A November Masters is rapidly approaching, and golf fans all around the world are intrigued to see what Augusta National may look and play like outside of its usual April slot. The Masters is always the biggest golf betting event of the year. While football may have an impact on the interest since it’s usually never taking place at the same time, there should still be plenty of eyes on Augusta.
The Masters can be a bit tricky for statistical models to use for making your bets. That’s because it doesn’t provide Strokes Gained statistics, which offer the best analytics for bettors looking to find an edge on what areas players are excelling at. Despite that, we can still use those statistics looking at recent form to create a model that we believe plays well at Augusta.
Since the Masters is the one golf major that doesn’t change courses each year, we have plenty of data and tournaments to see what does well at Augusta National and the types of players that perform well at the course. We don’t get the specific Strokes Gained data, but we can do enough with the stats given to know what we want out of the players we back. Here are the five statistics you should prioritize when determining your bets for the 2020 Masters.
Five most important statistics at Augusta
This may be alarming to those who aren’t fans of U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, but driving distance is the most important statistic to look at for the Masters. In fact, Augusta National’s strongest corollary course is TPC Harding Park, where we saw Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau and DeChambeau all right at the top of the leaderboard going into Sunday. Augusta National is around 7,500 yards long, and many estimate it plays closer to 7,750 yards when looking at elevation and Augusta cutting its fairways to have the grass grow toward the tee boxes – making drives roll out less.
Since Driving Distance is perhaps the most predictive statistic – players generally drive it the same distance week-to-week unless going through DeChambeau’s workout regime – it’s a very safe statistic to bet and rely on when looking for success. Five Masters winners since 2010 were in the top 6 in Driving distance for the week. Of the other five winners that weren’t at the top in distance, they finished 1st, 6th, 2nd, 1st and 19th in Greens in Regulation for the week. Basically, if you aren’t hitting it long, you have to nearly lead the field in greens to have a chance at winning for the most part.
Greens in Regulation
This is perhaps one of the only times you’ll ever see me recommend Greens in Regulation over Strokes Gained: Approach. While I will still be using Strokes Gained: Approach in combination with a GIR stat in my model, GIR does provide an additional benefit at Augusta.
First, we’re able to see historical GIR data at Augusta and how often it has correlated to success. If SG: APP was available at the Masters, we’d likely see winners high in that statistic as well, though. Eight of the last 10 winners at the Masters have finished in the top 6 in GIR at the end of the week. Only Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel managed to do it another way, and they both had phenomenal short game numbers.
Since Augusta has some of the most penalizing area near pins around the greens, hitting greens adds a huge bonus even at 30 feet away from the pin compared to missing the green just 10 feet away from the pin. Strokes Gained statistics don’t necessarily show that, and players who are disciplined and hitting greens in the right spots will reap the benefits at Augusta.
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
According to the data, Scrambling and Strokes Gained: Around the Green are as important as anything if you want to win the Masters. Of the last 10 winners, eight of them finished in the top 10 for the week in Scrambling percentage. The other two finished 15th and 16th, respectively. Using SG: ARG instead of Scrambling percentage is a more efficient way to see whose short game is tidy. Because of the unique, tight fairway lies around Augusta’s greens, it takes an incredible amount of skill and ideally a bit of course experience to handle the short game well … so taking a look at course history scrambling numbers here can work nicely.
Par 4: 450-500 Yards
There are 10 Par 4s at Augusta and five of them run in the range of 450-500 yards. Of the five that don’t, they play at 350, 440, 440, 445, 505 and 510 yards. That means that nine of the 10 Par 4s run extremely close to the 450-500-yard range. Taking a look at who has been playing Par 4s of this distance well is always a good idea to see who is scoring efficiently in important ranges. This will take into play who is driving it well and hitting approaches well from yardages they’ll likely see a lot at Augusta.
Strokes Gained: Par 5
On a difficult course like Augusta, it’s always important to score well on the holes that allow for birdies. It just so happens that at Augusta, that only points at the four Par 5s. As we’ve seen over the years, Augusta’s Par 5s are great risk-reward holes that allow for low scores to be made – along with some terribly high scores. They are the only four holes at Augusta that play under par overall.
Winners at the Masters have also torn up the Par 5s historically. The average strokes gained on Par 5s versus the field by winners have outpaced the averages on Par 3s and Par 4s. Looking at who has been making eagles and birdies on Par 5s coming in as well as historically at Augusta should provide a nice chance at getting an edge on who will go low at this year’s Masters.