The Masters Is Back, And Golf Bettors Have Plenty That Should Intrigue And Delight Them

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The Masters is back in spring bloom on its normal schedule at August National this week, and Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks are responding accordingly with an online landscape filled with betting options.

Aside from the standard odds offered on the eventual winner — Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, and Jordan Spieth are the top favorites at the dozen online sites — there are all kinds of choices on how golfers do in the first round, in head-to-head matchups, whether they make the cut, and more.

And then there are the more novel prop bets concerning such things as the number of holes-in-one, whether there will be a playoff, and the nationality of the winner.

On top of that, most of the sites have “odds boosts” or “specials” as enticements different from what competitors have. (Example: DraftKings lets you bet on Johnson vs. DeChambeau at beneficial odds of +150 on either in a head-to-head matchup, with a $25 maximum wager.)

In short, there are as many ways to bet on this revered four-day tournament that begins Thursday as there are ways to muck up your next 3-iron shot. Below, we explain just some of them.

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Can one of top five live up to billing?

Johnson shot a course record 268 — 20 under par — to win his green jacket in a rout by five strokes last November, when the tournament was played seven months late due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now he’s trying to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, and Tigers Woods in an illustrious group of those who have won jackets back to back. So it’s obviously hard to do, but the odds of him winning are still better than for any of the 87 other competitors, according to the sportsbooks.

Most have Johnson somewhere between 9/1 and 10/1 to win, with that latter price from Betfred being the best potential payout to be found in the state Wednesday morning if you’re a D.J. backer.

FanDuel is the one site that gives DeChambeau even odds with Johnson, both at +950. FanDuel follows with Spieth and Thomas both at 11/1 and Rahm at 12/1. Other sites vary slightly, but none of the top five can be bet anywhere shorter than 12/1 (other than a special boost on Spieth to 14/1 offered by Barstool Sportsbook).

With those five being everyone’s top contenders, Betfred has a “Big Guns to Win” boost: Take the top five as a group, and get paid off at +200 if any of them win.

FOX Bet, meanwhile, is offering a “Big Guns Vs. the Field” option: Either bet the five as a group at +162, or take the 83 other competitors combined at -200.

Highly skilled golfers lurk with better payoffs

The better values may be found in taking a solid, always-competitive golfer at longer odds.

The six sites using Kambi odds (DraftKings, BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, Unibet, Barstool, Parx), for example, are offering the following odds well down the betting board:

Patrick Reed, Collin Morikawa: 35/1

Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Smith: 40/1

Remember, Danny Willett could be found at 55/1 before the 2016 Masters that he won. Of those above, 2018 winner Reed always seems a tough competitor, and Morikawa has the kind of superb iron play that Augusta rewards.

Smith, meanwhile, in November became the first golfer in the history of the Masters to post four rounds in the 60s. He ended up tied for second, five shots behind Johnson, but his -15 would have been good enough to win many years, and that was his second top-5 finish in four starts at Augusta.

No need to bet just on whether they win

Let’s say you have a favorite golfer to root for, or one you may not even like (hello, Patrick Reed) but think might do especially well this week. There’s no need to bet on them only to win, which can be a real crap shoot with this star-studded field.

With Johnson, for example, you can also bet him to finish top 5 (+175 at FanDuel), top 10 (-115), top 20 (-280), or top 30 (-550).

You can bet him to lead after the first round (+1600, while FanDuel rates Spieth a little higher there at +1400).

You can bet him to finish best among former winners (+175, with Spieth +250).

You can bet him to make the cut at -1100. (The top 50 golfers, plus ties, play into the weekend.)

That’s not even counting other daily bets and live bets and matchups against other golfers. So, yes, pick any golfer you like, and you can bet on him to do just about anything except grant a gimme to his playing partner.

Prop bets abound, if you look

There are too many intriguing prop bets to list them all, but among those that might capture your fancy:

  • FanDuel places odds of a hole-in-one during the tournament at -176 on the yes, +138 on the no. (There have been 31 in 84 years, including two in 2019 but none last year.)
  • DraftKings places the over/under on the lowest-scoring round at 65.5, with -150 on the under, +110 on the over. (There were four rounds of 65 last year, three rounds of 64 in 2019.)
  • BetMGM lists a price of +400 for the winner to finish with a birdie on the 72nd hole.
  • DraftKings lists odds of a playoff (there have been 17, the last in 2017) at 4/1. It puts a one-stroke victory at +250.

Almost every site has something special

And last we list here some of the special offers that may be worth considering at various sites, in addition to that favorable Johnson-DeChambeau matchup from DraftKings cited earlier:

  • FanDuel offers an even-money “super boost” on either Johnson, DeChambeau, or Spieth to shoot 68 or better in the first round. (It cites true odds as being -200.)
  • FOX Bet offers a boost to even money (instead of -300) for Johnson’s first tee shot to land in the fairway (max wager $10).
  • BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse offer +110 odds on 20 or more golfers finishing under par. (There were 43 under par last year, 45 in 2019.)
  • BetMGM has a boost on Spieth, a past champion and winner of last week’s Valero Texas Open, finishing in the top 5 at +280 (instead of +225).
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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at gary@usbets.com.

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