2022 Masters Picks, Predictions: Updated Odds & Bets for Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, More
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka.
- Jon Rahm is favored at the 2022 Masters, with Justin Thomas not far behind.
- There are a dozen golfers at 25-1 or lower to win this year's green jacket.
- Jason Sobel previews the Masters and delivers a breakdown of his best bets for the week below.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Masters odds via BetMGM
2022 Masters Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+8000|
|Harold Varner III||+15000|
|Erik van Rooyen||+20000|
|Min Woo Lee||+30000|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||+250000|
AUGUSTA, Ga. — I love those eliminator-style pieces that always pop up around the Internet before each Masters. They’re fun, insightful, informative and thought-provoking, which is a pretty solid base recipe for most written work, especially golf tournament prognostications.
I’ve written some of these myself over the years, but I’ll admit there’s an inherent problem with them from a bettor’s perspective: The facts can be manipulated.
If you want to eliminate anyone with, say, blond locks, because no fair-haired player has won a green jacket in the past two decades, then out goes bleached Brooks Koepka, though that’s hardly a rational explanation for elimination.
Then again, some facts are more factual than others — and we can use them to help our decision-making process.
Like this one: No pre-tournament favorite has won the Masters since Tiger Woods in 2005. (Stay tuned for a column on that dynamic soon.) That’s bad news for Jon Rahm in the sense that it’s apparently difficult to succeed here with that target on your back.
Or this: No player outside of the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking has won since Angel Cabrera in 2009. Essentially, while there’s more parity at the top than ever before, it doesn’t extend beyond a certain floor; the best of the best might take turns claiming this title, but they don’t share with the other guys. There goes past champions such as Adam Scott and Patrick Reed.
There are plenty of others, too.
No first-timer has won since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. (Sorry, Sam Burns.)
Every winner since Scott in 2013 posted at least three top-25s on major tours that year beforehand. Scott only had two. (Down goes Bryson DeChambeau and Louis Oosthuizen.)
The only winners aged 43 or older are named Jack and Tiger. (See ya, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia.)
Does any of this mean these “eliminated” players can’t win this week? Of course not. Games aren’t played on paper and Masters tournaments aren’t played on the Internet.
That doesn’t mean the elimination game can’t be extremely useful, though. Whether you’re playing outrights, props or matchups, picking for an OAD or majors pool, or building a DFS lineup, the process of figuring out the right picks should start by whittling down the options.
With so many proficient, capable superstar players in the field, it can be an intimidating task to simply peruse all of the names and pick a few of ‘em. Using that process of elimination is going to be an important technique this week.
Let’s get right to the picks, starting with a guy who, well, might just buck that non-blond trend.
One player to win the tournament.
Brooks Koepka (+1800)
If you didn’t know anything about Koepka, if you didn’t know anything about the majors and how they’ve played out over much of the past half-decade, this would seem like an overvalued, overinflated play. A player ranked just inside the top-20 of the world ranking who’s positioned right around 10th on the pre-tournament odds board? We’re usually seeking the opposite type of correlation, but as we’ve all found out: Brooks doesn’t fit the usual mold.
The idea of peaking four times per year predates Tiger, but he certainly turned it into a personal war chant. Others have echoed this sentiment, but I’ve asked many of them how they can achieve this ebb and flow, and I have yet to hear a perfect answer. (Jason Day offered my favorite response. Back when he was amongst the world’s best, I asked him this question and he simply threw his hands in the air and shrugged, while shaking his head, searching for the words.)
It’s because of this that I questioned Koepka for so long. Even after his second and third major championship titles, when he’d presumably turn his game on like the flick of a light switch, I didn’t believe it was possible. After all, for as effective as Woods was at the majors, it’s not like he just scuffed his way around places like Torrey Pines and Bay Hill and Muirfield Village.
And yet, here was Koepka, doing exactly that. His initial major victory, at the 2017 U.S. Open, was prefaced by three consecutive non-major results outside the top-30. He posted just a single top-10 in his four starts before each of his 2018 major titles. And while he was solo fourth a week before winning the 2019 PGA Championship, it was the only start he’d made in the five weeks since a runner-up finish at the Masters.
Suffice it to say, I’ve become a Brooks believer; I’ve come around to the idea that when he wants/needs to play his best golf, he’s capable of doing it. That said, I also don’t mind just a bit of form coming into this one, either. He finished T3 in Phoenix, T16 at the Honda, T12 in Tampa and reached the quarterfinals of the WGC-Match Play.
For any other star player, that might equate to a middling trend which could go either way. For Koepka, it means that light switch is already half-flicked, as being healthy and motivated has led to better results entering this one than in most of his previous major wins.
