The colors on the trees might be a little brighter, but the stakes remain the same as Masters Tournament betting prepares for its first-ever November tee-off.
Augusta National will host the top golfers in the world for the final major of the 2020 calendar year and given the bizarre nature of the PGA Tour schedule in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's anyone's guess who will wear the Green Jacket by the end of Sunday. Can Masters favorite Bryson DeChambeau rebound from a disappointing T29 last year? Is Xander Schauffele ready for his first major win after a half-dozen near-misses? Can Tiger Woods defend his stunning 2019 victory?
Here are the 18 Masters notes PGA bettors absolutely need to know heading into Thursday's opening round at the always-challenging Augusta National:
Masters 2020 18 Need-to-Know Betting Notes
1. The Masters has seen 31 aces in tournament history. Three players – Shane Lowry, Davis Love III and Louis Oosthuizen – aced the 16th hole in 2016, and Matt Kuchar repeated the feat in 2017. We saw three more aces over the next two years, including two in 2019. In fact, more than half of the tournament's 31 holes-in-one have come since 2003. Oddsmakers believe that trend will continue in 2020, offering -200 odds on someone converting an ace. Think it won't happen? Take the goose-egg at +150.
2. American golf fans haven't experienced a true Masters title drought in quite some time. It has been nearly three decades since the United States has gone more than two years without a victory at Augusta, when Sandy Lyle, Nick Faldo (2x) and Ian Woosnam helped the United Kingdom claim four consecutive titles. The U.S. has won the past two Masters titles and remains the favorite region to do so this year at -188. Europe is a distant second at +225, with the rest of the world listed at +600.
3. There are four golfers bunched together in the race for the low American in this tournament—DeChambeau leads the way, installed at +500 to finish best among his compatriots. Dustin Johnson is a close second at +550 while Justin Thomas is next at +750. But don't count out Schauffele (+800), who has six Top-6 finishes in major championships (including a T2 at last year's Masters) and ranked third on tour in SG: Total last year. He was also just the third player since 1980 to have 25 birdies at a Masters.
4. The most lopsided national odds in the tournament? The low Irish player, a prop for which Rory McIlroy is an overwhelming favorite at -334. And with good reason: McIlroy has seven consecutive Top-25 results at the tournament, highlighted by a stretch of five consecutive Top-10 finishes from 2014-18. Shane Lowry (+350) is the only Irishman with a hope of keeping pace with McIlroy, but he has missed three cuts in four trips to Augusta National over his career. McIlroy looks like easy money here.
5. Let's not ignore the vast chasm in the low Continental European odds, as well, which are similar to that of Ireland's. Jon Rahm is a whopping -225 favorite to finish atop the group, with only Francesco Molinari (+650) considered a legitimate challenger. Rahm has finished inside the Top-20 in seven of his previous nine tournaments, with three runner-up finishes over that span.
(Hot tip: Parlay Rahm's play here with McIlroy's low Irishman bet and you'll get a -115 parlay that has a great chance of converting.)
6. Margin of victory could be a popular prop this week, and we've seen a revival of the one-shot regulation win following years of playoff victories or multi-shot wins. In fact, between 2005 and 2017, five Masters championships were decided via extra play, while the other eight saw a multi-shot winner. But the past two tournaments – including Tiger's stunning 2019 win – were decided by a single shot in 72 holes. The one-shot regulation victory is set at +275 this year.
7. Looking for a strong Top-5 prop play? Brooks Koepka is the one. Here are the results of his last 10 major championships: 1, T6, T13, 1, T39, 1, T2, 1, 2, T4, T29. That's four (!!!!) victories, two runner-up showings and another Top-5 performance. Koepka has finished first or second at every major over the past 2+ years, which is all the proof you need that he gets up for the big events. His current form might not inspire confidence, but at +333 for a Top-5 showing this week, there's money to be made here.
8. Pinning down the winning score has proven difficult this decade. Since 2010, five Masters champions have finished with a total 72-hole score of 275 or lower (Phil Mickelson: 272, 2010; Charl Schwartzel: 274, 2011; Jordan Spieth: 270, 2015; Patrick Reed: 273, 2018; Tiger Woods: 275, 2019). The other five have all posted winning totals of 278 or higher. Bettors will get -140 odds on the winning score being 277 or lower, and +110 on 278 or higher.
