Betting on golf is an interesting proposition. While trying to guess who is going to win any given tournament is very difficult, there are one-on-one props that act a lot like betting on a team sport. Instead of predicting that a certain player will beat a group of 100 or 150 other pros, you are forecasting that one golfer will finish better than a single other competitor.
There are three players/matchups at the Masters worth highlighting.
The ninth-ranked player in the world is only a slight favorite over Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, and Henrik Stenson. When Rose is good, he is elite. (He was second at the Masters last year and eighth in 2012.) And even when he’s not at his best, he’s still good at Augusta. (Rose was 11th in 2011, 25th in 2013, and 14th in 2014.) He also has a history of showing up in majors, regardless of venue. Rose finished in the top-ten at three majors last year. In 2014, he finished top-25 in all four events.
Betting on a guy who’s routinely good, and could be great, against more inconsistent players is a tactic I’m bullish on.
The Brit is a 4/5 favorite over countryman Lee Westwood. Both were incredibly consistent for a long time. Poulter has never won a major but has three top-ten finishes at Augusta, and has been among the top-30 in eight of the last nine. Westwood, at his best, was even better than Poulter (four top-tens at the Masters in the last six years).
However, while Poulter has continued to be solid, including a third place finish in Puerto Rico two weeks ago, Westwood has fallen off the face of the Earth. He failed to hit the top-40 of a major last year, and has missed as many cuts as he’s made this year. Poulter is the play at this stage.
Kuchar is one of the best players on tour to never win a major. (He’s only missed two major cuts since 2009.) The Georgia Tech grad is routinely in the mix at August in particular with three top-ten finishes in the last four years. He is a small favorite against Marc Leishman and a short dog matched up with Paul Casey.
Leishman has limited experience at Augusta, with one really strong finish and one cut. He is talented but inconsistent.
Casey was terrific at the Masters last year, finishing sixth, but it was the first time he was a factor in the tournament since 2009. He has had a solid year, with a couple top-ten finishes, but there have been clunkers, too. Kuchar is the most mature and consistent runner in this race of three. Slow and steady in golf is a good quality.
(Photo credit: Tour Pro Golf Clubs (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo may appear cropped.)