PGA Betting Guide for The Masters
The Masters Tournament is something that golf fans look forward to for months, yet -- despite all the hype -- it comes and goes in four days, the same as any other tournament.
Sure, the storylines start well before the first tee time, and coverage lasts for weeks after, but we really have to take advantage of our window to maximize the event at Augusta National.
Studying the intricacies of the course (which Mike Rodden does in this week's course primer) can help us prep for building our daily fantasy lineups (speaking of that -- if you join the PGA MEGA Eagle this week on FanDuel and Tiger Woods wins the green jacket, you'll get your entry fee refunded).
But along with that prep, there are a lot of betting lines posted at FanDuel Sportsbook. So let's dig in and try to uncover some value for The Masters.
(All stats are from FantasyNational.com and comprise the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour, unless otherwise noted, and updates may be made throughout the week.)
What I'm Looking For
In addition to the key stats I've laid out in my daily fantasy primer, I'm looking for a few general trends in potential win picks, though not every potential pick meets everything on the list.
One big one is form at Augusta. First-timers just don't win here, and that means we can realistically cross out a good handful of golfers (including Matt Wallace, Lucas Bjerregaard, Eddie Pepperell, Keith Mitchell, Aaron Wise, Kevin Tway, Andrew Landry, Adam Long, Michael Kim, and Shugo Imahira).
Another is elite recent form. The past five winners have had at least a win or a second over the year entering the Masters (via SmartGolfBets), and the past 19 winners all had a prior top-40 at Augusta. Spanning out even longer, the past 10 winners have, as a whole, had really good form from the start of the calendar year (so from January 1st, 2019 for this year's event).
Using data from OWGR.com, we can see how the past 10 winners fared in 78 combined events since January 1st of their winning year.
|Past 10 Masters Winners (Since Start of Year of Win)||Count||Percentage|
|Cuts Missed (Excluding Patrick Reed|
and Angel Cabrera)
This is absolutely an arbitrary sample, but it lops off the typical winter layoff that most golfers experience each year. The missed cuts are really telling. Three of the past 10 winners missed at least one cut since the start of the year of their win, but two of them (Angel Cabrera and Patrick Reed) had three missed cuts each before winning the green jacket. Jordan Spieth missed one when he won in 2015.
So, having a win and missing no cuts of late are great signs for wins at Augusta, but even with all of that, I still trust recent stats and course fit more than these trends. Which golfers fit some of the criteria -- and have a great recent stats profile, too? Keep in mind, you shouldn't back all of these golfers, but maybe one of these profiles catches your eye.
If You're Betting a Favorite
Dustin Johnson (FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 11/1) - Johnson's number is short, but among the favorites (Rory McIlroy at 6.5/1 and Justin Rose at 12/1), DJ has the best profile -- to me. Johnson's four wins since last year's Masters (the FedEx St. Jude Classic, the RBC Canadian Open, the Saudi International, and the WGC-Mexico) profile well if we want that did-he-win-recently trend checked off. Plus, his past three starts at Augusta have yielded a 10th, a 4th, and a 6th. Over the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour, Johnson ranks fourth in strokes gained: off the tee and third in strokes gained: approach, via FantasyNational.com, and he's seventh in total strokes gained at Augusta since 2012. There really isn't a reason to dislike him.
The Next Tier
Jon Rahm (20/1) - Rahm debuted at Augusta with a 27th in 2017 and followed it up with a fourth last year. He has two wins over the past year (Open de España and Hero World Challenge) and has made all nine cuts in 2019. That's all tied in with great off-the-tee play (2nd in the field) and distance (7th). Among the field, he ranks fifth in True Strokes Gained over the past year. Starting your card at Rahm's number would let you cover more bases than going with a favorite.
