Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour Gambling Tips column, featuring recommendations from GOLF.com’s Prognostics Expert, Brady Kannon. A seasoned golf bettor with over 20 years of experience, Kannon is the host of the HeatStrokes podcast, which is available wherever you get your podcasts and on DeadHeatGolf.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer and you can read below to see his favorite games for the Masters, which begins Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Keep scrolling past Kannon’s tips and you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free mobile platform – and a subsidiary of GOLF.com – which offers a range of games with tempting prizes, giving fans all sorts of ways to get in on the action without risking any money.
All week it feels like Christmas Eve, waiting and waiting, knowing it’s almost here. The Masters begins Thursday at the tournament’s historic home, Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta, Georgia. While the weather forecast looks a bit questionable, the Masters always feels like the birth of spring, a new beginning – and for many, the start of a new golf season. The azaleas, the dogwoods. The smells, the sights, the sounds. The rush of excitement never gets old.
This marks the 87th edition of The Masters, an invitational event created by Bobby Jones, who also worked with Alister MacKenzie on the design of Augusta National. “A tradition like no other.” That’s how the tournament is known. And indeed, tradition plays a big part in making it the greatest of all Majors in the eyes of many in the game.
I am often asked what my favorite subject is. My answer is something of a copout. Ask me the question in April and my answer is Masters. But ask again in July and I’ll say the Open Championship.
I think I have two favourites. However, there are three clear favorites on the odds board this week that clearly stand out from the rest of the field. The second-placed player in the world has the shortest choice. Rory McIlroy trades somewhere between 6-to-8 and 1. World number one Scottie Scheffler checks in at about 8-1, while Jon Rahm, the third member of the “Big Three”, checks in at 9 or 10-1 is noted win.
In no other tournament does course history matter more. Players who play well here usually do so in a more repeatable clip than elsewhere. Experience is paramount. The golf course has so many nuances that it takes a few rounds to get used to it. Historically, most Masters champions have taken more than six tries to win.
For much of the same story, winning was heavily dependent on length. Augusta National was a bomber’s course that also required incredible creativity and dexterity around the big, extremely fast bentgrass greens. But the course has often been adjusted to defend against the modern game, and the second shot is now more important than the first. Distance from the tee is still important, but approach shots to the green are now a top priority. Working on and around the greens remains as important as ever. Bogey avoidance and 3-putt avoidance were two additional stats I also looked at this week.
The stats I highlighted the most this week were Shots Won: Approach, Shots Won: Around the Green, Scrambling, Driving Distance, and Shots Won: Par 5s. I mentioned bogey avoidance and 3-putt avoidance. Most recently, I looked at shots won: tee to green, par 4s from 450 to 500 yards, and hole proximity of over 200 yards.
A nice aspect of the Master’s disability is the correlated courses. Like price history, correlated prices have strong connections. I have used the Riviera Country Club (Genesis Invitational), Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance Open) and the Plantation Course in Kapalua (Sentry Tournament of Champions). I also added Southern Hills, the site of last year’s PGA Championship.
Win the Masters (and finish top 20)
Rory McIlroy (12-1)
The odds for the next Masters are released not long after the end of each year’s tournament. I jumped on McIlroy in mid-September last year. Well, less than 8-1 is difficult, but if you find 9 or 10-1, I still think it’s a good game. The Northern Irishman has all the course history and success on the comp courses, but the Masters, the only major he needs to complete the career grand slam, continues to elude him. I can’t think of a more promising year for him to make it. He won in Dubai in January and the CJ Cup before that. He finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and third at the WGC Match Play two weeks ago. In the last 36 laps he was 5th in that field for SG Approach, 2nd in SG Par 5s and 2nd in Driving Distance. That’s all there is to say about the number two in the official golf world rankings. It’s all about him finally sealing the deal in an event where he’s finished 8-4-10-7-5-5-2 in his career.
