The Masters odds, preview, and course notes
Just last fall, Dustin Johnson celebrated a historic November victory at Augusta National, in which the world’s No. 1 golfer, and tournament favorite, set a course record at the 2020 Masters.
Fast-forward to April, and Johnson and a field of 88 players will return to the famed Georgia golf course, this time with the Azaleas back in full bloom for the 85th edition of the tournament.
2021 Masters outright winner odds
Justin Thomas (+1000) is another top choice coming off his win at The Players Championship in mid-March.
Former Masters winner Jordan Spieth (+1100) will also entice bettors, after he finally ended a three-year victory drought on the PGA Tour at last week’s Valero Texas Open.
In addition to Johnson and Spieth, 16 more former Masters champions will compete this weekend, including Patrick Reed (+3300), Sergio Garcia (+5500), Adam Scott (+7000), Bubba Watson (+8000), and Phil Mickelson (+15000).
Augusta National course layout and relevant statistics
In November, we keyed in on Johnson to win at Augusta because of his power off the tee and solid wedge play.
Leading up to his win, Johnson was in peak form, with six straight top-six finishes, dating back to the PGA Championship last August.
This time around, Johnson will head into Augusta in a bit of slump, by comparison. In his past two tournament appearances, he landed 54th and 48th, respectively, at the WGC-Workday Championship and The Players. His putter has been a liability lately, which doesn't bode well for navigating Augusta's bentgrass greens, which will run much faster than they did in November.
Other important statistics to consider at this second-shot course are strokes gained approaching the green and ball-striking. Driving distance can also benefit players at Augusta's par 72, 7,475-yard layout, as seen with Johnson and Reed, who both ranked sixth in that category the week of their Masters victories. However, the stat is not essential. Tiger Woods ranked 44th among the field in length off the tee but pulled off a win in 2019.
Thirteen of the past 14 winners also ranked in the top 60 in scoring average, while all of the last 13 winners ranked in the top 60 in strokes gained tee to green.
Experience at this major is crucial to success, as well. The last player to win at Augusta on his debut was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. In the last decade, Reed was the only player to not make the cut the year prior to his victory.
Best bets for the 2021 Masters
One player trending in the right direction toward a green jacket is Thomas.
Since his debut at Augusta in 2016, the 27-year-old has finished T39, T22, T17, T12, and most recently fourth in November.
He also ranks second on tour in scoring average and par-4 scoring, third in strokes gained approaching the green, and fifth in strokes gained tee to green. As for his short game, no player rates higher in birdie or better conversion percentage.
Another player to watch out for is Daniel Berger. While his rib injury has been a recent concern, he put up a dominant performance at about 90% health in the recent WGC-Match Play event.
Berger has competed at the Masters three times, with his best finish (T10) coming in 2016.
He won Pebble Beach in February and came in ninth at The Players. He also ranks 15th in scoring average, and is tied for 19th in strokes gained putting and 10th in par-4 scoring.
How to watch the 2021 Masters
The purse for the 2021 Masters is $11.5 million. In 2020, the winner received $2.07 million, along with a sterling replica of the Masters trophy, a gold medal, and the coveted green jacket.
You can catch the action on Thursday and Friday from 3 to 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The action switches over to CBS on the weekend, from 3 to 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, and 2 to 7 p.m. ET on Sunday. Simulcast is available at Masters.com and the Masters app.