The Masters is always the most popular betting event on the golf calendar and there is every reason to believe that this year’s unprecedented installment at Augusta will be bigger than ever.
It’s hard to remember a major championship where so many of the game’s top players are in such splendid form. Tournament favorite Bryson DeChambeau is getting plenty of hype, but the top of the board is loaded with elite players at the top of their games.
Which of these star players should you put at the top of your betting card for Augusta National?
Check out our favorite outright bets for the 2020 Masters:
Justin Thomas (+1200)
Whether this tournament is being held in April, November or any other month, it doesn’t change the fact that Augusta National at its essence is a second-shot golf course. Three of the last five Masters champions have led the field in strokes gained on approach shots; the other two each ranked inside the top-three.
Length off the tee is always an advantage over the alternative and a hot putter is less predictive, though no less essential. The ability to continually flight the ball in different directions and with different trajectories, though, is the most important element to a player’s success here. Over the past few years, nobody in golf has perfected this craft better than Thomas, who’s been top-four in this category in each of the past three seasons, including leading it in the season which was just completed a few months ago.
In his last 10 starts, JT owns a win (at a WGC event) and a handful of bitterly tough defeats. That should only strengthen the inner motivation and chip on his shoulder – and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve maintained previously that a fiery Thomas might be the best Thomas, as he tends to play some of his best golf following brief bouts of playing something less than his best golf, when he’s obviously unhappy with his effort.
If there are demerits against him this week, it’s that he’s failed to finish in the top-10 in four previous Masters starts and he has openly admitted that he’s found it tough to play without the energy of live galleries. The latter is probably a bigger concern than the former, but neither should be enough for us to leave Thomas off the card this week.
Patrick Reed (+3000)
Reed had shown time and time again that when he’s at his best, he can win in any field at any course. He’s already proven that at Augusta National.
The 2018 Masters champion has been playing solid golf for the past few months and he recently finished in third-place in a deep field at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour.
Reed is great with his wedges and putter, but his erratic driving can hold him back sometimes. That issue should be mitigated a bit at Augusta since the rough isn’t all that penal.
Patrick Cantlay (+2500)
It was an odd summer for Patrick Cantlay. He struggled following the break, but those issues seem to be behind him now as he has a pair of top-10 finishes in his last three tournaments, the latter of which was a win at the Zozo where he outplayed Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm down the stretch to get the victory.
Cantlay was in contention down the stretch at The Masters in 2019, and even held the lead for a brief moment on the back nine. As we all know he would ultimately fall to Tiger, but he is battle-tested, a great fit for this course and we get him at a solid number to win his first major.
Jon Rahm (+1000)
I love Jon Rahm this week. He ranks 2nd in this field (past 24 rounds) in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. The last we saw him was at the Zozo Championship where he finished in a tie for 2nd and gained 4.4 strokes on approach so we know his iron play is in good form.
Rahm is also a very good putter on lightning fast greens and there are few players on TOUR that I trust more standing over a tough putt to save par. Jon Rahm is in a great spot to join the ranks of Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, and Sergio Garcia as natives of Spain to don a green jacket.