Jordan Spieth (25-1)
Shortly after the New Year, I took Spieth 25:1. I’ve seen him as low as 16-1, but I’ve also seen him drift closer to 20-1 and even a tad higher. As a Masters scholar, Spieth at 25-1 was an automatic bet for me, and I don’t think 20-1 or better is such a bad bet either. Some of the correlated price history for Spieth isn’t quite as strong as Rory, but it’s very solid. The course history is nearly unmatched with five top five finishes including one win. Over the last 36 rounds, Spieth has finished 11th in the SG Around the Green and 10th in the SG Par 5. Current form is there too, with three top six finishes in his last six starts.
Tony Finau (25-1)
For a time, Finau was the best player not to complete the deal, but he won three times in 2022, most recently at the Houston Open last November. In any case, he hasn’t finished worse than in the top 25 this season. The comp course history is excellent and he finished 10th at Augusta along with a 5th when he was in the last pairing with Tiger Woods in 2019. I like the length of the tee for Finau with the expected softer conditions that players can experience given the rain they’ve had in Augusta and what to expect this weekend. Over the last 36 laps, Finau is 4th in this field for SG Approach.
Xander Shovel (26-1)
As of this writing, Schauffele has some better odds than this. I’ve seen as high as 30-1. He has an incredible résumé in major championships with multiple top five finishes including a 2nd and 3rd at the Masters. Schauffele has a 3rd place finish at American Express, 13th place at Torrey Pines, 10th place at Phoenix, a 19th place finish at The Players Championship and he just finished 5th at WGC-Match Play. He’s finished 11th on SG approach and fifth on SG par 5 in that field over the past 36 rounds. He looked like your winner in 2021 before dipping his ball on Sunday on the 16th hole and Hideki Matsuyama presented the green jacket. I think he’s ready to recover and be right there again.
Hideki Matsuyama (50-1)
Speaking of Matsuyama, yes I think he could become champion for the second time in two years. Coming fresh from a top 15 finish at the Valero Texas Open last week, he told me the neck injury that caused him to concede a match at the WGC two weeks ago is on the mend. Before that, Matsuyama finished 9th at Torrey Pines and 5th at The Players Championship. He has made the top 20 on The Masters in seven of the last eight years. His work around the greens is exceptional. In the last 36 laps he is third in this field for scrambling and 13th in SG Around the Green. With the Big 3 being so close on the odds board, I think we’re getting some inflated prices for other top players on the field. case study here.
Justin Rose (75-1)
The Masters is not a “catch-up” golf tournament, which means you have to start well on Thursday to have a chance on Sunday. At least that’s what history has shown us, as the majority of your Masters winners come from the group that makes the top 10 after the opening round. Rose was your first-round leader at The Masters four times. He finished the tournament in the top 10 six times and was runner-up twice. He won at Pebble Beach earlier this season and finished sixth at The Players Championship last month. For the last three years at The Masters he has been the best putter in the field on these greens and for the last 36 rounds he has finished 15th on SG par 5. Better numbers on Rose can be found as I have seen some shops, who negotiated prices in the mid-1980s.
Tommy Fleetwood (80-1)
We end our overall winners map (and top 20) with another Englishman seeking his first win on American soil. Fleetwood is one of only four players in this area to be in the top 25 on the tour for SG Approach and SG Around the Green. He kept getting better and better at the Genesis Invitational – Riviera is one of our correlated courses – finishing 37th, 28th and 20th in February. Fleetwood finished 27th at The Players Championship and then finished third at Valspar three weeks ago. His short game is exceptional and he’s hit a lot of greens in regulation at Augusta in the past. We also talked about needing a few laps at this track before we win. This will be Fleetwood’s seventh crack at the Masters, having had three career top 20 finishes there.
Complete Tournament Head-to-Head Matchups (YTD 21.9.2)
Danny Willett (-135) on Harris English
Scottie Scheffler (-135) via Jon Rahm
Jason Day (-130) via Cameron Smith
Whoever thinks of the Chirp users will win
Scottie Scheffler – 31.37%
Rory McIlroy – 24.25%
Jon Rahm – 12.8%
https://golf.com/lifestyle/10-picks-expert-loves-masters/ 10 tips our experts love