as he recently got engaged to longtime girlfriend Jena Sims. Koepka is a little over double the price he was here in November. He has back-to-back top-10 finishes here and has progressively improved his form at Augusta. Betting him is a risky proposition since this is his first start less than a month after knee surgery. However, this is an attractive price for a player who has won four major championships in the last four years. 

Jason Kokrak 164-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Before a disappointing Match Play, Kokrak posted three straight top-10 finishes on the Florida swing and could very well be an under-the-radar top-10 or top-20 pick despite missing the cut last fall in his first Masters appearance. His length should give him an advantage here, but it did not last November. Nevertheless, he can really get the putter going, as he ranks eighth on the PGA Tour for strokes gained putting. It is certainly not unreasonable to expect much better out of Kokrak on his return trip to Augusta.

Matt Kuchar 118-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 14/12

Best Career Finish: T3 (2012)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 4

Top 25s: 8

Kuchar missed all three cuts in the majors in 2020, and it appears that his window to win a major has closed. He is in this field due to finishing in the OWGR top 50 at the end of 2020. His form has been mediocre lately, but he did play very well at the Match Play, finishing third as the No. 52 seed and sweeping Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen and Kevin Kisner in group play. He also defeated a red-hot Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman before losing in the semifinals to Scottie Scheffler. Kuchar is a cut-maker here and on his best short-term form in a while, so the vintage Kuchar back-door top-10 would not be out of the question. 

Martin Laird 782-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 3/2

Best Career Finish: T20 (2011)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Laird makes his first appearance at Augusta since 2013, when he won the Valero Texas Open the week before to earn the last invitation to that year’s Masters. The Scotsman is in this field due to his win last fall at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. He has just one top-20 finish in 10 events since the victory in the desert. Laird is a solid ball striker, ranking top-20 on tour in GIR and driving accuracy. However, lack of length and a shaky putter mean making the weekend is probably the ceiling.

Bernhard Langer 3500-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 37/27

Best Career Finish: 1st (1985, 1993)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 9

Top 25s: 15

Perhaps at 63, Langer’s days of winning (117 professional wins) are close to over. His last PGA Tour Champions victory was in March 2020. He is still contending for wins on that tour, even at 63. Nevertheless, the German legend has made the cut all three times since he has turned 60, so he could very well be a decent bet if your book has a senior player or over-50 prop market. 

Marc Leishman 155-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 8/5

Best Career Finish: T4 (2013)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 3

Leishman arrived at Augusta last November in truly awful form. He had zero top-25 finishes in 12 events from the restart until the Masters. However, his course knowledge led him to a respectable T13 finish. The 2021 form is a bit better, with a T4 at the Sony Open and just two missed cuts in eight starts. The Aussie has two top-10 finishes over his last seven appearances here, so he can make a surprising appearance on the leaderboard.

Joe Long (A) 7000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 0/0

Best Career Finish: First Masters Appearance

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

The Englishman won the British Amateur by defeating practice partner Joe Harvey at Royal Birkdale last summer to enter the field. He will also be in the U.S. Open and the British Open because of that win. Long tore a glute muscle in a surfing accident several weeks ago in Cape Town, South Africa, but has been cleared for participation. 

Shane Lowry 192-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 5/2

Best Career Finish: T25 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Lowry is still the reigning British Open champion since that event was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. The Irishman posted his best finish at Augusta last fall, but it was only for a T25. A finish of eighth last month at the Players Championship is his only top-10 in 2021. Despite having the last claret jug, Lowry is still way outside the points list to make the European Ryder Cup team, something he has yet to accomplish in his career. Augusta National would be a perfect place to jump-start his campaign to make that team. 

Sandy Lyle 9000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 39/17

Best Career Finish: 1st (1988)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 6

The 62-year-old Lyle was the 1988 Masters champion and won the par-3 contest in 2019 but has not made the cut at Augusta since 2014. 

Robert MacIntyre 320-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 0/0

Best Career Finish: First Masters Appearance

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

The 24-year-old Scotsman is widely seen as destined for stardom. He won his first top-level professional event last November at the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown. By advancing to the round of 16 at the Match Play two weeks ago, he worked his way into the OWGR top 50 to gain his first invitation to Augusta. Experience is really his largest deficit. He was paired with Paul Casey this season in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic, which Casey won, and was unable to hold up as a disappointing Sunday 74 knocked him down to a T3. He will eventually be a factor at Augusta, but not this time. 

