The iconic Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia is the only constant on the PGA Tour’s circuit of major courses. The home of The Masters has produced many of golf’s greatest moments, and hole nicknames such as White Dogwood have become part of the golf fan’s lexicon along with Amen Corner, Magnolia Lane, Butler Cabin, and the Hogan Bridge.
Always in perfect condition and lined with full-bloom Azaleas, the picturesque scenes do their best to cover up the heartbreaks and nightmares it has caused each of the world’s best golfers at one point or another through the years. The 7,435-yard par-72 course requires its competitors to walk nearly six miles per round while routinely climbing the undulating terrain ranging between 170 to 318 feet above sea level.
Because of this unique layout and the ways in which Augusta’s setup can be manipulated, the unpredictable is always the best bet, but with such extensive course history and traditions unlike any other, The Masters can be a bettor’s paradise.
Smaller field size means live betting will be at a premium
This year’s 87-player field matches the number from 2018 as the smallest field since 1997, when a 21-year-old Tiger Woods demolished a pool of just 85 competitors. How the Masters’ field is determined can be seen here.
With such a small field size a high percentage of those in attendance will make it through to the weekend. The cut on Friday evening will be set at either the top 50 (including ties) or anyone within 10 strokes of the second-round leader.
With this in mind, bettors will need to be closely monitoring the leaderboard and the sportsbooks throughout the tournament for the purposes of live betting and be ready to pounce on lopsided odds as soon as they appear following a bad shot, or bad hole. Jack Burke in 1956 holds the Masters record for largest 36- and 54-hole comeback at eight strokes, a mark Jordan Spieth fell just shy of en route to his third-place finish in 2018. Betting Spieth — the 2015 Masters champion — ahead of his final round with a nine-stroke deficit would have handsomely rewarded his supporters.
Putters AND bombers get the dough
Augusta National routinely allows players to perform better at putting inside of 10 feet than anywhere else on tour, due to the perfectly-manicured nature of the bentgrass greens. Where the leaders separate themselves is in stats such as three-putt avoidance and efficiency from 20-plus feet, as they’re much more difficult tasks on Augusta’s expansive, undulating putting surfaces.
The course is composed of 10 Par 4s, with six of those measuring in excess of 450 yards. Each of the past five Masters Champions have ranked in the top 25 of the field coming into the event in Scoring on Par 4s of either 400-450 or 450-500 yards.
Par on a Par 5 may as well be a bogey
Each of the past five golfers to don the green jacket on Sunday evening ranked in the top 25 of the field in Strokes Gained: Par 5 coming into that year’s tournament. The four Par 5s on the course each have a scoring average below par, with No. 15’s 4.78 historical mark making it the easiest hole. Each of the Par 4s and 3s average scores above par.
Trust the world ranking
Since Phil Mickelson won his first green jacket in 2004, only four Masters winners were outside the top 18 in the Official World Golf Rankings coming into Augusta, and only two players had been outside the top 50. Each of the past two champions – Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia – ranked 11th in the world the week before the Masters. Paul Casey, the winner of the Valspar Championship three weeks ago, is currently ranked No. 11.
Experience matters. A lot.
Fuzzy Zoeller in (1979) is the only golfer since the first and second years of the Masters to win the event in his first trip to Augusta. Competitors typically reach their peak performance between their sixth and 10th visits, according to Data Golf, when looking at Strokes Gained versus the field at the Masters, compared to a player’s average performance against a regular field.
While Sergio Garcia won the event on his 19th career attempt in 2017, only six golfers since 2000 have won the green jacket sooner than their fourth try at taming Augusta National.