Now begins a betting week unlike any other.
Golf is an exploding market in the sports gambling world. You simply can't beat the odds given. Don’t get me wrong, golf still pales in comparison to NFL and college football betting, but every week more and more participants are realizing how enticing golf betting can be. Let’s ask the Carlos Ortiz ticket holders, or Brian Gay ticket holders, or even the Stewart Cink ticket holders! This season alone, in nine events, we have had winners with odds higher than 100/1 in five of them. However, that trend likely ends this week.
All eyes will be on the heavy hitters at Augusta National. We kick off our odds with favorite Bryson DeChambeau at +750. You will see A LOT of money move in that direction this week. Dustin Johnson +850 and Jon Rahm +1000 will see a ton of action as well.
Let me say this. It’s never a bad thing to be the favorite, but Augusta has not been friendly to the guys lingering at the top of the odds board pre-tournament. In fact, not a single pre-tournament favorite has put on the elusive green jacket since 2005, when your defending champion Tiger Woods won as the favorite.
This doesn’t mean don’t bet the guys at the top but Bryson, DJ, and Rahm have some close company when it comes to being the favorite. Justin Thomas sits at +1300, Rory McIlroy at +1300, and a golfer heading in with a ton of buzz is Xander Schauffele at +1600.
With the majority of attention being placed at the top of the board some big names could go overlooked. You have 2018 champion Patrick Reed coming in at +3000, and last year's champion, Tiger Woods, comes in at an astounding +4500. I can see a ton of dollar bills moving that direction. Here comes the Tiger Tax!
With so many great golfers in the field who will our analysts narrow in on this week? Keep on reading to get the Best Bets and more . . .
The Breakdown: The Masters
Dates: November 12th-15th
Course: Augusta National
Let’s take a look at the current odds from DraftKings Sportsbook. As well as the best bets and more . . .
2020 Masters Tournament Predictions and Best Bets
Frankie Taddeo, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Vegas Insider (@Frankie_Fantasy)
The 2020 MASTERS Sharp Action Breakdown
Metric Gaming’s Golf Desk located in London, England has been on fire with sharp picks since the PGA’s return. The sharps have arguably the premier golf model in the entire world. As they often do, they have graciously shared their information for our Sports Illustrated community.
According to Daniel Banham, Director of Trading, the Metric Gaming team is enthusiastically looking forward to tremendous betting opportunities offered at The Masters this week.
“In all of sports, there isn’t a week we look forward to more than Masters Week at Augusta National Golf Club,” said Banham.
"A place renowned for its stunning beauty, and of course the Sunday, Back 9 drama. We have the prestigious 12th hole “Golden Bell” - without question the best Par 3 in the world, the risk/reward Par 5s on 13 and 15, and of course the hole-in one sweat on 16. Even if everyone has to watch it from TV pictures this year - the familiarity gives us that extra vicariousness with the players, and feelings are so palpable."
We asked Banham directly: “What exactly does it take to play well at Augusta?”
Great Iron Play
“It’s truly a second shot golf course. Bobby Jones always wanted a great shot to be handsomely rewarded, and there isn’t a place where the delta between great and “ok/mediocre” is larger. A great shot can mean eagle or tap-in birdie - however, a foot short, or too much left/right and bogey/double can be in play. Certain pins you just can’t go after (unless you hit the perfect shot).
The best iron players I ever saw have ALL done well here through the years. Multi winners Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernard Langer, Phil Mickelson, Nick Faldo, Ben Hogan, Seve are all exceptional iron players, and of course the likes of Greg Norman, Nick Price, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Greg Norman, Angel Cabrera, Raymond Floyd, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Woosnam, Chris DiMarco, Kirk Triplett, who's consistently played well at Augusta year in year out."
“This may stun you - but no one in the top 10 of the World Golf Rankings has ever won a Green Jacket! Actually you can find only TWO wins in the Top 30 (#11 Patrick Reed and #15 Adam Scott). Typically, to win at Augusta you need to earn your stripes - you get to learn the hard way, where you can and can’t miss - when to be aggressive, and when to play in the middle of green. With no Green Books allowed, a lot of the putting comes with experience.”
3. Length of the Tee
“It’s never been an absolute requirement to hit it far at Augusta, but it surely can help out a lot. In 1997, Tiger Woods blew everyone away with his bombs. Holes like 11 became ridiculous when Tiger hit 9-irons and wedges into the most difficult hole on the course. 2020 has been a paradigm shift in how you can hit it off the tee. Bryson DeChambeau (and to some extent Matt Wolff) is hitting it greater than 30 yards further than their foes - and also so high, enabling them to cut corners, thus essentially eliminating danger completely. In our opinion Par is 67 for Bryson this week. He plays a completely different golf course, where the intended design can’t fight back with its many subtleties. With rain in the forecast, the course will also play much longer than normal. It’s a challenge if you can’t carry the ball more than 290."
