Thu, Apr 10, 2:45pm by Daryl Curnow
Open an account with Sportsbet for $200 in free bets and bet on a local Australian to win the coveted green jacket!
IT’S that time of year again; where summer is saying goodbye and the green pastures of Augusta National say hello as the world’s best golfers look to win the biggest prize in the game.
With Australian Adam Scott looking to defend his 2013 title, this year’s edition has sparked great interest locally with a number of Australians, including the in-form Jason Day a realistic chance of taking home the green jacket.
There are over 70 different markets to bet on and we will cover the markets with the best value in this preview.
Excludes Australian entrants*
In one of the most wide open Masters in recent history – thanks to Tiger’s withdrawal – there are many title hopefuls at great value. With a mix of past champions and the younger generation looking to capture their first major title, the field is the cream of the crop headlined by Rory McIlroy, who famously choked in the final round when holding a comfortable lead.
Rory McIlroy @ $11 – The Northern-Irishman is the current second favourite behind Adam Scott and if he can block out his infamous 80 in the 2011 Masters then he is a real live chance. Sunny weather is expected but with the rain that fell during the week the greens will be soft and that suits McIlroy. He is a player that attacks the pin and uses spin to stop the ball on a point, therefore the softer greens will allow him to play his own style. He has the ability to shot very low numbers and he is a good bet to capture another major title.
Phil Mickelson @ $15 – Granted the short-game king isn’t in his finest form, he’s still a former winner with the class to shake this field. He he come out saying that because of his poor form he is now nervous about his game, but if we know Phil, that won’t worry the future Hall of Fame inductee. The key Phil’s chances is his driving accuracy; although he is a very long hitter, he struggles keeping the ball in the fairway and is often left with an up-and-down to save par. If he can hit the greens and roll in some classic Phil putts, he will retain the confidence a winner must have.
Sergio Garcia @ $21 – The Spaniard usually slips under the radar of most punters but he isn’t world number six for nothing. He is yet to win a major but he has been perilously close on two occasions and if he can revisit that form he could win a major this year. His third place finish on the PGA Tour last week puts him in good order for this and he will likely be up around the top of the leaderboard early, so the $20 for first round leader is a nice quick payout bet.
Matt Kuchar @ $23 – Despite blowing leads at his last two tournaments, including losing a playoff against Australian Matt Jones last week in the Houston Open, Matt Kuchar remains a great chance to record a major win. The lofty American has put himself in winning positions by playing very good and consistent golf and that will count for something at Augusta. He has often been known as a perennial top-five machine but it’s about time he took the next step up and the $23 is great money.
Jason Day @ $14 – The always consistent Day has finished fourth and second in his last two Masters and he just loves this course. It’s hard to fathom that he has won only one PGA Tour event but the young Australian targets majors and he is looking to go one better this time around. He is coming off a wrist injury which could play it’s hand late in the tournament, but Day has all the facets to become a major champion and it will happen sooner rather than later.
Adam Scott @ $10 – Who else but the returning 2013 champion? Adam Scott had a stellar season last year and he is looking to keep his momentum going with an early season Masters win. The Queenslander hasn’t played many tournaments to start the season but he likes to target majors and the winning feeling is always a good confidence boost. If he is to be only the fourth back-to-back winner in history his putter will have to be firing on all cylinders, but who could doubt him?
Matt Jones @ $101 – Coming off an amazing chip-in win at the Houston Open, Matt Jones will be on a high after that win secured him a spot in the 2014 Masters. Players coming off a win usually start the following week well so taking Jones as first round leader wouldn’t be the worst bet. As his odds suggest, Jones is an outside chance to wear the green jacket but he is a player in form and anything can happen.
Henrik Stenson @ $29 – The Swede hasn’t started this year in the same form that saw him win the Fed-Ex Cup last season. That being said, Stenson has been longing for a major and he has played well here in the past. He has a relatively simple game plan and that works into his favour throughout the testing Augusta course where accuracy is key. If he is close to the leaders coming into round four then he is a great chance at pull off an upset.
Lee Westwood @ $46 – Will he ever win a major? The Englishman is running out of chances after being runner up on numerous occasions. We have included him here because he is the most deserving of a mention after his past performances and you wouldn’t not want to be on him when he does win a major. His form leading into the event isn’t great, mainly due to niggling injuries, but he tries and that’s all you can ask of him.
Graeme McDowell @ $56 – If he starts sinking putts, watch out! The Northern-Irishman is a streaky player who has the experience necessary to take out this tournament. The one thing in his favour is that he doesn’t lack confidence so if you see his name up and around the top of the leaderboard it would be wise to place a bet on him. He has played in plenty of nervy matches so when the pressure comes on he won’t shy away.
Top Australian – Jason Day ($2.63) at Sportsbet.com.au. It’s tough to win majors in consecutive years and that’s why we favour Day over Scott here. Jason Day has shown that he targets the majors with the Masters at the top of his list and we have no reason to not be confident in backing him here. To ensure more security, we suggest taking a Top 20 bet on Day at $1.67 as a nice multi-bet inclusion.
Top Asian – Thongchai Jaidee ($6.50). The former paratrooper has no issues with pressure and he’s due a massive major performance. His competition in this category is led by Hideki Matsuyama so it’s not overly strong and he can capitalise on this.
Top Debutant – Jordan Spieth ($6.50). The young American has burst onto the scene in recent times and he looks to have a smart head on his shoulders. Keep in mind this is a tough category with such players as Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed and Matt Jones, but Spieth resembles the likes of Keegan Bradley who already has a major to his name.
Will there be a playoff? – No @$1.30. There has been a few playoffs in Masters history but generally the winning margin is within 1-2 shots.
First time major winner? – Yes @$1.67 at Sportingbet.com.au. We think Sergio Garcia and Jason Day are great chances to break through for their first major wins so this option seems logical. We would advise on taking Rory McIlroy as a saver if Garcia or Day are in contention.
Will there be a hole-in-one? – Yes @$1.78. One of the greatest things to watch during the Masters is someone getting a hole-in-one and it’s a rather common occurrence. With the soft greens this week there should be someone scoring an ace on one of the shorter par three’s. Jason Day is at $67 to score a hole-in-one, you never know!
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