Hideki Matsuyama 53-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 9/8

Best Career Finish: 5th (2015)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 5

Matsuyama is now approaching close to four years without a PGA Tour victory. He has made six straight cuts here and has always looked to fit the profile of a Masters champion. The talent and ability are enough that you must consider him and not be shocked when he ends up in contention. He has finished top-20 or better here in five of his last six appearances, so you do not get the upward drift in price that you really should based on his constant putter struggles (166th in SG: Putting). Oddsmakers and bettors remain frustrated that one of more talented players in the game just does not seem to win as much as he should. 

Rory McIlroy 18-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 12/11

Best Career Finish: 4th (2015)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 6

Top 25s: 10

McIlroy is out of the OWGR top 10 for the first time since 2018. His last win was in November 2019 at the WGC-HSBC Champions. He is not playing poorly, but he is not playing like the best European golfer since Nick Faldo. It has been tough to target what the issue is, but it has been clear that he needs to make some sort of adjustment. McIlroy has decided to start working with Pete Cowen, who has worked with Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Danny Willett, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and Henrik Stenson. He is still one of the world’s best off the tee, but the iron play has become shaky in addition to his usual hit-or-miss putting. No player, at his best, plays a more artistically pleasing game than McIlroy, but the colors have not quite fit together on the canvas of late. McIlroy had won four majors by 25, but now at 31, he is still searching for that elusive Masters title to complete the career Grand Slam. It has been said that it is not a matter of if, but when. However, “when” has been six years now. Last fall he was 9-1, and now he is almost double that price. He has already missed two cuts this season, so he does not come in on great form. Nevertheless, he never quits at Augusta, as proven last year. After shooting an opening-round 75, he shot 14 under over for the last 54 holes. You still think he is going to get that green jacket. Is this the time when most people least expect it?

Phil Mickelson 180-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 28/25

Best Career Finish: 1st (2004, 2006, 2010)

Top 5s: 11

Top 10s: 15

Top 25s: 19

Now 50, Mickelson’s days of contending week in and week out on the PGA Tour are over. On the PGA Tour Champions, he could contend every time if he played more. He has played only three Champions events and won two. However, no one has more course knowledge at Augusta National than Mickelson. He has made cuts more frequently in 2021 than he did in 2020, but he also shot a 10 on his final hole in the opening round of last week’s Valero Texas Open. Mickelson can still hit it long off the tee and is averaging over 301 yards, but he will also miss more fairways than he hits (48.3%, 212th for driving accuracy). Mickelson is the clear favorite for low senior. Even with his erratic play, he is not an absurd bet for a top-20 prop. 

Larry Mize 9000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 37/20

Best Career Finish: 1st (1987)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 3

Top 25s: 11

The 1987 champion is the only player to win the Masters who was born in Augusta, Ga. He did make back-to-back cuts in 2016-17 but has made only three cuts in the last 11 years. Mize, 62, shot 70 in his opening round last fall before a 77 Friday led to a missed cut. 

Francesco Molinari 152-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 9/6

Best Career Finish: T5 (2019)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 3

In 2019, Molinari was leading the Masters by two shots Sunday before his tee shot on the 12th went into Rae’s Creek. That led to a double bogey and brought the field, including eventual champion Tiger Woods, back into play. Ever since that poor shot, Molinari had failed to post a top-10 finish until this year, when he tallied two T8 finishes at the American Express and the Genesis Invitational and a T10 at the Farmers Insurance Open, all in his new home state of California. His game had zero life in 2020, but he has shown signs of getting back closer to his 2018 British Open championship form. Nevertheless, he is not there yet, and it is hard to expect him to be a factor this week. 

Collin Morikawa 35-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T44 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Just 24, Morikawa has taken his place as arguably the best ball striker in the world. He already has a PGA championship and a WGC win under his belt. Morikawa leads the PGA Tour for SG: Approach, which alone will make him a threat to win week in and week out. He also ranks third for SG: Tee-To-Green, fifth in GIR and 10th for driving accuracy. The putting, where he loses a smidge less than a half-stroke per round, is a constant process that he will have to work on to stay one of the world’s best. He certainly showed progress at the WGC-Workday at the Concession after changing grips. We will need a longer sample size to see if he can maintain, and he performed below standards at the Players and Match Play. However, when he gets the putter firing along with the best ball-striking game in the world, he can look every bit the best player in the world.

