This is our Super Bowl. Millions of eyes will be on Augusta National this week, but even more so, everybody will enter Masters pools, DFS lineups and betting cards—and predicting the outcome of the Masters can be quite lucrative. Thankfully, you have landed upon the best collection of betting experts in golf.
Golf Digest’s betting panel consists of three of the most respected data scientists in the industry: Pat Mayo of Mayo Media Network/DraftKings, Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel and Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com. We’re fortunate to have an anonymous tour caddie giving his picks every week on tour—and our caddie got bold this week. He saw Jordan Spieth’s victory last week, and that has led our caddie to a bold prediction (scroll down for all our picks). Of course we also have Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports, whose ownership projections and premium platform is a great asset for any serious DFS player.
This panel has been hitting outright winners at a hot stretch lately. In the past nine weeks, we’ve predicted five winners—it’s been a pretty unreal stretch since the Waste Management, where two of our experts hit Brooks Koepka. On outright bets, we’re up 145 units alone in that nine-week span (if your typical bet is $10, that's one unit. In that case, we'd be up $1,450 on your $10 outright bets). If you’re reading this column, you know how tough it is to predict golf tournaments. That’s why we’re proud to boast about the best collection of experts in golf handicapping.
Reports from Augusta National are that the conditions will be firm and fast this week, so keep that in mind as you make your picks. Our experts have crunched all the historical, long-term and short-term data to make their best bets for the week—scroll down for their complete analysis.
Masters 2021 picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions (Odds from William Hill)
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Jordan Spieth (10-1) — Coming off the win last week and with his history at Augusta, there’s no way Spieth loses. Yes, I’m guaranteeing Spieth slips on the green jacket for a second time this week.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Brooks Koepka (25-1) — Is he healthy? That’s unknowable, hence the discount on the odds. Reports out of Augusta are that the knee isn’t affecting his swing that’s good enough for me to back him at over double the price of the other favorites.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Xander Schauffele (22-1) — I always love Xander, and I get that he hasn’t won in quite some time, but if you block out the names and narratives and look at the data, Schauffele is firmly part of the elite tier that includes Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm over the past year or two (or really whatever sample you look at). Schauffele is more than double the odds of those others and has a runner-up at Augusta. It just makes sense to like him at this number.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Patrick Cantlay (22-1) — Cantlay has been in complete control of his game for six months, and there are no signs of slowing down. Since his victory at the ZOZO, he has played seven more times and during that stretch, he’s shot the course record twice and only missed the cut once. He hasn’t finished outside the top 20 and he’s gaining on average a staggering +1.70 strokes/tee to green since the start of 2021, the best mark in this field. It should be no surprise that Cantlay has contended at the Masters, finishing T-17 and T-9 in his past two trips. This is the time he breaks through and dons the green jacket.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Jon Rahm (12-1) — All things point to Jon Rahm for me this week. His past three Masters starts: T-7, T-9 and a fourth-place. He held the 36-hole lead in November, and until his topped fairway wood at the par-5 eighth, he was right on Dustin Johnson’s heels. We expect Augusta to play firm and fast this week—which plays into Rahm’s hands: His past two Ws (Memorial and BMW in 2020) were on two of the toughest, firm-and-fast venues we’ve seen. Don’t forget: It’s five years since Danny Willett won the green jacket after his wife had their baby … Rahm will ride into Augusta on a similar high this week.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Justin Thomas (10-1) — If you’re going to bet a favorite, this is the week to do it. For me, all signs are pointing to JT, who is in peak form and has steadily improved at Augusta National in each of his five appearances (T39-T22-T17-T12-4). That tells me he’s getting more and more comfortable with the place each time he comes back, which usually eventually leads to victory for the game’s elite. DJ, Phil, Sergio, Adam Scott, etc. All those guys knocked on the door multiple times at Augusta before busting it down. JT busts it down this week for major victory No. 2.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jon Rahm (12-1) — The Spaniard not only has the baby swag going for him, but he ranks first in FanShare’s long-term form guide for the week and second in short-term form. Plus, his off-the-tee game and putting on bentgrass greens means he ranks third in FanShare’s course-suitability ranking.
Results from last season: Golf Digest's betting panel is RED-HOT. Our experts have now predicted five of the past nine winners—after going up 225.30 units last season. As we’ve said, our crew gets hot and tends to stay hot, so don’t miss out on our picks! Our Stephen Hennessey predicted Jordan Spieth (11-1) at the Valero Texas Open last week. At The Players, Christopher Powers called Justin Thomas’ victory (18-1) as did Rick Gehman. That’s each of their second accurate predictions of 2021, with Powers hitting Koepka (50-1) and Gehman calling Daniel Berger at Pebble Beach (14-1). Pat Mayo nailed Collin Morikawa at the WGC-Workday three events ago at 33-1 in addition to Koepka at the WMPO. And Brandon Gdula also called Berger’s win at Pebble Beach. We’ll stop there! Be sure to check this column every week for picks from the hottest betting panel in golf!
