How To Bet On The Masters
Betting on the Masters continues to grow in popularity year on year. As one of the four golf majors, The Masters is one of the most popular golf tournaments to bet on. What skills are required to win The Masters and what are the best Masters betting strategies? Our detailed guide to betting on the Masters will enhance your chances of making a profit during this year's Masters.
Masters 2018 Tips (Video)
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Betting On The Masters: An Introduction
The Masters is one of four Majors held each year on the golfing calendar. Always played during the first weeks of April, it is the only Major played annually at the same venue. Augusta National Golf Club is located in the USA just outside the city of Augusta, Georgia, and has hosted The Masters since its inception back in 1934.
Betting On The Masters Online
With both the tournaments dates and venue fixed, it gives punters a great chance to pour over plenty of historical data to assist us when asking that time-honoured question, who will win The Masters?
Masters 2017 Dates
The 2017 Masters will be held at Augusta National Golf Club April 6th to April 9th.
- Masters Tournament Format
- Masters Betting Odds
- Masters Betting Explained
- Skills Needed To Win The Masters
- The Best Masters Betting Strategies
- Masters Bookmakers
- Masters Free Bet Offers
- Masters Live Streaming
- Masters Betting Tips
1 - Masters Tournament Format
The Masters has the smallest field of any of the four Majors. The number varies each year, but you can bank on there being between 90-100 starters in each renewal.
Who gets invited to the Masters?
Every winner of The Masters get automatic lifetime membership to participate no matter what their age or form.
The 50 golfers in the official world ranking get invited without question alongside the winners of the three other Majors from the previous five years.
If you finished in the top 12 in the previous years Masters then you also get invited back the following year. Likewise if you finished in the top 4 of the other three Majors in the previous year.
The field is finally completed by anyone that finished in the top 30 of the previous seasons US money list plus also a handful of leading amateur golfers from regions such as the US, Britain and Asian-Pacific.
Four Rounds, 18 Holes
The golfers compete over 72 holes (four rounds of 18 holes) like they do in any other stroke-play tournament and play rounds one and two in groups of three. There is a cut after 36 holes in which the top 50 and ties on the leaderboard qualify to play on the weekend, alongside anyone else who might be within ten shots of the lead. Rounds three and four are usually played in groups of two.
Unlike the other Majors which adopt a two-tee start (1st and 10th), all golfers tee off from the 1st hole at the Masters no matter what the round. This is mainly because the size of the field is significantly less at Augusta than other Majors where upwards of 140 golfers tee it up on rounds one and two, simply meaning there is plenty of time and daylight hours to allow this to happen at Augusta.
The winner of The Masters not only receives nearly $2 million US, they also receive a coveted green jacket that is arguably one of the most iconic prizes in sport. Since 1949 this tradition of the handing over of a green jacket happens away from the spectators in The Butler Cabin, wherein the winner of that years Masters is welcomed as an honorary member of Augusta National with this symbolic item of clothing. Winners get to keep the jacket for the first year, but then must return it to the club where it stays in the winners cloakroom.
Tradition is a big part of what makes The Masters special, and perhaps the biggest event for a returning winner of the event is the Champions Dinner evening in which he gets to select the menu for the gathering of former Masters winners. Specials firm Paddy Power are yet to open a market as to what Sheffield-born champion Danny Willett will serve up in 2017, though the feeling amongst punters is Yorkshire pudding will surely form part of the main course!
Recent Masters Winners (1997 to 2016)
|1999||Jose Maria Olazabal||-8|
2 - Masters Betting Odds
As outlined above, the Masters field is not as big as other golf tournaments and as such The Masters betting prices tend to be slightly on the skinny side – especially in regards the leading ten to fifteen favourites in the market.
Not only is this due to the smaller number of entrants, it is also because a number of the field have next to no chance of winning in this modern day. Given previous winners receive lifetime playing rights, golfers such as Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Mark O'Meara, Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman tee it up year after year despite being either several decades past their best, or in the midst of a career that has plummeted to new lows and as such, they have no form to fall back on. Canadian Mike Weir entered the 2016 Masters on the back of 22 missed cuts or tournament withdrawals! As such, these golfers take up a very small % of the market and go off each year as 1001.0 shots.
Not all ageing previous winners are hopeless though – Freddie Couples, Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer have all been spotted at the top of leaderboards in recent times, competing right into the later stages of The Masters alongside their younger, modern day counter-parts.
Because of the 'no hoper' factor, the favourites often go off at very short prices. In this post-Tiger Woods dominating era, golf punters thought the days of seeing the favourite go off at sub 5.0 were over, but Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy appear to be attracting punters money with each staging of The Masters and as such by the time the tournament hype is at its highest in the days leading up to the first Masters tee times, you can expect these big names to go off around the 5.0 /6.0 mark.
In particular expect a golfer that plays well in the week before The Masters to shorten significantly – especially if he has previous form round Augusta National. In 2016 Adam Scott found a rich vein of form in the build up to Masters week, winning two events in the space of a few weeks. As such his previous ante-post price of around 41.0 was hit so hard, he went off at less than halve that price when the event began. As indicated below in the '5 strategies/do's' section, always look at ante-post markets for the Major markets, in particular at Augusta where the list of 'realistic' winners is already short enough.
To learn more about golf betting odds, please read the following articles:
3 - Masters Betting Explained
Betting on a Tournament Winner is without doubt the most popular market when someone is looking to bet on The Masters. Sometimes backing a favourite outright is simply just the way to go in any sport, especially on such a specialist course as Augusta National. When a favourite goes off at a low price such as sub 15.0, it almost makes the ¼ odds each way market seem pointless; the stake you'd place on the each way half of the bet would surely be better off being invested in the outright market. Before backing a 'shortie' ask yourself will their price lengthen at any stage, perhaps due to a slow start? If that's likely to be the case, perhaps wait to back him in play at a bigger price than the pre-tournament quote.
