2020 Masters Odds, Preview and Picks: Bet Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth as First-Round Leaders
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Phil Mickelson
- After a long layoff since last year's tournament, the Masters are finally here.
- One of the most underrated bets in sports — golf's first-round leader — is up in the air as Thursday approaches.
- Our golf experts break down who they think could make a run to the top of the leaderboard on Day 1.
The first-round leader (FRL) sweat may be the best kept secret in sports betting.
When else can you cash a 100-1 longshot in just a few hours? Or have that longshot ripped away from you when Bryson DeChambeau or Justin Thomas storms up the leaderboard on Thursday afternoon? Usually you need to wait months for that kind of ecstasy/anguish. But not if you bet FRLs.
Nope, with FRLs you get to experience all the highs and lows of a season-long future in one day. It’s like if MACtion, Darts and the Kentucky Derby had a baby.
Of course it is very hard to win a FRL bet. But that’s not really the point and if you’re not OK with losing way, way more often than you win (seriously, these bets will break your heart into smithereens), perhaps grinding through an NFL Sunday is more your speed.
But if you’re about that action, we’ve got a few players that could provide one hell of a ride at Augusta National on Thursday.
Jordan Spieth (+5000)
Yes … seriously. I’m a big believer in horses for courses, but I’m an even bigger believer in thoroughbreds for a course called Augusta National, where certain players have been known to get their groove back as soon as they make that right-hand turn onto Magnolia Lane.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t think Spieth can win this week. I don’t even think he’s going to contend. I do, however, know that he’s been FRL at this tournament in three of the last five years – he shot a Thursday 64 in 2015, 66 in 2016 and another 66 in 2018. That’s not a coincidence. Even though Spieth is far from playing his best golf right now – and even though he hasn’t broken 70 in five opening rounds this season and hasn’t bested 73 in four of those – he’s shown some glimmers of hope.
I wouldn’t exactly bet the house on him posting the low score in the opener this week, but at his current inflated price, I at least think there’s a chance it could happen.
Phil Mickelson (+6600)
You want a headline? How about Phil Mickelson leading after Round 1 of the 2020 Masters? It sounds crazy ,but look at his results for the last three Thursday rounds at Augusta National:
- 2019: -5, 2nd Place
- 2018: -2, T11
- 2017: -1, T4
We know Lefty loves this place and it’s clear he consistently comes out playing well on this course. We also know he will take plenty of chances hitting bombs and flop shots all over the grounds, which could certainly all come together over 18 holes and my goodness, what a story it would be.
Hideki Matsuyama (+3300)
It seemed like Hideki found something with his irons in Houston last week where he gained 3.4 strokes on approach in the fourth round alone. When targeting first-round leader bets you want to look for golfers who can get hot and go low; and that’s what Matsuyama does.
Deki has made seven cuts in his past eight starts at Augusta including a fifth, seventh and eleventh in consecutive years from 2015-2017. One of the better iron players on TOUR, the Japanese star has the right type of game to compete at The Masters.
While I believe he can win this week, his track record suggests he has a better shot to lead after the first round than the last.
First-Round Leader Odds
|Byeong Hun An||+6600|
|Si Woo Kim||+8000|
|Erik van Rooyen||+8000|
|Charles Howell III||+9000|
|Jose Maria Olazábal||+35000|