The first major of the 2017 Golf calendar takes place at the inimitable Augusta National this week, but which player will overcome all others to win the Masters? Here we give you our opinions on the matter, with the latest betting odds comparison for the leading contenders along with our tips and predictions.
A Look Back to the 2016 Masters
Few but fans of Danny Willet could have watched Jordan Spieth’s agonising collapse on the back nine of the final round of last year’s US Masters with anything other than sympathy. Undoubtedly one of the top players of the exciting new generation, Spieth was a full five shots ahead of Willet at the end of the front nine after the American birdied four holes in a row. But it was all to go awry from there for the 2015 Masters champion as he bogeyed the 10th and 11th before landing in the water on the par three 12th… twice!
Yorkshireman Willet was able to hold his nerve to take a surprise victory, while Spieth was left wondering what might have been. But while the experience must have been tough for the 23 year old from Texas, we think it actually puts him in a very strong position coming into this year’s Masters tournament. He certainly isn’t going to take any chances on the 12th this year!
Leading Masters Contenders in the Betting
Of course, there are plenty of top contenders who look like they could do well at this year’s US Masters. Not least the current world number one, Dustin Johnson. Coming to Augusta on the back of a hat-trick of tournament victories, he’s clearly the man in form. Last time out he bagged the WGC Match Play event, with wins at the WGC Mexico and the Genesis Open before that. The bookies make DJ the rightful favourite at best betting odds of 13/2 with Betfair.
Rory McIlroy has never won the Masters – it’s the only major he’s yet to win – and he’ll clearly be eager to complete the set this year. He’s been in decent enough form, tying for fourth in the Arnold Palmer and seventh in the WGC Mexico event, but he was slightly off his game in the recent WGC Dell Match Play where he crashed out early on. The bookies are pricing Rory as an 8/1 shot (Bet365 and others), and though there is no doubt he has the talent, we think he doesn’t represent great value. Given that his last major wins came in 2014 (USPGA and The Open) and doubts remain over his putting, so crucial at the Masters, single-digit odds look slim.
As mentioned, we think Spieth has some unfinished business at the Masters after last year’s massive disappointment. This could serve to ensure he focusses more than ever, or it could add an extra level of pressure that he could do without. However, with the bookies offering Spieth at the same odds as Rory – 8/1 with Bet365 – we certainly think the Texan represents much better value than the man from Northern Ireland.
Dark Horses: Long Odds Each Way Masters Tips
As always with the majors, there are plenty of longer odds options who offer excellent betting value. One such player is the Swedish world number 10, Alex Noren. Given that he’s in the world’s top 10 players, and that he won four European Tour events in the second half of 2016 (including the Nedbank Challenge), we feel that he is very overpriced at a tidy 100/1 with Betfred and others. With some bookies (namely Sky Bet and William Hill) paying out on each way bets up to eight places, Noren looks like a sensible each way bet to us.
Another 100/1 shot who has every chance of making a top eight finish is Lee Westwood. He finish second in the 2010 Masters behind Phil Mickelson, and tied with Spieth last year for second behind Danny Willet. A measured and accurate player from tee to green, Westwood looks fantastic betting value at 100/1 with Betfred and others.
One other long odds option that might pique your interest is the 2013 Masters victor from Australia, Adam Scott. The Aussie was also tied for second place in 2011 (when Charl Schwartzel took the glory) and Scott clearly has the right kind of game for Augusta - notably he is an exceptional putter. With best betting odds of 40/1 with Sportingbet, we think Scott has a fighting chance to get back to the pinnacle of world golf at Augusta National.
Betting Verdict: Who will win the Masters in 2017?
While there is undoubted value to be hoovered up further down the betting for your each way bets, we have to take ourselves back towards the shorter odds hopefuls as we pick our main betting tip for the winner of the 2017 Masters.
All things considered, while Dustin Johnson is clearly bang in form, we think the pressure of favouritism might get to him (in the same way that it did with Spieth last time around). And as for Rory, we feel he is just a little short at betting odds of 8/1 given his lack of truly exceptional golf in recent months.
Which leaves us with the man we’re tipping for glory at Augusta: Jordan Spieth. At 8/1 with Bet365, the odds are not overly generous, but we still think they represent decent enough value, especially when compared to McIlroy. Spieth will have learned valuable lessons from last year’s disastrous capitulation, and with a game that suits the wide fairways and tricky greens of Augusta, he’s our main man this year.
Whoever you back, be sure to make use of our odds comparison to ensure you get the best odds and hence the biggest profit if you win.Google+