The Masters – Gambling/DFS Preview 2023

Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, GA
“A tradition unlike any other”

It’s the best week of the golf year for the first major of the season, The Masters at Augusta National Golf Course, the most beautiful place on Earth. Last week I hit my second outright of the season with Corey Conners winning the Valero Texas Open. Let’s hit two winners in a row!

Course Breakdown

Par 72, 7510 yards (plays a bit longer) which was lengthened for this season with a big change to Hole 13’s tee box, average 65 square foot firm and FAST multi-tiered bent grass greens with a ton of undulation, lush fairways with a lot of undulation which leads to the course playing longer than it is, 41 bunkers, 6 water hazards, rye grass, almost no rough, soft pine straw that you could hit out of as long as you don’t have a tree in the way, 6 of the Par 4s are over 450 yards, 13/14 par 4’s: you’re hitting driver, last year the 11th hole got lengthened by 15 yards and a bunch of rough got removed from the course, lots of changes in elevation on the course, experience here matters, first timers don’t win here, bombers have an advantage, right to left draw ball flight works best here (comes naturally for leftys, Spieth draws the ball well also), easy to hit fairways (~69%), hard to hit greens vs. tour average (~61%),  greens are average to above average in size but that is misleading since most greens slope heavily from back to front with difficult landing areas, tons of slope and undulation on very fast greens, Augusta has SubAir greens and fairways with a ton of drainage on the course, most greens are elevated and have large run offs and collection areas or bunkers around them, rain doesn’t effect it and isn’t much of a factor here like it usually is on other courses on tour even when there is a ton of rain

Tournament Notes

  • Course history is most predictive at Augusta, more than any other course on tour by a significant margin
  • No winner has come from outside 50:1 odds in the last 9 years
  • Since 2012, Bubba (#18 in the OWGR that year) was the lowest ranked player to win The Masters. Even Danny Willett who was 100:1 in 2016 when he won, was ranked 12th in the World
  • 21 of the last 23 winners were ranking in the Top 30 in OWGR (this trend could be off this year because LIV Golfers haven’t gotten OWGR points since the British Open last year)
  • The last time a first timer won the Masters was in 1979 (Fuzzy Zoeller)
  • Except for Patrick Reed in 2018, the past 25 champions made the cut at The Masters the previous year
  • 22 of the last 25 winners finished 38th or better at the Masters the year before they won
  • 13 of the last 15 winners had finished 22nd or higher in a previous Masters Tournament
  • 12 of the last 13 winners had at least a T8 in at least one of their seven events prior to their win at The Masters
  • Besides Hideki in 2021, the prior ten Masters winners have had a win or 2 Top 5s in their five events leading up to Augusta
  • Besides Hideki in 2019 who only had one T15, every other winner of the last eleven years had at least two T15 finishes in their three tournaments leading into The Masters
  • 11 of the last 13 winners had a T35 or better in their last start prior to The Masters
  • 12 of the last 14 winners had at least 4 previous career wins
  • 12 of the last 14 winners had won a tournament on U.S. soil within the two years leading up to their Masters win
  • 11 of the last 13 winners had a T6 in a major within the two years leading up to their Masters win
  • No winner has repeated since Tiger in 2002 (along with Nick Faldo in 1990 and Jack in 1966)
  • Jack was oldest player to ever win the Masters, at 46 years old
  • 17 of the last 20 winners were aged 27 or older
  • Besides Hideki in 2021, all the rest of the last 10 winners besides him gained minimum of 13.4 strokes T2G in their two prior events leading up to their victory at Augusta
  • Each of the last 13 winners were inside the Top 30 in SG: T2G leading up to The Masters
  • Each of the last 11 winners had gained at least 18 strokes T2G in their four events prior to The Masters
  • 8 of the last 10 winners were inside the Top 7 in SG: T2G leading up to The Masters
  • 6 of the last 8 winners ranked Top 5 the week they won in Approach
  • 11 of the last 13 winners ranked inside the T40 in Par 5 Scoring for the year they won
  • The last five winners have been 51 under par on the Par 5s, so scoring on those is very important
  • Bad putting is neutralized here because everyone will struggle on these greens, with 14 of the last 15 winners ranking outside the T50 in putting for the year they won
  • 13 of the last 14 winners ranked inside the T50 for the season in Driving Distance in the year leading up to their Masters win
  • Each of the last 10 winners had gained at least 0.25 strokes ARG in the 16 rounds prior to their Masters win
  • The two best fits for all of these trends above are Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, following by Hideki Matsuyama, then Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth
  • There isn’t publicly available specific strokes gained data for Augusta
  • Weather this week might be so horrible (especially on Saturday) that we might get a Monday finish

