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Sobel’s Friday Masters Matchup Bets: Don’t Give Up on Rory in Round 2

Credit:

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy.

  • With one round of the Masters in the books, Jason Sobel lists his favorite matchups for Round 2.
  • Among them is Rory McIlroy over Jon Rahm who is currently tied for sixth.

AUGUSTA, Ga — I’m a big fan of playing second-round matchups. In fact, Friday is my favorite day for ‘em.

Think about it: On Thursday, you still don’t have a sense for who’s on their game and who’s struggling; on Saturday and Sunday, players are obviously grouped with those who own similar scores.

On Friday, though, it’s all about estimating the overreactions and betting against the market favorites — many of whom are only the favorites because they fared a little bit better in the opening round.

Let’s attempt to exploit a few matchups for the second round. Here are my favorites:

Webb Simpson over Cameron Smith (-105)

Augusta National is a second-shot golf course, so it should come as no surprise that the players who hit it closest to the hole are the ones highest on the leaderboard.

Four of the top-five in average proximity to the hole are also in the top-six right now. The only one who isn’t? Simpson, who ranks third in this category, but only posted an even-par 72.

Even though I love how Smith has been playing this golf course the last few years, expect some positive regression from Simpson in the second round based on his ball-striking numbers.

Rory McIlroy over Jon Rahm (-120)

If the books had offered this price in this matchup for the opening round, the public would’ve jumped all over it. But after Rahm fired a 69 and McIlroy only shot 73, the number has evened up a bit. I can’t imagine Rory is going to card another half-dozen bogeys and I don’t think he’ll need an ugly 32 putts again.

This was McIlroy’s first over-par round since the opener at Riviera two months ago; he followed that 72 with a 63 the next day. This bet isn’t a Rahm fade, it’s just confidence that McIlroy should bounce-back strongly once again.

Adam Scott over Louis Oosthuizen (-120)

The former Masters champion has become a much better putter this year. Seriously, he’s ranked inside the top-20 in putting stats this season. And yet, he missed two putts inside of five feet on Thursday — and still beat Oosthuizen by two strokes. If Scott can clean up the shorties, he should be able to put more space between himself and Louis in the second round.

Haotong Li over J.B. Holmes (-110)

I wouldn’t be surprised if it took the young Li a little while to get accustomed to the Augusta galleries while playing alongside Tiger Woods (and Jon Rahm) on Thursday. I’d expect him to be a little less wide-eyed in their second go-‘round, as he tries to build on a solid 1-under 71 opening round.

Holmes posted one stroke better, but consider this a fade of a guy whose scores have been so undesirable lately that he hasn’t seen a Sunday final round since winning at Riviera.

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