Sobel’s 2019 Masters Live-Betting Guide: Which Golfers Will Struggle on Which Holes

Apr 14, 2019 09:00 AM EDT
Credit:

Rob Schumacher, USA Today Sports.

  • The Masters is the only Major in golf that is played on the same course year after year.
  • Jason Sobel breaks down the data on which players succeed and stumble on which holes.
  • Use this guide to help you potentially live bet the Masters.

Let’s face it: You’re going to have plenty of action on the Masters Tournament.

From outright bets to matchups to DFS lineups, the year’s best major (no offense, you other three) is also the most actionable, as we’ve had eight months of non-major downtime to ruminate over these important decisions before the tournament begins.

Sometimes, though, all this action still isn’t enough – and sometimes, these decisions are more spontaneous than planned.

Enter the live bets. Literally.

What separates the Masters from the other three majors is that our annual familiarization with Augusta National Golf Club helps us formulate ideas and opinions based on years of viewing pleasure. At some point, there’s a good chance many bettors will decide to bet certain players to birdie or bogey a hole – or to beat their playing partner on a specific hole.

While the flow of the round and momentum in the moment should help the decision-making process in these circumstances, don’t go into the situation flying blind.

I’ve crunched the numbers and found, based on recent history, which players we should bet on – and against – for all 18 holes at the world’s most famous golf course. Here’s what I found:

No. 1: Tea Olive

  • Par 4, 445 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.279 (Rank: 3)

BET ON: Jordan Spieth.

In 20 rounds, he’s just 1-over on the opening hole. Three career birdies might sound low, but this is an obviously tough start – and he did make birdie to begin his final round last year.

DON’T BET ON: Charl Schwartzel

When he won here in 2011, Schwartzel got his round kick-started with a chip-in birdie here. But that remains one of only two career birdies on the opener and he’s 6-over in 30 rounds.


No. 2: Pink Dogwood

  • Par 5, 575 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.807 (Rank: 15)

BET ON: Jon Rahm

Sure, he owns limited Masters experience compared to many of his peers, but Rahm has crushed this hole so far. In two starts, he’s played the second hole in 7-under, including an eagle and three birdies last year.

DON’T BET ON: Justin Rose

Everyone’s numbers look solid on the par-5s, but Rose’s 4.90 scoring average pales in comparison to so many others. That includes a head-scratching seven bogeys and a double in 52 career rounds.


No. 3: Flowering Peach

  • Par 4, 350 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 3.929 (Rank: 14)

BET ON: Zach Johnson

In 44 career rounds, Johnson owns a 3.86 scoring average on this difficult par-4, which includes his current birdie total (12) doubling up his number of bogeys (6).

DON’T BET ON: Justin Thomas

In three career starts, JT has yet to birdie this hole, while carding a pair of bogeys. There aren’t many holes in the world where he could get a dozen chances and still come up empty in the birdie department.


No. 4: Flowering Crabapple

  • Par 3, 240 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 3.318 (Rank: 2)

BET ON: Fred Couples

Like many holes at Augusta National, experience can outweigh sheer talent. Couples owns a 3.13 career scoring average here, but he’s gotten better with age, playing this hole at even-par in his last four appearances.

DON’T BET ON: Branden Grace

He’s posted some nice scores in this tournament over the years, but Grace has been a mess on this hole. In 18 rounds, he’s never made a birdie and is 10-over par, including a 3-over performance last year.


No. 5: Magnolia

  • Par 4, 455 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.164 (Rank: 6)

BET ON: Hideki Matsuyama

In 26 career rounds, he’s posted just three birdies on this ultra-tough hole, but he’s also allowed just three bogeys and a double for a scoring average way lower than most of his fellow competitors.

DON’T BET ON: Adam Scott

With a scoring average of 4.23 here, the 2013 champion clearly struggles on this one. In 64 career rounds, he’s posted just five birdies against 16 bogeys and two doubles.


No. 6: Juniper

  • Par 3, 180 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 3.129 (Rank: 8)

BET ON: Dustin Johnson

He’s known as a power player, but DJ’s ball-striking prowess shouldn’t go overlooked here. In 30 career rounds, he’s 3-under, posting just a pair of bogeys.

DON’T BET ON: Phil Mickelson

There are plenty of holes where Lefty owns some sweet memories, but this isn’t one of ‘em. His scoring average of 3.21 includes just six birdies in 98 rounds, while he’s bogeyed it more than four times more than that.


No. 7: Pampas

  • Par 4, 450 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.207 (Rank: 4)

BET ON: Fred Couples

That’s right: I’m going back to Freddie again here. This is one of just two non-par 5s where he owns a scoring average under par, having birdied this hole 25 times in his career.

DON’T BET ON: Bubba Watson

You have to search to find holes that Bubba doesn’t play well at Augusta, but this one qualifies. In 38 career rounds, he owns just four birdies against nine total bogeys.


No. 8: Yellow Jasmine

  • Par 5, 570 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.718 (Rank: 16)

BET ON: Justin Rose

I mentioned earlier that Rose struggles on the other front-nine par-5, but he crushes this one. In 52 career rounds, he’s 24-under on this hole – and more importantly, he’s never bogeyed it.

