2021 Masters Best Bets, Picks For Round 3: Buy Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa on Moving Day
It was a new day on Friday at Augusta National as the brutal conditions from Thursday eased, allowing the field to average more than two shots better on Round 2. The biggest factor seemed to be softer more receptive greens in part due to the overcast weather.
The weather and scoring conditions will be an important aspect to track throughout the rest of the weekend as it can determine how players will be able to attack this course.
First round leader Justin Rose didn't appear to notice the easier conditions during his opening nine on Friday as he went out in 3-over, erasing his overnight lead. He was visibly off with his swing to start the day, but to his credit he was able to get all three of those shots back coming in and remains the solo leader through 36 holes.
Many big names go into the chase with Rose in the second round, perhaps surprisingly led by young star Will Zalatoris. Willy Z built off his opening 2-under round from Thursday by doubling up with a 4-under 68. He will join Rose in the final pairing, but they will have plenty of names to watch looking to chase them down from behind.
Both Jordan Spieth and his buddy Justin Thomas moved up the leaderboard and cut down their deficit to Rose. Spieth will start Moving Day just two shots back, while World No. 2 Thomas is just one shot further behind. They had great rounds on Friday, but they were bested by Tony Finau, who charged his way into contention with a 6-under 66, matching the lowest round of the day with Bernd Wiesberger. Both of those players will tee off on Saturday alongside JT at 4-under on the week.
While there was a lot of good, including the round we have all been waiting for from Bryson DeChambeau, who climbed his way inside the Top 20, there was also plenty of bad. There weren't many who struggled more this week than Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy. They would surprisingly be joined in the missed cut crowd by World No. 1 and defending champion Dustin Johnson, who was plagued by big mistakes in both of his rounds.
As we turn to the weekend and Moving Day, there is some weather in store that could swing this tournament in multiple directions. If it rains, soft greens could create more scoring opportunities and take more of the fire out of this course. However, if they miss the rain and the winds pick up as expected on Saturday afternoon, it could be a wild ride for the final groups.
Either way, we are set for a fantastic weekend of golf and with that comes ample betting opportunity.
Jordan Spieth +430 (FanDuel)
When I dug into the stats following Thursday's round, I thought to myself that if Spieth showed similar tee to green numbers the rest of the week, it would be his tournament to lose. Well, he came out on Friday and matched the 79% of fairways hit and though he didn't match the ridiculous 16 greens in regulation from Thursday, 14 was still well above most of the rest of the field.
I typically don't go for the low odds guy at this stage, but with some unknowns around scoring conditions this weekend, I am going to dip in higher up the board earlier than usual. If you prefer JT here, I get that too, but for me things are aligning for Spieth. The biggest thing that has me sold is despite how well he has played, it really seems like he hasn't put it all together just yet and he's still only two shots short of the lead. He's my pick to win, and I'm jumping in now before its gone.
Collin Morikawa +3300 (FanDuel)
I am going to grab a couple of levels of the leaderboard going into Saturday. If it rains to soften up the course, I think it will be hard for someone more than just a few shots back to jump so many players to win. If the wind kicks up and it's a dry course, I can see a Collin Morikawa or Cameron Smith (+4100) having a chance to erase a five shot deficit and get in contention.
Morikawa was someone I targeted after Thursday's round, but surprisingly his typical world class iron game let him down. The PGA Champion and recent WGC winner was able to find that approach play on Friday, as he hit 72% of the greens. He still has room to improve on those numbers and if he can make a few more putts, he can position himself to contend on Sunday.
Ryan Palmer Top 10 +410 (FanDuel)
This bet jumped out at me as I was looking to evaluate the market for finishing position bets heading to the weekend. Ryan Palmer is being a bit disrespected despite his current spot just two shots from the Top 10.
Many forget that Palmer has a Top 10 at this event from back in 2011, and he is playing some great golf dating back to the Match Play. The Texan fired a 4-under 68 on Friday, as he improved both aspects of his ball striking in the second round. He also has the ability to compete well in either course condition the players may see on Saturday, which is the type of player I am looking for when betting with these unknown factors.