Sebastian Munoz 325-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T19 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Munoz was on the first page of the leaderboard for a bit Sunday in his Masters debut last fall before carding a 75 to finish a respectable T19. Perhaps he comes in with at least a little momentum, having garnered his first top-10 finish of 2021 with a T9 last weekend at the Valero Texas Open. The Colombian returns here based on qualifying for the Tour Championship. He could be a good candidate for a first-round leader prop, but we need to see more to call him a player who can be in the weekend mix. 

Kevin Na 325-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 9/6

Best Career Finish: T12 (2012, 2015)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 3

Na already has a win this year with a victory at the Sony Open, where he shot 14-under 126 on the weekend. Na’s stats do not jump off the page, and he will still throw in his fair share of poor performances, but he has proven to be a consistent winner over the last four years, averaging a win per season. He is a shorter, accurate hitter, so the ceiling is low for players of his ilk here. Na has two top-20s here in nine appearances, and a top-20 prop probably is the highest point where he can be bet. 

Joaquin Niemann 78-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2018)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

The 22-year-old from Chile has not made an appearance here since he was an amateur in 2018. This is his first appearance at Augusta as a professional. He was supposed to be in the field last year but withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 test. Niemann is back this year due to reaching last season’s Tour Championship. He began 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in Hawaii but has cooled off. His game has very few weaknesses. He can bomb it off the tee (ninth in driving distance), hit plenty of greens (10th in greens in regulation) and make plenty of birdies (sixth in birdie average). Experience is the only deficit for him at Augusta. He is a middle- to longer-priced player, but it would be no shock to see him on the first page of the leaderboard Sunday. 

Jose Maria Olazabal 9000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 31/18

Best Career Finish: 1st (1994, 1999)

Top 5s: 5

Top 10s: 8

Top 25s: 13

The two-time green jacket winner last made the cut here in 2014 and shot 78-80 over two rounds last November. 

Louis Oosthuizen 87-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 12/8

Best Career Finish: 2nd (2012)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 6

Oosthuizen has made seven straight cuts here after missing it in 2013. The year before, he endured a gut-wrenching playoff loss to Bubba Watson. The South African has yet to win on American soil and does not win worldwide as frequently as you would think. However, he is always seen as a big-game hunter in big tournaments at a fair and square price. Oosthuizen has a top-10 major-championship finish in four of the last six years and has the distinction of finishing as a bridesmaid in all four majors. He is always a threat to come out of nowhere to feature in a major, as evidenced by his third last September at Winged Foot, which got him into this event. The short game does look in top shape (third in SG: Putting and ninth in SG: Around The Green), so he cannot be ignored. 

Carlos Ortiz 255-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 0/0

Best Career Finish: First Masters Appearance

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

He won the week before last year’s Masters at the Houston Open but had to wait for the 2021 Masters to make his debut because the 2020 field was frozen. The Mexican-born Ortiz held off Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama for his first PGA Tour victory. A T4 finish in Phoenix this season positioned him in the OWGR top 50. Ortiz has talent and once earned the battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour in 2014 as a three-time winner in the same calendar year on the Web.com Tour. Top-10 and top-20 bets at decent prices could be worth a glance. 

Ollie Osborne (A) 7000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 0/0

Best Career Finish: First Masters Appearance

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Osborne, now a junior at SMU, gained an invitation by finishing as the runner-up at the U.S. Amateur. His father will serve as his caddie this week.

Ryan Palmer 200-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 5/3

Best Career Finish: 10th (2011)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 1

Palmer is back at Augusta for the first time since 2015. He is arguably playing the best golf of his career at 44. Palmer has tallied two top-5s, two top-10s and five top-20s in eight events for the 2021 season. He did give away a match in the Match Play to Jon Rahm that cost him a shot to advance to the round of 16 but posted a solid T17 last week at the Valero, so it does not seem to have a hangover effect. Palmer has been on the first page of the leaderboard twice in his career after Day 1 at Augusta, so he is certainly worth a look as a first-round leader. 

C.T. Pan 543-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T7 (2020)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 1

The good news for the man from Taiwan is that he comes into the Masters off his best overall finish in two years with a T3 at the Honda Classic. The bad news is that Pan has missed five of his eight cuts in 2021. He went T7 on debut here last fall. Pan returns here based on his performance at Augusta last November. He is probably a better bet for next week at the RBC Heritage, where he won two years ago. 

