The 2020 Masters finally approaches, kicking off at Augusta National on Thursday.
The 84th edition of the prestigious tournament will have no fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is perhaps even more bizarre than its Nov. 12 start. But with or without the “Augusta roars” from galleries of spectators and the lushly-blooming gardens of the gorgeous course, the majority of the top golfers in the PGA will be in the field for the final major of this crazy year.
Bettors from all over the world will be looking to wager on top picks, sleepers, and longshot value plays from this iteration of the most storied event in the sport.
Here’s a list of some of BetQL’s favorite bets to take home the coveted green jacket — and help you take home some money — this weekend.
Masters picks, predictions 2020
Bryson DeChambeau (+800)
Sitting atop the FedEx Cup Standings with 675 points, DeChambeau has been one of the hottest golfers in the country over the past six months. The 27-year-old Californian has notched seven top-10 finishes since June, highlighted in September by a six-stroke win at the U.S. Open, his first major championship. He also placed fourth at the PGA Championship and tied for eighth at the Shriners Open, his fourth straight top-10 finish there. He led the Shriners in average driving distance (363.1 yards), a part of his game he takes pride in and continues to expand.
DeChambeau has already put himself in rarefied air. He serves as just the third player in history to win an individual title at the NCAA Division I Championships, the U.S. Amateur, and the U.S. Open. The first two to do that were none other than Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, who have an astounding 11 Masters wins between them.
Nobody would be surprised if the confident, hard-swinging DeChambeau continued to follow Nicklaus and Woods in the history books. It’s not that fun of a bet, as the odds of a favorite winning are never great (the last favorite to claim the top spot in Augusta was Woods 15 years ago), but it’s probably one of the safest bets on the board.
Dustin Johnson (+900)
The No. 1 player in the world, Johnson was tied with DeChambeau atop the opening list of favorites, but DeChambeau ultimately took a slight lead in the odds. Johnson almost always finds himself in the hunt for the elusive Green Jacket, and this year could be his strongest chance yet to join the winners’ club.
In the past year, Johnson has battled knee surgery, a back injury, and COVID-19, yet he still prevailed as the 2020 PGA Tour Player of the Year. He made history at the Northern Trust, shooting a stunning -30 and winning by 11 strokes. He proceeded to place second in the BMW Championship and then win the Tour Championship/FedEx Cup at East Lake one week later.
DJ has finished in the top two in five of his past six starts. He tied for the runner-up at the 2019 Masters and has placed in the top 10 in his past four starts at Augusta. Nobody would fault you if you settled for a bet that the resilient Johnson will at least finish in the top five this weekend.
Xander Schauffele (+1500)
Schauffele, who has finished in the top 10 seven times in his 13 career starts, does just about everything well, and he’s universally lauded for his calm, cool, and collected demeanor. These traits come in handy with the complex course design of Augusta National, where weaknesses and temperament issues tend to get exposed early and often.
Like DeChambeau, Schauffele is just 27 (and from California!), and like Johnson, he finished in a three-way tie for runner-up at the Masters last year. He focuses not on being excellent at any one particular facet of his game, but rather being good across the board. His calm, calculated approach and impressive consistency regardless of course difficulty could be ‘X’ factors for him this year.
Other good top-tier bets:
Jon Rahm (+1000); Rory McIlroy (+1300); Justin Thomas (+1400); Brooks Koepka (+1800)
Patrick Cantlay (+2200)
Yet another Californian, the 28-year-old Cantlay turned pro in 2012 but has faced tremendous challenges ever since. He struggled with back injuries for many years, and then became estranged from the PGA Tour for some time after the loss of his best friend, who was struck while crossing the street and tragically died in Cantlay’s arms.
But the UCLA product and former top collegiate in the nation emerged back on the scene in 2017 and has continued to gain confidence since his return. The son of a club champion from Long Beach’s esteemed Virginia Country Club, Cantlay is a cerebral and centered player with a fantastic short game.
The No. 7 player in the world, Cantlay can get hot quickly. He briefly held the lead during the back nine of the 2019 Masters after coming within one stroke of tying the course record when he shot a 64 in round three (he went on to finish tied for ninth place). He has raved about the fast and slick greens of Augusta National, which he has excelled on more than once. Cantlay’s a fabulous investment at +2200, and it would make for an awesome story if he went all the way this year.
Tony Finau (+3100)
Another good story would be if Finau got his hands on a green jacket. Despite nearly winning a handful of majors, Finau only has one career win to his name. And despite nearly breaking his ankle celebrating a hole-in-one at this very course during the 2018 Masters, he shot a four-under 68 a day later and finished the tournament in the Top 10 at -7. Proving that was not a fluke, he came back last year and finished tied for fifth at -11.
The good-hearted former basketball player from Utah has a story unlike most professional golfers, but he has a tee-to-green game far superior to most. When he is on, his approach shots are the best in the business, and if other aspects of his game come together, he could blow away his competition. If you can’t muster up the courage to bet a guy with one career victory, stay conservative and bet on him to once again place in the top five.
Tiger Woods (+3400)
No Masters betting preview would be complete without mention of the greatest golfer of the past 30 years, especially one year after he took home his fifth green jacket. Like many of us, Tiger has not had a great 2020. OK, he hasn’t gained 15 pounds eating tiramisu multiple days a week, but he has struggled mightily with putting. But if anyone can forget about the rest of the year and defy the odds by going back-to-back, it’s him. After all, he’s the only player to ever take down two consecutive Masters (2001, 2002). A win would tie Tiger with Jack Nicklaus for most victories at Augusta National and inch to within two major victories of Nicklaus’ record 18.
Collin Morikawa (+3500)
Yet another California native, Morikawa shocked the world when he became the third-youngest golfer to win the PGA Championship in August, finishing -13. The 23 year old would become only the fifth player to ever don a green jacket before their 25th birthday (surprise, surprise — Tiger and Nicklaus both did that, too. Jordan Spieth and Steve Ballasteros also did it). The UC Berkley product has very few shortcomings, his level of preparedness seems unparalleled, and his pure swing has been compared to Rickie Fowler and Jason Day. This kid could be a star in the making who is already recognized as the No. 4 golfer. Buy in to this intriguing payout and keep your fingers crossed.
Justin Rose (+6000)
Rose nearly came away with Masters glory three years ago, but he faltered off the tee in his first playoff hole with Sergio Garcia. He has fallen from grace a bit since holding the No. 1 ranking in the world last year — he’s ranked 28th now — but with two runner-up Masters finishes in the past half-decade, how can you not be tempted at +6000?
Lanto Griffin (+17000)
Super deep sleeper time. The 32-year-old Griffin is yet another amazing story — came from humble roots, parents were hippies who didn’t play golf, Dad had brain cancer but hooked him up with a golf pro before he died, and golf pro (Steve Prater) became like a second dad. The relatively unknown Griffin was flat broke with $30,000 in credit card debt not too long ago, but after winning the Houston Open for his first Tour title last year, he should be doing fine for money for at least a little while. In mid-October of this year, the VCU product tied for seventh place at The CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, then finished tied for 11th in the Zozo Championship at Sherwood one week later. He’s a great sleeper candidate to put $50 on and hope for an early Christmas gift.