2021 Masters Final Round Best Bets: It’s Hideki Matsuyama’s to Lose at Augusta National
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama.
Moving day at The Masters started as a day where the players were looking to simply hold on and escape with par with difficult pin positions throughout Augusta National. It looked as though the guys that were out early would have an advantage, but the best round was just a 3-under 69 as the leaders teed off.
The final groupings struggled out of the gates as well, with just a few players on the first page of the leaderboard under par as they began to make the turn to the back nine.
As the final pairing made it to the 7th green, the officials came out with horns in hand to stop play for an oncoming storm. Play was halted for 77 minutes as a quick, but heavy thunderstorm rolled through Augusta. Once the players were back in position, it was quickly clear that the rain had taken the fire out of the course.
The softer conditions, and now quiet wind allowed for the players to take advantage. No one did that more than Hideki Matsuyama who stormed home with a 6-under 30 on his back nine to take a four-stroke advantage into Sunday at The Masters. His playing partner on Saturday will join him in the final round as well, as Xander Schauffele birdied 13, then made a 61-foot putt on 15 for eagle to jump to 7-under.
Unfortunately, 36-hole leader, Justin Rose, was unable to put together the round he had hoped. He failed to birdie any of his three Par 5s after the weather break and just started to lose his swing down the stretch. He seemed a bit dejected down the final few holes. Rose will go into final round in a tie for second alongside Marc Leishman and budding young star, Will Zalatoris.
Two of the biggest names on the first page of the leaderboard going into Saturday, failed to make any moves. Jordan Spieth just simply couldn’t get anything going, and surprisingly enough, couldn’t make many putts.
Justin Thomas on the other hand, birdied the difficult 12th, and seemed to have momentum into a scoring stretch before absolutely imploding on 13. He carded a triple-bogey eight on the Par 5 which played to a field average of 4.85. JT will have to wait another year for a shot at a green jacket from 10 back, while Spieth needs a memorable round and a lot of help to be in the conversation.
There are many stats to look at as we head into the final round, as Augusta National isn’t a place that players can typically make up much ground on the leader, or come from far back to steal the title. It’s been since 1989 that anyone outside of the top five won on Sunday, and 11 of 15 with a four-shot lead or more going into the final round at The Masters have gone on to win.
It’s an uphill battle for anyone not named Matsuyama, but he has the pressure of an entire country on his shoulders tomorrow. I believe it will get interesting for him at some point, and I will look to take advantage. Here are my best bets heading into final round of The Masters.
Hideki Matsuyama -120 (DraftKings)
I get that he hasn’t won anything in four years, and he will be feeling immense pressure heading into the final round, but he has been fantastic all week. Matsuyama really found it on the back nine and was diabolical in dissecting this course down the stretch.
Augusta National is a course that rewards ball striking, and that is Hideki’s game. The only way I see him really getting into trouble is if he loses the driver, but I say that with the knowledge that he hit 36% (!!) of his fairways on Saturday. I truly think he will close this out on Sunday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he can stretch the lead out even further.
Marc Leishman +1200 and/or +550 without Hideki (DraftKings)
My favorite bet to chase Hideki down on Sunday is with Marc Leishman. Hopefully you saw this article after the first round and grabbed him at +9000, but if you didn’t, his odds are the best of the bunch I think can win at 7-under. He also has plenty of value in an interesting market offered at several books, which are giving odds that exclude the leader.
Leishman has been consistently good from the start of the week, tee to green and has made enough putts to put himself in this position. He certainly left plenty of shots out there on Saturday as he couldn’t get the ball in the hole from close range on 17 and lipped out on 18. He seems to be really comfortable with his game around Augusta, and somehow he has the longest odds of the four tied in second.
Webb Simpson Top 10 +550
One of the best rounds on the course in the tough conditions and early wind was Webb Simpson. He turned everything around from his 4-over round on Friday, and posted a 2-under 70.
Webb really bounced back with the strength of his game as he hit 78% of greens in regulation after hitting just 44% on Friday. I expect he will be able to carry that consistency into the final round, and if he can roll in a few more putts he can certainly make up the three shot deficit between him and the Top 10.
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