Masters Betting Preview
The 2022 PGA Tour season, for many, will kickoff this weekend at Augusta National. Of course, the season has been ongoing for some time now but if you haven’t gotten into it yet the Masters Tournament is the perfect time. We’ve got a major tournament once a month for the next four months starting now.
The Masters is by and large the most prestigious and exciting tournament in golf. There is no other golf tournament that is played at the same venue each and every year that earns the type of attention then the one held in Augusta, GA. An appearance from Tiger Woods only makes the anticipation grow.
When it comes to betting on the tournament, it’s not solely about who is playing the best golf at the time. There are characteristics about Augusta National that just suit certain players better than others. In this article we will discuss 4 important stats and trends that’ll help you find the man that will dawn the green jacket in 2022.
Be sure to stick around for the betting angle. All of our betting odds are courtesy of our partners at BetMGM!
Augusta National is anything but a young mans game. Knowing your way around it’s grounds are crucial to consistent scoring. There has only been one player to win the Masters on their first try, and it came more then 40 years ago – Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Not to mention the average age of the Masters champion is 32.2 years old. Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth are two of just a few young golfers to win in their early twenties.
Let’s go back to the course experience and look at the last 5 winners of the tournament. Sergio Garcia had played in the Masters 17 times before winning, with notable prior finishes of 8th and T4. Patrick Reed had not had much success playing Augusta National but his win came on his 5th appearance. Tiger Woods win in 2019 came after more than a dozen appearances at Augusta and previous wins. Dustin Johnson’s triumph came after 9 tries and in the four years prior he was top-10 in all of them. Finally, Matsuyama’s win in 2021 was a result of 9 previous appearances and two top-10’s.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Approach play is historically the most important statistic at Augusta National. The golf course has such nuanced greens with run off areas to take your ball away from the hole. Pin-point accuracy on your second shot is key. Sure, driving the ball well is still necessary to put yourself in the best situation to execute your approach but hitting it long isn’t a must have quality. This is a second shot golf course.
In the last 7 years of the tournament, the champion has finished 4th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1st and 1st in strokes gained: approach for the week. With that, let’s take a look at the golfers who are at the top of their game in this category as of late.
- Russell Henley
- Will Zalatoris
- Viktor Hovland
- Luke Donald
- Justin Thomas
- Paul Casey
- Tom Hoge
- Cameron Smith
- Sam Burns
- Hideki Matsuyama
Par-4 Scoring Average
This one is very straightforward if you’ve watched this event in the past. The par-5’s at Augusta are very gettable and in most cases in two shots. This makes scoring on par-4’s that much more important to separate yourself from the field.
Here are the top-10 players in scoring average on par-4’s this season:
- Justin Thomas
- Cameron Smith
- Daniel Berger
- Collin Morikawa
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Patrick Cantlay
- Viktor Hovland
- Sungjae Im
- Seamus Power
- Justin Rose
Strokes Gained: Putting
I brought up the complexity of these greens earlier on and three put scenarios are going to come up in 72 holes of tournament golf. Lag putting and the ability to knock in putts from 10-15 feet is going to be crucial. You have to have great feel for your stroke and distances. This quote from Jon Rahm brings together both the experience needed and feel necessary on the putting greens at the Masters:
“It’s a lot of memory putting because it’s visually very deceiving. A lot of putts that don’t look that fast are very fast, and those that look fast are not that fast. It’s a lot of just knowing the greens. It’s probably why first-time players don’t win that often, because it’s a place that you learn how to play.”
Let’s see who’s stroking it well with the flatstick right now:
- Tyrell Hatton
- Brian Gay
- Cameron Smith
- Lucas Herbert
- Kevin Kisner
- Mackenzie Hughes
- Martin Trainer
- Beau Hossler
- Billy Horschel
- Brendon Todd
Who Fits the Bill?
You thought you’d leave here without some betting picks? Let’s take this information we’ve learned and use it to find some of the best betting value on the board this week.
Cameron Smith (+1400)
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. You saw it in those rankings, Cameron Smith’s name is plastered all over them. At 28 years-old Smith has played in 5 tournaments at Augusta National with three top-10’s and a T2 to show for it. He’s 8th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 2nd in Par-4 Scoring Average and 3rd in Strokes Gained: Putting. Everything you could ask for in a recipe for Masters Tournament success.
He’s always had a great short game, especially with the putter, but this season his approach play has looked fantastic. He’s already won two tournaments this season, the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship back in March. I’m still willing to buy high on the Australian at his price.
Daniel Berger (+4000)
Berger has three of the four recipes to this tournament in the bag. The one thing he’s lacking in is experience, that’s not to say he doesn’t have any though. He’s played four times, with a top-10 finish in 2016. But he missed the cut in his most recent appearance, where he struggled to score at the par-4’s. The good news is, he’s been the third best player in par-4 scoring average this season. So a bounce back is likely.
The 4-time PGA Tour winner ranks in the top 20% of the world in strokes gained putting and ranks 23rd in strokes gained approach this season. He’s playing well at the perfect time to put together his best performance at the Masters yet.
Paul Casey (+5000)
Paul Casey is the most deserving man in professional golf to not have a major championship to his name. At the Masters specifically he has five top-10 finishes and three additional top-20’s. He’d actually be older then Tiger Woods in 2019 if he were to win this years tournament (44 years-old). Which historically doesn’t bode well for his chances as Jack Nicklaus (46) is the only older champion.
The Englishman is a terrific ball striker, ranking 6th this season in strokes gained: approach. His overall game is in great form as well with his ranking of 39th in overall strokes gained. He’ll need to step up his game on the green, where he ranks 91st in strokes gained putting, but with his experience and feel for this golf course he’s plenty capable.