2022 Masters Picks & 1st Round Bets

Anyone else been watching Tiger highlights for the past week? Nothing gets the juices flowing like seeing the GOAT tee it up at Augusta National again after his latest departure from the game. So much so that I’ve had to break up my favorite bets for the week into three main sections: Futures, Round Bets (1-4) and Prop Bets. I’m also adding a Risky Business Parlay section for those of you with an appetite for a little extra risk.

A few things have changed since I posted our first Masters article last week. Six more players have qualified for the tournament, we have a better idea of the expected weather conditions on the course for the week and Tiger Woods appeased our hopes and dreams by announcing he’s going to give it a go. So how has this information affected our thought process?

In regards to the last six players to qualify for the tournament, we have the remaining top 50 players in the world in addition to last week’s Valero Champion JJ Spaun. Although most of the late invites are unlikely to threaten the field, one stands out amongst the rest… Russell Henley. Russell Henley has been on an absolute heater as of late and ranks very highly in our projections due to his ability to hit greens, deadly accuracy off the tee, and prior knowledge of the course (he’s played the Masters six times before and has seen decent success). He’s a bulldog when it comes to scrambling (a crucial component to conquering Augusta National) and best of all… most sports books appear to be allowing him to slip through the cracks creating massive value for us! Watch out for Henley this week, especially if he can get his putter going.

The weather forecast at Augusta National is calling for thunderstorms Wednesday evening into Thursday morning but all rain should subside before the start of Round 1 play (possibly a couple hours into Round 1 play). Once those storm clouds move along we should have relatively beautiful weather throughout the weekend which should set the stage for a softened course and impressively low scores. In other words, the Azaleas will be popping and putts will be dropping.

Tiger Woods. Once the easiest player to bet on in golf, now the most difficult. Should a human being be able to come back from a car accident of that magnitude and compete in a major championship after only about a year? Absolutely not. Is Tiger human? Jury’s still out on that one. Tiger’s won a major on one leg before so we can’t write off the possibility that he could truly compete in this year’s Masters despite his obvious injuries. Taking all of these possibilities into account, I’m not touching Tiger whatsoever. There’s a good chance he doesn’t even finish the tournament but there’s also the chance that he pieces together another one of the greatest major championship victories in golf history. Because of the disparity in those two scenarios I’m going to remove Tiger from my betslip this week and just enjoy watching the hall of famer attack a course with which his name has become synonymous.

So we’re now all caught up since my first article last week. I’ve broken out my favorite bets for the Masters by the three main sections mentioned above (Futures, Round 1 Bets and Prop Bets) as well as a risky parlay section for those of you who like to live on the edge. I’ve also indicated how much I’m willing to bet on each bet based on units. Everyone’s appetite for sports gambling is different so feel free to pick and choose at your leisure or go all in and ride the lightning with Side Hustle Bets this week. I’ll keep you posted on my favorite Round 2-4 bets as the tournament advances and always remember to bet smarter, not harder.

Futures

Top 30 (1 unit each)

PlayerOdds
Robert MacIntyre+120
Webb Simpson+130

Top 30 bets are a great way to snag realistic value on players who Vegas appears to be fading but who you think could surprise people this week. No better example than Webb Simpson and Robert MacIntyre who are both getting positive odds to simply crack the top 30. Simpson is coming off of an injury from a couple months ago but appears to be healthy now, he’s cracked the top 20 at the Masters for the last 4 years in a row and he’s a major champion (US Open). His game is catered to Augusta, he’s a veteran and it feels like he might still have something to prove. MacIntyre finished 12th overall in his Masters debut and all of his metrics point to success at Augusta as long as he can keep it together off the tee. At +120 odds I see a lot of value for a player to crack the top 30 who has only improved since his last Masters appearance and also has two top 10 finishes at the British Open. The guy shines in majors and cracking the top 30 is barely even considered “shining”… I like my odds.

