Updated: October 2019

How to Bet on the Masters Golf

16 May 2019

The Masters Golf Tournament, held annually at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, is one of four major tournaments in golf along with the PGA Championship, The U.S. Open, and the Open Championship.

It is four days of top quality golf with the greatest players of years gone by teeing off alongside the best players of today in a quest to win the famous green jacket, a cut of the over $11 million prize fund, and the honour of forever being known as a Masters champion.

While the action hots up on the course, punters all over the world place wagers on several different betting markets in the hope of themselves making a nice profit.

How the Masters Works

The Masters is an invitation only tournament which has the smallest field of the four majors, with around 90-100 entrants as opposed to 140+ for the other three major events.

To qualify to play in the Masters, players must meet certain criteria so the playing field is made up of:

• Previous winners of the Masters who are given lifetime membership and entry to the tournament regardless of age, ranking, or recent form
• The top 12 players from the previous years Masters
• Winners of the other three major tournaments from the last five years
• The top four players in each of the other three major tournaments
• Players ranked inside the top 50 in the world, if they haven’t met any of the other criteria for invitation
• Top 30 players from the previous seasons US money list
• Select top amateur players from all over the world

These specially invited players then compete over 72 holes of golf, in four rounds of 18, as in all other stroke-play tournaments. The first two rounds are usually played in groups of three, with all players teeing off from the first hole as opposed to half the field teeing off from hole 10 in the other three majors.

After the second round, the top 50 players and any other player within ten shots of the leader progress to the third and fourth rounds whilst anyone underneath that point fails to make the cut and their tournament is over. The remaining players then play in groups of two, with the leading players teeing off last.

The winner is the player who has shot the lowest total round after the 72 holes. That player receives almost $2 million in prize money, the famous green jacket, and the right to participate in traditions such as selecting the meal for former champions at the following years tournament.

Masters Betting Markets

The Masters is the tournament with perhaps the shortest betting odds available and probably the least value on offer of all four golfing majors. This is due to the fact that all previous winners can enter regardless of form or age, so several of the field are counted out of the equation even before the first tee shot.

However, there are enough betting markets available for every punter to find something to tickle their fancy, even if their chosen player to win is too short a price to get them excited about.

These markets include:

Outright Winner – As expected, the outright winner market is the most popular during the Masters. This is perhaps down to the fact it’s the easiest to understand and the most straightforward to bet on. Punters simply pick the player they think will win, select a stake and place the bet.

Each-Way – The same as the outright winner market but giving punters more of a chance to make at least a small profit. Most bookmakers offer quarter the odds for the top 5 finishers, with some even offering special each-way bets on the top 10. This means that backing a 20/1 shot in the E/W market will give you returns at 5/1 should that player finish in the places.

Match Betting – Match betting markets are specific to certain bookmakers and are either virtual matches between two players of similar quality, or a bet on who will shoot the lowest score from a three-ball or two-ball group.

First Round Leader – The clue’s in the name with this market, punters are betting on who will lead the Masters tournament after the first 18 holes. This can be a fantastic market if you fancy an experienced player to start the tournament well, especially in adverse weather conditions, even if they are a big price and not fancied to win the tournament.

Top Amateur – This is where punters put their knowledge of the younger, or newer generation of golfers to the test by betting on who they think will be the highest finishing amateur at the end of the tournament. Research goes a long way in this market.

Top Nationality – This market is for those who want to bet on which player will finish highest from a certain nationality, finishing above his countrymen. It doesn’t matter where in the leaderboard the player finishes, as long as it’s above every other player from the same nation. This market is probably best if you want to select nations with only a few players representing it.

How to Bet on the Masters Golf

Now you know what it takes to play at the Masters and some of the more popular betting markets on offer, it’s time for us to give you a few tips to improve your chances of making a profit from this four day extravaganza at Augusta.

Use the Ante-Post Markets

The fact the Masters is played on the same course every year gives punters an advantage because they know how players performed at previous tournaments. This means that the statistics are already available for bettors to make an informed decision, along with looking at recent form, weeks before the tournament starts.

We recommend you make your selections early, as one player finishing high up the leaderboard in the couple of tournaments before the Masters could see his odds fall substantially. This decreases the players value to you, and you would have wished you had taken the higher odds just a few weeks before.

Do your research from previous years and make a decision early on who you think will win, in order to get the best value when it comes to odds.
Ignore First Time Players

Other than the first two years of the Masters, back in 1934 and 1935, only Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 has won the Masters at the first attempt. Danny Willett won in his second year in 2016, after finishing tied for 38th the year before and is the closest to a debutant winner since Zoeller.

For his reason, we recommend eliminating any Masters first timers from your list of possible winners and concentrating on those who have played the course many times before. An example of a player who had many years of upset at Augusta before winning is Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard won in 2017 for the first time, after playing every year since his debut back in 1999.

Do Not Back Players who Missed the Cut or are Out of Form

Generally, and looking at statistics from previous years, players who missed the cut the previous year do not go on to win the tournament twelve months later.

Patrick Reed in 2018 became the first player since Tiger Woods in 1996 to have missed the cut and then won the Masters the year after. Before Woods in ‘96, the last player to win the tournament having missed the cut twelve months before was Tommy Aaron in 1973.

Also, do not back anyone who hasn’t finished in at least the top 30 in their last couple of tournaments. Players who are out of form and struggling will usually not find their form at Augusta and you will be better off backing a player who has been knocking on the door in recent tournaments.

Bet Against the Defending Champion

So, you should ignore first time players, ignore out-of-form players who missed the cut in the previous year, and also don’t back the defending champion.

There may be seventeen multi-time winners of the Masters, but only three players have ever won back-to-back titles. Those are Jack Nicklaus (1965 & 66), Nick Faldo (1989 & 90), and Tiger Woods (2001 & 02).

So, it’s pretty obvious that the Masters is an extremely difficult tournament to win in successive years and therefore we recommend not betting on the previous years winner to win again the following year.

Back Long Hitters

One of the most basic requirements for a player to be in with a chance of winning the Masters is that they can hit the ball a long way.

Take a look at the driving distance leaderboard from the last few years and you will find the players atop this are also high up on the actual leaderboard. It’s no coincidence that big hitters do well at Augusta, and we would always recommend backing an in-form big hitter for Masters glory.

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