In a field filled with young talents who are largely still unknown commodities on the game’s biggest stage, I’ll go with the guy who’s proven he can raise his game for these moments.
Potential selections for one-and-done options.
Patrick Cantlay (+2500)
If you’d asked me for a favorite play at this event three months ago — and trust me, many of you did — I would’ve picked Cantlay. In fact, if you’d asked me three weeks ago, I was probably still picking him.
Ever since his breakthrough FedEx Cup-winning and Ryder Cup-dominant summer, I’ve had Cantlay earmarked for a green jacket. Don’t get me wrong: He can still do it, he’s just dropped into a close second on my personal ranking. After continuing last year’s hot streak with results of 4th-9th-4th-2nd to start 2022, it was Cantlay — not Scottie Scheffler or Collin Morikawa or anyone else — who seemed primed to be the next player to leapfrog Jon Rahm into that No. 1 world ranking.
Instead, his success curiously started to dry up. He finished T33 at Riviera, a course which should suit his game as much as any on the annual schedule. Even so, that was only slightly worrisome. A few weeks later, on the right side of the draw at THE PLAYERS, he shot 72-77 to miss the cut. Again, that added a bit to the concern, but Cantlay hasn’t played well in his limited Florida-based appearances, so it was hardly reason to jump ship.
Cantlay then failed to advance out of his round-robin group at the WGC-Dell Match Play, playing three matches that included a Goldilocks-like ball-striking performance of one great round, one average round and one very poor round. Yet again, failing to reach the weekend in that format isn’t reason enough to be apprehensive moving forward, but if we add each of his three most recent appearances together, there’s enough connective tissue to at least realize he hasn’t been playing his best golf entering this week.
The good news is that momentum hasn’t much mattered for Cantlay in the past. He’d posted one top-10 in his previous eight starts before winning the Zozo Championship in 2020 and he had three MCs leading into a T23 directly before winning last year’s Memorial Tournament. All of that should leave us breathing easier if selecting him this week.
I’m not nearly as confident in Cantlay as I was earlier in the year, but I still want some major investments in him this week and I’m hoping that recent run of mediocrity will scare off most others in these types of pools.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+5000)
You’d be hard-pressed to find any informed golf observer who would contend that Fitzpatrick has played better golf than anyone else on the planet over the past six months.
Scheffler is the obvious choice here, and there are probably a handful of others who would spring to mind before the Englishman. And yet, the Strokes Gained: Total statistic is a pretty strong barometer of exactly who’s played the best golf. Fitz leads that list, just ahead of heavyweights Cameron Smith, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Jon Rahm.
In his last dozen worldwide starts, Fitzpatrick owns a DP World Tour win, six top-10s and nine top-20s, all of which suggests maybe we should listen to those SG stats a little more.
At Augusta, he’s yet to replicate a T7 in his first pro start back in 2016, but Fitzpatrick seems to have turned a corner and it’s well within reason to expect this week to at least equal that performance.
Billy Horschel (+7000)
Robert Macintyre (+7000)
As I so often write in this weekly section, making OAD selections (or those for majors pools) is as much game theory as anything else. I can guarantee your fellow poolsters are considering the likes of Rahm, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Brooks and all of the other big names this week.
The truth is, there are enough of those big names to go around, meaning that perhaps the perfect combination of these players will result in the weekly win. More often than not, though — especially for those pools where you pick 4-5 guys for every major — it’s going to require an off-the-radar contrarian play to beat the field.
Horschel has never finished better than 17th in seven previous Masters starts, but he’s also never been playing as well as he is right now, ascending to 13th in the world ranking.
Macintyre, on the other hand, has a 12th-place finish to his name, but that’s all, as last year was his first appearance. Do I like each of these guys more than those big names I listed above? No, but I don’t dislike them enough to think they can’t play well. In pools where most selections will look pretty similar, taking a chance can result in some major upside, so don’t be afraid to be a little different.
One player to finish top-five.
Will Zalatoris (+600 for top-five)
It isn’t often that a young player “figures out” Augusta National right away, but I do believe the experience narrative is a bit played out. More pros are winning more often, and at bigger events, than ever before.
In a piece I’ve written for this week, I found that the average age of the world’s top-10 players is nearly a decade younger now than it was a quarter-century ago, when Woods won his first Masters title. Sure, there’s always been a Seve or a Tiger or a Rory who started winning majors at a young age, but now there are more players who are capable of success.
I hesitate to make any comparison to Jordan Spieth, as he’s the current era’s ultimate example of learning this course on the fast track, but holding Zalatoris to that standard isn’t without rationale. He finished runner-up in his first career Masters start last year and now owns three finishes of eighth or better in six major starts. In short, the kid is really, really talented.