Top 20 (1 unit each)

PlayerOdds
Scottie Scheffler-175
Justin Thomas-170
Cameron Smith-165
Collin Morikawa-125
Xander Schauffele-125
Russell Henley+100
Daniel Berger+120
Sam Burns+150
Sungjae Im +210
Webb Simpson+275

So Top 20 bets are going to be where I position the majority of my money outside of head to head and three way matchups. The odds for this section are almost always within a range that provide significant value for “on the cusp” players but still offer decent payouts for players expected to excel. It’s the perfect bet for players you want to take a realistic chance on as well as a hedging tool for players you expect to play well. Simpson, Im, Burns, Berger and Henley all probably fall into the first category (“on the cusp”) while Schauffele, Morikawa, Smith, Thomas and Scheffler are all players who I could see playing even better than a top 20 finish.

Top 10 (1 unit each)

PlayerOdds
Justin Thomas+130
Scottie Scheffler+150
Cameron Smith+150

This is where the list of players starts dwindling down drastically in my opinion. The odds are significantly more attractive but, as we all know, that’s simply because the goal is harder to achieve. I try not to take any Top 10 bets on players unless I think those players have a serious shot at winning the tournament outright. I’m essentially taking the same players I’m choosing to win it all to also crack the Top 10 in an effort to hedge my Outright Winner bets. Betting on two of the hottest players on tour right now along with a guy who feels like he should be the poster boy for Augusta? All with +130 odds or higher? Yes please. 

Outright Winner (1 unit combined)

PlayerOdds
Justin Thomas+1400
Cameron Smith+1500
Scottie Scheffler+1700
Collin Morikawa+2200
Xander Schauffele+2400

The main thing I want to point out in regards to my Outright Winner bets is how I’m spreading out my money. The odds to win the masters are going to be very juicy for any player regardless of who’s favored to start the tournament. Keeping that in mind, there’s no reason to break the bank on this type of bet. The best way to do this in my opinion is to spread one unit combined across several different players. I like to include my three players with the most realistic odds and throw in 1-2 dark horses who could shock the world. Thomas, Smith and Scheffler obviously fall into the first category while Morikawa and Schauffele are my favorites to shake things up this week. Morikawa is already a superstar who thrives on the big stage and can run away with a major any week. Schauffele has been on the cusp of greatness for years now but has been elite for awhile and is coming off a Gold Medal victory at the Olympics last year. I feel great about all five of these studs.

Miss Cut (1 unit each)

PlayerOdds
Danny Willett-160
Matt Wolff-140
Gary Woodland+180
Hideki Matsuyama+200

A popular Masters wager is betting on which players will make/miss the cut. Unfortunately, the odds payouts for making the cut simply don’t provide much value for virtually any players in my opinion. Conversely, I see value for numerous players in regards to missing the cut. Matthew Wolff has never made a cut at Augusta and his volatile game is not set up well for a course like Augusta which is sure to expose his struggles off the tee and hitting greens. Danny Willett has struggled for a while now and he’s only in the tournament because of his Cinderella story Masters victory in 2016. Willett has only made 3/7 Masters cuts and only has one Top 30 finish outside of his sole victory. The other two players are where we see a lot of potential value. Gary Woodland has +180 odds to miss the cut despite his struggles off the tee this season, headaches on Par 4s and only making the cut at the Masters 55.56% of the time in 9 starts… Woodland is slightly risky to fade since he is coming off a top 5 finish at the Valero Open but he seems to be a very “hit or miss” player so I’m fading him at the most nerve racking tournament of the year. One of my favorite fades at the Masters this year is the defending champ himself, Hideki Matsuyama. This is definitely a risky bet considering Matsuyama’s game is set up nicely to excel at Augusta and he makes cuts at a very consistent rate but I believe in trends and rarely does a defending champ show up the very next season and play well. Probably even more significant, Matsuyama is dealing with a neck injury that caused him to have to pull out of his last tournament so he definitely won’t be operating at 100%.

Tournament Matchup (1 unit)

Sungjae Im (+100) vs Joaquin Niemann (-120)

Bettors have the option to bet on tournament long matchups as well as round by round matchups for the masters. I try to only take action on tournament long matchups where I see massive disparity in perceived value and honestly Vegas does a great job of avoiding creating those opportunities. That said, nothing better than winning a tournament long matchup by Saturday simply because the player you faded doesn’t even make the cut. I believe that could very well be the case with Niemann this week. Niemann is slightly overrated right now in my opinion due to some high finishes as of late including a victory at The Genesis Invitational. That said, he’s never experienced much success at Augusta, he’s near the bottom of the list in regards to Par 4 Average (a big no no at the Masters) and he’s only made the cut 50% of his two starts at the tournament. Sungjae Im on the other hand has a 2nd place finish at the Masters in just two starts and a game that is built to sustain that type of success at Augusta. This matchup is relatively simple for me. Niemann is a player I almost bet to surprisingly miss the cut whereas Im is a player I almost bet to surprisingly win it all. That’s what I call disparity in perceived value.

