Masters 2019: Bold predictions and expert picks for the final round at Augusta National
At one point early on Saturday, we had eight players tied for the lead—in what was setting up to be a shootout kind of Saturday. For the most part, it was, until Francesco Molinari separated himself and grabbed the lead, which he would extend to 13-under to take a two-shot margin into Sunday.
What's in store on Sunday? Will Molinari—who hasn't made a bogey in his last 42 holes, a 25-year record at the Masters, continue his consistently stellar player? Or will Tiger make history and win a fifth green jacket, which he'll need to do while trailing after 54 holes, which would be the first time in his career? Others are also on Molinari's heels, so with an early start and teeing off with threesomes off two tees, what should we expect?
We'll turn to our experts, who have been providing picks after each round this week. If you followed along on Thursday, you heard from DraftKings expert Reid Fowler that he liked Francesco Molinari's odds to win, which were 25-1 at the time. That's a nice ticket to have coming into Sunday. And from our Day 3 picks post, you would've found winning match-up bets from Dr. Lou Riccio on Matt Kuchar over Phil Mickelson (even odds) and Brooks Koepka over Adam Scott (105) from our editors.
Our rotating collection of our weekly panel, including a current, anonymous PGA Tour caddie, thanks to our partnership with The Caddie Network, also includes the aforementioned DFS guru and DraftKings contributor Reid Fowler; Columbia University senior lecturer and Ph.D. Lou Riccio, who has used predictive analysis and modeling to forecast winners in golf for decades; and picks from Golf Digest's editors, as well as a selection of picks from The Action Network's staff of experts. Here's who they like on Sunday:
Winner: Brooks Koepka (6-1, three shots back, Sportsbook)
I advocated taking Brooks Koepka at +350 after Day 1, so I certainly take an even larger piece of Koepka at +600 with 18 holes to go. Three shots back is really nothing at Augusta National. The early tee time with split tees takes away any early advantage of soft greens and the opportunity to play under the radar. I expect very low scores with early tee times and soft conditions. Brooks has demonstrated that he can go low in majors, so I still think this sets up really well for him. --anonymous PGA Tour caddie
Winner: Tony Finau (+750, three shots back, FanDuel Sportsbook)
To me, the oddsmakers have Tony Finau's line wrong. My model after Day 3 gives the big-hitting Utah native the second best odds of winning at 5.4-to-1. But you can get Finau at 7.5-to-1 odds. What accounts for that difference? Tiger Woods will be the most publicly bet golfer before the final round (heck, he already was, according to DraftKings data). Oddsmakers figure the public will have way less confidence in Finau compared to Tiger, as Finau isn't a major champ yet. But he does have six top-20s including four top-10s to his credit, so he's not some rookie. Finau had a lot of eyes on him on Saturday and played well under the pressure. Being paired with Tiger Woods on a Sunday in the final group at Augusta National will be the biggest test Finau faces in his career, but Finau has the fourth highest odds to win, and there's definite value there. --Dr. Lou Riccio, Ph.D., Columbia University lecturer
Round 4 Match-up: Phil Mickelson (+125) over Jon Rahm (Bodog)
How many times can you get those odds on a three-time Masters champion? Mickelson at (-6), seven strokes off the pace might be too far back to put on another green jacket, but I believe he has another late Sunday charge in him to at least threaten the lead, whereas Jon Rahm went the other way for most of the day on Saturday. --anonymous PGA Tour caddie
Round 4 Match-up: Louis Oosthuzien (+125) over Dustin Johnson (Sportsbook)
DJ never got anything going on Saturday, essentially taking him out of this. He's going to need a really special round to make a run for his first green jacket. And if he doesn't get to 2- or 3-under through his first eight holes, there might be a bit of a let-up here from DJ. Don't expect the same from Oosthuizen. The South African plays Augusta National great, and he's a threat for a low round of 65 or 66. His tenacity and solid ball-striking will keep him firing at pins. I think the possibility of a motivation let-down and inconsistent putting from DJ give an advantage that the oddsmakers haven't accounted for. Give me Louie. --Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest associate editor
Round 4 Match-up: Xander Schauffele (+110) over Matt Kuchar (DraftKings Sportsbook)
If it wasn't for Xander Schauffele's water ball at the 15th and the ensuing bogey, he would be just a few behind the leaders. And Xander would've been a huge favorite in this match-up. But the loss of momentum was the likely cause for another bogey on the home hole, as well, and now you get Xander five back of the lead, next to Kuchar. My model projects Xander's final round to be about 0.3 strokes better than Kuchar's, so the lines should be flipped here. Xander probably isn't getting the credit he deserves for playing so well this week. And he's still flying under the radar a bit for oddsmakers, too. --Dr. Lou Riccio, Ph.D., Columbia University lecturer
Round 4 Match-up: Thorbjorn Olesen (+116) over Patrick Cantlay
Olesen leads the field in Greens in Regulation (GIR) this week, and with the wind expecting to pick up on Sunday, I want to back the player with the better ball-striking numbers. Cantlay is coming off a hot round on Saturday, but he still managed to hit less greens than Olesen. It’s always hard to back up a career-low round in a Major, so I’d expect Cantlay to regress quite a bit while Olesen keeps finding the green. --Josh Perry, The Action Network golf analyst. (Click here for The Action Network's breakdown of their staff's favorite bets for Sunday.)
DratfKings Weekend Showdown:
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,000) — Somewhat of a letdown this week, Matsuyama should be a solid anchor in our Sunday showdown rosters as he’s proven to play well on longer courses in difficult scoring conditions. With ominous weather rolling through Augusta tomorrow, Hideki rates out fantastic ranking top-three in par-five scoring, just outside the top-five in birdie or better gained, and holds the top spot in both strokes gained total as well as DraftKings scoring over his last four final rounds in the aforementioned difficult scoring conditions relative to par. --Reid Fowler, DraftKings contributor and DFS expert
Marc Leishman ($7,500) — With nothing to lose (spoiler: he’s not winning), Leishman is a nice option in the $7,000 salary range who has experience at Augusta and scored fairly well on Saturday carding three birdies and an eagle. Leishman also made four bogeys, but again, we shouldn’t be worrying too much with his bogey rate, but more focused (and hopeful) with his ability to score. Over his first three rounds, Leishman has totaled 11 birdies and an eagle, most of which come from converting on close to half (41.6 percent) of his par-five scoring opportunities. His long-iron approaches also rate out well, which is what the guys will need when they lose distance off-the-tee in what should be wet conditions tomorrow. --RF
J.B. Holmes ($7,400) — You need guys who could make seven, eight birdies in a one-day showdown on DraftKings. Go with this mudder who could get hot in a hurry in J.B. Holmes. He entered the week with elite ball-striking numbers, and those skills will come in handy with the tough conditions expected tomorrow. Go with J.B. --SH
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