4. Getting it Up-and-Down
“In past Masters this has always been an underrated skill. Chipping around the greens requires precision. If you leave yourself sidehill putts (so much slope in these greens) and above the hole, you will struggle. Since the tournament is played in November this year there will be some Bermuda around the greens, and the overseed. It will no doubt be trickier to chip in 2020. Our champions must master this part of the game."
Metric Gaming's Best Bets
“As you’ve probably figured out already, we think Bryson DeChambeau (+850, now +750 at DK Sportsbook) has an excellent opportunity to totally dominate the field this week. It’s true that he hasn’t played competitively for over a month, but that doesn’t concern us too much. Bryson is so meticulous in his preparation, and winning the US Open has given him tremendous confidence, conviction, that his way is the superior way to play golf. The price of +850 perhaps sounds thin, but our model makes him around 20% here, and accordingly offers excellent value.”
Favorite Value Plays & Longshots
Bubba Watson (+3300)
“Bubba has really found his game again, and he’s a two-time Masters Champion. 33/1 is compelling enough for us to have a small bet here. Bubba has severe pollen allergy and playing in November should be a nice intangible,” according to Banham.
Tyrell Hatton (+4000, now +2500 at DK Sportsbook)
“Hatton really has no weaknesses. He’s a phenomenal iron player, hits it far enough and can get very hot with the putter. 40-1 is some value, but perhaps the Englishman needs a few more starts at Augusta before winning.”
Jason Kokrak (+10000)
“Kokrak took down Shadow Creek, a course that in many respects has similarities to Augusta. That was Kokrak’s first win on the PGA tour, and fully deserved. Korak is an excellent player who hits it a mile, and straight. Players in form and with confidence should always be respected at this course. At 100-1 we will take a small position.”
As Metric Gaming always stresses please be sure to always look at top 5, top 10, top 15 and top 20 markets for added value! Good Luck!
Alex White, SI Gambling and DFS Analyst @coachwhitedfs
Best Bet to Win
Dustin Johnson (+900)
I know I said that the top end guys don’t have a great winning history at the Masters, but this play is too good to pass up. In his last 10 events he has three wins, three second place finishes, a 6th, a 17th and a missed cut.
Six out of his last 10 tournaments have resulted in wins or runner-up finishes.
Last season he finished second at the Masters. This year he is in prime position to pull off his first Masters win. Conditions will be wet so his distance off the tee will help him separate even further. No-brainer play.
Best Value Plays
Jason Day (+3000)
Experience matters at the Masters. Jason Day has the dual threat I'm looking for this week. A long driver of the golf ball who can putt on fast Bentgrass greens. Last season he managed a 5th place finish at Augusta. Day can play in any weather, he checks the clutch box, he has an ability to show up in big events. Day has the winning upside I am looking for this week. He has won a Major before so I know he can handle the pressure on Sunday if he makes it into the final groupings.
Webb Simpson (+4000)
Webb shot the lowest round of the entire Masters tournament last season. He carded at 64 on Saturday to vault him up the leaderboards. If he comes out at shoots a 68 on Thursday he will jump out as my favorite for the rest of the week and I will be live betting as well. The guy is as solid as they come on Tour. He doesn’t have a single hole in his game. If he starts dropping 10-15 foot putts he WILL be wearing a green jacket on Sunday. Webb has all the tools you need to score here. We just need him to start off hot and put it all together from start to finish. Great odds for a golfer that won twice last season and has won some huge events in his career already.
Favorite Top 10 Bet
Cameron Smith (+550)
What's not to like here? Now Cam has made 10 straight cuts. In his last three tournaments he has a 24th, 11th, in his last tournament played he put together a 4th place finish at the ZOZO. The putter has been on fire in his four events, he has gained a combined 15 strokes on the greens alone. In his three attempts at Augusta he has finished 55th, 5th, and 51st. Last season going into the final round he was in the top 20 and shot an abysmal 77 five over round. Take out that round and I bet more people would be on him this week. This season his putter will keep him near the top 10 with a chance to break into the top 5 once again.
Favorite Top 20 Bet - Sebastian Munoz (+450)
J.T. Poston to make the cut (-150)
Ben Heisler, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Editor (@bennyheis)
Best Bets to Win
Justin Thomas (+1300)
Thomas' game is a perfect fit for Augusta National. He's experienced playing at The Masters and his recent form is terrific, with three top 10 finishes in his last five events. Plus, over the last four years at this tournament, he's improved his finish in each of them: T39, T22, T17 and T12. J.T. also ranks top 6 in strokes gained: total, top 8 in SG: approach, and top 10 in SG: around-the-green, which will be critical playing a major in November when the conditions may be a bit more challenging compared to in the spring.
