5 Betting Trends for the PGA Masters Tournament
The PGA Masters tournament at Augusta National is upon us again. The world’s most famous golf tournament is scheduled for the first week of April every year, and it’s the first of four major championship events on the PGA Tour schedule.
Last year’s tournament was delayed until November 2020 due to COVID-19, which is why we’re seeing another Masters tournament less than half a year later! This marks the first time two Masters tournaments will be played back-to-back with no other majors in between.
The recency of the last Masters tournament gives us some great data to work with, which in turn presents some notable betting trends. These betting trends don’t guarantee wagering success, but you can use some of these patterns to help you decide on a bet. If you are looking for some basic tips on how to bet on golf effectively, check out our compressive guide to get you started. You might even read one of these trends and conclude that a particular golfer isn’t worth betting on this year.
Let’s tee up the five betting trends you need to know ahead of the 2021 PGA Tour Masters tournament.
1) Most Winners Finished Top-Five Earlier That Year
Looking at a golfer’s record from tournaments earlier in the year is a reliable way of handicapping their chances of winning the Masters. When you look at the past 11 Masters tournaments, you’ll notice an overwhelming majority of the winners had a top-five finish in another tournament.
Of the past 11 Green Jacket winners, 10 of them had a top-five finish in another tournament earlier that year.
Charl Schwartzel is the only golfer in the past 11 years to win the Masters without a top-five finish earlier on in the calendar year. Phil Mickelson tied for 8th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2010, but his final score was one of the five lowest results in the tournament, so we counted him as one of the 10 in this trend.
Specifics aside, you should look at a golfer’s track record leading up to the Masters. It’s highly unlikely they’ll win if they’re not in top form heading into the tournament.
2) Second-Place Finishers Aren’t Worth the Risk
Second-place finishers from the previous year’s tournament are a popular subject related to Masters betting trends. When you look at the numbers, it’s clear that previous second-place finishers don’t hold much of an advantage.
From 2009 to 2019, only two out of 12 golfers who finished as a runner-up in the previous Masters tournament have gone on to win the next year:
- Dustin Johnson – runner up 2019, winner 2020
- Jordan Spieth – runner up 2014, winner 2015
There’s been 12 golfers who finished as a runner-up in the last 11 tournaments, in case you’re wondering. Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry lost a championship playoff to Angel Cabrera in 2009.
Last year’s runner-up, Sungjae Im, is currently listed at +3300 odds at DraftKings to win the 2021 Masters tourney. Sure, a successful $100 bet on Sungjae Im would bring a total payout of $3,400, but it’s still a very risky bet despite his second-place finish last year.
Sungjae Im might be a more tempting runner-up than usual considering the last Masters was less than six months ago, but playing at Augusta National is a challenge for the best of pros, even if they’ve played well at the course as of late.
3) Golfers in the Top 10 Aren’t a Lock
Inexperienced bettors might turn to the official world golf ranking list to choose a golfer to wager on. That’s a fine way to get started if you’re unfamiliar with the players, but don’t consider golfers in the top-10 a lock by any means.
Since 2010, only four of 11 golfers with a top-10 world ranking have won the Masters. That gives golfers outside the top 10 a 74% winning percentage over the past 11 tournaments.
For context, here’s the top 10 heading into the 2021 Masters:
This trend doesn’t suggest you should disregard any of the golfers in the table above. Sportsbooks favor these players for a reason, and there’s a good chance one of these guys walks away with the Green Jacket this year.
Just keep in mind, winners from outside the top 10 are more common than you might think.
If you’re looking for more concrete guidance from this trend, consider the fact that in the past 11 tournaments, nobody with a world ranking lower than 30 has won the Masters. Charl Schwartzel was ranked 29th when he won in 2011, with Patrick Reed the next lowest ranked winner (24th when he won the 2018 Masters).
It might seem somewhat obvious, but don’t let the long odds with big payouts fool you. Choosing a golfer outside the top 30 to win the Masters is simply not advisable.
4) Winning the Masters Twice or More Is Rare
Augusta National is known as one of the most unforgiving courses in the world, and the lack of repeat champions is a testament to this fact.
In the past 11 tournaments, Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson are the only players to win a Green Jacket for at least the second time in their respective careers.
|Golfer||Masters Tournament Wins|
|Tiger Woods||1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019|
|Bubba Watson||2012, 2014|
|Phil Mickelson||2004, 2006, 2010|
There’s a substantial number of players who could alter this trend with a winning performance at the 2021 Masters. We’ll keep this guide updated if anything changes, so make sure you check back here again in the back nine of 2021.
5) Back-to-Backs Almost Never Happen at Augusta
If the lack of repeat champions hasn’t convinced you of Augusta’s unforgiving nature, then take a swing at this trend: only three golfers in history have won the Masters in back-to-back years.
Here are the three elite golfers who have managed to defend their Masters championship:
- Jack Nicklaus won in 1965 and 1966
- Nick Faldo won in 1989 and 1990
- Tiger Woods won in 2001 and 2002
2020 champion Dustin Johnson has a decent chance to become the fourth back-to-back winner, especially considering the last Masters was only six months ago. Nevertheless, the stats argue it’s an extremely difficult feat to accomplish, and it will be no small task for the world’s top-ranked golfer in Dustin Johnson.
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