Victor Perez 325-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T46 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Perez returns to Augusta based on finishing in the OWGR top 50 at the conclusion of 2020. He comes in off his best performance of 2021, having reached the semifinals at the Match Play two weeks ago. The Frenchman defeated Sungjae Im and Marc Leishman in group play, then followed with wins over Robert MacIntyre and Sergio Garcia before bowing out to eventual winner Billy Horschel in the final four. Perez also finished T9 on debut several weeks ago at the Players. He is certainly worth a chance, especially in the top-10 and top-20 markets. 

Ian Poulter 325-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 15/14

Best Career Finish: T6 (2015)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 3

Top 25s: 9

Poulter gained another invitation to Augusta based on clinging to a spot in the OWGR top 50 at the end of 2020. He has not done much in 2021 but is always an elite match player, as he proved two weeks ago by sweeping Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith and Lanto Griffin in the Match Play before running into the buzzsaw of Scottie Scheffler. Other than that, he has not been in good form. However, he has missed only one cut here in 15 appearances. More than likely he’ll grind to make another cut and perhaps sniff a top-10 or top-20 finish and find a way to get into the top 12 and garner another invitation for next year. 

Jon Rahm 13-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/4

Best Career Finish: 4th (2018)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 3

Top 25s: 3

A couple of weeks ago, Rahm encouraged folks not to bet him for the Masters since he and wife Kelley were expecting their first child. Their baby boy, Kepa, was born early Saturday morning, and Rahm is expected to make his way to Augusta to try to win his first major. Five years ago, Danny Willett and his wife had their first child just days before the Masters — and he went on to win. An omen? Perhaps, but Rahm has been slower than usual out of the gate in 2021 largely due to new Callaway sticks. Plus his putting has not been up to snuff. However, he did make some of his usual difficult putts at the Match Play and was the only top-seeded group player to advance to the weekend before being knocked out in the quarterfinals by Scottie Scheffler. Rahm is still as good as it gets in the world tee to green (second on the PGA Tour) and third for strokes gained off the tee. He consistently hits a lot of greens (sixth in GIR) and is 14th for SG: Approach. This will come down to the flat stick, which has been slow to catch fire in 2021. Three straight top-10 finishes at Augusta should be enough of an indicator that he will likely be a player for the win come Sunday. 

Patrick Reed 37-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 7/5

Best Career Finish: 1st (2018)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 3

The 2018 champion already has a 2021 win under his belt, having toppled an elite field by five strokes at the Farmers Insurance Open. Most top players probably do not win as much as they should when you look at their raw statistical numbers. Reed is an exception to that rule because when you look at his numbers, you wonder how he wins as much as he does. He is not a particularly long hitter or a particularly good ball striker. However, he is arguably the best putter in the game and currently ranks first on tour for strokes gained putting. Even his competitors are baffled how he seems to make every single big putt. His finish of 10th last fall is his only top-10 in seven appearances here besides the year he won. 

Justin Rose 134-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 15/14

Best Career Finish: 2nd (2017), T2 (2015)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 5

Top 25s: 12

Rose withdrew early in the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to back spasms and missed the Players the next week due to the injury. The two-time Masters runner-up is attempting to return after missing a month. Although he finished runner-up to Dustin Johnson this year in Saudi Arabia, he has not been close to consistent form. After parting ways for a spell last year, he is back with longtime swing coach Sean Foley. The short split still indicates that Rose is very much searching for something to stay in the game now that he is 40 and over two years removed from his last victory. 

Xander Schauffele 27-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 3/3

Best Career Finish: T2 (2019)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 2

Schauffele has top-3 finishes in three of the four majors, including the 2019 Masters. He has proven that he is among the world’s best but is still seeking his breakthrough in a major. Schauffele posted back-to-back runner-up finishers this season in San Diego and Phoenix. He has gone two years without a victory, but you rarely see a significant odds drift on him because he is so consistent and has no discernible weaknesses in his game. He could stand to hit a few more fairways, but he typically gains off the tee, his approach game is solid enough and he makes a ton of birdies. It is just a case of putting it all together and perhaps catching a break, and the major victory is certain to come. 