Justin Thomas (20/1) - Thomas is a bit of a forgotten man this year. He has finished 39th, 22nd, and 17th at Augusta the past three years, improving each time. Four of his past six rounds at Augusta have been below par (71-70 to close out 2017 and then 74-67-70-73 last year). The longer-term form (fourth in True Strokes Gained) is better than the recent stats profile, but he really isn't lacking in any key area: 1st in approach over the past 100 rounds, 15th off the tee, 9th in distance, and even 11th around the green. He also grades out 29th in putting on fast bentgrass greens, via FantasyNational, over the past 100.
In the Middle
Bryson DeChambeau (30/1) - DeChambeau's record at Augusta isn't overly long, but he's been pretty solid (72-72-77-72 in 2016 and 74-74-72-71 in 2018), finishing 21st and 38th, respectively. That doesn't sound great, and there are no sub-70s in there, but it's safe to say Bryson is golfing his best entering this year's event. DeChambeau now has 584 of his own strokes at Augusta to analyze, and he grades out well across the board: 12th in approach, 7th off the tee, 14th in distance. The short game isn't quite as elite, but he has closed the deal on five wins since last year's Masters (the Memorial, The Northern Trust, the Dell Technologies Championship, the Shriners, and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic).
Bubba Watson (33/1) - Watson won the Travelers in 2018 and finished fourth recently at the Valspar, a course that generally sticks out as one that can "predict" performance at Augusta. (In the year of their wins, Patrick Reed, Danny Willett, and Jordan Spieth finished 2nd, 22nd, and 1st, respectively, at the Valspar). Watson enters ranked 55th in approach but 4th off the tee and in distance, plus seventh in strokes gained average at Augusta since 2012, a span during which he has two green jackets. He's not a good fit for every course and is generally more of a gut call.
Henrik Stenson (60/1) - Stenson has overcome some missed cuts to start the year, which is generally not a good sign for closing out a win at Augusta. His last win was the 2017 Wyndham, also not great. However, there are reasons to like Stenson's turnaround efforts at 60/1 (around 25th in odds). He has gained 6.7, 2.5, and 7.3 approach strokes over his past three events, respectively, and in a small, 12-round sample, he ranks fifth in approach among the field. Yes, Stenson doesn't really have the distance we generally seek for Augusta, but he does lead the entire field in both fairways gained and good drives gained over the past 100 rounds. As for course history, he has finished 18th, 14th, 19th, 24th, cut, and 5th the past six years. Last year, he fired off four elite rounds: 69-70-70-70.
Patrick Cantlay (80/1) - I'm coming around on Cantlay, whose profile always grades out well. He's 9th in approach and 10th off the tee over the past 100 rounds and is 15th in distance. He lacks a great short game and track record at Augusta (47th way back in 2012 (71-78-74-72) and cut in 2018 (75-76)). His lone PGA Tour win came at the 2017 Shriners. There are a lot of question marks, which is why he's priced here, but the profile puts him in play.
Gary Woodland (100/1) - Woodland has an alarming lack of wins on his resume (just the 2018 Waste Management) and has really peculiar form at Augusta, missing three straight cuts. His past five rounds are all three over or worse: 76 on Friday in 2015, 75-80 in 2017, and 78-76 in 2018. He also missed the cut at the Valspar. Still, Woodland is 14th in approach, 5th off the tee, and 12th in distance. Plus, he sounds confident that he is becoming a better fit at Augusta. At 100/1, there's value on the world's 24th-ranked golfer.
Ian Poulter (120/1) - It'd be quite the site to see Patrick Reed drape a green jacket over Poulter's shoulders, but at 120/1, it's probably worth a stab. Poulter won last year's Houston Open, the week before the Masters, his only win since 2012. Whew. But over his past 16 rounds at Augusta, 8 have been at or under par, and 6 have been 70 or below. His finishes are mostly lukewarm: 20th, 6th, 49th, 44th, but he does grade out 17th in approach and 9th around the greens over the past 100 rounds. He has a combination of course knowledge and cut-making ability to linger.