The 2017 Masters Tournament is still months away (mark April 6th through April 9th for your calendar). It’s not too early to predict possible winners. BetFirm has preliminary odds on who will win. We’ll learn more about the contenders and long shots from the upcoming FedEx Cup events, and the Ryder Cup. Historically, the Masters hasn’t been kind to “come from nowhere winners” and golf at this level is dominated by consistency of preparation and execution.
BetFirm’s initial odds makers currently favor the trio of Jason Day, Jordan Speith and Rory McIlroy, all of whom are pulling in 8-1 odds of taking home the green jacket from Augusta National. Jason Day has the strongest game of the three. McIlroy is getting older, and his wedge game is suffering for it. Jordan Speith’s technique is unconventional, and he’s the youngest of the top three. if there’s anything we’ve learned about unconventional golf swings, it’s that their success can flame out at any time; Speith is reportedly being coached into a more conventional (and more energy efficient) swing in preparation for the Masters.
There’s nearly seven months until the Masters. Injuries happen, and up-and-comers can get into the zone. Just because Day, Speith and McIlroy are all favorites doesn’t mean that the rest of the field isn’t worth considering, and the 8-1 odds are a decent hedge. Expect BetFirm to tighten the odds as we get closer to tee time.
Outside those three favorites, there are the longer shots. Dustin Johnson has the power and the precision to do well at the Masters; he’s working hard on mastery of his form and being consistent. He’s currently listed as a 12-1 by BetFirm, and depending on how he does at the FedEx cups, might match Rory McIlroy’s odds come spring.
Bubba Watson is also on the bubble for entry into that top tier. BetFirm has him at 16-1. He doesn’t have Johnson’s swing and drive distance, but he’s a bit more consistent and able to drive the ball with accuracy.
Other favorites in this group include Adam Scott at 20-1, Rickie Fowler at 22-1, and old stalwart Phil Mickelson at 25-1. Justin Rose is also rated at a 25-1. I expect the narratives will talk about Mickelson fighting off the challenges of younger contenders, and those aforementioned younger contenders, such as Johnson and Watson, fighting for ‘respect’. Anyone who makes the Masters can play, and at this level of the sport, the skillsets are all phenomenal. I’ll be rooting for Mickelson out of this group out of a bit of old sentimentality for old “Lefty.”
If you’re looking for the true long shots, they start with Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson. Betfirm has both at 28-1. Paul Casey, who was ranked fifth overall on the PGA Tour last year, is tied with Brand Snedeker at 50-1 odds. In between them, BetFirm has rated Hideki Matsuyama at 33-1, and Charl Schwartzel, who won the Masters in 2011, at 40-1, along with Louis Oosthuizen.
Matsuyama is capable of winning any tournament he enters, it depends on what type of day he’s having. His “good days” result in phenomenal ball placement and strategic play. Schwartzel played the weekend of his life at the Masters in 2011, but hasn’t matched that level of play since.
Down past the long shots, we’ve got prior champions who are media brands, like Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods. This is where BetFirm’s odds-making doesn’t match reality. Woods should be about a 250-1, or maybe a 200-1 to win the Masters if you’re being generous. BetFirm has him, as well as Sergio Garcia and Brooks Kopka at 66-1.
In the end, I expect Jason Day to win the Masters, and I’d probably put long shot money on Dustin Johnson. Johnson will probably be mentioned along with Day and McIlroy and Speith by the time April rolls around.
If I were aiming for true shot in the dark betting odds, I’d probably put a bet down on Matsuyama. He has the potential to pull off a weekend of otherworldly golf, but he can’t do it consistently. I wouldn’t bet on Woods. His back is injured, and with the new reality of his back injury, he doesn’t have the crazy driving distance he used to have. Even at 66-1, BetFirm is being overly generous..