By Phil Simon
Just like any sport golf has its bigger tournaments that attract more attention than others. There is no Super Bowl or World Series instead golf has four major championships sprinkled throughout the year attracting the biggest names in the sport and the most money at the betting window. Sportsbooks go all out for the majors making them the perfect opportunity for first time golf bettors or the casual fan.
In a normal year The Masters would be the first major played, taking place the first full week of April at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The usual betting markets exist for The Masters with more of an emphasis put on props, with a boat load of them available at most sportsbooks.
What are Golf’s Majors?
The major championships are the four most prestigious tournaments in professional golf attracting the best players from around the world. The reputations of players are largely defined by the number of major championship victories. The Masters is the first major on the calendar taking place in April. It’s the only event that takes place at the same venue. The other majors include the PGA Championship, which takes place at various courses throughout the United States, the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, also simply known as The Open.
The first Masters tournament took place in 1934 and has been played at Augusta National every year since. Being an invitation The Masters has the smallest field of the four majors. That doesn’t mean it’s easier to wager on, though. You might hear references to the green jacket when The Masters rolls around. The winner of the tournament is awarded a green jacket, though the garment must be returned one year after his victory.
Betting on golf is easy but things get more interesting during a major championship. We tend to see sportsbooks offer more in terms of prop betting while also adding to existing markets. Because of this it’s helpful to know a little about the players and their history in majors as well as their form on the course. That’s not a problem for The Masters since it’s held at the same lot every year.
How to bet on The Masters
We touched on golf betting in another article and the principles hold true for The Masters. We’ll see odds posted for an outright winner and there will be round and tournament matchups.
The biggest difference from a non-major is the number of bets sportbooks come up with. Think of the major championships as golf’s Super Bowl of betting. And think of Tiger Woods as golf’s Tom Brady. The most polarizing figure in the game, Woods will have his own market at most sportsbooks. Odds on whether the Big Cat wins outright, finishes among the top-5, top-10 or top-20, as well as some head-to-heads with other players.
Several factors are taken into account when coming up with odds. Current form is a big one as is course history. And to become a big name on Tour you must put together a few wins or at the very least some top finishes. That’s why a lot of names at the top of the odds board are familiar. Following his win at the U.S. Open, Bryson DeChambeau was the betting favorite ahead of the most recent Masters. Let’s take a look at how the odds looked for 2020 Masters to give you an idea of how the pay structure works.
Bryson DeChambeau +750
Jon Rahm +1100
Rory McIlroy +1100
Dustin Johnson +1200
Justin Thomas +1200
A $100 wager on the favorite would pay $750. However Johnson emerged as the victor and a $100 wager on him did pay $1,200. With so many great golfers in the field it’s hard to pick an outright winner. A good strategy would be to wager a smaller amount on several players rather than dropping a big chunk on one. You could also make a place bet, however the odd are reflected with shorter numbers.
Prop bets are huge at majors with sportsbooks going all out. Some of the basics include whether or not there will be a hole-in-one or an albatross. You could also make a nationality bet by throwing down the highest American finisher. These are just a few examples. You need to visit your sportsbook to check out all the betting markets and don’t forget to shop around for better odds and a bigger selection.