The Masters - Best Bets
April 10, 2013
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The Best Bets at The Masters This Weekend
Once again, the world of golf belongs to Tiger Woods and he’s the front runner in CarbonSports’ odds to win The Masters at +300 this weekend. It’s no surprise that Woods is at the top of the leaderboard because he’s always hanging around there. The staggering detail is how far ahead he is of everyone else.
Rory McIlroy is +1200 to win the Masters while Phil Mickelson is the third favorite at +1500. It’s almost mind boggling that Tiger is ahead of these guys by multiples of four and five, but that’s just the kind of effect he has on the betting public. There’s an undeniable bandwagon that fills up behind Tiger whenever he’s dominant, and he has been on a tear this year winning the Farmers Insurance Open, the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Woods is a very good bet considering his ferocious performances, but he’s almost always performed well at the Masters. He has four wins at the Masters and a totally of ten top-5 finishes over the past 18 years. It’s easy to point to the fact that he hasn’t claimed the green jacket since 2005, but he’s been perilously close to fifth-peating up until his 40th placing at Augusta last year. Prior to that, Woods had finished no lower than sixth at the Masters.
You’ll devour a ton of news about Woods leading up to this weekend, so all I’ll say about him here is that his +300 odds are not a bad bet. They’re not a great value, but when you’re glossing over the odds to win the Masters, Tiger deserves your consideration.
It’s obvious that the reigning FedEx Champion Rory McIlroy has some tempting talent, but the Masters has never ever been kind to him. Since he first entered this tournament in 2009, McIlroy has finished 20th, cut, 15th and 40th in that order. He is still a young force of nature, so his time will come but I’d be wary of backing his 12-to-1 number when betting the odds to win the Masters.
In reality you have to pick between one favorite and then spread the money out over a few longshots. If you’re a fan of Rory, Tiger and Phil then you’re already going to be backing one of the three. As usual, they all have reasonable value though I’m not as sold on Rory just yet.
It’s unfair to start with any longshot on the board without first talking about 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson, who blew up the internet with his golf hovercart concept. Since winning the Masters last year, Watson was cut from the U.S. Open, 23rd at the Open and 11th at the PGA Championship. Watson has been a fixture on the tour for years, but his +4000 odds aren’t worth backing for the simple reason that the 34-year old American has just four tournament wins in his career.
Charl Schwartzel, who won the tournament in 2011, returns to the fray as a modest +2500 play. Schwartzel is an interesting talent, but hasn’t played with the same consistency state side that he does on the European and Asian tours. The 2009 Masters Champion, Angel Cabrera, is a longer shot to return to the sleeves of the green jacket at +7500.
My problem with backing any of the recent, returning champions is that their Masters victories seemed like anomalies and that’s ultimately the fun part about the majors – there’s always a diamond lurking in the rough.
Justin Rose seems like one of those guys that ends up on the fringe, or buried down the leaderboard. In 2012, Rose finished 8th overall and was also 3rd at the PGA Championship. He has a knack for showing up at these tournaments, but also has a nasty habit of wilting in the face of pressure. It’s hard to take his +2500 odds to win the Masters with any kind of confidence.
It’s almost unconscionable that I’ve written this much about the 2013 Masters odds without discussing Lee Westwood, who was the leader after the first day of play last year. While he didn’t exactly flame out, he had trouble maintaining pace with the other leaders and ended up 3rd. Westwood is a very strong play at the Masters after his strong play last year, but he hasn’t exactly been a presence so far on the PGA tour. He is one of the many contenders at +2500 who is worth thinking about.
For whatever it’s worth to you, Fred Couples is a charming +15000 to win the tournament while fellow tour stalwart Ernie Els is +12500. Jim Fury is a moderately reasonable +6000 if you love wonky swings, while up and coming Rickie Fowler is +6000 to turn his career around at the Masters.
For me, the best longshot on the board might by Dustin Johnson at +3500. He won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, though that event was shortened due to bad weather. Johnson is just 28 years old and while he hasn’t played well at the Masters, he is off to a good start in 2013 and finished ninth at last year’s Open Championship.
There’s a lot of worthy plays on the board, and the best strategy will include three plays that include at least one longshot nobody sees coming. For me, I still think Tiger is ready to return to form so I’m stocking a heavy play for him to come through as the 3-to-1 favorite. Behind him I like Dustin Johnson at +3500 in a hedge play, while Luke Donald at +4000 will get another flier bet from me.
As always, eyes will be on Tiger Woods, Lefty and Rory but if history has proven anything, the Masters is anyone’s to win. Spreading your money around safely this weekend in CarbonSports’ great golf props and futures may be the difference between walking away a winner yourself this weekend.