2018 Masters Betting Trends with Expert Handicapping Analysis
With the 2018 Masters tournament just two days away, now would be a great
time to start finalizing your betting card if you haven't already done so.
However, I am obligated to warn you that the odds you will be betting
between now and the start of the tournament are nowhere near what you could
have gotten at the start of the calendar year or even before the start of
last week's Houston Open.
As of writing this, Jordan Spieth is now the betting favorite at Bovada with odds of +900. If you were early to the Spieth party, despite his shaky 2018 form, you could have gotten Spieth anywhere between +1100 to +1400 as the third or fourth betting favorite before he turned in an all-around solid performance last week in Houston.
Spieth took over the betting favorite title from Rory McIlroy, who saw his odds drop after he torched the field three weeks back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. McIlroy, who got as low as +850 to win the Masters, is now currently second on the betting board with odds of +1000.
And lastly, the player with the biggest move on the betting board is none other than Tiger Woods. Prior to the start of Woods' playing events, you could bet Eldrick to win the Masters at odds of 100-1. Now, with a T-2 at the Valspar and a T-5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his back pocket, Woods sits at 14-1 to capture his 15th major title and move ever closer to Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.
Despite the ever-changing odds and title of "betting favorite," nobody 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. However, trends are made to be broken - just ask the Virginia Cavaliers how the "No. 1 has never lost to a No. 16" trend is doing.
Masters Trends to Look For
Tough to Repeat at Augusta
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. I will never say a trend is almost certain to hit, but we can all but cross Sergio Garcia off the list of potential Masters winners for this year. Garcia is the defending champion, and at +2800 on the odds board there are 12 players who've been given a better chance to win.
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-ever try. The last golfer to do so was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. The player's making their Masters debut this year are as follows: Wesley Bryan +50000, Austin Cook +25000, Harry Ellis +100000, Tony Finau +12500, Dylan Frittelli +30000, Doug Ghim +100000, Patton Kizzire +25000, Satoshi Kodaira +50000, Hao-Tong Li +30000, Yuxin Lin +150000, Yusaka Miyazoto +50000, Joaquin Niemann +50000, Matt Parziale +200000, Doc Redman +75000, Xander Schauffele +12500, Shubhankar Sharma +20000.
As you can see, the odds are reflective in the fact that these players are all making their Masters debut. That eliminates another 16 potential winners.
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, the last time a player ranked No. 1 in the world won the Masters was in 2005, when Tiger Woods captured his fourth Green Jacket. Coming into this tournament, the worlds No. 1 golfer is Dustin Johnson. Johnson missed last year's tournament due to a freak injury suffered prior to the tournament. Johnson is currently +1100 to win his first Masters tournament, but this trend is hard to ignore.
Peaking at the Right Time
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, Ian Poulter is the golfer in this precarious position after fending off Beau Hossler in last week's Houston Open. Poulter needed to win last week's event to accumulate enough points for an invite to the 2018 Masters. Poulter is currently +6600 to do the double.
Six of the last 10 Masters Champions have been in their 30s.
Seven of the last 10 Masters Champions have been younger than 35-years-old.
Nine of the last 10 Masters Champions have been ranked inside the Top-30 golfers in the world.
Seven of the last 10 Masters Champions have posted a Top-10 at Augusta, while nine of the last 10 Masters Champions have posted a Top-30 at Augusta.
The last 10 Masters Champions have made the cut the year prior to winning their Green Jacket.
Nine out of the last 10 Masters Champions have posted a Top-10 result earlier in the season.
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