2019 Masters Betting Line Movement: A Game Of Ups And Downs
From Bryson Dechambeau’s rise to Jordan Spieth’s fall, a controversial Ryder Cup, and Phil Mickelson telling a country singer to “f*** off,” it’s been an interesting 12 months since Patrick Reed won the Masters last April. Somewhere in between all of that, Tiger Woods briefly became the favorite to win the 2019 Masters. Other odds-on favorites have included Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, but just as golf is a game of ups and downs, so is the Masters betting market. For each line move, there’s a story to be told. Here’s a look at some of the top golfers, where they started, and where their odds are now as we’re just a few days away from Masters Week.
All opening odds referenced herein are from the Westgate Las Vegas.
Opening odds +6000
Current odds +2000 (golfodds.com)
Augusta National seems to fit Bryson Dechambeau’s quirky and creative style. In his first appearance at the Masters in 2016, wearing a hat that is rarely seen on 22-year-olds — or anyone without a senior citizens’ card for that matter– while swinging a 9-iron that was as long as his 3-iron, Dechambeau introduced his unique brand of golf to the world. Some were critical of his approach, less because of the hat, and more so because of the irons he kept in his bag. They argued that same-length irons would make it even more difficult to navigate Augusta’s angulated fairways.
To many pundits’ surprise, Dechambaeu was the low amateur that weekend and tied for 21st overall, finishing ahead of notables like Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, and Adam Scott.
The amateur quckly decided to forego his senior season at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and turned pro. Dechambeau failed to qualify for the 2017 Masters after a rocky start in his first year as a professional.
Some thought his 2017 Masters performance was a fluke and that the former NCAA National Champion wouldn’t be able adjust to life in tour.
They were wrong.
In 2018, Dechambeau returned to azaleas and pimento cheese, tying for 38th in his second Masters appearance.
After missing the cut at the PGA Championship last August, Dechambeau opened at +6000 to win the Masters. Two weeks later, Dechambeau shot 18-under to beat Tony Finau by four strokes at The Northern Trust Open. It was the young golfer’s third career win. Playing arguably his best golf to date, Dechambeau had no plans to slow down there. He added three more wins – four victories in 11 starts – by the end of January 2019.
It didn’t take long for oddsmakers and bettors to take notice. As Dechambeau climbed up the official world golf rankings (OWGR), reaching as high as No. 5 after his most recent PGA Tour victory at the Shriners Open, so did his name on Masters odds boards. The Mad Scientist, as some like to call him, is now +2000 to win the 2019 Masters, according to golfodds.com.
With his recent form and another year of Tour experience, it makes perfect sense why he’s a top 10 favorite to wear the green jacket this year. Obviously, the play was to bet on Dechambeau before he doubled his career wins over a three-month span. Hindsight is 20/20, though. Those late to class now have to decide if there’s any value left to be had betting on Mr. Dechambeau’s science lab.
Opening odds +1000
Current odds +2500 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
While Jordan Spieth is known for his is prowess on Augusta National’s bent grass greens, the former world No. 1 is playing arguably the worst golf of his career. Spieth has missed four of his last six cuts, finishing no better than 35th in full-field events this season.
According to golfodds.com, Spieth was never more than +2000 at any point in the 2017-2018 season, reaching that number in two majors, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. Less than a month into the 2019 season, Spieth backers were getting +3000 odds at the Farmers Insurance Open. By the time the Players Championship came around Spieth was +5000.
Spieth has never been known for his driving ability; it has been his strokes gained approach, putting and around the green that helped him earn three major wins by the age of 23. This year, Spieth is 121st in strokes gained around-the-green and 131st in strokes gained approach.
Once the favorite at +1000 to win his second green jacket, Spieth’s Masters odds have more than doubled during his slump. Spieth is now down to +2500 at DraftKings Sportsbook, and could fall more depending on how he performs at the Valero Texas Open this weekend.
The course history debate will be alive more than ever next week, as people on both sides will keep an eye on Spieth in hopes of proving their case. Will Spieth get back on track at a course where he has finished in 1st, 2nd twice, 3rd, and 11th in five career starts or will he continue to look like like a shadow of his former self? Course history proponents will certainly find value in Spieth at +2500, while the skeptics will look to fade the “course hourse” in head-to-head betting matchups.