DON’T BET ON: Gary Woodland

This should come as a surprise from one of the game’s bigger hitters, but Woodland’s scoring average is above par on this hole, as he’s carded just a pair of birdies in 17 career rounds.


No. 9: Carolina Cherry

  • Par 4, 460 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.143 (Rank: 7)

BET ON: Louis Oosthuizen

Few have played the front-nine closer better than Louis, whose 3.91 scoring average here includes seven birdies – two of which he posted last year.

DON’T BET ON: Adam Scott

He’s like the anti-Oosty on this hole, playing it in 9-over for his career, with two bogeys last year. Overall, Scott averages a birdie on this hole just once every eight rounds.


No. 10: Camellia

  • Par 4, 495 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.082 (Rank: 11)

BET ON: Marc Leishman

The burly Aussie handles tough situations well, which could explain his sublime record here. He’s dead-even in 18 career rounds, with a steady two birdies and two bogeys, though none last year when he posted four pars.

DON’T BET ON: Rory McIlroy

Oh, come on: You knew this was coming. It’s been eight years since Rory pull-hooked a tee shot into the cabins here, but it hasn’t gotten much better for him. His 4.60 scoring average includes just one birdie in 38 rounds.


No. 11: White Dogwood

  • Par 4, 505 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.400 (Rank: 1)

BET ON: Henrik Stenson

Look, nobody plays this hole too well. But Stenson might’ve figured something out. After playing his first 40 rounds here in 19-over with one birdie, he carded two birdies and two pars last year.

DON’T BET ON: Angel Cabrera

You probably weren’t betting Cabrera anyway, but the stats are staggering: In 64 career rounds, he’s a robust 29-over at this hole, including a big, fat, whopping zero total birdies.


No. 12: Golden Bell

  • Par 3, 155 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 3.107 (Rank: 9)

BET ON: Jason Day

A career total of three birdies and three bogeys puts him at even-par on this hole, which likely speaks to his ability to find the fat part of the green and not get too aggressive here.

DON’T BET ON: Jordan Spieth

Forget the fact that he’s a career 4-over here, including a very memorable quadruple-bogey. Despite a final-round birdie last year, the scar tissue hasn’t completely healed on a hole which cost him a second green jacket.


No. 13: Azalea

  • Par 5, 510 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.614 (Rank: 18)

BET ON: Dustin Johnson

There are no guarantees in golf, but DJ dominating some par-5s is about as close as it gets these days. Even with a triple-bogey here, his scoring average is 4.43, including three birdies in four rounds last year.

DON’T BET ON: Patrick Cantlay

Granted, it’s a limited sampling, but the fact that Cantlay is 5-over on this hole in six career rounds shouldn’t inspire much confidence when he returns this time.


No. 14: Chinese Fir

  • Par 4, 440 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.057 (Rank: 12)

BET ON: Justin Rose

This hole is one for the ball-strikers, so it should come as no surprise that Rose fares so well here. He’s a career 11-under in 52 rounds with just two bogeys, which stands as a pretty remarkable mark.

DON’T BET ON: Tiger Woods

The four-time champion hasn’t historically struggled on many holes, but he is 4-over on this one through 82 rounds, though played it in a solid 1-under during last year’s tournament.


No. 15: Firethorn

  • Par 5, 530 yards
  • 2018 scoring average: 4.675 (Rank: 17)

BET ON: Henrik Stenson

There are plenty of player to choose from who eviscerate this hole, but the pick here is Stenson, who owns a 4.61 scoring average with two eagles and 17 birdies, including three last year.

DON’T BET ON: Louis Oosthuizen

Sure, he’s under par – but just barely. On an easy hole in relation to par, Oosty is 2-under in 32 career rounds, which includes three bogeys and two “others” on the scorecard.

Francesco Molinari is 20-1 to win the 2019 Masters. Credit: Stephen Spillman, USA Today Sports.

No. 16: Redbud

  • Par 3, 170 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 3.209 (Rank: 13)

BET ON: Francesco Molinari

He failed to make a birdie here last year, settling for four pars instead, but the reigning Open champion is still under par for his 24 attempts, which beats most others.

DON’T BET ON: Webb Simpson

Strange but true: Simpson has never birdied either of the back-nine par-3 holes at Augusta. On 16, that includes a messy seven bogeys in just 22 career rounds.


No. 17: Nandina

  • Par 4, 440 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.171 (Rank: 5)

BET ON: Phil Mickelson

His career scoring average of 3.95 is nestling just under par at the penultimate hole. That includes a strong showing of one birdie and three pars last year.

DON’T BET ON: Patrick Reed

A big key to Reed’s victory last year was making par on the two closing holes in each round, but even so, he’s still 7-over here in 16 career rounds, for an ugly 4.44 scoring average.


No. 18: Holly

  • Par 4, 465 yards
  • 2018 Scoring Average: 4.100 (Rank: 10)

BET ON: Martin Kaymer

His struggles at Augusta have been well chronicled, but at least Kaymer closes well, playing the last hole in just 1-over during his career. Last year, he had some roller-coaster finishes, with two birdies and two pars on 18.

DON’T BET ON: Sergio Garcia

Two years ago, he clinched his long-awaited first major on this very green in a playoff, but his lifetime scores aren’t good. His scoring average is 4.26 and he owns three times more bogeys than birdies.

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