Betting on golf can be a very profitable endeavour, but it can also be a frustrating one. At the end of the day, it’s all about picking your spots. When it comes to the 2017 edition of the Masters, starry names like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are topping odds lists, but there’s plenty of sleeper value in the tournament if you dig deep.
The Masters is unique for many reasons. Unarguably the biggest spectacle on the golfing calendar, the event is the only one on the PGA Tour that features the same venue every year. That means golfers who consistently perform decently at the unforgiving confines of Augusta National are an attractive pick, while players with less appealing records should be fade material since they’ve proven they’ll never be able to master it.
The Masters also features a much smaller field than most PGA tournaments, meaning those long shots may not be as long as you thought due to the lesser number of participants. The typical PGA event hosts 150 players, but only 100 travel to Augusta. It’s also the only tournament where champions earn a lifetime invitation, which means some of the field is playing there for nostalgia’s sake.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some potential sleeper value in this year’s Masters.
Odds courtesy of Bovada
Marc Leishman +5000
Putting is important no matter where you’re playing golf, but it’s especially crucial on the demanding greens of Augusta National. Leishman excels in that category, leading the PGA Tour in putting with at least 20 rounds played. In terms of sleeper picks, the Aussie is hands-down the best dark horse on the board, in my opinion.
Leishman is fresh off a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in mid-March and kept the train rolling by collecting a tie for ninth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. At the age of 33 he’s a late bloomer who’s been coming into his own over the last few years, but he’s still perennially undervalued in sports betting circles.
Daniel Berger +7500
Berger is a player who can get hot in a hurry, and his +7500 price presents ridiculous value for a golfer of his caliber. The 23-year-old is 12th on the PGA Tour in birdie or better percentage and possesses four top-20s this season. He doesn’t get much respect from oddsmakers with fellow young guns like Spieth, Jon Rahm, McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama grabbing the spotlight but he’s quietly becoming a contender week in and week out.
The Florida native played in his first Masters a year ago and raised a lot of eyebrows by finishing in a tie for 10th place. He got his first Tour win shortly after that last June at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and it feels like another one isn’t too far away for him.
Tommy Fleetwood +8000
Fleetwood isn’t a household name in North America yet, but he will be at his current pace. The Englishman is a major long shot at +8000, but don’t let those odds fool you: this guy is the real deal. Fleetwood finished third at the UBS Hong Kong Open, won the Abu Dhabi HSBS Championship and came second in the WGC-Mexico to prove he’s in form at the moment.
That’s been good enough to bump him up to first place in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. He hasn’t played at Augusta before, but could follow in his countryman Danny Willett’s footsteps by being an Englishman who comes out of seemingly nowhere to surprise on the biggest stage. Fleetwood actually has better odds than Willett (+10000) this time around.