“Hello, friends”. The first round of the Masters is finally upon us and Side Hustle Bets is geared up for another profitable run to the green jacket. The best week of golf all year is here (again with the rhyming) so break out the pimento cheese and pour yourself an Arnold Palmer (or John Daly depending on your preference). Enjoy the majesty that is Augusta National and always remember to bet smarter, not harder.
I’ll spare you my extensive breakdowns on these players considering we already covered them rather heavily in our initial preliminary projections article last week.
To summarize, Jon Rahm and Rory deserve a Masters title… yet it continues to evade them up to this point in their careers. Rahm is far too good to only have one major title under his belt and he tops our projections this week as the clear cut favorite to finally bring home a green jacket. Rory is a Masters title shy of a career grand slam and he’s definitely one of the most talented golfers of all time… Rory is always one swing thought away from winning any tournament he enters.
It’s extremely difficult to defend a Masters championship but if anyone can do it, it’s Scottie Scheffler. Scheffler has shown a propensity for defending titles and he’s the #1 golfer in the world at the moment (and has been for over a year now). I simply cannot fade Scheffler given how confident he is playing heading into Masters week.
Cameron Smith will be a man on a mission this week after taking significant heat for joining the LIV Tour at the peak of his career. He’s already been vocal about the offense he’s taken from PGA players stating that LIV players don’t play “real golf” and at the end of the day… he’s still better than most players on the PGA Tour. The guy has the best short game in the world and if he’s throwing darts then he’s virtually impossible to beat. Expect fireworks out of Smith this week.
Schauffele’s game is simply too consistent across the board not to have a major championship victory. Whether it’s the Masters, US Open, PGA Championship or British Open… it feels like he’s well overdue. Given his solid play at Augusta historically, it would be foolish not to include him in our outright winner selections this week.
Morikawa is arguably the best ball striker on tour and when he gets on a heater he’s hard to catch. He plays his best in majors (already winning two) and he finished 5th at Augusta last year. I’ll gladly throw some capital on the young superstar at +2500 considering that number will drastically fall if he comes out swinging on Thursday.
Similar to the outright winner bets, I don’t have much more to add for these players that I didn’t already list out in our initial preliminary projections article.
Keeping this brief, Schauffele and Morikawa possess the consistency and ball striking ability required to excel at Augusta. Schauffele is probably the most talented player on tour not to win a major yet and Morikawa feels like he’ll capture a career grand slam sooner rather than later.
Jason Day and Justin Rose are two of my favorite sleepers to succeed at Augusta this week. Both former World #1 players exhibit the veteran experience in majors (and Augusta specifically) needed to win a green jacket. Both players are on heaters coming into the tournament (especially Jason Day) and both players tend to show out at majors when healthy.
Max Homa is playing the best golf of his life right now and it’s only a matter of time until that quality translates into a major. I’m a little more bullish on him to contend for the US Open title vs the Masters (considering he absolutely tears up California courses) but I love his odds to finally crack the top 20 at Augusta.
Cameron Smith has the best short game on the planet and he enters this week feeling slighted by the golf world for leaving the PGA Tour and joining LIV. Expect him to come out firing this week with reckless abandon.
Sungjae Im has two top 10 finishes at the Masters (T2 and T8) and his quality play as of late suggests he’s building up to something big… potentially his first major title? While I’m not bullish on Im enough to go that far, I do love his POSITIVE odds to crack the top 20 considering how much he loves the course and he’s accomplished that feat in two out of three tries so far in his career. Accuracy off the tee and consistency around the greens should keep Sungjae Im in the conversation throughout the week.
|Min Woo Lee||-137||1|
|Si Woo Kim||+125||0.5|
Letting it fly with Min Woo Lee this week by backing him to finish inside the top 30. Lee finished T14 at the only Masters of his career last year and he showed some spurts of greatness at the World Golf Championships recently. Lee is a pretty volatile player but one with the potential to actually contend if he can avoid his inevitable blow up holes throughout the week.