1st Round Bets
A few things to note about 1st Round bets as well as how I came to adjust our current projections to reflect 1st Round value specifically. I love placing 1st Round related bets simply because they don’t tie you down to a player for the duration of a tournament the way a tournament long bet or future does. An important aspect of both sports betting and investing is understanding the reality that you can always be wrong. There’s always the chance that, despite overwhelming data/evidence to the contrary, a player could have a bad week for whatever reason and throw up a stinker. By positioning a decent proportion of our bets on specific rounds we can hedge some of that risk and reevaluate our horses for the week if needed. In order to evaluate a player’s 1st Round ability specifically, I’ve implemented a “1st Round Performance” indicator into every player’s original projection. This indicator is composed of both the player’s average historic performance in the 1st Round of the Masters as well as their overall performance in the 1st Round of every tournament this season. I’ve substituted a player’s average 1st Round performance at all majors instead of 1st Round of the Masters average for players who are teeing it up at Augusta for the first time this year. 

1st Round Top 10 (0.5 units each)

PlayerOdds
Cameron Smith+275
Dustin Johnson+300
Xander Schauffele+310
Collin Morikawa+350
Tony Finau+500

These bets are always fun because there always seems to be an outlier that sneaks their way up the leaderboard after Thursday and the payouts can be significant. That said, even the front runners end up having enticing odds since it’s hard to predict who will jump out to a hot start. Smith, Morikawa, Schauffele and Johnson not only get out to early leads in the Masters but they continue that trend throughout the rest of the season as well. Considering all of those players have a shot at winning the tournament outright… around +300 odds and above feels super juicy just to crack the top 10. I think my favorite 1st Round Top 10 bet however is Tony Finau. Finau hasn’t played at the top of his game lately (which is likely the reason why he’s listed at +500 to crack the top 10 in the 1st Round) but the guy is 4th in the field in 1st Round performance on the season and 5th in the field in 1st Round performance at the Masters specifically. At +500 odds I’m all over Tony Finau starting fast and cracking the top 10 in the 1st Round. Given how high the payouts are for each player I’m only placing about 0.5 units on each player here.

1st Round Matchups (1 unit each)

Sam Burns (-120) vs Abraham Ancer (+100)

I think the only reason the odds are this close for this matchup are because this is Sam Burns debut at Augusta so time will tell how he handles that pressure. Outside of that, Burns should absolutely smoke Ancer. Outside of driving accuracy, Burns is better than Ancer in virtually every category and he’s already won twice this season. I’m very high on Burns this week and I think he gets it going early against Ancer in Round 1.

Sungjae Im (-145) vs Harold Varner III (+125)

I won’t dive too deeply into why I’m so high on Sungjae Im this week considering I’ve already given you an earful about him. Augusta is a course built for his type of game which is why he’s already seen success there and will most likely continue to see success there. This is Varner’s first Masters and he has a tendency to make his life difficult off the tee. Given the fact that he won’t be over familiar with the course this week, I’m expecting that trend to continue this week. Expect Im to play practical golf and Varner to hit out of the trees all day.

Brian Harman (+125) vs Stewart Cink (+150) vs Harry Higgs (+290)

While I’m not overly high on Harman, he’s definitely more consistent than Cink or Higgs. Cink is well on his way to the Champions Tour and Higgs is one of the least favored players in the tournament this week in his first start at Augusta ever. While I wouldn’t bet on Harman to accomplish much more than simply making the cut, I do favor him significantly over two players I would fade to accomplish the same feat.

Cameron Smith (+100) vs Paul Casey (+210) vs Bryson DeChambeau (+275)

This matchup obviously includes some big names which adds a little more risk to the mix. Names like Paul Casey and Bryson DeChambeau are required in order to get +100 odds on someone playing as well as Cameron Smith lately. Smith tops the charts for virtually every important category in our projections for the Masters and he’s another guy who likes to start quick. Bryson has mostly struggled at Augusta and all of that strength off the tee is worthless (if not detrimental) if you can’t control where it’s landing. Casey is always a threat but it feels like he’s starting to tail off a bit with age and he almost never puts up low numbers early. I expect Smith to continue to build off of his momentum from his Players Championship victory and set himself up nicely for the rest of the week.

