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2020 Masters Betting Preview: Key Stats for This Week’s Tournament at Augusta National

2020 Masters Betting Preview: Key Stats for This Week’s Tournament at Augusta National article feature image

Peter Dazeley. Pictured: Masters golf ball at Augusta National.

After a long 17 months of waiting for The Masters, we’ve finally arrived at the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.

The Masters will be a bit different this year. The lack of fans and fall aesthetics may create a different viewing experience than we’re used to. The temperature appears to be warmer than Georgia’s average November this year, and all indications point to the course playing very similar to how it plays in April. As usual, the course will play longer than its scorecard indicates due to lack of run out in the fairway.

Augusta National is a 7,425-yard Par 72 with lightning fast bentgrass greens. The course’s defenses are the incredibly fast and undulating greens, swirling winds, uneven lies in the fairway, and small landing areas to get on the right level of the green.

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Past Winners at the Masters 

  • 2019: Tiger Woods (-13)
  • 2018: Patrick Reed (-15)
  • 2017: Sergio Garcia (-9)
  • 2016: Danny Willett (-5)
  • 2015: Jordan Spieth (-18)
  • 2014: Bubba Watson (-8)
  • 2013: Adam Scott (-9)
  • 2012: Bubba Watson (-10)
  • 2011: Charl Schwartzel (-14)
  • 2010: Phil Mickelson (-16)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Augusta National to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

Approach will always be the most important statistic at Augusta National. The sloping, speedy greens and run-off areas create very small landing spots that will give a golfer a chance at birdie. In the past five years, the golfers who led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach for the week finished first, first, second, third, and first.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Dustin Johnson (+30.9)(+1200, $10 bet wins $120)
  2. Brooks Koepka (+21.1) (+2000)
  3. Zach Johnson (+18.3) (+10000)
  4. Bubba Watson (+17.8) (+2800)
  5. Sungjae Im (+17.6)(+6600)

Strokes Gained: Short Game

Golfers with a solid short game tend to fare well at Augusta National. The run-off areas are treacherous, and players will often be scrambling to get up and down. A big reason Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, and Phil Mickelson have found great success at Augusta is because of their stellar short game. If players can’t get up and down for par around the green at Augusta, they simply can’t win.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Charles Howell III (+30.7) (+25000)
  2. Xander Schauffele (+30.3) (+1400) 
  3. Jason Kokrak (+26.6) (+10000)
  4. Webb Simpson (+26.2) (+2800)
  5. Dustin Johnson (+25.4) (+1200)

Strokes Gained Putting: Bentgrass/Lightning

Augusta National has lightning fast greens. The USGA calculates that on average, they’re the fastest greens in the country. Lag putting will be extremely important, as three-putts are pretty common at Augusta when golfers are far from the target.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Si Woo Kim (+19.6) (+15000)
  2. Marc Leishman (+19.5) (+15000)
  3. Jason Day (+17.1) (+5000)
  4. Bryson DeChambeau (+16.3) (+800)
  5. Brandt Snedeker (+15.9) (+15000)

Course History

More so than any other course on TOUR, knowing your way around Augusta National is crucial. Only one player has ever won the Masters on their first try — Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. There are 17 golfers in history who have multiple green jackets. In most cases, the Masters champion has shown some good form at Augusta in the past.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds (per round, minimum of 8 rounds):

  1. Jordan Spieth (+2.9) (+4000)
  2. Tiger Woods (+2.4) (+3000)
  3. Tony Finau (+2.4) (+2500)
  4. Jon Rahm (+2.1) (+900)
  5. Phil Mickelson (+2.1) (+6600)

Strokes Gained: Par 5

For many, the recipe to win at Augusta begins with the par 5 scoring. Taking advantage of those four holes, while making pars on some difficult par 4s, can certainly create a winning formula. Zach Johnson famously won the Masters in 2007 while laying up on every par 5 in all four rounds. I wouldn’t anticipate that happening this year.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Bubba Watson (+15.6) (+2800)
  2. Patrick Reed (+15.5) (+2800)
  3. Dustin Johnson (+14.9) (+1200)
  4. Jon Rahm(+14.5) (+900)
  5. Tony Finau (+14.5) (+2500)
Tony Finau ranks fifth in driving distance over his last 36 rounds. Credit: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

Driving Distance

I am adding a sixth category this week and using a small amount of driving distance in the model. While not necessarily a requirement to win at Augusta, driving distance will certainly help, particularly if the course is softer in the fall edition of the Masters.

Total strokes gained in category in past 36 rounds (per drive):

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+2.3) (+800)
  2. Cameron Champ (+1.9) (+10000)
  3. Rory McIlory (+1.7) (+1200)
  4. Matthew Wolff (+1.6) (+3300)
  5. Tony Finau (+1.5) (+2500)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the six key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (27.8%); SG: Putting Bentgrass/Lightning (18%); SG: Par 5 (16%); Course History (16%); SG:Short game (14%); and Driving Distance (8.1%).

  1. Jon Rahm (+800)
  2. Dustin Johnson (+1200)
  3. Tony Finau (+3300)
  4. Patrick Reed (+2800)
  5. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  6. Louis Oosthuizen (+5000)
  7. Matthew Wolff (+3300)
  8. Xander Schauffele (+1400)
  9. Si Woo Kim (+15000)
  10. Bubba Watson(+2800)
  11. Brooks Koepka (+2000)
  12. Bryson DeChambeau (+800)
  13. Kevin Kisner (+10000)
  14. Justin Rose (+5000)
  15. Jason Kokrak (+10000)

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