Listen to this week's "Be Right" podcast (above) and be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts, as we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups—every week!
Masters 2021 picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win (Odds from William Hill)
Caddie: C.T. Pan (250-1) — He’s coming off a third-place finish at the Honda, where he gained almost four strokes on the field with his approach play. And don’t forget he had a top-10 in November at Augusta. This is worth a flier.
Mayo: Matt Fitzpatrick (45-1) — He’s added distance in 2021 and has actually averaged the sixth-most strokes per round off the tee this year. And the results have followed. Fitz has finished no worse than T-11 in four stroke play starts in the U.S., with his best coming at Riviera, the closest comp course to Augusta.
Gdula: Joaquin Niemann (50-1) — Niemann would have to buck the trend of limited course history at Augusta—just a missed cut in 2018 when he played as an amateur—but is a substantially better golfer now than he was back then. He’s also become a pretty strong bentgrass putter and a top-20 tee-to-green golfer since the restart.
Gehman: Phil Mickelson (100-1) — I’m certainly one to listen to the metrics and that means it has been a nearly year-long fade of Mickelson. However, Mickelson appears to have found something with his irons and wedges, gaining strokes on approach in four of his past five starts. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, it’s been over two years since he last accomplished that feat. There’s no better time for him to figure out his game as he heads to Augusta National for the 29th time, with his 15 top 10s and three victories.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Paul Casey (40-1) — Per my guy Rick Gehman, only three players have gained more than 1.5 strokes per round on average tee to green this year: Cantlay, Morikawa and Casey. Casey’s had scorching hot finishes: a fifth-place at the Players, 10th at Bay Hill, fifth at Pebble and eighth at AMEX … plus a win on the European Tour. For a guy with five top-10s at Augusta, maybe this is time to shine in the major spotlight.
Powers, Golf Digest: Adam Scott (55-1) — An absurd price for a former Masters champ and a player who has not missed the cut in this event since 2009. Nobody rises to the occasion at majors like Adam Scott, who called himself a “good bet” this week as our guest on the Be Right podcast. That would have been enough for me, but the fact he seemed to fix his driver issues at the Honda is a plus, too. That week, he gained an absurd 10.5 strokes tee-to-green and 7.2 on approach, resulting in his second-best finish of 2021 (T-13). These major weeks are the weeks he prepares for, the weeks he hopes to peak for. You’d be a fool to not bet him at this number.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jason Day (40-1) — Day ranks 11th in this field in SG/tee to green over the past two months, so he’s playing some excellent golf. The Aussie has made his past five cuts, so it’s safe to assume there are no injury issues at present. With three top-five finishes at the Masters, it’s not surprising he ranks 10th in our course-suitability ranking.
Masters 2021 picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Rory McIlroy (14-1) — His time will come, but it would be a shock if this is the year.
Mayo: Collin Morikawa (30-1) — Usually my favorite player to bet, the lack of reps at Augusta coupled with a wonky short game leave me on the outside with him this week. He’s valued like an elite in the betting market, and rightfully so, but this isn’t the course for him, at least in 2021.
Gdula: Collin Morikawa (30-1) — Morikawa is the first name on the board I reach where I have concerns, so I’m not going to bet him. He’s not super long off the tee, which is a negative for Augusta, and his 70-74-70-74 in November here with modest stats across the board doesn’t indicate he’ll turn it around this week.
Gehman: Tony Finau (33-1) — Recent form has not been great for Finau, who missed the cut at The Players and then saw an early exit from the WGC-Match Play. In his last five rounds alone, he’s lost a total of 8.92 strokes to the field. If that’s not troublesome enough, Finau’s weakest link has always been his putter. If there’s ever been a place that punishes a struggling putter, it’s Augusta National.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy (14-1) — The guy’s been lost … and it’s not like it’s just the past couple events. The iron play’s been non-elite. The putting has been below average. If this number drifts to 18- to 20-1, I wouldn’t be fading him, but at this number, I’d invest my money elsewhere.
Powers, Golf Digest: Dustin Johnson (9-1) — Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus. Nick Faldo. Those are the guys who have gone back to back at Augusta, and none of them faced the added pressure of pulling off the feat in a span of six months. That, combined with the single-digit odds and the fact he’s not playing well right now, are all the reason you need to stay away.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Xander Schauffele (22-1) — Sure, Xander has a second-place finish to his name here, but Augusta really doesn’t suit his game. We have him ranked 37th in our course-suitability ranking. And his very recent form is a slight concern with a missed cut at The Players and a 39th-place finish at the WGC-Concession.