I like Rose’s chances this week to finish well within the top 30 but I’m not going to pass up a chance to hedge his top 20 bet at -137 odds.
Chris Kirk’s career has enjoyed a massive resurgence this past year after conquering some substance abuse issues. He already has a victory under his belt this season and he’s coming off a 10th place finish at Valero last week. This week will be his first Masters start in a while but he does have T33 and T20 finishes at Augusta throughout his career. I like his odds at +125 to crack the top 30 but I’m only placing half a unit on him to be safe.
I was pretty surprised to see Si Woo Kim’s top 30 odds sitting around +125… He’s playing solid golf right now and he’s cracked the top 30 at Augusta three different times throughout his career. His solid ball striking and accuracy off the tee should keep the top 30 in play for him throughout the week and if he can finally get his putter going then he could sneak into the top 20 (or better).
Taking a chance on Hoge here given he ranks #1 in the field for Strokes Gained: Approach and he’s playing some of the best golf of his career heading into this week. I also can’t resist the odds on Power considering he finished T27 at the Masters last year and tends to tear it up at major tournaments in general.
Tournament 3 Ball Matchup
Collin Morikawa (+155) (0.6 units) vs Matt Fitzpatrick (+200) (0.4 units) vs Will Zalatoris
This matchup play is a combination of faith in Morikawa’s ball striking this week and a slight Zalatoris fade. As mentioned previously, Zalatoris is dealing with a back injury and his quality of play has suffered consequently as of late. I believe Morikawa has a legitimate shot at winning his first Masters title this week (which would be the third major victory of his young career) but I’m hedging my luck a bit by including Fitzpatrick on the betslip. By spreading a unit across the bunch I’m guaranteeing at least a 0.2 unit payout (if Fitzpatrick turns it on out of nowhere) and solidly positioning myself for ~0.53 unit payout if Morikawa plays up to his potential this week. I almost considered taking a “Miss The Cut” prop on Zalatoris… That’s how much I expect his back issues to affect him this week. Just a reminder, he did pull out of the British Open due to back issues in the past.
Tiger Tournament Parlay
Tiger Woods to beat Phil Mickelson (Tournament Matchup, tie no bet)/Tiger Woods to Make the Cut (+145) (1 unit)
You knew I had to back the GOAT somehow this week… Tiger’s goal in majors at this point seems to be simply making the cut. When it comes to Augusta, he’s never missed a cut as a professional golfer… When it comes to Phil Mickelson’s head, Tiger owns significant real estate. I truly love this parlay and I can’t think of a better way to back the best golfer to ever tee it up this week. Expect the galleries this week to will Tiger into the weekend and boo Phil into oblivion.
Top LIV Golfer
This is definitely my riskiest prop of the week given the lack of data on LIV Tour players. That said, all three of these major champions are comfortable at Augusta and all three will likely be motivated to quiet the haters after making the jump to LIV last year. Smith is a sneaky favorite to win the tournament outright, DJ has won the Masters before and Koepka is coming off his first win in a VERY long time (won a LIV tournament in Orlando last week). Given their combined majors experience, I feel comfortable spreading a unit across this trio compared to the rest of the LIV field.
Top Great Britain/Irish Player
This prop play might seem a little riskier at first glance until you start to break down the competition. I’ve already spoken volumes about my optimism for the underrated vet Justin Rose this week and Rory is an obvious threat to win any tournament he enters. The competition this week for Top Great Britain/Irish player outside of Rory and Rose is Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry. Fitzpatrick has cooled off drastically since his major victory last year (which we called), Hatton’s hot streak of solid play as of late has started to tail off and Shane Lowry has been playing uninspired golf for awhile now. Fleetwood is somewhat of a threat but I’m willing to risk the combination of either McIlroy or Rose to best him by the end of the week, especially at Augusta.
Top Continental European Player
Love this prop purely because of the field outside of Rahm and Hovland. The players with the next closest odds outside of those two are Thomas Pieters and Sergio Garcia. While Garcia has won a Masters before, I feel pretty comfortable backing Rahm (a favorite to win the tournament outright) and Hovland over two LIV Tour players who will likely be shaking off some rust this week. By spreading a unit across Rahm and Hovland we guarantee at least a 0.5 unit payout with the potential for 0.785 units.