Also: The kid isn’t any more of a kid than many of his fellow world-class peers. Whether it’s his baby face or his slim build or the fact that it took him a little bit longer to reach the most elite level, Zalatoris often gets classified as the baby of the 20-something bunch, but the fact is, at 25, he’s the same age as Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, and he’s older than Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland. We wouldn’t cross any of those names off our list because they’re still too green, so we should offer Willy Z. the same treatment.
Then there’s the not-insignificant sense that at the recent WGC-Match Play, he seemed to improve on what’s long been a balky putting stroke. Even if he’s still in the honeymoon phase for those changes, that might be enough to make a massive difference when all he needs is a slight upgrade from last year’s runner-up performance.
One player to finish top-10.
Tony Finau (+500 for top-10)
Those of us who not only watch professional golf on a regular basis, but study it and research it and live it, should own a palpable advantage over the casual observers who will helicopter in for the Masters after failing to pay much attention for the past nine months.
And yet, sometimes knowing too much can be a sin. That could very much be the case here.
If you’ve been following Finau, then you understand that last summer’s promise has turned into this year’s disappointment. His best finish in nine starts is a T19 back at the 38-man Sentry Tournament of Champions opener. Finau hasn’t been terrible, exactly, but he’s yet to show the form which has so often suggested he owns the talent to be one of the world’s best players.
All of which means that ardent followers might just skim past Finau’s name without giving him much thought this week. Makes sense, but that line of thinking might actually work against us.
Casual observers will see his name and think, “Oh, I love that dude. Always plays pretty well at majors. I’ll take him.” That seems too simplistic an approach for those of us who have spent three months examining why he hasn’t played better — and yet, it might prove the optimal strategy.
We might need to forget everything we’ve learned about Finau in the past three months and just say to ourselves, “He’s really good. Take him.” Pro golfers will often speak about the need to think about not overthinking about it, which sounds like some unexplainable riddle, but that’s exactly how we should view this one.
One player to finish top-20.
Russell Henley (+100 for top-20)
At its core, Augusta National is a second-shot golf course. Always has been and — until the day it gets stretched out to 8,000-plus yards, which might not be such a ridiculous notion — always will be.
It’s difficult to suggest that Henley is the game’s preeminent iron player, as any vote on such a title would go to Collin Morikawa or Justin Thomas or Will Zalatoris or, if the voter is feeling extra contrarian and Canadian, Corey Conners.
Statistics don’t vote, though, and the statistics tell us that Henley has been the game’s best iron player. Officially, he leads the PGA TOUR in strokes gained on approach shots this season. Unofficially, he’s probably the player who’s gotten the least out of the most over the past year-and-a-half.
To use an analogy from another sport, Henley is like the MLB starting pitcher who owns a 7-12 win-loss record with a 2.73 ERA. In those circumstances, the number-crunchers will often use the oxymoronic expression “positive regression” to portend future results for such a performer.
I don’t doubt that Henley is ready to enjoy a little positive regression of his own, as those eye-popping ball-striking stats have led to zero missed cuts since last year’s Open Championship, but just three top-10 finishes and a couple of heartbreakers, like the Wyndham Championship, where he led for most of the way, missed a short putt on the final hole, lost by one stroke and still only finished T7 because six other players reached the playoff.
It’s that kind of bad luck in unfortunate moments that has plagued Henley during this stretch, but we should firmly believe that if he continues hitting his irons better than everyone else, it’s going to pay off in dividends. On a second-shot golf course, that could start happening this week.
One player to finish top-30.
Luke List (+170 for top-30)
Three months ago, List finally broke through for his long-awaited first PGA TOUR victory, vanquishing Zalatoris in a playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open. Since then, he admittedly hasn’t come close to playing his best golf, as the results have shown, with nothing better than a T-53 in four stroke-play events before this past weekend’s Valero Texas Open.
Those results might not tell the entire story, though, as List remains seventh in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 24th in Strokes Gained: Approach, leading to a No. 3 ranking in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
The trouble club is — and, really, always has been — the putter, as he ranks outside the top-200 on the greens. That might not bode well on these ultra-fast surfaces, but as we often say at events with tougher greens, that can serve as a neutralizer of sorts.
Essentially, if everyone two-putts every time, the edge goes to the ball-strikers who hit the most greens in regulation. That’s a severe dumbing-down of this philosophy, of course, but there’s some value in it. Throw in, too, the walk down Narrative Street, as List now lives in Augusta and will have the proverbial sleeping-in-his-own-bed advantage this week.