Scottie Scheffler (+110) vs Adam Scott (+210) vs Tony Finau (+240)

Hedging my Tony Finau Top 10 1st Round bet a bit here with my guy Scottie Scheffler. Scheffler is another “not if but when” player in the field this week and he’s probably the most feared player on tour right now (hence the #1 overall ranking in the world). I’m honestly blown away we can snag him at +110 odds here but I’m not going to overthink it. Adam Scott hasn’t been the same since they changed the belly putter rule and Tony Finau hasn’t had his best stuff this year so far. Finau is probably the biggest threat to Scottie here considering he tends to play well in majors (especially in the earlier rounds) but I fully expect Scottie’s game to simply overwhelm both of these players early and position himself nicely for the weekend.

Russell Henley (+140) vs Corey Conners (+160) vs Lee Westwood (+250)

I told you I was high on Henley. Conners has been a trendy underdog pick throughout the week but I’m not buying it. The hype for Conners coming into the week is his iron play as of late but Henley is even better on the approach and I would argue Henley is playing better coming into this week overall. Westwood should be a non issue pending a miracle. Riding with my favorite underdog for the week and I’ll reevaluate (or brag) based on how he plays Thursday.

Justin Rose (+130) vs Gary Woodland (+160) vs Takumi Kanaya (+275)

Last year Justin Rose tied the record for most 1st Round leads at the Masters having accomplished the feat four times. He’s another former great who’s starting to tail off with age a bit but I’m willing to bet he still has some gas in the tank and he’s played the Masters impressively consistently throughout his career. Woodland is the wild card but given his issues off the tee and struggles with Par 4s I’m going to side with the veteran who’s used to seeing his name on top of the leaderboard at Augusta on Thursdays. Expect to see some rookie mistakes out of Kanaya in his Masters debut as a pro.

Prop Bets
You can’t bet on the Masters and not get in on some prop bet action. Prop bets add a different type of excitement to the game, especially for the occasional fan. There’s quite a few prop bet options out there so I’ve listed out the most common prop bets below and indicate which wagers I’d actually take myself within the breakdowns. Remember, just because an outcome is very likely doesn’t mean the risk matches the reward.

Hole in One in Tournament? No (+130)

There have been 31 aces at the Masters in its history averaging ~0.37 aces per tournament. That said, 7 of those aces have come in the last 6 years… I feel like this prop is probably closer to 50/50 so I’m going to side with the +130 odds since it’s unrealistic that a player will score an ace every single year and we’re coming up on 7 years in a row at this point.. The players might simply just be THAT GOOD at this point though so I’m not taking any action on this prop.

Cut line Total: Under 147.5 Strokes (+115)

The Masters changed the cut rule in 2020 to include all players within 10 shots of the lead in addition to the top 50 plus ties. Since then the cut line has been 147 (+3 over Par) both years. The cut line average over the last 22 years is 147.59 and 147.8 over the last 10. This one feels like another 50/50 type bet so I’m siding with the +115 odds and banking on the field to continue to improve over time. There’s a chance that the weather on Thursday could affect the play of earlier tee times however which would possibly result in higher scores going into Saturday. This prop feels too speculative to me so I’m not taking it.

Playoff? No (-400)

Only 17 Masters tournaments have been decided by a playoff (~20%), the last playoff concluding in 2017. “No” definitely feels like the best bet here but -400 odds simply isn’t worth taking the risk. No action for me on this prop either this year.

New Course Record? No (-2000)

The current course record is 63 (9 under Par) which was shot in 1986 and 1996. I don’t see a record that has stood for four decades (even through Tiger’s prime) to fall this week. That said, -2000 odds is definitely not worth the risk. Not touching it.

Winning Score Total: Under 278.5 Strokes (+100)

The winning score average is ~277.14 over the last 22 years and ~276.3 over the last 10 years. The weather should clear up relatively quickly on Thursday and we should be clear sailing from there. Those conditions should set the stage for some low scores and I’m projecting the winning score to be closer to 276 or better. I like my odds here so I’m willing to put a full unit on the under (-10 or better).