Key Stats

SG: Approach, SG: OTT, Par 5 Scoring

Main proximity distance range: 175-200 yards (but a lot of elevation changes here make that not as accurate as other courses)

Corollary Courses

  • Emirates Golf Club (Omega Dubai Desert Challenge) – Danny Willett and Sergio won this and the Masters in the same year
  • Riviera CC (Genesis Open)
  • Quail Hallow Club (Wells Fargo Championship)
  • Correlated courses are not as much of a factor that I’ll be looking at with so much course history at Augusta

Field

88 golfers with all the stars leading both the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf

Smallest field for a major and you could cut out a good 20-30 players (Sr. past champs etc.) that just aren’t gonna win – It doesn’t matter that Bernhard Langer is the #1 Sr. in the world…he’s not winning the fucking Masters

Cut: Top 50 and ties (no longer anyone within 10 strokes of the lead like its been in the past, that hasn’t been the case for the last 3 seasons)

Defending Champion: Scottie Scheffler (-10)

Runner Up Last Year: Rory McIlroy (-7)

One and Done: Patrick Cantlay

One and Done Considerations: Scheffler, Rory, Spieth, Cantlay, Cam Smith

Players

Rory McIlroy: 10600: +777 – HEAR THE RORS, let’s complete the career grand slam, first in my model this week and fits every single trend for a winner of The Masters and easily my favorite picks, his high-draw ball flight plays very nicely off the tee for Augusta, he backdoor finished solo 2nd last year shooting 64 on Sunday where he wasn’t in contention to win, 2,MC,5,21,5,7,10,4,8,25,40,15,MC,20 finishes here dating back to his debut in 2009, finished third at Match Play a few weeks ago, MC,T2,T29,T32,1,4,1,T4,4,T2,1,T8 finishes in his last twelve stroke play events, 5th in Approach, 5th in SG: OTT, 11th in Par 4 scoring, 4th in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards, 2nd in Par 5 scoring, 2nd in Proximity 175-200 yards, 2nd in driving distance, 19th in SG: ARG, 49th in Putting, 3rd in Birdie+ gained, 5th in Bogie avoidance, my biggest bet of the season despite the price on him being way too low for me to bet most weeks…but here I am betting him again, I also like that he played a practice round with Brooks this week instead of being an asshole about LIV (even though that’s pretty meaningless)

Jordan Spieth: 9700: +1800 – Won here by four strokes in 2015, doesn’t really pop in my model that well (28th) but this just feels like a trend pick I just can’t stay off of and you can’t stay off that course history, fits 17 of the 19 main trends that I was looking at for this week, MC,T3,T46,T21,3,T11,T2,1,T2 finishes here, finished third at Valspar last week, 3,19,4,MC,6,63,MC,13,52,13,19 finishes in his last eleven stroke play events, 24th in Approach, 45th in SG: OTT, 45th in Par 4 scoring, 78th in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards, 10th in Par 5 scoring, 60th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 32nd in driving distance, 11th in SG: ARG, 59th in Putting, 28th in Birdie+ gained, 30th in Bogie avoidance

Patrick Cantlay: 9500: +2000 – Going into the week I didn’t like him but he popped in my model quite a bit, hasn’t been great at majors though with just one T10 in his 13 major starts which came when he finished 8th at his last major at The Open last year, fits 16 of the 19 main trends I’m looking at for this week, 39,MC,17,9,MC,47 finishes here, 19,4,3,MC,26,16,2,7,1,57,2,8,4,13,14,3 finishes in his last 16 events, 25th in Approach, 2nd in SG: OTT, 8th in Par 4 scoring, 1st in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards, 1st in Par 5 scoring, 27th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 16th in driving distance, 44th in SG: ARG, 39th in Putting, 18th in Birdie+ gained, 14th in Bogie avoidance