One player to finish top-40.
Tiger Woods (-175 for top-40)
OK, this one comes with an asterisk. Woods is, in his words, a “game-time decision” to play this week, although his inclusion on the interview schedule certainly hints that he’s probably leaning in the right direction.
In the history of golf prognostication preview writing, I’m pretty sure nobody has previously had the audacity to list Tiger as a top-40 wager. This is a man who was once -110 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which means he would’ve been, I don’t know, like -10000 or something for a top-40 that week?
There’s a method, though, behind the madness of listing Woods for such a play this week — and anyone who’s been paying attention should understand it.
This is not the same Tiger who won by a dozen strokes in 1997; it’s not even the same Tiger who captured a fifth green jacket in 2019. He enters this week without having played an individual competitive event in 17 months, since the November Masters in 2020. Since then, he was involved in a serious single-car accident, endured major injuries to his right leg and hasn’t played a single golf shot that has mattered, unless we count the PNC Championship alongside son Charlie, where they finished runner-up in December.
It’s remarkable that he’s even fathoming teeing it up this week, but if we’ve listened to Woods in his minimal public appearances in recent months, we should understand that he won’t be content to play as a ceremonial golfer or just slap it around for two rounds, then hop on the jet and head home. If he’s playing, he’s playing with the same goal in mind that he’s always had, which is to win.
Granted, that might be the loftiest of expectations, even for him, but I’d expect it to be business as usual – or at least, as it once was – once he gets inside the ropes. And while a top-40 bet on Woods at the Masters might’ve sounded ridiculous at any moment in the past, it’s worth noting that in 21 career starts as a professional, he’s never once finished outside the top-40 here.
I’m not saying he can’t do even better than that — I’ve got him pegged for somewhere in the low-to-mid-20s — but if you want a Tiger investment this week, just for old times’ sake, this feels like the safest place to start the bidding.
Tom Hoge (+120 for top-40)
Just in case TW decides he can’t give it a go this week, I’ll give you a top-40 backup plan here.
What if I was to tell you there’s a player who’s already won this year … whose world ranking number is less than half of what it was at the end of last year … and he ranks inside the top-10 on the PGA TOUR in strokes gained on approach shots. Is that something you might be interested in?
All of those things can be used to describe Hoge, who still remains in the bottom third on the odds board in advance of his first Masters start. Sure, he might not be the smartest outright play, but we only need him to finish in that upper third or so of the board, which seems eminently reasonable for a guy with his iron game.
Hoge might epitomize the solid-not-flashy description of a career grinder who’s finally seeing his hard work pay off at the highest level. He shared the lead after the opening round of THE PLAYERS last month, so he’s got some big-game experience. While he faltered to a T-33 result at that one, here’s guessing he can finish a few spots higher in a field with fifty-something fewer competitors.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS.
Justin Thomas (DK $10,300)
If I’m Rahm’s agent, I print out DraftKings’ pricing this week and tape it to the rental house refrigerator immediately.
Look, the Official World Golf Ranking can move Scottie Scheffler above him based on an algorithm, but DraftKings simply did it as a slap in the face. (Or so I’d tell him, just for the motivational fuel.)
OK, so it’s only a mild surprise that the game’s No. 1-ranked player is priced above No. 2, but I’m searching even further down the list of elite players to the man in fourth, as Thomas seems ready to explode with a big week. Even though it’s been more than a year since he last claimed a trophy, he’s now finished eighth-or-better in eight of his last 13 starts, dating back to last summer.
There’s definitely been a bit of frustration mixed in with those consolation prizes, just as there’s been a learning curve for him at Augusta National. Until last year, Thomas improved every time, finishing 39th in his debut, then 22nd, 17th, 12th and 4th, before last year’s disappointing T21.
There’s a new variable this time, though. Here’s guessing that between the time you read this and his opening-round tee time, Thomas will have learned a few subtle tricks from caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, who was on the bag for all three of Phil Mickelson’s Masters wins. For a player who only needs a brief bit of intel to become even more dangerous on this course, that could be the secret ingredient.
A lower-priced option for DFS.
Stewart Cink ($6,400, DraftKings)
Based on the pricing, DraftKings is essentially begging us to roster Kevin Kisner, a local guy who’s fresh off a runner-up finish at the WGC-Match Play and costs a mere $6,800. Add in the fact that he’s a popular dude and the masses will likely jump on Kiz here, which — I should point out — isn’t a poor decision whatsoever.
For cash games, this makes perfect sense. But of course, there are opportunities to win millions in DFS this week. In order to do so, though, you’ll have to take some chances.
