The Masters, professional golf’s first Major of the year, turned 75 last year and now begins its quest for the century mark as one of the most popular sporting events in the world. First round action from Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia gets underway this Thursday with the fourth and final round scheduled for Sunday.
The following is a brief look at a few of this year’s top contenders to win this week along with their current odds as provided by Bovada.
Tiger Woods’ long and arduous journey back to the form that accounted for four previous victories in this event took a major step forward with his win two weeks ago at Bay Hill. It was his first PGA title in 26 previous tournaments dating back to 2009 and one of the main reasons he is the favorite to win this week at 4/1. The betting public has a way of driving down the odds on a player of Woods’ stature, but his current form tends to add value especially since he is playing a course he has done so well at in the past.
The second-favorite at 5/1 to win this year’s Masters is Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, whose last memory of Augusta was a complete collapse on the back nine of Sunday’s final round that took him from almost sure victory to a tie for 15th with an 80 on his card. It did not take this 22 year-old phenom too long to redeem himself with a dominating victory in the second Major of the year, the US Open. You have to love the value in these odds as not only does McIlroy have the game to win at Augusta; he has the motivation as well to completely erase the memory of last year’s disaster.
The odds start to drop-off dramatically from there with three-time Masters Champion Phil Mickelson the third-favorite at 11/1. His last victory at Augusta came in 2010 when he bested the field by three strokes to add a third green jacket to his collection. Mickelson’s form heading into this week’s event is rock-solid with a win earlier in the season at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to go along with two other top-five finishes including a tie for fourth last week in the Shell Houston Open. With so much attention on Woods and McIlroy this week, it could be a perfect opportunity for him fly well under the radar to upstage the two prohibitive favorites.
There are a number of quality players who are more than talented enough to win this week and offer a ton of value in their odds including Luke Donald and Lee Westwood at 16/1, but our value pick for the week is Hunter Mahan at 25/1. He currently leads the FedEx Cup point standings as a result of a victory in this season’s Accenture Match Play Championship and last week’s Shell Houston Open. He has already accumulated almost $3 million in earnings in just seven PGA Tour events. Mahan is paired with Mickelson for the first two rounds which could actually play in his favor, given Phil’s friendly demeanor and experience at such a high-profile event.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.