2022 Masters Odds & First-Round Leader Picks: Target These 3 To Thrive on Thursday
Chuck Burton/Getty Images. Pictured: Tommy Fleetwood.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Masters odds via PointsBet
2022 Masters Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+10000|
|Harold Varner III||+15000|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+20000|
|Min Woo Lee||+30000|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||+100000|
With some rain expected at Augusta National this week, conventional wisdom may indicate it would be smart to play golfers with early tee times for first round leader this week, as they can take advantage of the soft conditions.
While there may be some merit to that, historically the Masters has produced a majority of first-round leaders from the afternoon wave. This leads me to approach the first-round leader market with a balanced approach, taking players from both the morning and afternoon waves.
It’s always good for a golfer you’ve bet in the outright market to get off to a hot start, but history has shown that the first-round leader rarely goes on to actually win the tournament. Since 1980, only Seve Ballesteros (1980), Ben Crenshaw (1984), Trevor Immelman (2008) and Jordan Spieth (2015), and Dustin Johnson (2020), who shared the lead with Dylan Frittelli and Paul Casey have been first-round leaders and put on the green jacket early Sunday evening.
This falls in line with my typical first-round leader strategy, as I usually back players that I think have a great chance to play well but may not have what it takes to get it done down the stretch on championship Sunday.
2022 Masters First-Round Leader Picks
Matt Fitzpatrick (+4500), First-Round Tee Time: 2:03 pm ET
“Fitz” comes into the week playing some of the best PGA TOUR golf of his career. He’s been remarkably consistent in 2022 with four top ten finishes in his past five stroke play starts. He also was very impressive in the match play event and unfortunately ran into a red hot Scottie Scheffler. He has some solid course history at The Masters and has made six consecutive cuts here including a 7th place finish as a 21-year-old.
In his past 24 rounds, Fitzpatrick ranks first in the field in par-5 scoring. With the four par 5s ranking as four easiest holes on the course, he should be able to make some birdies and potentially an eagle on them.
The Englishman has three rounds at Augusta National below 70, so I suspect he is capable of a low one on Thursday.
Tommy Fleetwood (+5000), 10:12 am ET
Fleetwood arrives at Augusta National quietly playing some of his best golf in some time. In his past three starts, the Englishman has had finishes of 20th, 22nd and 16th. He also had a solid showing at the WGC-Dell Match Play and was the only player to beat Scottie Scheffler.
Fleetwood has also had some very encouraging starts at The Masters. In his past four starts, he boasts two top-20 finishes. This season, Fleetwood ranks ninth in the field in first-round scoring average and is typically a fast starter.
It will likely take at least a 66 to grab the first-round lead this year and Tommy has proven to be capable of that score as he shot a 66 at Augusta National in round three of 2018.
Joaquin Niemann (+5500), 10:34 am ET
There are a great deal of factors that point to “The Wonder Kid” having an excellent week at the Masters this week. One of the more notable reasons is his success at Riviera Country Club, where he won just a few months ago. Plenty of golfers have had success at Riviera as well as Masters and there seems to be a strong correlation between the two. Nineteen golfers have won at both Riviera and Augusta National.
Niemann hits the ball long and straight off the tee, and his distance will prove to be a major advantage, especially this year when the course will likely be playing even longer than usual with the changes to holes 11 and 15.
His win at The Genesis Invitational was probably the most impressive victory for any player this season considering the strength of the field and his relative inexperience, so he should be brimming with confidence. The only concern for Niemann is how he will react to playing his first round with Tiger Woods and the pressure that undeniably will accompany that.