Top Amateur Player
I wasn’t planning on taking any action on amateurs this year until I did some research on Sargent and Bennett. Sargent is the #1 amateur in the world, he wins practically every collegiate tournament he plays in and he was consistently out driving Max Homa and Justin Thomas during a practice round earlier this week. It sounds like Sargent is very likely to be the next young stud on tour who could see success right out of the gates like Collin Morikawa. The only concern about Sargent is his age (19 years old). Enter Sam Bennett, fifth year senior at Texas A&M and the reigning US Amateur champion. Bennett is a former World Amateur #1, he’s made the cut at a major before and his dad’s passing in 2020 has provided him significant inspiration to excel. It feels pretty safe to secure ~0.6 unit payout by spreading a unit across the young burgeoning star and the experienced vet compared to the rest of the amateur field.
1st Round Bets
1st Round Top 20
Listen to these 1st Round Scoring Averages at the Masters for these four players… Tony Finau: 70.6, Cameron Smith: 70.67, Sungjae Im: 70, Justin Rose: 70.82. Any score under 70 in the first round at Augusta will usually throw you thoroughly into the top 20 mix.
Tony Finau has finished inside the top 20 after Thursday at Augusta in 3 out of 5 starts and one of those misses was a 21st place finish. His scoring average of 70.6 would place him inside the top 20 in 7 out of the last 10 Masters and he has an average Thursday finishing position of 16.2 (which would actually be closer to 13.88 after removing an outlier). Finau has finished in the top 20 in 9 out of his last 10 tournaments this season.
Cameron Smith loves to jump out of the gates early at majors and arguably has the most to prove after jumping ship for the LIV Tour. His 1st Round Scoring Average of 70.67 at Augusta should throw him into contention early but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Aussie post a number in the 60s. Smith shot a 68 in the first round of last year’s Masters which placed him 2nd in the field.
For any Sungjae Im haters out there, listen to his first round finishes at Augusta… 1st, T2, 72nd. Obviously the 72nd place finish isn’t ideal but the guy has finished at the top of the leaderboard after Thursday in 2 out of 3 tries… that’s borderline unbelievable. Im is playing solid golf right now, he ranks 11th in the field in 1st Round Scoring Average and he loves Augusta. Sign me up.
Justin Rose might be my favorite Thursday pick of the bunch. Rose has a 70.82 stroke 1st Round Scoring Average at Augusta but he’s averaging closer to 69.33 strokes over the last 3 years, he was the first round leader in 2021 and his 1st Round Scoring Average this season is under 70 (69.8 to be exact). Rose tees off around 10:06 AM EST so don’t be surprised to see him post a low number early.
1st Round Head To Head Matchup
Seamus Power (-135) (1 unit) vs Mackenzie Hughes
Seamus Power has only played in one Masters tournament previously leading up to this week but he finished T27 and shot a final round 70. Mackenzie Hughes has only broken par in the first round of a major once through 12 majors and he’s never broken par in any rounds at Augusta specifically. Power averages a little more than 1.5 strokes better than Hughes in 1st Round Scoring Average and he’s played much better than Hughes in majors so far throughout his career (4 major starts resulting in finishes of T27, T9 and T12).
1st Round 3 Ball Matchup
Tom Hoge (+160) (0.5 units) vs Si Woo Kim (+145) (0.5 units) vs Phil Mickelson
Pretty straightforward Phil Mickelson fade here. Tom Hoge is #1 in the field for Strokes Gained: Approach and Si Woo Kim has fared well at Augusta over the years (26th average finishing position and 83.33% cut make percentage). Phil will be the villain all week long and he really hasn’t played great since joining the LIV Tour. Hoge and Kim both rank inside the top 20 of the field for 1st Round Scoring Average so spreading 1 unit across them feels automatic.
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