Masters 2021 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Patrick Cantlay (-120) over Rory McIlroy (DraftKings) — Rory’s my fade of the week, and Cantlay has been one of the best in the world tee-to-green in the past six months. Pound this!
Mayo: Matt Fitzpatrick (-130) over Tyrrell Hatton (DraftKings) — A pick to win against one of my least favorite plays of the week. Hatton’s form is off at the moment and the history at Augusta has never been good for him. It’s Brit on Brit this week, and I’ll side with Fitz.
Gdula: Louis Oosthuizen (+108) over Sergio Garcia (FanDuel) — Oosthuizen has played the weekend in seven straight Masters, and Garcia has missed both cuts since his 2017 win. Over the past year, Oosthuizen has the better strokes-gained data, too.
Gehman: Matt Wallace (-120) over Ian Poulter (DraftKings) — It was Wallace, not Spieth, who was the best player from tee to green last week at the Texas Open. He gained a staggering 15.32 strokes in that category, which is the fourth-best mark of any golfer in any event dating back to the start of the 2020 season, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Those other three golfers all went on to win that week. He’s dialed in and ready to continue that play this week.
Hennessey: Paul Casey (+100) over Tony Finau (William Hill) — Finau has looked lost since The Players, missing his last two cuts and losing in the first round of the match play. Casey’s trending in the opposite direction. At plus-money, Casey’s the bet right now.
Powers: Lee Westwood (+130) over Collin Morikawa (DraftKings) — Given how well he’s currently playing, and his career history at Augusta, this number feels far too big to pass up. Collin Morikawa is already one of the game’s best, but he has one start at the Masters and has yet to play the course in truly firm and fast conditions, which we expect to see this week.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jason Day (-110) over Sergio Garcia (Bet365) — Purely just on their putting stats on bentgrass greens, Day gains 0.6 strokes on Garcia per round. Day has also statistically gained 1.1 strokes total per round on Garcia at Augusta.
Matchup results from the Valero: Powers: 1 for 1 (Abraham Ancer (-103) over Hideki Matsuyama); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Chris Kirk (-110) over Lanto Griffin); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Matt Kuchar (-114) ov. Charles Howell III); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Chris Kirk (-125) over Zach Johnson); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Jordan Spieth (-125) over Hideki Matsuyama); Mayo, Gdula: 0 for 1.
Matchup Results this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Alldrick: 16-8-1 (up 6.77 units); Hennessey: 14-9-1 (up 3.93 units); Powers: 11-10-4 (up 0.26 units); Gdula: 13-12-0 (up 0.08 units); Mayo: 11-12-1 (down 1.58 units); Gehman: 8-15-2 (down 6.48 units); Caddie: 7-15-3 (down 7.05 units).
Masters 2021 picks: Top 10 (Odds from William Hill)
Caddie: Max Homa (+650) — Max’s consistent tee-to-green game will translate to any course right now, but it’s the recipe you need for Augusta National. Still, the oddsmakers aren’t giving much respect for Homa, so let’s take advantage.
Mayo: Max Homa (+650) — An elite ball-striker whose biggest knock is experience at The Masters. Hence the top-10 play, not a bet to win. Homa’s two wins have come at the closest crossover course, Riviera, and the second closest, Quail Hollow. Rumors are the course is fast and firm, and those are the ideal conditions for Mad Max.
Gdula: Matt Fitzpatrick (+350) — Fitzpatrick always seems to get buzz around Masters time but actually has just one top 10 here in six tries. However, he’s at his peak level in his career, which is something you have to account for with event history. He’s a plus in all four strokes-gained categories, which is a big plus for Augusta.
Gehman: Paul Casey (+300) — Playing well at Augusta National starts with your tee-to-green play, and Casey has been dynamite. Since the start of the year, he’s gaining 1.54 strokes from tee-to-green, the third-best mark in the field. That metric doesn’t even count his victory on the European Tour, so it’s likely that he’s been even better during that stretch. Casey has five top-10s at the Masters with three of them coming in the past six years.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Matt Fitzpatrick (+350) — I’m with Brandon here. Fitz has top-11 finishes in his last four stroke-play events, and on a firm-and-fast Augusta, he should contend with how elite his off-the-tee game has been in 2021.
Powers, Golf Digest: Lee Westwood (+260) — On the William Hill Sportsbook, you can actually get Westy to finish top 10 boosted to +300. How do you pass that up? He’s hotter than a two-dollar pistol right now, and his history at Augusta is as good as it gets (it’s just missing one tiny thing). Since 2010, he’s finished T-11 or better six times in the Masters.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Paul Casey (+300) — Casey ranks ninth in FanShare’s course-suitability ranking with his strong off-the-tee game and solid approach game, which has led to three top-10s at Augusta in the past six years. The Englishman is playing great, ranking eighth in the field for SG/tee to green over the past two months, and he’s a very good putter on bentgrass greens, ranking 17th in this field for SG/putting on these surfaces.
