2019 Masters Expert Picks: Our Staff’s 8 Favorite Bets for Augusta
Rob Schumacher, USA Today Sports.
- The 2019 Masters begins on Thursday, April 11 at Augusta National Golf Course.
- Her are our golf experts' eight favorite plays for this weekend's action.
The quest for the Green Jacket is upon us.
The 2019 Masters begins on Thursday (8:30 a.m. ET) with 87 golfers vying for the most important piece of laundry in sports.
While the best golfers in the world are competing to become the next king of Augusta National, golf bettors are gearing up for their favorite weekend on the calendar.
There are so many ways to speculate on the Masters, and here are our golf gurus’ favorite tournament bets:
Bet: Viktor Hovland to be Top Amateur (+200)
Sure, he owns the lowest odds of the half-dozen ams, but there’s a reason for that: He’s really, really good.
A junior at Oklahoma State, Hovland is currently the world’s third-ranked amateur player. He won last year’s U.S. Amateur, won a collegiate event two months ago and was T-40 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
More importantly, though, if you’re placing a bet on him: There’s not as much competition as usual.
Takumi Kanaya, the Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, is ranked seventh in the world. Alvaro Ortiz, brother of PGA Tour member Carlos, intrigues me a bit.
Really, though, this category should be all Hovland.
Don’t be surprised if he’s the lone amateur to make the cut, meaning you get to casually count your winnings on Friday evening.
Bet: Matt Kuchar Top 20 +125
Kuchar should never be plus money to finish in the top 20 of any golf tournament.
The Masters is no exception. In fact, he’s been inside the top 10 in 4 of his last 7 starts at Augusta and is in the middle of a great stretch of form.
Getting inside the top 20 isn’t asking much here given where his game is at combined with his Masters history.
Bet: Charles Howell III (-180) over Danny Willett
I already spoke about this on the podcast, but Charles Howell III continues to be a money making machine for gamblers. The fact that he is matched up with Danny Willett(although expensive) is a great time to cash in. Willett has exactly 0 top 20 finishes on Tour this year while Howell III has finished inside the top 20 8 times in 13 events. Nothing is a sure thing, but this is about as good as it gets.
Bet: John Rahm +100 over Tiger Woods
This was easily my favorite bet of the week when it was available Monday night. Rahm has moved to -140 in this matchup in most books but if you shop you can still find close to -120. Everyone loves to bet on Tiger and I believe there is an edge in shorting him. Rahm is coming in with strong current form and has the game to win at Augusta.
DFS: Hideki Matsuyama Draftkings $8700
If you strictly compare matchup prices to Draftkings prices Matsuyama might be the best buy on the board.
- Matsuyama ($8700) -180 vs Molinari ($8600)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -150 vs Watson ($8800)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -130 vs Casey ($9000)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -142 vs Finau ($8200)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -151 vs Mickelson ($8300)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -165 vs Schauffele ($8500)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -154 vs Scott ($8400)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -170 vs Leishman ($7800)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -175 vs Reed ($8100)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -190 vs Garcia ($7700)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -158 vs Kuchar ($7900)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -148 vs Dechambeau ($9300)
- Matsuyama ($8700) -103 vs Day ($9100)
Bet: Hideki Matsuyama (-130) and Tommy Fleetwood (-105) Top 20
It’s the Masters, so let’s go with a 2-for-1 special.
Matsuyama is perhaps the best value in the betting and DFS markets this week. He has the perfect game for Augusta: His distance and ball-striking are incredibly elite, and he hits it high into greens, which is needed at this course.
He’s been in the top 20 in each of his last four trips to Augusta, and he’s been inside the top 20 in each of his last six tournaments overall, including at a tough Players field.
Fleetwood is also an intriguing bet at -105. He missed the cut in his first appearance two years ago, which is understandable; Augusta is a unique course, and it often takes at least a tournament to get used to it.
Last year, though, he finished 17th. Further, he’s really hot right now, placing in the top five in his last two tournaments, including the Players. He literally has the best Long-Term GIR mark in this loaded field. It’s hard to see him busting.
Bet: Hideki Matsuyama over Jason Day (+105)
Matsuyama vs. Day is basically an elite ball-striker and a bad putter against an average ball-striker and an elite putter.
Overall, Hideki and Day have comparable long-term metrics, but Hideki has a slight edge in recent form.
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: 67.5 vs. 68.4
- Adjusted Strokes on par 4s: -2.0 vs. +2.0
- Adjusted Strokes on par 5s: -6.5 vs. -5.0
- Birdies per tournament: 16.5 vs. 13.0
I much prefer Deki as an underdog, especially since he doesn’t rely on his short game as much as Day does.
Over their past 50 rounds, Deki ranks first in Strokes Gained: Approach, second in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, compared to 47th, 40th and 30th for Day. While those numbers for Day aren’t awful, if his short game or putting is off, he could struggle to keep up with Deki.
Day knows Augusta well, as he’s finished 28th or better in his past six appearances, but he has just two top-10 finishes since 2013. Deki finished 19th last year (20th for Day) and 11th, seventh and fifth in the years before that.
Additionally, Deki could be entering the Masters in the best form he’s ever been in. He has yet to lose strokes on approach, tee-to-green or off-the-tee in a 2019 tournament.
Let’s just hope his putter shows up. I’d bet this down to -110.