9. A quick start doesn't always mean Masters success, but it couldn't hurt to come out of the gate strong. And since the 2020-21 season is in its infancy, it might be better to investigate the top first-round scorers of last season. Rory McIlroy was the low first-round scorer last season (68.27) with DeChambeau (68.71) in third, so it's no surprise that both golfers are among the top outright plays, and among the favorites to lead after 18 holes (DeChambeau is at +1,600, while McIlroy is at +2,000.)
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10. All eyes will be on Tiger, as usual, as he heads to Augusta National as the defending champion for the first time since 2005. Even more impressively, Woods owns the longest active cut streak at Augusta, having reached the weekend at 19 straight Masters tournaments dating back to his only missed cut in 1996. He hasn't played much of late, but he's still listed at -375 to extend his cuts made streak to 18, or at +285 to see that run come to an unceremonious end in 2020.
11. More Tiger, you say? Okay! Depending on how you feel about the rest vs. rust argument, you might find value in Woods at +700 to finish in the Top-5. On one hand, Woods hasn't had a Top-10 finish since the Farmers Insurance Open (way back on Jan. 26), with his best result a T37 at the PGA Championship in seven tournaments since. But few expected Tiger to pull out the victory here last year, and given his incredible run of success here, this prop is definitely worth a look.
12. Outright bets aren't the only place where golf bettors can take a shot on an underdog. And there's a Top-10 pick we like that certainly fits the bill. Zach Johnson is unlikely to see a lot of wagering action this weekend, but he should: he has three Top-25 showings in four events in 2020-21, and finished T8 at this year's U.S. Open. He's a 12-time PGA Tour champion (including the 2007 Masters), and while he's more hit-or-miss at this stage of his career, at +1,000 for a Top-10 showing, you could do worse.
13. The list of former champions in this year's field is lengthy, but previous winners have struggled to land on top in recent years— as only Woods and Bubba Watson (2014) as former tournament champions to prevail again. In fact, it has only happened three times since 2006, with Phil Mickelson securing his third-career Masters win in 2010. Watson and Reed have the best odds to prevail of any former winner at +375, though they have some company with Woods and Adam Scott at +500.
14. Remember that earlier reference to margin of victory? The Masters has seen more than its share of playoffs, and not just in recent years. Augusta National has been home to 17 playoffs over the course of its 84-year history, including six so far in the 2000s. The longest gap between playoffs: 12 tournaments, between Nick Faldo's second straight triumph in 1990 and Canadian Mike Weir's unlikely victory in 2003. Bettors are getting +250 odds of a playoff in 2020, or -350 for no playoff this year.
15. Bettors will have dozens of matchup plays to consider in the days leading up to Round 1, but the most intriguing to us is the one between former champions Watson and Reed. Watson (+100) is coming off back-to-back Top-7 finishes and is one of the top Tee-to-Green players on tour. Reed (-120) has posted T8, T13 and T14 results over his previous three tournaments and has five Top-15 results in his last 10 major appearances, including that 2018 Masters triumph. Can't decide? Take the tie at +1,600.
16. Going low at Augusta is predictably difficult, as evidenced by the fact that only two golfers have ever shot 63 there. Nick Price established the course record in 1986 with a sizzling 63 in his third round – he went on to finish fifth that year – while Greg Norman was on fire in 1996 (at least in the early going) as he opened with a score of 63. Bettors are getting -185 for the best round of this year's tournament coming in at 65 or lower, compared to +155 for 66 or higher.
17. We usually like to wrap up with the straight forecasts, but we're getting them to you one item early this time around. There are some interesting forecast props as usual: here are some of our favorites based on the combination of overall talent level, recent form and historical success at Augusta National: DeChambeau over Koepka (+12,500), Koepka over DeChambeau (+15,000), Schauffele over McIlroy (+12,500), McIlroy over Koepka (+17,500) and DeChambeau over Jon Rahm (+8,000).
18. It seems fitting to finish with putting, as this tournament – like most majors – will come down to which golfers excel most with the flat stick. Augusta's greens are notoriously brutal and have been known to ruin a golfer's chances in a matter of minutes (paging Ernie Els). Staying away from three-putts is critical, so consider golfers whose three-putt avoidance is elite. And only one player in the Masters field boasts a three-putt percentage below 1.5 last season—Matt Kuchar, installed at +12,500 to win.
Where Can I Bet on the Masters?
You'll find Masters betting options at pretty much every online sportsbook in the world. Most sportsbooks will allow you to bet on the winner of the next Masters tournament for most of the year, with odds changing throughout the year due to current form and injuries. Once the Masters field is set, sportsbooks will open more betting markets.
If you're looking to place a bet on the Masters, take a look at our recommended online sportsbooks.