Betting Masters Sunday: Rory, Reed or the Field?
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy
The leaderboard entering Moving Day was loaded, and that’s still the case. Patrick Reed held serve and even gained ground on the field, posting an impressive 5-under 67 to enter Sunday with a three-shot lead. Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm all shot 7-under Saturday, and Tommy Fleetwood went 6-under to move into a tie for sixth place. We saw amazing golf from a lot of players Saturday; the question is whether that matters with Reed’s large lead.
Looking at the history of the Masters, it’s not common for players to really make up ground on Sunday. The last winner to be outside of the top 5 entering Sunday was Nick Faldo (T9) in 1989. The three biggest Sunday comebacks: eight shots in 1956, six shots in 1996, and four shots in 2011. Rory was the unlucky leader in 2011 to be caught. Now, he’ll try to come back from three down tomorrow. If Fowler, Rahm, or any other player wins, it’ll go down as one of the three greatest Sunday comebacks in Masters history. Saddle up.
Betting Angles for Sunday
By Joshua Perry
Reed is a +120 favorite, with McIlroy (+185) not far behind. Fowler (+700) and Rahm (+1400) are just close enough at five and six shots back to keep this from being a true two-horse race. Who’s offering the best value?
But if there is any value, I’d guess it’s with Reed at a plus number holding that big of an advantage. More than half of the players with a three-shot lead on Saturday night went on to win The Masters, so the plus number would present a positive return historically.
Players with a 3-shot lead after 54 holes in #TheMasters have won 6 times in 11 previous instances.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) April 7, 2018
Reed is just playing really well right now. Rahm, Fowler and McIlroy each fired bogey-free rounds of 65 and actually lost ground. The tournament feels like it’s Reed’s to lose.
As far as head-to-head matchups are concerned, I’ll be eyeing Louis Oosthuizen. He’s had a rough week with the putter, losing more than two strokes per round the first two days and things didn’t really get any better on Saturday.
— 15th Club (@15thClub) April 7, 2018
Oosthuizen only made one putt over six feet on Saturday, but he still finds himself under par for the week. That tells me he’s clearly striking the ball well. We’ve seen Oosthuizen have some low rounds at Augusta, so he knows he can plays this course. I think he’ll give himself plenty of chances on Sunday.
I’ll be targeting Oosthuizen at +125 against Justin Rose in a head-to-head matchup. Rose came with a win in mind and now that has gone by the wayside, I’m not sure he’ll be as focused as Oosthuizen.
Sunday-Only DraftKings Slate
By Bryan Mears
In general, I’ve been fading players who had played well in their prior round, especially if it was due to lucky putting or some other unsustainable factor. Likewise, I had advocated buying low on golfers who had an unlucky short stick. That has largely been a profitable strategy, as it put us on Fowler yesterday, among others, and guys like Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson on Friday. But does that same strategy still hold value on Sunday?
I’m not so sure.
I looked at all players who made the cut in the past 10 Masters (2008-2017) and correlated specific round scores with final scores. Here were the results:
A player’s final score most highly correlated with his Round 3 score, which suggests Moving Day holds true to its name. Of that sample (531 golfers), there were 210 rounds under par (39.5%) on Sunday and 107 under 70 (20.2%). Many of the best scores came from players already at the top of the leaderboard, so I’m actually doing the opposite of the first two single-day DraftKings tournaments: I’m taking guys in the top-10 who actually have a shot at making noise on Sunday afternoon. I won’t ignore all players down on the leaderboard, but I think the motivation angle is key here.
Thus, I’m targeting guys like Rory, Rahm, Fleetwood, and Bubba again. The latter is still quite intriguing, as he’s at the top of the field in GIR (77.78%) and Driving Accuracy (83.33%). Both he and Fleetwood have been perhaps the two best players off the tee this week, but they’ve been hurt by their short sticks, posting putting averages of 1.74 and 1.69 per hole, respectively. Reed and Rory, for reference, are both at 1.46 putts per hole.
And that brings up another important point: I want aggressive players who can take advantage of the longer holes. Patrick Reed is putting up one of the most impressive Masters runs ever with 18 birdies in three days, and he has literally zero birdies on par-3s. Rory is crushing the ball off the tee, as well. I’m looking for players who won’t hold anything back on Sunday. Marc Leishman is the prime example of a player I’m fading. He has just eight birdies on the week, has averaged a low Driving Distance of 290.0 yards, and generally has played it safe after being the Round 1 leader. I don’t think Reed will do that, which means he’s an intriguing buy in DFS, but it will also force Rory & Co. to pull driver and go at every hole. You almost always want players who can birdie and eagle in one-day contests, but that’s perhaps more true than ever tomorrow.
Pictured above: Rory McIlroy