Max Homa: 9200: +3400 – This is finally the year that Max contends at Augusta, plays well in lousy conditions so if the weather effects the course as effected he should have success, has been awful in majors with eight MCs in his 13 major starts but he’s never played as well as he has this year either, fits 14 of the 19 main trends I’m looking at for the week, won twice in his last nine events with 6,14,2,39,1,3,23,20,1,5 finishes in his last ten events, 48,MC,MC finishes in his three times here, 7th in Approach, 35th in SG: OTT, 3rd in Par 4 scoring, 1st in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards, 41st in Par 5 scoring, 21st in Proximity 175-200 yards, 44th in driving distance, 30th in SG: ARG, 4th in Putting, 4th in Birdie+ gained, 10th in Bogie avoidance

Tony Finau: 8900: +2500 – Third in my model and is a whole level better than he used to be when he could never win a tournament, his value on DK at the sub-9000 pricing is fantastic, fits 15 of the 19 main trends I’m looking at for the week, 35,10,38,5,10 finishes here, 19,24,20,14,9,16,7,1,MC,9,28,5,1,1 finishes in his last 14 events, 4th in Approach, 20th in SG: OTT, 4th in Par 4 scoring, 9th in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards, 12th in Par 5 scoring, 10th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 19th in driving distance, 46th in SG: ARG, 7th in Putting, 2nd in Birdie+ gained, 4th in Bogie avoidance

Jason Day: 8700: +3000 – Playing by far his best golf since he was an elite golfer eight years ago, fits 13 of the 19 main trends I’m looking at for the week, I’m throwing out his finishes here the last two years due to injury, MC,MC,5,20,22,10,28,20,3,2 finishes here going back to 2011, he’s been fantastic this season with 19,10,9,5,7,18,MC,16,21,11,8 finishes in his last eleven events, 20th in Approach, 15th in SG: OTT, 2nd in Par 4 scoring, 9th in Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards, 39th in Par 5 scoring, 64th in Proximity 175-200 yards, 31st in driving distance, 9th in SG: ARG, 6th in Putting, 12th in Birdie+ gained, 1st in Bogie avoidance

Model

Approach (25%)

SG: OTT (15%)

Par 4 scoring (5%)

Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards (5%)

Par 5 scoring (10%)

Proximity 175-200 yards (10%)

Driving distance (5%)

SG: ARG (10%)

Putting (5%)

Birdie+ gained (5%)

Bogie avoidance (5%)

Stats based on past 36 rounds

Note: Stats for LIV Tour golfers will be inconsistent since we don’t have any SG data for  their event

DraftKings/Betting Notes

  • May want to leave salary cap on the table
  • DraftKings pricing isn’t as soft this year as it has in previous years for majors
  • Need to get 6/6 in the cut at a minimum to cash, need to hit 6 T10s with the winner to win big money
  • Making cuts here should not be a factor in lineup construction and will almost play closer to a no cut event on DK
  • Need scoring points as well as placing points
  • I have a much bigger card than usual this week, but I love how all six of these guys map out and so do the books, it’s the first major of the year and the best week in golf, plus I’m coming off a winner last week…let’s go nuts
  • Scottie scares the shit out of me, but hopefully the boringest player on Tour doesn’t take the fun out of this week (especially Sunday like last year)…but I like Rory better and no way you can take both of them unless you don’t have a rest of a card and just go with those two
  • The LIV Tour guys don’t really scare me a whole lot but it wouldn’t shock me to see DJ, Cam, or maybe Brooks win. The three of them have just gotten bet down low enough without enough competitive rounds this year for me to jump on any of them at their current prices
  • Prices vary from book to book so as usual, make sure you shop them across every book you have available

Bets

Outrights

2.2u Rory McIlroy (+777)

.6u Jordan Spieth (+1800)

.5u Patrick Cantlay (+2000)

.4u Tony Finau (+2500)

.4u Jason Day (+3000)

.3u Max Homa (+3400)


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