Masters 2019: Who's the favorite after Day 1? Here are our experts' favorite bets for Friday at Augusta National
Dom Furore/Golf Digest
The seemingly endless number of storylines heading into this year's Masters had golf fans' excitement levels at an all-time high. For anyone playing an office pool or placing a wager on the tournament, that meant pouring over research to make your picks. Now the tournament is underway, and even if your wagers aren't looking so hot (Justin Rose and Paul Casey backers, we're sorry for your loss), there's always the opportunity to re-coup.
Whether you're looking at the live betting market, or playing in one of DraftKings' daily showdown tournaments, which allows you to redraft a lineup for a single-day competition, there's money to be made. Following each round this week, we'll be providing our favorite bets of the day from our expert panel—which will include a rotating collection of our weekly panel, including an anonymous PGA Tour caddie, thanks to our partnership with The Caddie Network; 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.
At all sportsbooks, Brooks Koepka is a slight favorite after Day 1 on the heels of his 6-under 66, with Bryson DeChambeau not too far behind. There might not be too much value in Koepka (+400) or DeChambeau (+650), but there's always value to be found. Here's what our experts like:
Round 2 Match-up: Henrik Stenson (+120) over Sergio Garcia (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Henrik Stenson started off well, but had a tough time with the par-5 13th hole, carding a triple-bogey eight leading to a two-over round of 74. Other than the ‘snowman’, it was a solid day for Stenson. Even though Sergio finished a stroke better, Stenson’s approach game has been solid over the last few tournaments ranking fifth in the field coming into Augusta. This should work in Stenson's favor with the course drying up and scoring conditions being optimal. --Reid Fowler, DraftKings contributor and DFS expert
Round 2 Three-Ball: Brooks Koepka (+135, FanDuel Sportsbook)
This feels like stealing money. Brooks Koepka is paired with Jordan Spieth and Paul Casey, and based on what we saw on Thursday, this might be as close to a lock as you can find on this board. There's always the possibility that Spieth finds his game, and he knows how to excel at Augusta National better than anybody. But Koepka showed off his elite form on the back nine on Thursday, exhibiting that next-level gear that few golfers in the world have. For one thing, it did not look like Spieth or Casey were capable of that gear in Day 1. We like Koepka here by a lot. --Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest associate editor
Best Second-Round Score: Tommy Fleetwood +3300, (DraftKings Sportsbook)
I realize this is a bit of an absurd bet, and there is much more money to be made with the second-round matchups. But if you’re looking for a flier and just trying to place a small amount on something, I kinda love Tommy Fleetwood to shoot the low score on Friday. With some rain expected in the morning, the course will soften up a bit more, and as long as play isn't stopped, Fleetwood will go off at 1:38 p.m. By then the conditions should be ideal for scoring, and we know what Fleetwood can do when he can fire at flags and go into full-attack mode (see: Final round of the 2018 U.S. Open). At one under, his moving day needs to be tomorrow, and I expect him to go low and be in the mix heading into the weekend. That’s enough for a small bet that could provide a hefty payout. --Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor
Round 2 Match-up: Eddie Pepperell (+140) over Charles Howell III (Sportsbook)
My model gives Eddie Pepperell's predicted score for tomorrow to be a 69.1, whereas Charles Howell III rates out at a 70.6, giving Pepperell a +1.5 stroke advantage over Howell. The course knowledge is likely inflating Howell's odds here, but I wouldn't let that talk you out of Pepperell, who we saw excel at the Players and has played on big stages in golf. Pepperell hit 11 of 14 fairways on Thursday but just 39 percent of his greens. I'd expect Pepperell to take more advantage from the short grass on Friday. --Dr. Lou Riccio, Ph.D., Columbia University lecturer
Round 2 Match-up: Adam Scott (-125) over Hideki Matsuyama (Sportsbook)
This is mostly a fade against Matsuyama, as I think anybody against the Japanese star would be intriguing. Matsuyama hit only five of 14 fairways and just 50 percent of his greens in regulation. Those aren't keys to success at Augusta National. Most expected bigger things from Matsuyama, who led the field in strokes gained/approaches over the past 50 rounds, via Fantasy National, prior to this week. You're getting Adam Scott at slightly worse than even odds against a struggling Matsuyama despite besting Matsuyama by six shots. Take Scott here. --Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest associate editor
Round 2 Match-up: Justin Thomas -0.5 over Phil Mickelson (-105)
Thomas had a good ball-striking day in the first round, hitting 14 greens, but the putter just wasn’t working. He only made one longer than five feet. Phil got hot on the back nine, but he’s all over the place with that tee ball right now (just eight fairways in Round 1). While Phil knows how to get himself out of trouble better than anyone, it's unreasonable to expect this level of success if he again has accuracy issues. If he puts himself in similar positions Friday, he’ll have a difficult time putting up another low round. --Joshua Perry, The Action Network golf expert handicapper. To read all of their favorite bets from Round 2, click here.
