Players and fans alike waited seven months from its traditional April dates due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but now the 2020 Masters is finally here.
Hopefully, the wait pays off.
But while fans wait for the first round to begin Thursday, there are many bets that can be made so the Masters can pay off in another, more fiscal way.
BetMGM’s Vice President of Trading Jason Scott, from Brisbane, Australia, spoke with Golfweek about the biggest questions when it comes to betting on the Masters, the most interesting storylines to capitalize on and what, if anything, has COVID-19 done to betting odds.
Below are a few of the best storylines entering the 2020 Masters and how they could relate to your bank account.
He successfully defended his title at Augusta National before, but can he do it again?
It was more than 18 years ago Tiger Woods defended his 2001 Masters title at the 2002 tournament. After winning his 15th major championship and fifth green jacket last April, Woods returns to Augusta National after holding the title of reigning champion for 19 months.
Woods, the most popular golfer to bet on in any tournament he plays, kept that reputation for the November Masters. But at the Masters, Woods has 40-1 outright odds for defending his 2019 title.
Those odds haven’t changed how many people are betting on the Big Cat this week.
“We’ve written more tickets on Tiger than any other three players combined,” Scott said when he spoke Tuesday with Golfweek.
Betting on Woods as the outright winner isn’t the best bet, so if fans want to put money down on Woods, there are other, safer bets. Scott said a few suggestions for betting on Woods other than outright are Woods finishing in the top 10 or, more realistically, making the cut or not.
Best bet for first-time winner
Some of the best Masters Tournaments have ended with a player grinning from ear to ear as they put on a green jacket for the first time. A few of the favorites in this week’s field are winless at Augusta National.
Between Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, Scott picked his favorite for first-time winner.
Koepka is fresh off his knee and hip-related injuries, so his outright odds are 16-1. DeChambeau, who has historically not played well at Augusta National with a best finish in 2016 (21st), has odds of 15-2. Dustin Johnson, who won the Tour Championship and finished T-2 at last week’s Vivint Houston Open, is Scott’s favorite to win with 9-1 odds.
Out of these three favorites, Scott picked DJ. Johnson played at Memorial Park last week after finishing isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 13.
“He’s had good form. He played last week with his chin up. I thought he hit the ball well last week. His putting was just a bit off. … I was probably nervous about (his positive COVID test) last week and thought he was a good risk last week but … I think he’ll be fine this week.”
Why Koepka, Bryson and DJ headline the potential time winners, there are a few sleepers Scott pointed out.
“I think Hideki Matsuyama has been good the past few weeks. I think 25-1, he has some interest to me,” Scott said. “The other obvious one is (Jon) Rahm who’s been playing well for a long time. … He finished top-10 last year at Augusta and the year before he was competitive as well so his form around the course is good.
“What’s interesting is Bryson’s isn’t. Bryson’s played four times, sixteen tournaments and only broken 70 once. I think he’s odds probably should be a little bigger.”
In addition to his 21st place finish in 2016, DeChambeau has finished the Masters 28th and 29th respectively over the past two tournaments. One thing that’s changed since DeChambeau last visited Augusta National is his major, 30-pound muscle gain and his first major title at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
This time may be different.
“It’s always been putting and chipping around Augusta. But yeah, the extra yards are certainly going to help,” Scott said. “He was a different player last year. But if you look at the courses he’s preformed well this year, he had (performed) well there previously.”
Young guys and Augusta National
One of the (few) highlights of 2020 has been watching the young stars play and compete with the world’s top ranked players. Which one should bettors keep their eyes — and potentially bets — on?
“I’d be on (Matthew) Wolff,” Scott said. “It always favors the long-hitters and he proved it at the U.S. Open he can compete when he ran second to Bryson.”
The most impressive young stars in the field are Matthew Wolff, who won his first Tour title at the 2019 3M Open and finished second at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot; Viktor Hovland who won the Puerto Rico Open last season and has three top-25 finishes in the first four events of the season; and Collin Morikawa won his first major at the PGA Championship, his second Tour title of the year and third overall.
Has COVID affected betting odds at the Masters?
What has COVID affected at the 2020 Masters? Try everything.
No fans on site, no in-person Masters shop, no Par 3 contest. The list goes on and on. But has it affected betting odds? Scott says not really.
“I think really minutely (odds have been impacted,)” Scott said. “The players at the disadvantage are Tiger and Phil (Mickelson) and Rory (McIlroy) and DeChambeau, the ones that have huge, big galleries that bounce off them and keep the ball from going in the rubbish. So that’s always been a big advantage for those guys.
“I’ve spoken to caddies and I know for a fact sometimes they’ll overclub because they know if they go too far, it’ll hit the crowd.”
Despite some of the disadvantages to now having a crowd and the irregular golf atmosphere, Scott said not to read too much into it since players are largely used to it since golf’s restart in June.
Get some action on the 2020 Masters Tournament by signing up and betting at USA Today Sports’ official partner, BetMGM. If you’re looking for more sports betting picks and tips, access all of our content at SportsbookWire.com. Please gamble responsibly.