2020 Masters Betting Notebook: Even in Down Year, Tiger Woods Remains Popular as Ever at the Betting Window
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Tiger Woods
The Masters is always one of the preeminent betting events on the calendar, but this year’s unprecedented trip to Augusta National feels like it is carrying even more weight.
With legalized sports gambling becoming more and more mainstream, it’s a safe bet that bookmakers around the world will report some record-setting numbers on the other side of Sunday afternoon.
So how is this influx of money shaping the Masters betting market? Let’s take a look:
There aren’t very many people picking Tiger Woods to defend his Masters title, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t betting the Big Cat — especially since he’s being offered at +4500.
“Tiger Woods winning would be the worst result for the sportsbook,” Stephen Miraglia, the director of communications at DraftKings said. “But it would be a glorious day for the bettors.”
Woods has looked off the mark since the PGA TOUR resumed play and has not come close to contending in any of the six events he’s played in since July. But Tiger is an outlier and you better believe that the 45/1 odds on Woods is enticing plenty of casual bettors to jump all over the defending champ.
As expected the other stars at the top of the oddsboard are getting a ton of support from bettors. According to the folks at DK, outright bets on Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm make up 50% of their total handle in that market.
Of the seven players listed under 20/1, only Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy don’t appear on DK’s 10 most popular outright bets.
People love to bet Bubba Watson at the Masters. Watson is one of golf’s most notorious “course horse” and he’s got two Green Jackets in his closet, so he’ll always get play at Augusta. A third Watson win would presumably be bad news for sportsbooks as he’s the ninth-most popular outright bet and is a popular play in top-5/10/20 markets, as well.
I was surprised that Tony Finau (+3300) didn’t make the top-10 list from DraftKings, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a popular bet in other markets. Not only will Finau be, one of, if not the most popular play in DFS this week, he is also the most popular top-20 bet at DraftKings as of Wednesday morning.
Miraglia said that Bubba, Finau, Patrick Cantlay (+2800) and Matthew Wolff (+4500) are all getting betting support in this range.
A more surprising name getting some love? Rickie Fowler at 70/1. Fowler’s been out of form for a while now but his course history sparkles and bettors have noticed.
Are all longshots also sleepers?
Every golf tournament we publish a piece with our favorite longshot bet for the upcoming tournament. We sometimes refer to these players as sleepers, but perhaps not all longshots can be considered dark horses.
Take Sebastian Munoz for example. The 27-year-old won’t pop up on most casual bettors’ radar, but if you’ve been paying attention over the past few months you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Munoz is a popular longshot bet this week. In fact, only Finau makes up a higher percentage of DK’s handle in the top-20 market than Munoz.
Betting and daily fantasy markets in golf are highly correlated, so it isn’t a surprise to see Munoz as the most popular play under $7,000 on DraftKings DFS this week, just ahead of Corey Conners, Lanto Griffin and Si Woo Kim. All four of Munoz, Conners, Griffin and Kim can be thrown into the “longshot-but-not-a-sleeper” bucket along with Cameron Smith.
Speaking of Kim, he has also taken some money in the betting markets. Like Munoz, the South Korean is a 200/1 longshot to win, but he’s the 11th-most popular top-5 bet, in terms of handle, at DraftKings this week.
It’s weird to call Justin Rose a longshot, but he’s +8000 at the time of writing so I’m not sure what else you’d label him. Rose’s form has been a dog’s breakfast over the past year, but the former World No. 1 was +1200 to win the Green Jacket in 2019 and has really only had one bad performance at Augusta in his career.
Of course it came last year, so that’s probably weighing on the mind of Joe Bettor. Don’t let that blip distract you from the fact that Rose has finished inside the top-20 in eight of his past 10 starts at Augusta and has only finished worse than 25th three times in 14 tries.
According to Miraglia, there is one longshot that the sportsbook can’t have win — none other than Phil Mickelson.
“Phil always draws a crowd,” Miraglia said. “And at 125-1, the bettors believe it’s worth the shot.”
Nobody Is Talking About…
Because it is part of my job to listen/consume golf content from all corners of the gamble-sphere, I’ve basically heard someone say something about every player on the board at this point in the week. That said, one exercise I like to do on Wednesdays with fellow Action Editor Steve Petrella is to scroll down the odds and pick out a few guys that nobody is really talking about, for one reason or another.
Of the 16 players at +4000 or shorter, it seems like Webb Simpson is getting the least amount of hype. Course fit is such a big deal when betting on the Masters and everyone is obsessing over length this week, so Simpson has fallen by the wayside a bit because he is more plebeian with his driver.
I guess you could also throw Tyrrell Hatton in the same circle as Webb. If this tournament was played in April, Hatton would probably be north of 50/1. Instead, Hatton is holding at +2500 because he morphed into one of the best golfers in the world over the past few weeks.
A few ticks further down the board sits Tommy Fleetwood at +5500. Like Simpson, there are reasons that people are not giving the Merseysider much thought this week. Fleetwood’s form, at least on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, has been skew-whiff this season and we haven’t seem him compete in a strong field since he finished runner-up to Shane Lowry at the 2019 Open Championship.
Speaking of Lowry, he’s on the fringes of the conversation it seems, maybe because he isn’t a householder like the rest of the fellas who played well at the Houston Open. The Irishman finished fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green at Memorial Park and was lurking around the top of the leaderboard all weekend. Lowry is +8000 at DraftKings, for those interested.
Fleetwood and Lowry are both projected for between 5-8% ownership in DFS this weekend.
There was a time a few months ago when Abraham Ancer was on the warpath. He came out of the hiatus white hot, finishing 14-2-11-58-15 in his first five starts off the pause. The results did begin to come back down to earth for Ancer over the next few months but he never really went off the rails.
A lot of handicappers and sharp DFS players are weighing recent form and history this week so Ancer has largely gone unnoticed, but as a triple-digit longshot he’s definitely worth a hard think.
Who really knows what to make of Francesco Molinari’s chances this weekend. The Italian’s squandering of a two-stroke lead in the final round of the 2019 Masters opened the door for one of the most dramatic finishes to a golf tournament ever, but it also seemed to cause Molinari to stumble through the rest of 2019 and the early part of 2020.
Molinari then took an extended break from golf after the hiatus and has played two events, to mixed results, since March. That said, Molinari did finish T15 in Houston thanks to a terrific final round that saw him gain 2.58 strokes with his approach. Not too shabby.
Molinari is projected for 5-8% ownership in DFS, despite being priced at just $6,700.