The Masters: History and Betting Picks
A Tradition Unlike Any Other
For golf fans, spring hasn’t arrived until Masters week. There will be those who say that the U.S. Open is a truer test of golf and the British Open is more important because it takes place at the birthplace of golf. Those other Majors are great and all, but no American golf tournament and no golf course have more tradition or look better on television than The Masters and Augusta National during the first week in April. It truly is a tradition unlike any other (sorry).
Bobby Jones’ Masterpiece
Bobby Jones was one of the best amateur golfers to play the game. He was renowned nationwide during his prime, way (way) back in the 1910s and 1920s. A Georgia native, his dream was to build a fine golf course in his home state. He found land in Augusta and, with the help of a few financial partners, the Augusta National Golf Club opened in 1933.
He wanted to create some buzz, so he came up with the idea of hosting a tournament with the best players of the day coming to play at the new course. Thus, The Masters was born. The allure of Augusta National quickly spread, and by the 1950s The Masters was attracting top-tier fields of the best players in the world. The Masters was even one of the first golf tournaments ever broadcast on national television.
The Masters on CBS
The Masters has been broadcast on CBS since 1956. In the early years, only the last four holes were broadcast. Imagine seeing the beauty of Augusta National (in color!), but only the last four holes. How frustrating. Augusta National has always kept a tight grip on its brand; Masters officials still severely limit the amount of coverage shown on television in order to create maximum interest.
For many years, officials at Augusta National limited broadcast coverage to 4-7 pm ET on Saturday and 3-7 pm ET on Sunday. Until 2002, anyone who hadn’t been to the tournament as a “patron” had no idea what the first few holes looked like! This seems unfathomable in our current time of everything being broadcast everywhere at all times. The Masters has gotten with the times a little bit, partnering with IBM to create a fantastic website and app with live streaming, but the broadcast on ESPN and CBS is still limited to just a few hours each day. Thankfully, television coverage now begins at 2 pm ET on Sunday so viewers can see all 18 magnificent holes.
The Masters has always attracted the best golfers from around the world, and the list of recent champions reflects the global popularity of the tournament. Here are the previous 10 Masters champions and their final pre-tournament odds:
- 2020 – Dustin Johnson (USA) +1000
- 2019 – Tiger Woods (USA) +1400
- 2018 – Patrick Reed (USA) +4000
- 2017 – Sergio Garcia (Spain) +3000
- 2016 – Danny Willett (England) +5000
- 2015 – Jordan Spieth (USA) +1000
- 2014 – Bubba Watson (USA) +2000
- 2013 – Adam Scott (Australia) +1500
- 2012 – Bubba Watson (USA) +5000
- 2011 – Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) +5000
Betting on The Masters
The challenge of winning a major and the tremendous difficulty of Augusta National can cause even the best players to quickly collapse (figuratively) from the pressure. Those in the lead on Saturday are not necessarily the ones competing for victory on Sunday. For this reason, futures bets can be difficult to handicap.
Other options, including matchup bets and top-5 or top-10 finishes, may be better options for those new to betting on golf. Putting a few bucks on a matchup bet or top-10 finish is a great way to introduce yourself to the excitement of betting on golf, and there are usually more wagering opportunities on The Masters than any other golf tournament.
2021 Betting Favorites
Not surprisingly, Dustin Johnson has been the odds-on betting favorite to repeat as Masters champion since he won his first Green Jacket last November. All signs point to him being in contention again this spring. Bryson DeChambeau, the young bomber, is another top betting favorite. He was also a favorite last fall (+900 pre-tournament), but ended up tied for 34th place. Oddsmakers and bettors think this could be the year he breaks through and earns his first Green Jacket.
Justin Thomas is also looking for his first Green Jacket, and is currently an intriguing +1000 to win the tournament. After a strong fourth place finish last fall, this could be his year. Other favorites include Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy.
Here are the top 10 futures odds to win the Masters, direct from FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Dustin Johnson +850
- Bryson DeChambeau +900
- Justin Thomas +1000
- Jon Rahm +1200
- Jordan Spieth +1200
- Rory McIlroy +1400
- Xander Schauffele +2000
- Brooks Koepka +2200
- Collin Morikawa +2200
- Patrick Cantlay +2200
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