The best golfers in the world are at Augusta National for the second time in the past five months – and while it was nice to have a little November majors action, it’s great to see the Masters back where it belongs in the early days of spring.
As with most golf events, much of the public money will be funneled into outright plays; here are the oddsmakers’ favorites for the first major of the 2021 calendar year:
But we’re not here for those stuffy old outright bets, are we? NO! We’re here to have a little fun with the hundreds of prop plays available across a multitude of sportsbooks. So without further delay, here are 10 of my favorite plays for one of golf’s toughest tests:
Will There Be a Hole-in-One? (Yes: -175, No: +130 on William Hill)
The Masters has seen a total of 31 aces in tournament history, not including Jon Rahm’s skip-across-the-water hole-in-one from last year’s practice round that honestly has to be considered one of the greatest feats in human history. Oddsmakers like the chances of the 2021 tournament producing at least one ace, though it’s noteworthy that there wasn’t a single hole-in-one at the event last November. At least, not one that counted on a tournament scorecard.
Will Dustin Johnson Record an Eagle in Round 1? (Yes: +400 on BetMGM)
There will be all sorts of DJ wagers this weekend after he obliterated the field en route to a 20-under score last November – but this one takes stones. Eagles are difficult to come by on any course, let alone one of the most challenging setups on the planet. Still, Johnson ranks seventh on the PGA Tour this year in holes per eagle (84.0), recorded two eagles in last year’s tournament win and famously set a Masters record with three eagles in one round in 2015. He’s the man for this prop.
Patrick Cantlay First-Round Score (69 or Better +148, 70 or Worse -192 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
It takes a special kind of PGA Tour player to arrive at a tournament and consistently get off to a great start. And Cantlay is one of the best in the world at doing just that so far in 2021, ranking No. 1 on tour in first-round scoring average (68.10). And granted, his best opening round at the Masters is a 70 (which he posted last year en route to a 17th-place finish), but if anyone can hang a low score on Day 1, it’s this guy.
Who Will Be the Low Englishman? (Paul Casey +350, Matthew Fitzpatrick +400 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Of all the nationality props bettors will be treated to this weekend, the battle for No. 1 in England is expected to be the most heated. In addition to favorites Casey and Fitzpatrick, we have Tyrrell Hatton at +450, Lee Westwood at +500 and Tommy Fleetwood at +550. How do you choose? My pick of this group is Hatton, who has traditionally had all sorts of problems at Augusta National but has the solid iron game and strong putting profile needed to succeed.
Who Will Be the Top Lefty? (Bubba Watson +190, Brian Harman +200 on William Hill)
I’m calling this the Ned Flanders Special – and it’s a two-man race between Watson, who won this event in 2012 and 2014, and Harman, who has a CUT and a 44th-place finish in his two trips to Augusta. And no, we didn’t forget about the most famous Lefty in golf. Phil Mickelson, he with 15 top-10 results at Augusta to his name, is a +350 option as the low lefty and should garner plenty of interest here despite his recent struggles.
Who Will Be the Top Senior? (Phil Mickelson -125 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
Now here’s a prop that Mickelson should win rather handily. Fans and bettors alike might be inclined to think that Phil is dusted, but he posted a T18 at this very tournament in 2019 and knows the course better than anyone in the field. As a new member of the Senior circuit, he also has the advantage of fresh legs over some of the other top contenders, a list that includes Bernhard Langer (+470), Fred Couples (+550) and Vijay Singh (+1000).
Will Jon Rahm Make the Cut? (Yes -1000, No +500 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
This is notable for two reasons. Not only is Rahm one of the tournament favorites (as seen above in our magnificent outright leaders chart), he also has the longest active streak of consecutive made cuts on the PGA Tour at 20. In fact, only one other player (Joaquin Niemann) is within five of that streak. If you’re looking for an easy way to turn a $100 bet into $10 in mouth-watering profit, taking Rahm to make it to the weekend seems like a safe play.
Dustin Johnson or Bryson DeChambeau to Win (+450 at William Hill)
This prop is a great example of betting juice at work. William Hill allows bettors to build their own wagers – and on the surface, this looks like a clever one, with a DJ or DeChambeau win turning a $100 wager into $450 in profit. The only problem is, you could just bet $50 on Johnson outright at +900 (to win the same $450) and DeChambeau outright at +1100 (to win $550) and come away with either the same or more profit if one of them finishes as the tournament champion. You see? It’s juiced!
Who Will Be the Top Debutant? (Will Zalatoris +110, Carlos Ortiz +220 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Debutant sounds quite aristocratic for a PGA betting article, but it actually refers to any player making his tournament debut. And there’s plenty of rookie talent in the 2021 edition of the Masters, led by Zalatoris (who has five top-10 results in 14 tournaments this season). It’s really a three-golfer race, with Zalatoris and Ortiz joined by Robert Macintyre (+290); of the three, Zalatoris is the one to watch given the consistency he has shown in his first year on tour.
Straight Forecast: Johnson-DeChambeau (+13000 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Now this is the Johnson-DeChambeau double dip you want. And the payout is a doozy – if, of course, the American duo happens to finish 1-2 at the Masters. The straight forecast offers a parlay-like monster payout if you can connect, so expect to see plenty of betting interest here. Other forecasts of note: Rahm-Johnson (+14000), Dechambeau-Spieth (+16000), McIlroy-Thomas (+27000) and Koepka-Cantlay (+62500).
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