Handicapping 2010 Masters Golf Odds
by Matt Severance - 4/7/2010
I guess I can understand why Tiger Woods has opened as the commanding +325 favorite on WagerWeb’s Masters golf odds to win this week when you look simply at all the numbers: Tiger is one of just three players in history to win at least four green jackets; his career scoring average of 70.91 (in 58 rounds) is easily the best at Augusta; and he holds the tournament record for lowest overall score with is epic 18-under 270 in winning the 1997 Masters by a record 12 strokes.
But +325 is simply not good betting value even with a completely focused Woods, and it surely remains to be seen how focused he will be this week and what stage is game is at since he last played a competitive round in November of last year. And the last time he took a break from golf for non-physical reasons was in 2006 when he took eight weeks off to mourn the death of his father and then shot back-to-back 76s at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot to miss the cut at a major for the first time as a pro. Plus Tiger hasn’t won at Augusta since 2005.
With all that said, in this article I present what I believe are the fantastic four in terms of best “value” bets (in ascending order) in this tournament. Part of my reason for choosing a few of these guys is the weather this week at Augusta: hot and dry. Thus the course should play firm and fast, which means that some average distance hitters should have a chance.
Paul Casey (+2200): The one concern with Casey is that he had to withdraw from last week’s event in Houston – where he was the defending champ -- with a tweaked shoulder/neck. On Tuesday, Casey said he was 100 percent and that missing last week might even help because he was allowed more time to practice and rest for the Masters. Casey, No. 6 in the world, has been stellar in four starts on Tour this year with four Top-10 finishes. He was 20th at least year’s Masters and in contention in 2008 before having to call a penalty on himself in a final-round 79. Shockingly, no Englishman has won a major since Nick Faldo won a green jacket in 1996.
Dustin Johnson (+2800): I love the 25-year-old Johnson at this price. If you can tear up Augusta’s par-5s, you can win this tournament. Last year, Johnson was 14 under on the par-5s on his way to a T30. Only Greg Norman (15-under in 1995) has ever played the par-5s better. This year, Johnson ranks first on the Tour in driving and in February became the first player in 20 years to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am two years in a row when he birdied the final hole of the tournament. My one concern is that Johnson has only shot one round in the 60s in three stroke-play tournaments since that win. But Johnson will win a Masters some day, and it might be this weekend.
Hunter Mahan (+3800): Four of the last seven Masters champs have been first-time major champions, so perhaps Mahan will make it 5-for-8. Mahan can be very hit or miss – he has missed two cuts this year (including last week), but also won at Phoenix. But Mahan is a good ball-striker who hits a lot of fairways and even more greens. Last year he finished 16th or better in three of the four majors – including a tie for 10th at the Masters where he opened with a 66.
Sean O’Hair (+4500): He has fared well at Augusta the past two years with a T10 last April (despite a second-round 76) and a T14 in 2008. Five of O'Hair's last eight rounds there have been under par, including three in the 60s in 2009. This year the American hasn’t been able to build on a T4 in his first tournament of the year as that is his only Top 10. Certainly O’Hair will need to improve upon his 104 ranking in putting this week to have a shot.
Hopefully this Masters golf odds story helps you when it comes time to get those bets down for what should be a memorable Masters. Check WagerWeb for a full list of Masters golf odds and plenty of Masters props.
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