2021 Masters Betting Trends and Handicapping Advice
We are less than one week away from the 2021 Masters golf tournament, and to say I am excited would be an understatement. To me, the Masters is synonymous with the beginning of spring as it takes place on the first weekend in April and everything just seems right in the world for the few days we get to watch the world’s best golfers take on the beautiful backdrop that is Augusta National. This year’s tournament has a bit of a different buzz surrounding it as a select number of patrons will be in attendance to cheer on their favorite golfers. Furthermore, a certain golfer has seemingly found his way back from the depths of golf purgatory to nab a win at last week’s Valero Texas Open. I’ll get to what that means for Jordan Spieth’s chances at success this week later on in this article.
As of writing this, Dustin Johnson is the current betting favorite for Masters odds at +900. He’s followed closely by Bryson DeChambeau (+1100), Jordan Spieth (+1100), Jon Rahm (+1200), and Justin Thomas (+1200).
The top of the odds board should come as no surprise to anyone as these golfers are the best golfers in the world as indicated not only by their rankings but by the form they have leading up to this tournament. Jordan Spieth is the biggest market mover of the week as he’s been on a bit of a heater over the last two months and finally got the win last week. He could have been had at +6600 immediately following the 2020 Masters, and even as high as +1400 heading into last weekend. He’s currently +1100, which is right where he was when he won back in 2015.
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Despite the ever-changing odds and title of “betting favorite”, nobody still has any clue how this weekend is going to play out and which golfer will survive all 72 holes at the most prestigious golf course in the world.
This is where I come in and this is where following trends can help point you in the right direction – by process of elimination. Picking a winner in a golf tournament can seem like a daunting task given the number of players in the field. If you follow certain trends, you can eliminate golfers from contention before the tournament even begins.
Masters Trends to Look For
Let’s start with the easiest trend to look for, and that is the defending champion trend. In Masters history, only two players have ever won back-to-back Green Jackets. Jack Nicklaus did it in 1965-66 and Tiger Woods did it in 2001-02. If any golfer has the ability and game to add his name to this illustrious list, it’s Dustin Johnson. Johnson came into last year’s edition of The Masters on a heater. This year, his results have not been the same, but he’s still as dangerous as ever when he’s dialed in with his irons. The one thing that may not be working in DJ’s favor is the fact that in April, the fairways are not as damp and firm as they are in November, and the longer hitters might struggle a little to keep the ball in the fairway. Never say never, but DJ is in a good spot to defend his title.
While it’s not entirely unlikely to happen, players who are making their Masters debut typically struggle to survive the course. Only three players in the tournament’s history have won The Masters in their first appearance. The last golfer to do so was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. I’m not saying it’s impossible. However, without having a greens book to work with, the lack of experience at Augusta National is a major disadvantage. And as such, we can eliminate the following Masters debutants: Will Zalatoris +10000, Robert McIntyre +15000, and Carlos Ortiz +15000,
One would think that being ranked as the world’s “best” golfer would translate into success at one of the most prestigious tournaments on the golf calendar. However, that has been far from the case. Since 2005, only two players have won The Masters as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world. Tigers Woods did it in 2005, and Dustin Johnson did it last year. Johnson has not since relinquished the hold on that top ranking, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can not only defy one trend – nobody ever wins back-to-back Masters, but this trend as well.
Does Form Matter?
Coming into the Masters in peak form will only help your chances of winning the Green Jacket, but finding the winner’s circle the week prior to the tournament doesn’t bode well for your chances. In the history of the Masters, there have been only five players who have won the Masters after winning the week prior. The last golfer to accomplish the double was Phil Mickelson in 2006 when he won the BellSouth Classic before winning his second Green Jacket.
This year, Jordan Spieth is the golfer in this precarious position after notching his first PGA win in over 1,350 days at the Valero Texas Open. Spieth had been knocking on the door of a return to form for the last two months, and winning last week was a validation of the hard work he’s put into re-finding his game and form. If you believe he can be the first player since 2006, to win B2B weeks, including at the Masters, you’d find him at around +1100 or +1200, depending on which book you use.
Process of Elimination:
Eight out of the last 10 Masters winners fall into these specific categories:
Ranked No. 30 or better
Has a T-25 at Augusta
Younger than 40
One prior Major start
Made the cut the year prior
Not the Defending Champion
Not the World No. 1
Posted a T5 or better earlier in the year.
Went off at odds greater than 16/1
By process of elimination, we can already eliminate guys like Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy. If we go further through the list, you can eliminate Paul Casey as he’s over 40 and Collin Morikawa who hasn’t had a T30 at Augusta. Tyrrell Hatton failed to make the cut last year, so he’s out as well.
Eight of the last 10 Masters winners have had a Top-15 on the Florida swing earlier in the calendar year, which rules out Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
Eight of the last 10 Masters winners have nabbed a win on U.S. Soil within the last two years. With that said, Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick are all gone.
Nine of the last 10 Masters winners have had a top-six finish in a major in the last two seasons.
So, with that said, who is the golfer that fits the mold the best? Well, that would be 22-year-old Sungjae Im. Im finished second at last year’s Masters and is a winner of the 2020 Honda Classic before finishing with a T10 there this year. He’s also got a Top-5 finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions this season and is priced at odds greater than +1600.