Opening odds +1400
Current odds +700 (BetStars)
The Irishman came into the 2019 season making a concerted effort to prioritize PGA Tour events over the European Tour. Having yet to play overseas this year, McIlroy’s plan is paying off. He has only finished outside of the top five once in six events (excluding the WGC Match Play) — a T6 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. McIlroy’s most recent win comes from his first victory at the Players Championship.
The final piece to a career grand slam, no one is more eager to add a green jacket to their wardrobe than McIlroy. Likewise, there is no course more primed for a McIlroy victory. Augusta is long and open, setting up perfectly for the big hitter to capitalize off the tee box.
McIlroy (+700) is now the odds-on favorite to win the Masters after opening at +1400 late last year. Leading the Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and off-the-tee, there’s not a golfer hitting the ball better than McIlroy — there rarely is. The difference this year is McIlroy’s short stick. He’s having his best statistical season putting since 2014. He hopes to maintain consistency on the greens similar to the consistency he adopted in his new, PGA Tour-focused schedule. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to schedule putts to roll in.
Oddsmakers are right on this one: McIlroy is the best golfer on the planet, even if Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose are ranked ahead of him in the official world golf rankings. His sheer presence makes it difficult to bet, with confidence, on anyone else. But does he beat the field one out of seven times? I’m not so sure.
Opening odds +1200
Current odds +1500 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
One of the most popular athletes in the world, and certainly the most popular golfer, the public loves to bet on Tiger — especially the type of golf bettors that bet on golf, say, once a year in, um, April.
Even when Woods was at his worst mentally and physically, he remained at the top of odds sheets. So it was no surprise when Woods opened as a favorite to win the 2019 Masters following a near win in the last major of 2018.
Woods shot 6-under that Sunday at the PGA Championship, but Brooks Koepka came out on top, leaving Tiger chasing his 15th career major. Woods isn’t going to catch Jack, but he has proven that can still can win on tour, even with young phenoms like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas in their prime.
Just last week, Woods knocked out McIlroy in the WGC-Dell Matchplay, and it wasn’t too long ago when Woods won the Tour Championship. It’s nice to have Tiger competitive, but what we all want is Tiger to be back. By back, I mean closing on a major Sunday. There’s no better place for Tiger to do that than at Augusta. The course, which Woods’ 3.5 acre backyard is mirrored to mimic with Masters tournament conditions, sets up to his advantage more than any other major. Unlike the U.S. Open, Augusta is forgiving off the tee box, the place where Woods is most vulnerable.
Woods hasn’t added to his green jacket collection since 2005, but don’t be surprised if that changes next week. He’s +1500 at FanDuel Sportsbook and only three other golfers have shorter odds to win. Even with the slight line movement, you aren’t going to find value betting on the the guy that anyone who watches golf will be rooting for. If Tiger wins, we all win. There’s no need to reach by adding him to your betting card.
Opening odds +4000
Current odds +5000 ( DraftKings Sportsbook )
*dropped to +2500 in February
Opening at +4000 to win his fourth green jacket, Phil Mickelson’s odds quickly dropped to +2500 after a win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in the second week of February. Oddsmakers took notice, but +2500 didn’t stay put for long. Lefty followed his win at Pebble Beach with 37th and 39th place finishes and two missed cuts. His odds are back up to 40/1, and the window is closing on the 48-year-old’s chance of adding a sixth major to his hall of fame career.
Mickelson’s last win at Augusta was in 2010. Since then he has finished runner up (‘15), 3rd (‘12), missed the cut twice (‘14, ‘16), along with several mediocre finishes.
It’s well documented that Phil is a gambler at heart. Like any gambler, sometimes Phil’s biggest mistake is outsmarting himself. Poker players have a term for this: Fancy Play Syndrome (FPS). In Mickelson’s case, the felt is turf and a fancy raise is a bad lob wedge.
Mickelson’s ambitious play often creates a fine line between creativity and insanity. It has both won and lost him majors. With McIlroy, Dechambeau, and Tiger up top, the 48-year-old will have to know when to check and when to raise if he wants a seat at the final table next Sunday.
Other Notable Line Movement
All opening odds referenced herein are from the Golfodds.com.
Kevin Kisner – Opened +10000, Current +6000
Gary Woodland – Opened +12500, Current +8000
Keegan Bradley – Opened +15000, Current +10000
Jason Day – Opened +2000, Current +2500
Tommy Fleetwood – Opened +3000, Current +2000