GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for The Masters

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for The Masters based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

It was hardly a surprise to see Dustin Johnson lap the field last November at last year's Masters. After all, he'd ascended to clear status as the top golfer in the world, had finished first or second in five of his last six events leading in, and had a solid record at The Masters that included four straight top 10s and a runner up when it was last held in April 2019.

We have no clear-cut choice this time: we visit Augusta National in its usual spot on the schedule, and the other three golfers along with Johnson at the top of the market have won on Tour since Johnson's victory in the fall.

We also can expect the course to play much firmer and faster this week than it did in November, which ramps up the variance and brings even more golfers into the picture. So we look to some recent trends.

While we rightly make a lot of noise about course history at Augusta, current form is perhaps even more important. Johnson is covered above, and before him, each of the past eight winners had at least three top-25 finishes and at least one top 10 in their last four events leading up to The Masters.

Ball-striking, course experience, and mental toughness are required to win at Augusta, but you also must be in form when you arrive to have a chance to win.

For more info on Augusta National Golf Club along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Jon Rahm (+1200) - Rahm checks every recent form box we can check with just one finish outside the top 25 since the beginning of August and arriving with stroke play finishes leading in of T13, T5, T32, and T9.

He also arrives on a personal high note, having just welcomed his first child. As any parent can attest, the first weeks of newborn life are incredibly stressful and exhausting, but there is also an exhilaration and perspective that comes with being a new dad.

In 2016, Danny Willett declared he'd skip The Masters if his son was born during the tournament, and fortunately, baby Zachariah came a week before the event. Willett, of course, went on to win the Masters. Rahm took a similar line this year, and the stars are aligned for history to repeat itself.

Rory McIlroy (+1900) - Rory arrives with about as little hype over his quest to complete the career Grand Slam as any prior year. A Thursday 75 in November's edition held McIlroy so far back that even spectacular play over the weekend could only bring him to a tie for fifth, nine strokes shy of Johnson.

Since then he's finished T16, T13, MC, T6, T10, and MC, with the two missed cuts coming courtesy of horrid weeks on the greens.

He lost 2.5 strokes off the tee at THE PLAYERS at TPC Sawgrass, the second worst driving week of his career and just the sixth time he's been negative in that category in the last three years. He admitted afterward that he's lost his way trying to emulate Bryson DeChambeau (+950) in the arms race, but the harshest criticism of McIlroy's game is truly coming from himself.

Although he's not been "on" since the return to action last June, those two recent MC's were the only times he's failed to make the weekend since.

Value Spots

Viktor Hovland (+3500) - Hovland missed the cut at THE PLAYERS and was T49 at Bay Hill his last two times out, yet before that he'd rattled off three straight top fives in strong fields. He was the low amateur at Augusta in 2019 and actually did not qualify for the fall installment.

He's a world-class player already at just 23 years old, and he'll look to renew the trend of former first-time major champions at The Masters that had lasted four consecutive years before Tiger Woods bucked the trend in 2019.

Daniel Berger (+3700) - The high-end finishes are important to show consistency, but a good indicator of winning upside is, well, winning. Johnson, Willett and Jordan Spieth (+1100) had all won within their past few starts before The Masters, while Woods had won the TOUR Championship at the end of the prior season and displayed good form on through his 2019 victory.

Berger has two wins in the past year, including just a few starts ago at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He was also ninth at THE PLAYERS his last time out for stroke play.

Because of the way qualifying timing works, he was left out of the fall installment despite some of the best form in the world and even said he was "baffled" not to be invited. With a chip on his shoulder and every trend on his side, Berger will be extra motivated to prove he belongs this week.

Tommy Fleetwood (+4100) - Fleetwood's recent form is a little hard to pin down. He played well at the Match Play, winning his group and tying the eventual champion Billy Horschel (+8500) through 18 holes before a mishit off the tee resulted in a penalty and cost Fleetwood the match.

Before that, he missed the cut at THE PLAYERS and was 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Besides Bay Hill, his best results for the past year have been overseas, but this could be the week Fleetwood reaffirms his place in the world's pecking order.

He has a good record at Augusta with finishes of 19th, 36th, and 17th, and he's always a strong finisher at majors with the propensity to post the low round of the day. We should like him even more if the difficulty is ramped up at Augusta this week.

Long Shots

Louis Oosthuizen (+9000) - With apologies to a few deep cuts that don't quite make the card due in Joaquin Niemann (+6000) and Bubba Watson (+9000), we'll wrap our card up with Oosthuizen on the strength of recent finishes of 41st, 6th, 11th, and 29th.

Though few golfers boast the Augusta record of Watson, his two victories came when in tiptop form: in both 2012 and 2014 he had three top fives in his prior four events. He was in much better shape heading into the November edition and was a non-factor, finishing 57th.

Oosthuizen's history at The Masters is solid with a runner up in 2012 and five top 25s since then, including one in November. He has finished as the runner up at every major, and his last three years of major championship finishes reads 23rd, 3rd, 33rd, 20th, 7th, 60th, 29th, 28th, 16th, and 12th (he withdrew from 2018 PGA Championship with a back injury).

The bottom line is Louis always brings it at the majors, and if a couple lucky breaks go his way, he can be in contention this week.