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2012 Masters Golf Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/3/2012

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PGA golfer Tiger Woods

If you look at the world golf rankings, the top three players on that list – Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood -- and seven of the Top 11 are from outside of the United States. But is American golf rising again? So far on the PGA Tour, 12 of the 15 winners this season are from the good ol’ USA.

But that brings us to the Super Bowl of golf, this week’s Masters at pristine Augusta National. Yes, Americans have dominated this event overall with 56 combined victories, but only one American has won it the past four years: Phil Mickelson in 2010. But among the hundreds of Bovada props for Masters week is where the 2012 Masters winner comes from: the USA is the -138 favorite, with Europe at +150 and the rest of the world at +500. More on this in a minute.

Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.

Certainly this is the most anticipated Masters in years, with the three biggest names in golf having already won on the PGA Tour this year: Mickelson, McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Of course, Tiger ran away from the field at Bay Hill two weeks ago for his first official victory since late 2009. Golf is simply a better sport – and draws way more betting action – when Woods is winning.

It seems hard to believe but Tiger, a four-time winner of the green jacket, hasn’t won at Augusta since 2005. But since his first Masters win in 1997, Tiger has finished outside the Top 15 just twice. He has finished in the Top 5 every year but one since his last win, and in that one year he didn’t he finished sixth. So you have to think Tiger will contend.

Will we finally see the likes of Donald, Westwood, Steve Stricker or Sergio Garcia get the “best player not to win a major” monkey off his back? Both Donald and Stricker have also won already this year. Last year, Donald almost became the first player to win the Par-3 Contest and then the tournament (he finished fourth in the Masters and isn’t playing the Par 3 Contest this year). Westwood actually has only two wins in his career in the States and not since 2010. Sergio, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to fair well at Augusta – he hasn’t been in the Top 30 since a career-high fourth-place finish in 2004.

Golf Odds: Masters Favorites

Tiger has been bet down to the 4/1 overwhelming favorite. And in a props story yesterday I mentioned I thought Woods would win. Now I am not so sure. I don’t like betting on a player to win back-to-back tournaments. It does seem he is on the same page with Swing Coach Sean Foley. And to win the Masters you have to tear up the par 5s – at Bay Hill, Woods was a field-best 12-under par on the four par 5s. But don’t read into that win all that much. Three years ago Woods won his final tune-up before all four major championships, yet didn't walk away with the trophy at any. I would definitely put some money down on Tiger finishing in the Top 5 even though it’s 5/6 odds.

McIlroy (11/2) was blowing the field away through 54 holes last year and infamously stood on the 10th tee Sunday still with the lead before completely imploding. But McIlroy showed his fortitude by then winning the U.S. Open later in the year in dominating fashion. He hasn’t played – at least competitively – since following his win at the Honda Classic a month ago with a third-place finish at the Cadillac the next week. Could Rory be rusty? Plus, a European hasn’t won the Masters since 1999.

Thus, that European trend doesn’t bode well for Donald (16/1), Westwood (20/1) or Justin Rose (28/1). Donald hadn’t been a factor for a few years at Augusta before his close call last year. Westwood has just two Top-10 finishes at the Masters in 12 tries, with a high of second in 2010. Rose is off to a monster start this season but has just one Top-10 finish in six Masters.

And how about Lefty at 11/1? Mickelson would love nothing more than to tie Tiger with his fourth green jacket. But he hasn’t been playing all that well of late. Mickelson opened the Shell Houston Open last week with a 65 and finished T4, but that was his only time breaking 70 in his last 15 rounds. Still, he has 13 Top-10 finishes in 19 Masters but was a disappointing 27th in his defense a year ago.

Hunter Mahan, who won last week in Houston to become the first two-time winner on Tour this year, is at 22/1. He missed the cut here a year ago.

Golf Odds: Masters Predictions

Why is no one paying attention to defending champion Charl Schwartzel (40/1)? All the South African did was birdie the final four holes a year ago to win in about as impressive style as you can: He became the first Masters champion ever to finish with four straight birdies, giving him a 6-under 66 for the best final round by a winner in 22 years. Here’s why he is being overlooked: Schwartzel enters off back-to-back missed cuts and only three players have repeated at Augusta.

How about Webb Simpson at 60/1? The 2011 PGA Tour money list runner-up hasn’t missed a cut this year. But this is his first Masters and no first-timer has won this tournament since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Adam Scott (28/1)? Jason Day (40/1)? Geoff Ogilvy (80/1)? No Aussie has ever won the Masters.

For pure value, I like Angel Cabrera at 90/1. He won this tournament in 2009 and finished seventh last year. Yes, he has missed four cuts in six PGA Tour events this year but did have a solid T21 in Houston last week after an opening 65. I also like K.J. Choi at 60/1. The 2011 Players Championship winner has finished in the Top 8 each of the past two seasons at Augusta.

As much as I would like to talk myself out of picking Tiger – and I would probably go with Rose if I did – I can’t do it. So Woods it is. And thus take the USA winning the Masters on that prop.

Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.

 

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