The best betting props for the 2021 Masters
Eighty-six years ago, Horton Smith led after every round and won the first edition of the Masters at Augusta National, with a tournament total of 284. He collected a winners’ purse of $1,500, which he had to wait for, as Augusta only had 76 paid-up members at the time and 17 still owed their share.
It’s a little different now, as we gear up for the 2021 Masters, back in its April slot, with the green jacket and more than $2 million waiting for the winner.
The course is a lot different than when Smith won in 1935. It got a major overhaul in 2002 and has been tinkered with more since then. It’s now a long course at just less than 7,500 yards, and distance off the tee is going to be a huge benefit in the hunt for the year’s first major.
Bombing it off the tee is handy, but it isn’t as important as finding the dance floor. Nine of the last 12 winners have ranked in the top six for greens in regulation, and a dialed-in short game is key to success.
Putting wins prizes, but below-average putters — like Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, and Corey Conners — have still challenged for top 10 finishes and better.
It is also crucial to play the par 5s well. The top three at the Masters six months ago all played the par 5s at 11-under for the week. On average, over the last 12 years, the winner has played them 9-under. That stat is massively skewed by Danny Willett, who scored par through them in 2016, and he is the exception to the rule.
Debuting golfers tend not to flourish at Augusta, and course experience is crucial. Course form is also beneficial, as is recent form. Six of the last 10 winners won a tournament earlier in the year.
Take a peek at those that have played well in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera. Twelve Masters champions have won 24 editions of the Genesis, including Dustin Johnson. The courses correlate well and could be another nice angle.
2021 Masters odds
But enough of the number crunching. Here are the best prop bets for the 2021 Masters.
Matchbet: Justin Thomas to beat Bryson DeChambeau (+100)
I’m extremely sweet on Justin Thomas at Augusta. JT won the Players Championship and will make his sixth Masters appearance. His finishes have constantly improved since he came in 39th in his debut. Since, he has posted results of 22nd, 17th, 12th, and then fourth last year.
Six of his last eight rounds here have been 70 or better, and there are plenty of stats in his favor. Thomas ranks 16th on tour in par 5 scoring this season and has an excellent short game. Last time out, at the Players, JT found 72% of greens in regulation and played the Par 5s 14-under.
DeChambeau’s form is equally red-hot. He finished third in the Players Championship, a week after he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but his Augusta form leaves a lot to be desired.
His debut effort, a 21st in 2016, is his best, and since then, he has finished no better than 29th. In November, he was the favorite for the tournament but finished 34th. Of his 16 rounds at Augusta, only two of them have been in the 60s, and I think JT is a great bet to beat BDC.
Top English player: Paul Casey (+400)
Paul Casey is another bang in-form player who I want to side with here. This year, he has finished eighth in the American Express, fifth at Pebble Beach, 10th in the Arnold Palmer, and fifth in the Players. Throw in his win on the European Tour, in the Dubai Desert Classic, and Casey is in a real purple patch.
In his last six Masters, he has finished in the top six three times and added a 15th in 2018. He missed the cut in 2019, after he shot an 81, but in Dubai he told reporters, "There’s a story about that round that I can only talk about when not being recorded. There’s karma in that round of golf."
Casey shot a 65 on Thursday in November to hold the first-round lead, which shows he can tame Augusta’s challenges.
Tournament trio: Matthew Fitzpatrick to beat Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood (+175)
One danger to Casey is Matthew Fitzpatrick, and I’m eager to get in one of my prop bets, so this trio falls perfectly.
Fitzpatrick hasn’t won this year, but his from has been solid. He finished 11th in the WGC-Workday Championship, 10th in the Arnold Palmer, and ninth in the Players, but more appealing than that is his fifth in the Genesis at Riviera, where the course correlation packs a punch.
Fitzpatrick has six Augusta appearances under his belt and has only failed to make the cut once, with his best finish (seventh) in 2016. His short game is red-hot, and he can thrive at Augusta.
Sergio Garcia is a Masters winner, but he has missed his last two cuts since he donned the green jacket in 2017. Tommy Fleetwood posted a top 10 finish in the Arnold Palmer, but that came after he finished well down the field in the WGC-Workday, and he missed the cut in the Players.
Top former winner: Jordan Spieth (+225)
The hype is real. Spieth is back!
The 2015 Masters winner enters off a win at the Texas Open, and earlier this year, he had top 5 finishes at the Arnold Palmer, Pebble Beach, and the Phoenix Open. He also finished 15th in the Genesis at Riviera.
Four of Spieth’s seven Masters appearances have resulted in a top three finish, and he looks to be getting back to his imperious best.
Elsewhere in this market, Johnson has taken a bit of a dip since his win at Augusta in November, and defending champs do not have a good record in the Masters. Garcia has missed the last two cuts and Adam Scott has finished 32nd or worse in four of his seven Masters appearances since he won in 2013. Patrick Reed could be the danger to this prop, but Spieth is a great bet.
Top 20 finish: Kevin Na (+400)
This is a bit of a wild dart throw, but I’m backing Na to finish in the top 20. He is incredibly inconsistent and pulled out of the Players with a "bad back," after he had an eight on the par 3 17th. However, he has nine appearances at Augusta and has finished in the top 20 in three of his last seven efforts.
Na could spring a shock this week.