Finding Mid-Tier Betting Value at the Masters: Matsuyama (33-1) and More
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama
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The focus heading into the Masters will be on the favorites, but players hanging out just off the radar have cashed in at good prices in recent years.
Just last year, Sergio Garcia was one of the elite players in the game, but not among the favorites at Augusta, when he cashed for bettors at 40-1.
Garcia isn’t the only one either. Danny Willett (50-1) in 2016, Bubba Watson (50-1) in 2012, Charl Schwartzel (50-1) in 2011 and Angel Cabrera (75-1) in 2009 all held off the betting favorites to cash in at good prices.
With all the elite players in good form and the resurgence of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, some solid players are getting bigger numbers than we’re used to seeing. Here are four mid-tier golfers to target.
Hideki Matsuyama 33-1
Matsuyama (pictured above) was hovering in the 40-1 range the past couple of weeks, but with concerns about a nagging wrist injury beginning to dissipate his number has dropped closer to what we’d normally see.
From tee to green, Hideki is among the best in the world. His problem is always the putter, but elite ball-strikers like Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott have overcome bad putters to win a green jacket at Augusta.
Matsuyama is someone I targeted in the winter with parlays to juice his number up to 67-1. The last three years, he’s shown he can compete with fifth-, seventh- and 11th-place finishes.
As long as the wrist doesn’t act up, I think he’ll be in the mix on Sunday.
Henrik Stenson 40-1
Stenson is a good all-around player, but for some reason he’s never really put it all together at the Masters. His top Augusta finish over the past 12 years is 14th. But the talent is there, and he’s similar to Garcia.
— Scott Michaux (@ScottMichaux) March 21, 2018
Garcia had very little success at Augusta before winning last year at the same 40-1 number. What Stenson doesn’t have in course history, he makes up for in his tee-to-green game. He doesn’t have enough rounds to qualify on the PGA Tour stats, but his 1.3 strokes gained on approach shots would be second on Tour behind Garcia this season.
Course history is a big narrative during Masters week, but guys like Garcia, Willett, Schwartzel and Zach Johnson all took home green jackets without ever really contending in their previous appearances. Stenson could do the same.
Tommy Fleetwood 40-1
A couple months ago, Fleetwood was one of everyone’s favorite picks in this betting range. His number tumbled from 80-1 to 40-1, but over the past few weeks the Fleetwood buzz has died down quite a bit.
Fleetwood brings an elite driving ability to Augusta. He ranks fourth in strokes gained off the tee and is fifth in strokes gained tee to green. His putting is right in line with the Tour average, so if he has a good week with that club, he’ll find his way into contention.
The problem is he’s played in the Masters only once, and he missed the cut. A great course history isn’t required to win a green jacket, but making the cut is. The last player to miss the cut then win the next year was Tiger Woods in 1997.
If one guy in the field has the ability to overcome a missed cut from 2017 and win, it’s probably Fleetwood.
Bryson DeChambeau 70-1
DeChambeau is someone bettors have already begun to target as a sleeper. His number has dropped from 80-1 to 70-1 on Sportsbook.com in the past week.
His tee-to-green game has been great all season, ranking 14th on Tour. He’s also been able to crush Par 5s this year, where he ranks second in scoring.
— TLA Worldwide (@us_tla) March 27, 2018
This will be his first Augusta appearance as a pro, but he finished 21st here in 2016 when he was just a lowly amateur. He may need a little more seasoning before he can win, but right now the game is in the right place for him to make a run if he can handle the pressure.