I like taking a shot on Cink, who lives a couple of hours further down the road and owns an impressive Masters record without being so impressive that he’s an obvious selection. Last year, he finished T12, his 10th top-25 finish in 19 career starts here. Only one of those was a top-five, way back in 2008, so his ceiling might not be immense, but Cink still has a high floor and at this price, he’ll allow you to squeeze a few studs into the top of your lineup.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Sam Burns (+4500 for FRL)
I’ll get to why I like Burns for FRL bets, but I’ll take the circuitous route here of explaining why I like him for full-tourney wagers, too.
Whether the game of golf is better off with recurring dominance or abject parity is a subject worthy of debate. While most might blindly argue for the entertainment value of the latter, let’s not forget what an in-prime Woods did for ratings and interest levels. The same can be said about which one is better for bettors, as dominance led to longer numbers for those who weren’t doing the dominating, but parity leads to other headaches.
Case in point: At the time I’m writing this, there are 13 different players with odds of +2000 or shorter on DraftKings — and yes, while you can (and should) shop around, that’s essentially the market price. If you’re looking for a bargain, it has to be one with a realistic chance of cashing, all of which means this bet should come with a warning attached that each of the past dozen Masters champions were ranked inside the top-30 in the world.
Finding a player who fits the profile, yet whose odds aren’t too short is a difficult proposition, but Burns is that player.
I think the only thing holding him back from being in the +2000/+2500 range is the fact that he’s yet to play this event — and as we all know, no Masters rookie has won a green jacket since Zoeller in ‘79.
In the past year, Burns has largely proven impervious to both final-round pressures and competing against the game’s best players. Scheffler is getting all the shine right now, and rightfully so, but his fellow 25-year-old isn’t much far behind him on the learning curve.
Burns also tends to go low on Thursdays, as he comes to Augusta ranking 12th on the PGA TOUR in Round 1 scoring average this season; he was 16th last season — so if you’re saving him for a live bet later on, that might not be a wise decision.
Instead, play him now, take the bargain and be confident in knowing that other than inexperience, he owns everything needed to win this tournament — and everything needed to post a number in the mid-60s in the opener.
One player who should beat comparable players.
Jordan Spieth (+1800)
The good thing about having so many players packed into such a small window of short odds — and really, it might be the only good thing — is that it offers plenty of matchup possibilities.
I shouldn’t have to explain to you that Spieth is pretty good at this tournament. I spoke with him on my SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio show, “Hitting the Green,” last week and he was already dissecting how some shots at the Valero Texas Open could help him at Augusta National. Just a few days later, he closed the tourney with a share of 35th place, but leading the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
With a win, a near-win and a shoulda-won, Spieth owns five top-three finishes in eight career Masters starts. While his numbers across the board aren’t anything special this season, none of it should matter once his courtesy car tires hit Magnolia Lane.
If you like him for an outright play, I won’t talk you out of it; there’s certainly some value in props, OADs and DFS. Where I might invest in him the most, though, is head-to-heads, where we can load up on Spieth over similarly priced players such as Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele and Matusyama. Not that I completely dislike any of them, but each one gives us a reason to fade, from Hovland’s play around the greens to Schauffele’s inconsistency in final rounds to Matsuyama’s back issues.
I often write about how a high-ceiling/high-floor selection essentially offers chances to win — both on Friday and Sunday. While that might not be applicable this week, as it’s unlikely that any of these guys would miss the cut, I still like the combination that Spieth potentially provides in these bets.
Also Receiving Votes
Other players who should provide value.
Dustin Johnson (+1600), Adam Scott (+5000), Shane Lowry (+5500), Corey Conners (+5500), Max Homa (+7000), Jason Kokrak (+13000), Talor Gooch (+13000), Kevin Kisner (+15000)
The Big Fade
One top player to avoid at this tournament.
Bryson DeChambeau (+4000)
Sure, you might be reading this right now and think, “Gee, thanks. He’s telling me to stay away from the injured dude who I wasn’t going to take anyway.”
Well, yes. That’s exactly what I’m doing, just in a more preemptive way.
Over the past few weeks, Bryson’s odds have continued drifting — to the point where he might now seem like a smart play based solely on the discount. I’m here to talk you out of talking yourself into that.
Even when he’s 100% healthy, this isn’t a course that suits DeChambeau’s game. As I’ve mentioned a few times already, Augusta National is a second-shot golf course and Bryson is — for all intents and purposes — a first- and third-shot golfer, which is to say, he relies on his driver and putter as his scoring clubs.
Until he changes his game — or Augusta changes the format to a Dude Perfect challenge — he’s a hard pass for me at this one, especially while he’s still trying to battle back from an injury.
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