The best week in golf is here (if you ask me, at least).
The world's best golfers are headed to Augusta for The Masters, and that includes some names we haven't seen on the PGA Tour field list for quite some time.
Who makes the most sense to bet this week, and with extra props and groups, what other bets can we eye up?
Masters Bets to Target
Jon Rahm (Golf Betting Odds at FanDuel Sportsbook: +950) - Rahm is the lone name among the top three (i.e. Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, and Rory McIlroy) showing some outright win value, according to my win simulations for the Masters, so I have to take note. Rahm is only a few months removed from feeling absolutely unfadeable, and we shouldn't forget that. He has finished T27, 4th, T9, T7, T5, and T27 at Augusta in his career, and his irons can still get as hot as anyone's: he was fourth in approach strokes gained per round at THE PLAYERS before withdrawing.
Patrick Cantlay (+1900) - Cantlay has the complete game required to solve Augusta National even though his results here are just middling: T47, cut, T9, T17, cut, T39. Across the past two years (for which datagolf has ShotLink data), Cantlay has putted poorly on these greens. He's getting more and more reps at the course, and the form entering includes three top-10s in his past four starts.
Tony Finau (+2400) - Finau was the first bet I made this week. My model thinks he should be +1900. Although he has five straight events outside the top 10, he has 10 straight top-25 finishes, thanks to incredible iron play. The putter has trended up over the long term for Finau, too. As long as he can figure out how to chip well enough, he's a real threat to break through. Finau has finished T10, T5, T38, T10, and T35 at Augusta in his career.
Xander Schauffele (+2500) - Xander missed the cut a year ago here but has a T50, T2, T17, and T3 otherwise. Schauffele is dialed right now with the irons and putter, which always helps when heading a major setup. A lack of high-end stroke play finishes since mid-February (T33, T39, T19) have his odds longer than they should be.
Viktor Hovland (+3700) - Hovland is always a threat to lead any field in strokes gained: tee to green, primarily because he's just that good of a ball-striker. He was fifth in approach at THE PLAYERS and is 17th over the past 50 rounds, according to datagolf. He was T32 in his 2019 Augusta debut to finish as the low amateur, and he has been T21 and T27 with good putting results since then. His pure upside absolutely includes a green jacket.
Masters Top-10s and Top-20s to Target
Keegan Bradley (Top 10: +900 | Top 20: +310) - Keegan's got the irons to finish well at Augusta, and he's also a balanced driver. In total, he ranks 24th in the field in strokes gained from ball-striking over the past 50 rounds, according to datagolf. Though Bradley's best finish at Augusta is T22 in 2015, we're getting a new, rejuvenated version of Bradley, whose putting is a plus again.
Joaquin Niemann (Top 10: +650 | Top 20: +210) - Though it's hard to quantify things for the LIV Tour golfers, Niemann played really well in the 2022 tournaments and was top-10 at both Asian Tour events in February. Some LIV golfers are still valued as if they're just a tick behind their PGA Tour form, and some we can assume are unlikely to contend. Niemann is in the sweet spot where he is undervalued for what the current form likely is.
Mito Pereira (Top 10: +650 | Top 20: +250) - Another LIV golfer who fits that mold is Mito Pereira. Mito has five top-16s and three top-10s in five events in 2023, including consecutive 6th-place finishes at the past two LIV events since late March. Again, we have to do a lot of assuming with their data, yet these are good value numbers for Pereira and Niemann, specifically.
Masters Group Bets and Prop Bets to Target
Scottie Scheffler Top Former Winner (+155) - The list of former winners in the field is 13, and none of them are in the same tier as Scheffler right now. Jordan Spieth is dangerous at Augusta, and if Dustin Johnson is in form, he's a threat, too. But Hideki Matsuyama, Tiger Woods, Patrick Reed, and Adam Scott have either legitimate questions about health and/or form. And those at longer odds have those questions in spades.
As for Scheffler, he's the outright betting favorite for the entire event, and we're sort of getting him at +155 over what we can view as more of a five-man group with extra names at the bottom. Value is value, and my model sees it here.
Rory McIlroy Top Great Britain/Ireland Player (+120) - This is a very fair number for McIlroy, who is grouped up with some overvalued options.
The biggest fear I have is with Justin Rose (+650). But Matt Fitzpatrick seems to be dealing with an injury still, Tyrrell Hatton is a great fit but doesn't like the course, and after that, we have some names unlikely to contend here with Rory.
My model thinks Rory should be +105 here.
Viktor Hovlandto win Group E (+200) - Group E comprises Hovland, Sam Burns, Hideki Matsuyama, and Brooks Koepka. I like Hovland well enough on his own despite his iffy chipping, yet there are also reasons we can be lower on his groupmates here, too.
Burns won the WGC-Match Play and was solo sixth at the Valspar Championship. But his tee-to-green game is largely neutral, and he's doing a ton of damage with the putter.
Matsuyama's irons are still good, but his overall tee-to-green game is not quite what it has been at his peak, and the putter isn't making up for it. Combined with enough health concerns, we can bump down Matsuyama.
Koepka is a wild card here. He won the most recent LIV Golf event in Orlando this past week, and we know what he is capable of in majors -- or what he used to be capable of, at least.
But as for Hovland, he's the best golfer of the quartet over the past 50 rounds and the past year, according to datagolf, and my model thinks he should be around +185.