First Time Winner? Yes (+1200)

Out of the 84 Masters tournaments in history, 48 players have been crowned champion. This obviously means that the same players tend to win at Augusta historically BUT 6 out of the last 7 champions have been first time winners. At +1200 odds that’s MASSIVE value in my opinion considering the front runners in the field this year. There’s only a handful of former winners that I think are even contenders this year so I’m jumping all over this prop. At +1200 odds there’s no reason to break the bank so I’m only putting 0.5 units on this.

Albatross in Tournament? No (N/A)

There have only been four albatrosses in Masters history and the last one was in 2012. This prop is so unlikely that most sports books don’t even provide a “No” option. Don’t touch this prop.

Top South African: Louis Oosthuizen (-110)

KING LOUIE. As you can tell from my separate article entirely dedicated to Louis Oosthuizen from almost a year ago, I’m a big fan. The guy is the definition of always a bridesmaid, never the bride. He always brings his A game in majors and just can’t seem to break through. As much as I love Oosthuizen I’m actually not taking this prop this year. He’s getting up there in age so his streak of majors success is bound to come to an end soon and his biggest threat for “Top South African” comes in the form of 27 year old Christiaan Bezuidenhout who is playing better than Louis coming into this week. I’m siding with my guy but not putting any money on him going into Round 1.

Top Continental European: Jon Rahm (-110)

This one’s tough since I actually have Viktor Hovland projected to outplay Rahm this week. That said, I don’t think Rahm has taken dropping down to #2 in the world lightly and I fully expect him to come out firing this week. I’m siding with Rahm here but not taking any action on this wager due to how dangerous Hovland really is.

Top South Korean: Sungjae Im (+110)

This feels like easy money to me. Full unit, automatic. I’m excited to see how Im matches up with the rest of the field this week but he really doesn’t have much competition in regards to “Top South Korean”. Not too worried about Si Woo Kim or KH Lee.

Top Australian: Cameron Smith (-110)/Marc Leishman (+340)

This prop would be easy money if it wasn’t for a guy named Marc Leishman. Cameron Smith is one of my favorites to win the tournament outright but I’m also projecting Leishman to surprise some people this week so I’m going to split my luck a bit with this pick. I’m going to place 1 unit on Cameron Smith and hedge that with 0.5 units on Leishman just to be safe.

Top Debutant: Sam Burns (+350)

Doubling down on my guy Sam Burns and placing 0.5 units on him to win “Top Debutant”. First time players coming into the Masters with some momentum have historically excelled at Augusta and Sam Burns is coming into his first start on fire. At +350 odds there’s no reason to place a full unit on him but don’t mistake that caution for a lack of confidence in Sam Burns. 

Top Former Winner: Dustin Johnson (+300)

Dustin Johnson is one of the only former winners coming into this week who has a solid chance at repeating in my opinion. You can’t sleep on the former world #1 (especially at +300 odds) and his main threat is Jordan Spieth who has been all over the place as of late. Placing another 0.5 units on this prop.

Top Senior: Padraig Harrington (+135)/Bernhard Langer (+250)/Fred Couples (+400)

I want no part in this prop… it’s simply too hard to judge. Harrington is listed as the favorite (presumably because he’s the youngest “senior”) but Mike Weir played well in the Par 3 contest, Fred Couples always plays well at Augusta and Bernhard Langer still runs the Champions Tour. If I had to pick one player I’d probably side with Langer but, again, stay away.

Risky Business Parlays
If you’re the type of person who likes to “risk it for the biscuit’ then look no further… This section is for you. Keep in mind that these parlays all come with significant risk so don’t go crazy.

Make The Cut Parlay (+425 odds): Robert MacIntyre, Webb Simpson, Sam Burns, Daniel Berger, Russell Henley

3 Way Parlay (+1260 odds): Scottie Scheffler Top 10 Finish, Cameron Smith Top 10 Finish, Russell Henley Top 20 Finish

Top 20 Finish Parlay (+600 odds): Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Daniel Berger

Disclaimer: SidehustlebetsMJQ.com is not an online gambling operator or a gambling site of any kind. Our insights about sports/sports betting are purely for entertainment purposes only.

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