Top-10 results from the Valero: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Chris Kirk, +400); Gdula, Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Cameron Tringale, +300);
Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 6 for 24 (up 14.1 units); Hennessey: 4 for 24 (down 4 units); Gdula: 3 for 24 (down 7 units); Powers: 2 for 24 (down 7 units); Mayo: 2 for 24 (down 9 units); Tour caddie: 3 for 24 (down 11.45 units); Alldrick: 1 for 23 (down 19 units).
One and Done pick
Gehman: Dustin Johnson — You’ve been waiting for this moment: Don’t overthink it. With $2.07 million for the winner, it’s time to use your best option. For me, that’s Dustin Johnson. Sure, by his own standards, Johnson has struggled recently. He failed to crack the top 40 at The Players and the WGC-Workday, and he failed to win his group at the WGC-Match Play. I’m not concerned. No golfer can flip a switch last Johnson, who also has two victories in his last seven starts worldwide, including here in November.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Joel Dahmen; U.S. Open: Jon Rahm; Corales: Denny McCarthy. Sanderson: Sebastian Munoz. Shriners: Matthew Wolff. CJ Cup: Xander Schauffele. Zozo: Bubba Watson. Bermuda: Rasmus Hojgaard. Houston: Lanto Griffin. Masters: Rory McIlroy. RSM: Webb Simpson. Sentry TOC: Patrick Reed. Sony: Abraham Ancer. AMEX: Patrick Cantlay. Torrey: Jon Rahm. Waste Management: Webb Simpson. AT&T Pebble Beach: Jason Day. Genesis Invitational: Rory McIlroy. WGC-Workday: Tyrrell Hatton. The Players: Bryson DeChambeau; Honda Classic: Sungjae Im. WGC-Match Play: Patrick Reed. Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth.
Hennessey: Dustin Johnson — I’d burn Spieth if I still had him, and I’m saving Rahm for the U.S. Open. We might be overthinking DJ’s recent struggles a bit much; and his record at Augusta is better than anybody: five consecutive top-10s including the W last year.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Phil Mickelson; U.S. Open: Hideki Matsuyama; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Harris English. CJ Cup: Kevin Na. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Doc Redman. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Tyrrell Hatton. RSM: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Justin Thomas. Sony: Ryan Palmer. AMEX: Scottie Scheffler. Torrey: Sungjae Im. Waste Management: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach: Francesco Molinari. Genesis Invitational: Tony Finau. WGC-Workday: Xander Schauffele. The Players: Jordan Spieth. Honda Classic: Adam Scott. WGC-Match Play: Patrick Reed. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk.
Powers: Jordan Spieth — I’m not betting Spieth in any capacity this week, which could prove to be very dumb. So I will utilize him here to feel a little better when he inevitably wins.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Brendan Steele; U.S. Open: Louis Oosthuizen; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Jason Kokrak. CJ Cup: Daniel Berger. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Bubba Watson. RSM: Brian Harman. Mayakoba: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Harris English. Sony: Zach Johnson. AMEX: Matthew Wolff. Torrey: Tony Finau. Waste Management: Sungjae Im. AT&T Pebble Beach: Jason Day. Genesis: Hideki Matsuyama. WGC-Workday: Tyrrell Hatton. The Players: Tommy Fleetwood. Honda Classic: Adam Scott. WGC-Match Play: Matt Fitzpatrick. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk.
By The Numbers:
Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:
7.17 — The number of strokes gained on approach by Adam Scott at the Honda Classic, his last start. That’s his best approach week in over two years for the 2013 Masters champion.
15 — The number of top 10s for Phil Mickelson at the Masters in his career. Fred Couples (11) is the only other golfer in this field in double digits.
268 (-20) — The winning score from Dustin Johnson in 2020, two shots better than the previous scoring record, Tiger Woods (1997).
285 (-3) — The score from Viktor Hovland in 2019, earning his low amateur honors. That’s the lowest score from an amateur since Charles Coe in 1961.
Listen to our betting preview podcast below with Adam Scott and Matt Youmans of VSIN:
MORE MASTERS 2021 STORIES FROM GOLF DIGEST:
• Masters 101—Everything you need to know about the major
• How to watch the Masters on TV and streaming online
• The entire 2021 Masters field, ranked
• How to win a green jacket in 7 simple steps
• Our 13 best bets to win the 2021 Masters
• 50 defining moments in Masters history, ranked
• The complete changes to Augusta National
• When should a past champion call it a career at Augusta?
• 9 famous Masters myths—separating fact from fiction
• The most memorable rules issues in Masters history
• At Augusta, the jockeying for position begins with practice rounds
• What a limited-patron Masters will look like this week
• What’s it like to play at Augusta National as a guest
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.