Brooks Koepka (+1700)
I love Brooks as a leverage play in FS away from Dustin Johnson this week at a price tag that still feels a tad bit high compared to his (somewhat) recent form. I was off of him at the CJ Cup several weeks ago because I still had concerns about his injury status and iffy play, but a T5 finish last week at the Houston Open tells me he's ready to pounce in "Major SZN."
Best Value Plays
Hideki Matsuyama (+3000)
Matsuyama wasn't great at the Masters last year, finishing T32, but the previous years before that he was excellent with three top 11 finishes in his last four tournaments.
He's coming off some great golf with a T2 at last week's Houston Open and his around-the-green game is in exceptional shape; ranking second in SG: around-the-green. It's a very reasonable price tag for someone with as good of a shot to win as anyone in this field.
Louis Oosthuizen (+6000)
It's not hyperbole when I say there are very few flaws in his game right now. Via FantasyNational.com, Oosthuizen is no worse than 31st in the field in any strokes gained category, and still comes in top 15 in SG: total. He finished 3rd in very difficult conditions at the U.S. Open, which continues to hammer home a point that he plays very well in Majors without typically winning. After winning the Open Championship in 2010, he's finished T2 four different times in Majors since 2010.
Kevin Kisner (+15000)
With 93 golfers in play and only the top 50 surviving the cut, this range is all about "survive and advance." Kisner fits that description to a tee (see what I did there?).
He's a longtime veteran of Augusta National and has improved his score consecutively in each of the last three years: T43, T28, T21.
Furthermore, he's also played the course 10 different times so far in November (mind you, this article came out November 11th, so he's been awfully busy) and knows exactly what to expect when the tournament arrives on Thursday.
I still have some concerns about his play off the tee as well as around-the-green, but he remains top 10 in SG: approach and SG: putting which more than makes up for some potential weaknesses. He's a very strong play with exceptional value at this price point.
Si Woo Kim (+20000)
Kim is the #1 ranked player in the field for strokes gained: around-the-green. That's a CRUCIAL category this week at Augusta, particularly playing in November where the edges will be a little bit more rough than compared to the spring. He's also 13th in SG: tee-to-green.
While he missed the cut last week at the Houston Open, his previous two starts were outstanding with a 17th place finish at the CJ Cup, a very similar course to Augusta National, and 8th at the Shriners before that. He deserves to have lower odds than 200/1, and I'll happily throw a few bucks his way.
Roy Larking, SI Gambling & Fantasy Contributor (@StatsGuru6)
Best Bet to Win
Dustin Johnson (+900)
Knocking on the door, during his last four appearances at the Masters tournament, I am betting on Johnson finally breaking through with a win at this event. Apart from missing the 2017 tournament, due to a back injury, his recent results (T6, T4, T10 and T2) at Augusta National have been impressive. Since winning the 2019-20 Tour Championship in September, at East Lake Club in Atlanta, Johnson finished T6 at the U.S. Open and T2 at the Vivint Houston Open. Following a 72 in the opening round, Johnson shot 66, 66, and 65 during the final three rounds in his Masters tune up last week.
Best Value or Longshot
Bubba Watson (+3300)
A two-time winner (2012 and 2014) Watson is my value/longshot play to win the 2020 Masters tournament. While the victories are distant memories, Watson also finished T5 in 2018 and T12 last year. He has also played well during his last two events at the CJ Cup (T7) and the ZOZO Championship (T4). Watson is making his tenth Masters appearance. Loaded with Augusta National course knowledge and experience, plus his recent form, I like the value in Watson’s +3300 moneyline. I will also hedge this longshot play with a wager on his (+110) top 20 price.
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Top 10 Finish
Tony Finau (+300)
Playing well recently, Finau has finished T11 or better in six of the last seven tournaments he has entered. A contender during his first two Masters tournaments, Finau finished T10 back in 2018 and then posted a T5 last year. He also has a stellar record in PGA majors as he has recorded top ten finishes in eight of the 17 events he has played. That includes a T8 finished at the 2020 U.S. Open and a T4 result at the 2020 PGA Championship. Finau shot three rounds in the 60’s and finished T24 during his Masters tune up last week at the Vivint Houston Open.
Favorite Matchup Play
Tyrrell Hatton (-118) over Patrick Reed (-106)
Tyrrell Hatton vs. Patrick Reed is one of several head-to-head matchup props at the DraftKings Sportsbook. Following a missed cut at the U.S. Open, Hatton crossed the pond and won the European PGA BMW Championship. Returning to North America, Hatton posted solid outings at the CJ Cup (T3), the ZOZO Championship (T23) and the Vivint Houston Open (T7) last week. Reed finished T13 at the U.S. Open, T3 behind Hatton at the BMW Championship and T14 at the ZOZO Championship, which was the last tournament he played. Both players are top contenders this week and I am backing Hatton to finish ahead of Reed.