Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: The Masters 2021: Betting Preview

The Masters 2021: Betting Preview

Louis Oosthuizen

Damien Kayat takes an in-depth look at the 2021 edition of the Masters which includes value bets, the man to beat and a few interesting side-bets.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

April in the golfing calendar can only mean one thing (and I’m not talking about the lockdown conditions experienced last year). It’s time for Magnolia Lane and Amen Corner, as well as relentless references to one Ray Charles ballad. It means having to withstand the kind of heavy-duty elitism that transforms ordinary golfing fans into patrons (though there will only be a limited number of ‘patrons’ this year). It’s time for the Masters. The 85th edition of golf’s most iconic event is upon us. Following Tiger Woods’ sensational victory in 2019, the golfing world has to wait 19 months for the 84th renewal of this storied event. Now we will be having our second trip to Augusta in five months. Dustin Johnson will be looking to defend the title he won in record-equalling fashion while Rory McIlroy continues his quest to complete the final leg of the career Grand Slam. 

The brainchild of golfing icon Bobby Jones, Augusta National was founded by him and investment banked Clifford Roberts. Ultimately designed by Jones and Alister Mackenzie, this visually stunning course was built on the site of an old nursery (hence the botanic nomenclature of the holes). There have been many significant overhauls since then, most notably by Tom Fazio in 2002. Over the years the greens have been changed from Bermuda to Bentgrass. The tree-lined course has also been significantly lengthened over the years. It’s now a veritable beast at 7,475 yards (no wonder Dustin Johnson dominated in November). Looking at November’s results, one could argue that the course certainly played a bit easier. Having said that, seven of the top ten in November had previously finished inside the top 5 at Augusta. 

What does it take to thrive at Augusta? I think many laymen probably have some idea. Though it is tree-lined, driving accuracy has grown less relevant over the years. Distance off the tee is far more predictive of success around here. Finding greens in regulation is essential. But there will be times around these heavily contoured greens when players will need to show finesse. Augusta has a rich history of rewarding those with exquisite scrambling skills. This is also an event that generally rewards familiarity and some course history. Furthermore, many recent winners have entered this event riding the crest of a wave. So current form is just as crucial an indicator as historical success around Augusta.

If you remember all the lead-up into Augusta last year, DeChambeau was the overwhelming favourite following his US Open victory. Many people felt that his gung-ho approach was suited to this ever-lengthening test. Perhaps DeChambeau will fare better this week slightly removed from the limelight.  Dustin Johnson will clearly be a contender while Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are in excellent form. In reality, it’s hard to look past an American winner this week. Jon Rahm hasn’t been as devastating as last year while Rory McIlroy has also underwhelmed. Perhaps it will be left to the likes of Casey and Hatton to fly the European (or sorry British) flag this week. Course specialists such as Cameron Smith and Sergio Garcia can’t be discounted. There are just too many intriguing sub-plots to fully explore in one meagre article. 

Past Winners
2020- (in November): Dustin Johnson (-20)
2019: Tiger Woods (-13)
2018: Patrick Reed (-15)
2017: Sergio Garcia (-9) *playoff
2016: Danny Willett (-5)
2015: Jordan Spieth (-18)
2014: Bubba Watson (-8)

To Win Outright: Dustin Johnson 9/1 | Jordan Spieth 11/1 | Bryson DeChambeau 11/1 | Jon Rahm 12/1 | Justin Thomas 12/1

Value Bets

Webb Simpson: To Win 35/1 | To Place 7/1
There’s a lot to be said for experience at Augusta. 18 of the past 25 champions have at least four appearances here. Form is also crucial, with 21 of the past 25 champions recording a top 5 finish in the season prior to Augusta. Furthermore, 16 of the past 25 winners had a previous top 5 finish at Augusta.  Webb Simpson fits the bill perfectly. His form hasn’t been spectacular this season, making him a more attractive price at 35/1. But he did pick up a top 5 finish at the Sony Open. He also finished 10th at Augusta last year, following up from a 5th in 2019. The metronomic Simpson could be a strong dark-horse with his relentless iron-play.

Matt Kuchar: To Win 90/1 | To Place 18/1
If you’re looking for a juicy outsider in the place markets, look no further than the recently resurgent Matt Kuchar. His course record alone makes him irresistible at these prices. He was 12th in 2019 and 4th in 2017. His results between 2012 and 2014 read 3-8-5. This is a man who was Low Amateur on debut here in 1998. He is also coming off one of best finishes in ages. He came out of nowhere to secure third place at the WGC Dell Match-Play. He also finished in a tie for 12th last week in Texas. His relative lack of length should be helped by the faster running conditions expected at Augusta this week. It’s hard to see him winning, but expecting him to place isn’t outside the realms of possibility. Prior to 2020, Kuuuuuch had pricked up a top 10 at a Major in seven of the previous eight seasons. 

The Man to Beat: Jon Rahm- To Win 12/1 To Place 24/10
I know I mentioned earlier that I couldn’t envisage a non-American champion this week. But then something happened. Rahm’s wife gave birth to their first child on Sunday, freeing up the Spaniard to compete this week (he said he would withdraw if the birth was imminent). This brings back memories of Danny Willett in 2016, who went on to win Augusta following the birth of his son. Rahm’s last three visits to Augusta have yielded finishes of 7th, 9th and 4th. He has back-to-back top 10’s in his last two starts, and an incredible ten in his last 14. I think that he may play with added freedom this week in the wake of becoming a father for the first time. 

Some interesting side-bets
Top Aussie- Mark Leishmann at 5/1
He has two top 10’s here and looks great value, with the likes of Cameron Smith and Jason Day the more fashionable options. 

Top 20 Finish: Ryan Palmer to finish in top 20 at 4/1
He has top 20 finishes in three of his last four stroke-play events, including a tie for 2nd at the Farmers Insurance Open. Insane value here. 

Top Senior: Phil Mickelson at 66/100 
Looks like easy money to me, especially with the likes of Weir and Singh at 4th and 5th in the betting. 

Written by Damien Kayat.

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