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Masters - Best Bets
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The Masters
Augusta National Golf Club – Par 72 – 7,435 yards

It's Masters week and that means plenty of pageantry and nostalgia in the professional golf world this week as the first Major of 2018 tees off. The nostalgia angle is something guys like Tiger Woods (+1200) and Phil Mickelson (+1800) are hoping to revive this week with Tiger playing very well of late in his return on Tour, and Mickelson coming off a win a few weeks ago in a WGC event.

Those two former Masters champions are part of an 87-man field this year where the majority of the field will see all four rounds of action (Top 50 and/or anyone within 10 strokes of leader). Such a small field becomes even smaller from a handicapping perspective when you get a lot of other former champions taking up a spot in the field without a real shot at winning.

Former champs like Mike Weir, Ian Woosnam, Larry Mize, and Sandy Lyle among others aren't likely to make it all the way, so this field of under 90 players now goes to about 75 with a legit shot at winning. The problem is, those 75 guys are the best in the world with many playing some great golf at the moment.

Finding success at Augusta means you are going to have to do a lot of things well. Knowing the course is one of those things as all the little nuances these grounds have take some time to understand, so staying away from debutants (16 of them) is another strategy that helps limit the field. After that, other key things to do well here if you are looking for success is ball striking, scoring on Par 5's, scrambling well, and knocking down a few putts.

Going through those statistical categories on their own may be something you'll want to do for yourself, but this week I'm backing three guys who have all played Augusta before, rank well in some or all of those key stats, bring some solid form with them, and offer quite a bit of value in price. Let's get right to them:

Odds per -

Golfers to Watch

Jason Day (+1800) – Day is a guy that hasn't dominated the headlines the last month or so given everything else that's gone on on Tour, but he's a guy with plenty of experience at Augusta as he's never finished worse than T28 (2015) at the last seven years. There was a withdrawal back in 2012, but sandwiched around that was a T2 and a 3rd in 2011 2013 respectively, so it's not like the Australian hasn't had success here before. Day knows his way around this track and should be sniffing around the top of the leaderboard by Saturday night.

In regards to current form, Day might not have performed as well as he would have liked in the match play event, but he does have a win, a T2, and a T22 in his three other PGA tournaments this calendar year so current form is there. Day's problems in Majors past when he's been in contention is usually one big mistake (mentally or physically, or both), and if he can avoid that, he might just be the big name that everyone who is forgetting about now can't stop talking about on Sunday evening.

Patrick Reed (+5000) – Reed is a guy that has yet to really experience a great level of success at Augusta in four tries (T22, T49 and two missed cuts), but as one of those guys entering his prime and still looking for his first career Major, there's no place like the Masters to get hot for a few days and get that first Major out of the way. Just ask Sergio Garcia how it feels.

Reed brings a similar skill set in terms of ball striking to Garcia that does set him up well for success at this course if he puts it all together. Reed is 26th on Tour in strokes gained overall this year, and his 5th in strokes gained around the green should come in handy numerous times this week. If he can keep it in the short grass off the tee (96th in strokes gained off the tee) and get his putter going hot like it was a match play or something, Reed could find himself on the short list to get fitted for a new coat on Sunday.

Patrick Cantlay (+8000) – Cantlay is a past golf phenom that had the beginning of his career washed away by back injuries, but the 26 year-old has really rounded into form on Tour the past 12 months. He has not finished outside of a T51 in any of his seven starts on Tour in the 2017-18 season, and that run includes a win, a T4, and a T15 this year.

Cantlay is also a past low amateur winner here from back in 2012 before injuries forced him to take the long road onto the Tour. Seeing the course for the second time six years later isn't ideal, but Cantlay's game has more than enough talent to make up for that this week. He's currently ranked inside the Top 100 in all the respective strokes gained categories, with his play off the tee, tee-to-green, and overall all ranking inside the Top 30 this year. Scrambling and bunker play may be a concern for him if he finds too many trouble spots, but at 80-1 that's more than worth the risk.

Odds to win the Masters - per
Jordan Spieth 10/1
Tiger Woods 10/1
Dustin Johnson 12/1
Justin Thomas 12/1
Rory McIlroy 13/1
Bubba Watson 15/1
Phil Mickelson 15/1
Justin Rose 16/1
Jason Day 22/1
Rickie Fowler 25/1
Paul Casey 28/1
Jon Rahm 30/1
Hideki Matsuyama 35/1
Sergio Garcia 35/1
Alex Noren 40/1
Henrik Stenson 45/1
Matt Kuchar 45/1
Patrick Reed 50/1
Tommy Fleetwood 50/1
Ian Poulter 60/1
Louis Oosthuizen 60/1
Adam Scott 66/1
Bryson DeChambeau 66/1
Marc Leishman 70/1
Thomas Pieters 75/1
Charley Hoffman 80/1
Patrick Cantlay 80/1
Tyrrell Hatton 80/1
Brian Harman 90/1
Xander Schauffele 90/1
Branden Grace 100/1
Daniel Berger 100/1
Kevin Chappell 100/1
Kevin Kisner 100/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 100/1
Tony Finau 100/1
Cameron Smith 125/1
Charl Schwartzel 125/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 125/1
Pat Perez 125/1
Russell Henley 125/1
Ryan Moore 125/1
Zach Johnson 125/1
Adam Hadwin 150/1
Francesco Molinari 150/1
Gary Woodland 150/1
Jimmy Walker 150/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 150/1
Webb Simpson 150/1
Brendan Steele 175/1
Shubhankar Sharma 175/1
Haotong Li 200/1
Jason Dufner 200/1
Kyle Stanley 200/1
Patton Kizzire 200/1
Ross Fisher 200/1
Austin Cook 250/1
Bernd Wiesberger 250/1
Jhonattan Vegas 250/1
Martin Kaymer 250/1
Satoshi Kodaira 250/1
Si Woo Kim 250/1
Billy Horschel 300/1
Angel Cabrera 400/1
Danny Willett 400/1
Fred Couples 400/1
Wesley Bryan 400/1
Ted Potter Jr 500/1
Yusaku Miyazato 500/1
Yuta Ikeda 500/1
Joaquin Niemann 600/1
Bernhard Langer 750/1
Doug Ghim 750/1
Vijay Singh 750/1
Doc Redman 1000/1
Harry Ellis 1000/1

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