US Masters Betting: Tiger Burning Brightly Ahead of Golf’s First Major

We’ve already seen some thrilling golf on the PGA Tour at the start of the new season and many of the World’s top players are finding early form. The countdown is therefore firmly on for the first major of 2018 as we get ready for Augusta and the US Masters in April.

Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas have already secured wins stateside but the big news in March sees a return to form for the former World Number One Tiger Woods. After coming close to a comeback win in the Valspar Championship, could Tiger finally overcome years of injury and personal issues to make an overdue addition to his list of 14 major trophies?

Front Runners

Tiger Woods

With just under a month to go until the Masters gets underway, Tiger Woods’ price has been shortening and he is among a clutch of golfers listed as joint second favourites. The man leading the way, however, is the current World Number One and Dustin Johnson is currently available at a top price of 17/2 with MarathonBet and Unibet.

DJ was on a hot streak of form going into the 2017 event but an unfortunate accident in his rented home on the eve of the tournament forced a withdrawal. It took some time for Johnson to rediscover form and fitness but an early 2018 victory in the Sentry Tournament of Champions suggests he’s in good shape for a strong challenge at Augusta.

The three men locked at the same best odds of 12/1 are Woods, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. All three are former major winners so have to be taken seriously and we know all about Tiger and that return to form over the last few weeks. Thomas is the reigning US PGA Champion and Spieth the current British Open Champion although the latter has yet to win since lifting the Claret Jug back in July.

Chasing Golfers

Sergio Garcia

With Sergio Garcia taking the Green Jacket in 2017, Rickie Fowler now becomes known as the ‘Best Golfer to Never win a Major’. He’ll be anxious to put that right but having ended 2017 in strong fashion, the 29 year old has been quiet at the start of the new year. Fowler is currently available at best odds of 22/1 with bet365 and Unibet to take the Masters this year and he remains one to watch as far as we are concerned.

One man who certainly is in form is Phil Mickelson who is on offer at a top price of 20/1 with Unibet and Boylesports for Masters Glory in 2018. A string of Top Ten finishes at the start of the season culminated in victory at the WGC Mexico and if Phil can maintain that form he has every chance of winning at Augusta.

Other players in a similar price bracket include last year’s runner up Justin Rose at a best of 20/1 with Sun Bets, two time winner Bubba Watson at a top price of 25/1 with Sky Bet and Betway while our defending champion Sergio Garcia will tempt many at his best odds of 33/1 with Boylesports.

Outside Punts

Naturally, the US Masters will provide us with the strongest field of 2018 so far and it would be impossible to mention the credentials of every golfer on show in Augusta. However, as we move down the outright market there is a host of interesting prices from those who have the quality to mount a serious challenge.

For example, there’s Gary Woodland who has started the new season in good touch yet finds himself out at 125/1 with Coral in the Masters’ outrights. Coral also go best price of 125/1 on Charley Hoffman who started well at Augusta in 2017 before enjoying a profitable year on tour.

Elsewhere, the impressive South African Branden Grace is quoted at best odds of 100/1 with 10Bet, Canada’s Adam Hadwin, who mounted a decent defence of the Valspar Championship, is at 150/1 with William Hill and the consistent Kevin Chappell is out at 200/1 with Coral and could be considered for the Top Ten markets at the very least.

There are so many more to consider and we may touch on further names before the end of this preview but let’s move on now and look at what it takes to become a Masters Champion.

Trends and Indicators

We’ve already seen that multiple winners are not uncommon with Woods, Mickelson and Bubba Watson among those who have lifted the trophy on more than one occasion. All three are in the running this year although Tiger is the only player to have made a successful defence since the turn of the century.

Interestingly, the last two winners of the Masters, Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett, had both won the Dubai Desert Classic in the previous February so could that be an encouraging sign for backers of Li Haotong who took that title last month and is available for Augusta at a top price of 160/1?

It’s a curious trend and not one that we’re not inclined to follow so what are the stats needed in order to get over the line here?

Verdict

Rickie Fowler

If you are thinking of a bet on Tiger Woods then it’s a good option to take that now because further strong finishes in March will see that win price of 12/1 start to tumble. He started as a 6/1 favourite to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in mid-March and it would be no huge surprise to see a similar figure ahead of Augusta. In that sense, it could be a good idea to take some ante post value rather than see how the next few events play out.

As for the course itself, the Augusta National has seen many changes over the years but none were as dramatic as the overhaul carried out by designer Tom Fazio in 2002. Changes in grass have provided different challenges but the main difference is in the sheer length of Augusta. At a par 72 approaching 7,500 yards it will favour the big hitters and it’s likely that the booming Bubba Watson has been the chief beneficiary of Fazio’s work.

For 2018, we had been hoping that Rickie Fowler would emerge and continue his 2017 form through to the New Year but it hasn’t worked out that way. We will, however, monitor Fowler over the next couple of weeks and an improvement will certainly make him a strong Each Way tip.

Top Ten betting will hold some value and at this stage, we will opt for Kevin Chappell, Gary Woodland and for Paul Casey, who is our most recent winner on Tour having edged out Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed for the Valspar Championship. At the time of writing, the Top Ten market isn’t open but it should appear shortly and all three will have nice odds and a strong chance to convert.

That just leaves the winner: The last two years have been very open with Willett and Garcia claiming the Green Jacket but while the early weeks of 2018 have also provided some surprise champions, this could go with form and the best golfer on show.

Dustin Johnson looked almost nailed on in 2017 before that accident and he’s got the game and the form to put that right this time. 17/2 isn’t a great price for any golf tournament but if it’s destined to land it will still return a nice profit so we suggest Johnson for the win but there is good value away from the outrights if you prefer other options.

Best Bets for US Masters 2018

  • Dustin Johnson to win at 17/2 with Unibet
  • Rickie Fowler Each Way at 22/1 with bet365
  • Paul Casey, Gary Woodland and / or Kevin Chappell for a Top Ten Finish when available
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