Scottie Scheffler 55-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/1

Best Career Finish: T19 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Scheffler is still seeking his first win on the PGA Tour in just his second full season. It looked like it would come two weeks ago at a home game in Austin, where he played collegiately at Texas. He ended up losing to Billy Horschel in the final of the Match Play. The approach play and the putting need to improve, but Scheffler can make a ton of birdies in a hurry. He also has some scar tissue of a near-miss in a major, having been in Sunday’s final group at last summer’s PGA on the way to a T4 finish. He was a respectable T19 on debut here last fall and likely should fare better the second time around. Scheffler does look ready to win a big one for his maiden tour win, but doing so at the Masters would be a mild surprise. Nevertheless, he is a big talent who is going to knock down a big win sooner rather than later. 

Charl Schwartzel 900-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 11/7

Best Career Finish: 1st (2011)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 4

Schwartzel won the Masters in 2011 with birdies on each of the last four holes. It looked like the South African was destined for superstardom. However, he has not won anywhere in the world in over five years, since the 2016 Valspar Championship. Various injuries have taken their toll, but he is unlikely to find the form he had several years ago. He finished T25 last fall when totally out of form, so he is probably backable on a make/miss-cut prop, but that is about it. 

Adam Scott 71-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 19/17

Best Career Finish: 1st (2013)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 5

Top 25s: 10

The 2013 champion has made 11 straight cuts at Augusta. Scott has been more deliberate in making his playing schedule. Turning 40 has perhaps provided the midlife golf crisis, as he is now more focused on majors and other big events as the opportunities to win those become more fleeting. For many years, the Aussie was a great driver and shaky with the putter. Now his putting might be the most stable portion of his game, though he still misses his share of short putts. This year his driver has been terrible, as he is losing almost 0.75 strokes per round off the tee. He shot three of four rounds in the 60s last time out on a usually difficult PGA National course at the Honda Classic. Scott is consistently solid and often very good here, so he could definitely hit the first page of the leaderboard at a big price. 

Webb Simpson 54-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 9/6

Best Career Finish: T5 (2019)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 3

After years of pedestrian Masters form, Simpson posted his first top-5 here two years ago and followed it with a top-10 last year. He is not an especially long hitter and tends to spray it all over the yard, though he is sixth this season for driving accuracy. But his strong approach play, scrambling (second on tour, eighth SG: Around The Green) and putting (13th SG: Putting) has kept him in the OWGR top 10. Simpson has a fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a sixth at the WGC-Workday to his credit in 2021. His progressively good form at Augusta indicates a possibility he can contend for the win here at some point. No OWGR top-10 will be more overlooked than Simpson, but he is certainly used to that. 

Vijay Singh 9000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 27/19

Best Career Finish: 1st (2000)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 6

Top 25s: 11

Singh elected not to come back and complete his second round after an overnight weather delay in last year’s event. At 58, he is competing less on the PGA Tour and a little more on PGA Tour Champions. He last made the cut here in 2018. 

Cameron Smith 45-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 4/4

Best Career Finish: T2 (2020)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 2

The Australian mullet man has two top-5 finishes here in just four appearances. Smith became the first player in Masters history to shoot all four rounds in the 60s yet still lost by five strokes to Dustin Johnson. He is not particularly powerful or accurate off the tee, and his ball striking is about average by PGA Tour standards, but his short game can be stellar. Perhaps having these two top-5s in four appearances is still under the umbrella of coincidence, but a third could be a pattern. Smith also posted a T4 this season at Riviera against one of the better fields of the year, so he is comfortable playing with the big kids. 

Jordan Spieth 11-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 7/7

Best Career Finish: 1st (2015)

Top 5s: 4

Top 10s: 4

Top 25s: 6

Perhaps no player in the field comes in with more momentum than Spieth. He was priced in the 60-1 range to start the year and now finds himself the second choice on the board behind defending champion and OWGR No. 1 Dustin Johnson. After missing the cut in San Diego, Spieth was in danger of falling out of the OWGR top 100, but then he found something in Phoenix and posted his first top-5 in two seasons. That finish could have been considered an aberration, but he followed it with a T3 at Pebble Beach. However, he had won there before. The good form continued with a T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and advancing to the round of 16 at the Match Play. It seemed like a matter of time before he would break his 3½-year winless drought. Well, time came due last weekend, as he won the Valero Texas Open. While Spieth is playing his best golf in a few years, the pricing value is long gone now. 

Henrik Stenson 1000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 15/10

Best Career Finish: T5 (2018)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 7

Stenson comes in having missed six straight cuts, and this could be his last Masters for a while if things do not turn around quickly. This is the last year for his five-year British Open exemption. The “Iceman” has only one top-10 finish here in 15 appearances, so it is hard to see Augusta National being the catalyst for a turnaround. Stenson does not have a top-10 finish in almost a year and a half. 