Winner: Phil Mickelson (currently 5-under, one back. +1500, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Sure, you didn't snatch up Phil Mickelson's odds to win at 40-1. That'd be nice with the three-time Masters champ just one back. This is still a play on Phil's value. These odds are likely to get worse if Lefty continues to contend. He made seven birdies on Thursday and didn't show any signs of slowing up on the back nine, going 5-under over his last seven holes. If Phil's two or three shots back going into the weekend, his odds will likely be half of what they are now. And we fully expect Phil to be there on the weekend. --Dr. Lou Riccio, Ph.D., Columbia University lecturer
Winner: Francesco Molinari (currently 2-under, four back. +2500, DraftKings Sportsbook)
I’ll start hedging off my initial futures with Molinari, a guy who has a knack for coming from the back of the pack to win. Molinari ranks sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green, top-10 in par-five scoring as well as birdie or better gained, and number one in strokes gained total over his last 36 final rounds. --Reid Fowler, DraftKings contributor and DFS expert
Winner: Brooks Koepka (+500, DraftKings Sportsbook)
If you look at his three majors, they all came in these conditions: Light rain with a little wind. Those conditions favor his game—so though the odds aren't very appealing, you're getting a guy who has won half of the last six majors. That's pretty appealing. --PGA Tour caddie
Round 2 Match-up: Dustin Johnson (-170) over Jason Day (Sportsbook)
Beware of the injured golfer, but even with no injury factoring in, I like Dustin Johnson here. He will be motivated to catch his buddy Brooks Koepka after yesterday. J-Day might have the putting advantage, but DJ is longer and can better take advantage of the wet conditions. I'll go with the happy and healthy golfer. --PGA Tour caddie
DraftKings Friday Showdown Picks:
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,200) — Tommy is always a candidate to go low on Moving Day; look no further than the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock when he fired a Friday round of 66 and a final-round 63 resulting in a runner-up finish to Brooks Koepka ($8,800). Only five strokes off the lead, Fleetwood should stay aggressive and his second-round stats over the last 36 rounds line up perfectly for him to card a solid round ranking second in strokes gained tee-to-green, seventh in DraftKings scoring, sixth in birdie percentage, and first in strokes gained par-five. --Reid Fowler, DraftKings contributor and DFS expert
Adam Scott ($8,000) — The Aussie might not have gotten the same attention others around the lead did, but his 3-under par puts him firmly in the mix. Adam Scott hit 14 of 18 greens and nine of 14 fairways, consistent numbers relative to the field. At this price, you're getting a discount on Scott, who I expect to continue to contend through the weekend. --Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest associate editor
Keegan Bradley ($7,100) — A cheaper option and currently sitting at T-73, Keegan needs to be aggressive and shoot in the mid-60s if he wants to have a chance at making the cut. Thing is, I’m not worried about Bradley making the weekend so I’m not worried about his ability to make a ton of bogeys; I’m in on his ball-striking along with his ability to make birdies ranking just outside the top-20 in birdie or better gained in his last 36 second-rounds dating back to the 2017 PGA Championship. --Reid Fowler, DraftKings contributor and DFS expert
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