An Odd Masters Offers So Much To Bet On

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The attractive thing about betting on any golf major is there are so many more options than for a straight-up team competition.

The Masters, starting Thursday in Augusta, Ga., has 92 participants with 92 different story lines. While they don’t all have a realistic chance of winning, Pennsylvania’s 10 online sportsbooks make it feasible to bet on each, such as whether they will make the cut or have a top-20 finish.

The betting favorites, meanwhile, each offer their own intrigue: Can the rebuilt Bryson DeChambeau overwhelm the course with his strength? Will Dustin Johnson live up to his No. 1 world ranking? Could talented Jon Rahm win his first major by keeping his emotions in check? Is Rory McIlroy prepared to improve on his prior 2020 performance and complete the career Grand Slam?

And hey, let’s not forget Tiger Woods. Even if he’s a betting longshot this year (37/1 to 40/1), he put on a fifth green jacket in 2019, which only seems like about 37 years ago instead of one. Bettors haven’t forgotten him. Both FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive, which operates the BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse sites, report that Woods is among the top three in the number of bets placed on competitors thus far.

On top of all that are all the changes that accompany postponement of the lustrous major from April to November due to COVID-19 (which has itself sidelined several familiar names such as 2017 winner Sergio Garcia). Aside from there being no spectators, the course should be softer and not quite as pretty, and players will be teeing it up earlier in the day due to fall darkness. CBS has scheduled its Sunday telecast of the final round from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which also takes into account the network’s interest in broadcasting late-afternoon NFL contests.

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With all that in mind, let’s consider some of the betting options:

DeChambeau’s power is big attention-getter

The most natural bet to make pre-tournament is on the winner, and every site makes DeChambeau the favorite, although at odds varying from +700 to +900, with FOX Bet and Caesars offering the latter as the best places for a pro-DeChambeau wager.

Even though he’s never been in the top 20 at Augusta, the rebuilt muscleman easily won the U.S. Open this summer, and there’s a lot of speculation that DeChambeau can play the course in a manner no one has before due to his massive drives.

The betting sites follow him with Johnson, Rahm, Justin Thomas, and McIlroy. Here’s what some were offering on the top five as of Tuesday morning:

GolferFanDuelDraftKingsFOX BetCaesarsBetRivers
Bryson DeChambeau+800+750+900+900+700
Dustin Johnson+850+900+1000+1000+800
Jon Rahm+1000+1050+1100+1000+1000
Justin Thomas+1200+1300+1300+1300+1200
Rory McIlroy+1300+1400+1400+1200+1300

While there are cases to be made for any of those favorites to win, the same is true of other strong contenders offering a better payout. They may just lack either the same longtime track record, name recognition, or string of strong recent performances since PGA golf resumed in June.

Among those would be perennially consistent Xander Schauffele (best price +1600 at FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars); strong majors performer Brooks Koepka (+1800 FanDuel, FOX Bet); recent Zozo Championship winner Patrick Cantlay (+3000 Caesars); and Tyrrell Hatton, who has been outstanding in European events (+3500 Caesars).

Or someone unexpected like 2016 winner Danny Willett (generally 50/1 pre-tournament that year, while Jason Day was the favorite at 13/2) could emerge. As examples of 50/1 longshots this year, sites using Kambi odds, such as BetRivers and Unibet, offer that on Tommy Fleetwood and Scottie Scheffler.

No need to focus bet on the winner

The way things go on the PGA Tour — where the term “any given Sunday” might be even more apt than for the NFL — picking a winner pre-tournament can seem like blindly throwing darts. To compensate for that, the betting sites offer wide-ranging additional options.

For one, you can bet anyone to finish top 5, 10, or 20 instead of as a winner.

So for a top 10 finish, DeChambeau becomes -105 with FanDuel and even money with other sites. Johnson becomes +110 with everyone, and Rahm goes as high as +125 with DraftKings and other Kambi-backed sites (BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, Unibet, Barstool, Parx).

The sportsbooks also pit the players in made-for-betting competitions with one another, either head-to-head or in a group.

In a five-way competition for who will finish best, the Kambi sites have Johnson ahead at +270, DeChambeau +275, Rahm +350, and McIlroy and Thomas both +450.

Head to head, there are dozens of matches to choose from on different sites. FanDuel has Rahm -122 vs. DeChambeau +100. DraftKings offers DeChambeau -139 vs. McIlroy +110. FOX Bet has Rahm -125 vs. Thomas +105.

And then there are make-or-miss-the-cut betting options that bring into play a lot of familiar names and fan favorites who, for various reasons — be it age or recent performance — no longer are deemed among top contenders to win.

You want to bet against Phil Mickelson making the cut, which consists of the 50 low scorers after two rounds? That’s +132 from FanDuel and +138 from DraftKings.

Think Jordan Spieth can take the weekend off to watch football? FanDuel has him +170 to miss the cut, and DraftKings has +163.

The promos and props are rampant

As always, it’s worth checking what individual sites are offering as special promotions, betting “boosts,” and prop bets that no one else has.

FOX Bet, for instance, advertises a “super boost” that pays off (or loses) quickly: At even money, you can bet that Tiger’s first tee shot will end up in the fairway. (There’s no “no” option though.)

FanDuel’s super boost says you can bet a top 5 finish for Koepka at +420 instead of standard odds of +330.

DraftKings has a boost that lets you get its sponsored player DeChambeau as the tournament winner at +900, and it pumps Johnson up to +1050.

FanDuel has a wide range of props such as best finish among former winners (Patrick Reed is its favorite at +300); top “debutant,” or Masters first-timer (Collin Morikawa +470); top lefty (Bubba Watson -210); and top senior, meaning 50 or older (Mickelson, -155).

DraftKings lets you bet on whether there will be a hole-in one (yes -175, no +130) and offers 20/1 odds on whether anyone will shoot 62 or lower in any round to set a new course record.

As for the tournament score, FOX Bet provides a chance to make Sunday interesting no matter who you placed a bet on: It offers -133 on the winning score to be -12 or better, and +100 on -11 or worse.

Woods’ winning score last year: -13.

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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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