Tyler Strafaci (A) 7000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 0/0

Best Career Finish: First Masters Appearance

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

The U.S. Amateur champion out of Georgia Tech is scheduled to turn professional this year after he plays on the U.S. Walker Cup team. He played at Torrey Pines and Riviera this season but failed to post a round better than 75. 

Robert Streb 1975-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2015 & 2016)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Streb returns to Augusta for the first time in five years as he earned an invitation by defeating Kevin Kisner in a playoff last November to win the RSM Classic, which was the site of his only other PGA Tour win six years earlier. A T13 three weeks ago at the Honda Classic broke a streak of five missed cuts. He has posted big numbers in both appearances here and more than likely will do the same in his third try. 

Hudson Swafford 1775-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2017)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Swafford had just two starts left on his major medical extension before he would lose his fully exempt PGA Tour playing privileges, but he won the Corales Puntacana Championship. On return to that event two weeks ago, he posted a T6 finish, which broke a streak of five missed cuts. The ex-Georgia Bulldog will relish coming back close to home, but a made cut here would be a big accomplishment. 

Justin Thomas 13-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 5/5

Best Career Finish: 4th (2020)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 4

Thomas has improved in every appearance at Augusta, and a poor Saturday round likely cost him a shot at the victory last fall. After a rough start to 2021, Thomas has turned his fortunes for the better by winning the Players Championship due to an awesome display of ball striking, which is nothing new for him. Thomas ranks third on the PGA Tour for SG: Approach and 5th for SG: Tee-To-Green. Thomas made 14 birdies — he’s No. 1 on the PGA Tour for birdie average — over his first two rounds last fall and shared the 36-hole lead, so it seems like a matter of time before he earns his first green jacket. He can be a bit wayward off the tee, ranking 124th in driving accuracy, which has cost him here in the past. Nevertheless, he checks all the boxes for a likely Masters winner sooner rather than later. 

Michael Thompson 1500-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/1

Best Career Finish: T25 (2013)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Thompson’s last appearance at Augusta was in 2013. He is in this week’s field having won the 3M Open last summer. Thompson is an accurate driver and above-average putter. He has made six of eight cuts in 2021, with a T5 at the American Express the season highlight. This course is likely to be a bit long for him, and a made cut would be the most realistic accomplishment here. 

Brendon Todd 512-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2015 & 2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Todd missed the cut by one here last November. He is back after having made last fall’s Tour Championship. He is a deadly accurate driver, first on the tour, and nails on the greens, ranking fourth in strokes gained putting. However, the tee-to-green game has not been good of late, and he has yet to build on his form from 2019, when he won two events to revitalize his career. Todd can still win against lesser fields, but he is overpowered against the stronger fields. He had two respectable major finishes last summer (T17 PGA, T23 U.S Open), but it is difficult to see him doing much here.

Jimmy Walker 1500-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 7/7

Best Career Finish: T8 (2014)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 3

Walker is in the field on the last year of his major championships exemption for winning the 2016 PGA. Lyme disease has derailed a once-promising career. He has gone almost three years without a top-10 on the PGA Tour. It is surprising that he has made every cut here during his career despite never shooting a round below 70. 

Matt Wallace 181-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 2/1

Best Career Finish: T46 (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Wallace barely made it into this field, as he was in the last spot of the OWGR top 50 at the close of business in 2020. Being No. 50 was good enough to earn a return appearance. Wallace finished third last weekend at the Valero Texas Open while trying to chase down his final-pairing partners, Jordan Spieth and Charley Hoffman. That finish was the Englishman’s best stateside effort since a T3 at the 2019 PGA Championship. Wallace rates fourth on the PGA Tour for SG: Approach, and the iron play remains the strongest part of his game. Typically, the market overrates strong performances in the week before the Masters, so the best way to approach betting Wallace likely lies in top-10 and top-20 finish props. 

Bubba Watson 83-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 12/11

Best Career Finish: 1st (2012, 2014)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 3

Top 25s: 5

Watson is double the price he was in November, when he seemed to be in much better lead-in form. He showed a bit of life at the Match Play, advancing to the round of 16 before being beaten by fellow Georgia Bulldog lefty Brian Harman. Watson still hits it well off the tee and the ball striking is OK, but the putting has been an absolute mess this season. He is losing over half a stroke on the greens every round. He will still get backed this week because he is a two-time Masters champion, but his only top-10 besides two wins was a fifth in 2018. Watson has missed the cut only once here, but the expectations should be tempered as he looks to be on the other side of his career. 

Mike Weir 3000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 21/12

Best Career Finish: 1st (2003)

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 2

Top 25s: 6

Weir has been competitive on the PGA Tour Champions for the better part of the last two years and has two runner-up finishes in the last few months as he continues to search for his first win on the over-50 circuit. The Canadian made the cut last fall for the first time since 2014. He could be an option here to make the cut at a plus price since playing competitively again might inspire solid play. 

Lee Westwood 51-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 19/16

Best Career Finish: 2nd (2010), T2 (2016)

Top 5s: 3

Top 10s: 6

Top 25s: 10

Westwood has started 2021 playing his best golf in several years with back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. He was beaten only by two of the world’s elite, Bryson DeChambeau at the API and Justin Thomas at the Players. He has made the cut here in every appearance since 2006. The putter has long been Westwood’s nemesis, but he is gaining about 0.4 strokes per round on the greens this season. The price has obviously been slashed due to his recent success on the Florida swing last month, and it is likely too much of an ask for him to win a green jacket. Nevertheless, he is certainly worth a wager in a top-10 and top-20 market. 

Bernd Wiesberger 338-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 5/5

Best Career Finish: T22 (2015)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 2

The Austrian looked like he was on the verge of returning to being one of the top European players after winning three times in 2019. But he failed to register a top-5 in 2020 and has yet to do so in 2021. Wiesberger’s biggest motivation is to finally make a European Ryder Cup team. He has always mistimed his good play, seemingly in non-Ryder Cup years. Wiesberger has made the cut here in all five of his appearances despite never carding a round below 70. 

Danny Willett 423-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 6/3

Best Career Finish: 1st (2016)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 2

Yes, Willett benefited from Jordan Spieth’s collapse to win the green jacket in 2016. But he still sends the jacket out for dry cleaning. The Englishman has been a big-game hunter in major European events over the years even when his game went off the cliff in 2017-18. He missed the Players due to COVID-19 but did notch a top-10 in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago before a missed cut last week in San Antonio. Willett’s play the last three years has been mercurial, as he has missed 32 cuts in 75 events. However, he has missed only one in seven events to start 2021, so maybe some consistency is returning to his game. 

Matthew Wolff 150-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 1/0

Best Career Finish: MC (2020)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

Wolff has been battling wrist injuries that have derailed his climb that many anticipated when he finished T4 at the PGA Championship and second at the U.S. Open in the first two majors of his young career. He comes into the Masters an absolute mess off the tee, where he is losing over a half-stroke per round and is barely hitting half his fairways. Wolff can absolutely bomb it off the tee, but if he cannot keep it in play this week, it looks likely to be a second straight missed cut at Augusta. 

Gary Woodland 232-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 8/4

Best Career Finish: T24 (2011)

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 1

Since his major championship win at the 2019 U.S. Open, Woodland has battled several injuries and changed coaches. A T6 last week in San Antonio is his best finish since last summer at the Workday. Woodland has really struggled off the tee, and he was one of the more consistent drivers on tour for the last several years. Perhaps last week’s good finish at the Valero will give him some much-needed confidence, but Augusta has never been a good fit for him with just one top-25 finish in eight attempts. 

Ian Woosnam 9000-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 31/13

Best Career Finish: 1st (1991)

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 1

Top 25s: 7

Woosnam returns after missing last fall’s edition, but he has missed 11 straight cuts here, and it is hard to anticipate that streak ending this time. 

Will Zalatoris 123-1

Total Appearances/Cuts Made: 0/0

Best Career Finish: First Masters Appearance

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 25s: 0

At the start of 2020, Zalatoris was outside the OWGR top 500 and had zero tour status. Two weeks ago, he worked his way into the OWGR top 50 to earn his first Masters appearance. Zalatoris is a massive favorite in the top debutant market. While he is still seeking his maiden victory on the PGA Tour, he has already emerged as one of the premier ball strikers in the game, ranking fifth on tour for SG: Approach and fourth on tour for SG: Tee-To-Green. No player has won the Masters on debut since another man whose last name begins with Z, Fuzzy Zoeller, in 1979. Nevertheless, Zalatoris could be a surprise contender because he seems to take the mindset of not knowing any better and playing aggressively, which Augusta requires in moderation.

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