Masters Each Way Betting
It often makes sense to back a golfer that isn't one of the favourites in the golf bets Each Way market. Quite often the ¼ odds for top 5 can offer more return than backing a favourite outright only. For instance backing a 50.0 shot each way (12.50 the place) can give a punter more return than backing just an 8.0 favourite outright only. It can also give a punter a far better run for their money, just in case their chosen player(s) gets off to a slow start or one of the favourites gets off to such a quick start, he will struggle to be caught be anyone – let alone your bigger priced outsider.
Masters First Round Leader
Fancy a player to get off to a fast start due to an early morning Masters tee off time? After all, he will get the best of conditions (no wind, fresh greens, no leaderboard pressure) If so then an ever growing popular golf betting system that many say is proving profitable long term is the First Round Leader market (FRL) This is also a good market to perhaps back some of the elder statesman that still know their way around Augusta, despite their advanced years. Experience counts for plenty here and whose to say that a past winner with such happy memories hasn't got one more really low round of golf in them here?
Masters Top 10 / Top 20 Finish
Top 10 / Top 20 finishing position markets can also be profitable when betting on The Masters golf tips. As the bookmakers suspect the usual faces will do well here year-after-year, there is often more value to be had backing outsiders in these markets rather than the outright or each way Masters markets.
Masters Match Bets
Another way to bet on The Masters is to focus on Match Bets. These can either be bets placed on who will shoot the lowest score out of a two or three ball group, or a virtual match up between two individual players who are playing the same course but in different groupings. This can be an interesting alternative, and although it doesn't offer the glamour of an outright or each way winner, it can lead to exciting finishes if your player is going head-to-head with an opponent heading down the 18th fairway!
Masters Top Nationality
If you are struggling to find value within any of the above markets then perhaps looking at the Top Nationality markets could be the way forward. This can be particularly interesting when only two or three players from a certain country are teeing it up, meaning your chosen player only has to outscore one or two others in order to win out. We don't like selecting a top nationality if there are multiple players (say top GB & IRL or top American) as we believe this becomes too much like a lottery to offer any kind of value. If we like a player within a group of half a dozen or more of his own nationality, then we might as well use that stake in the traditional golf each way betting markets and get much bigger odds.
Masters Top Amateur
The Top Amateur is also a market that The Masters specialises in. With half a dozen or so amateurs in the field each year, we can spend some time researching what sort of games these up and coming golfers have, and whether or not they have the type of game that fits Augusta.
Will There Be A Hole In One At The Masters?
Finally how about a bit of fun by deciding whether or not we will likely see a hole in one or not? One tip here is to wait and see what the pin locations are on the morning of each round as pin position is everything in regards likelihood of a hole in one at a certain hole. In 2016 there were three holes in one all on the 16th hole during the fourth round – the pin was placed in a region of the green that had a slope feeding directly from the middle of the green to the hole, almost encouraging an ace to be made. Before those three aces, the previous hole in one was made back in 2013. The 16th hole is indeed the most popular hole to make a hole in one on, with 12/15 aces made between 1992 and 2016 being made on this hole.
4 - Skills Needed To Win The Masters
Augusta National itself is an iconic, easy on the eye, tree-lined golf course which has been re-designed and lengthened to such an extent that it is almost unrecognisable from its original 1930's appearance. Now measuring the best part of 7,500 yards, Augusta is now considered a very long golf course and one which suits a golfer that gives it a belt off the tee.
Long Hitting Is Advantageous
Don't get fooled by the television shots showing you hole after hole surrounded by towering pine trees – Augusta is not a golf course that demands you are straight off the tee. Of course this helps, but being a long hitter is certainly more advantageous here. The fairways are wide, the rough (or second cut as it is referred to) is forgiving and the aforementioned trees are nothing more than visual intimidation that gives the course definition.
The courses biggest defence are the lightning fast, bent grass greens that can make even the best putter look stupid if he only slightly misreads a putt. Whilst the speed of the greens can be problematic, it is perhaps the massive undulations that cause the biggest problems for the golfers. Multiple Major Champion Ernie Els opened his 2016 Masters campaign with a 9 on the par 4 opening hole after six-putting from inside two feet! Whilst this is an extreme example, it shows just how unforgiving Augusta's greens can be given their slick, sloping nature. Think twice before backing a poor putter at Augusta.
Evaluating Pin Positions
Some of the greens carry pin positions that demand you actually aim away from the flag when playing your approach shot. The powers that be will often set the pins on a certain day to almost try and make the players look stupid. Fire at the pin at your peril; the ball could land just 6ft away from the hole before catching one of these undulations, rolling back some 70ft and leaving an almost impossible two putt par. On the same hole a player could use another undulation on the same green to assist him in getting the ball to roll stone dead close to the hole, when his average looking approach landed some 40ft away from the hole.
Scrambling Is Key
Likewise many of the greens are elevated above the fairways and as such make scrambling a vital statistic for any stray approach shot that leaks off the green. Getting up-and-down and saving par is crucial if your player is to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon at Augusta; your short game needs to be in great shape and it's no surprise when we look at recent winners to see some of the games finest touch wedge players such as Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson at a-top of The Masters leaderboard.
So in short, to win round Augusta you need to whack it miles off the tee, be an inventive wedge player with great touch and vision around the greens plus have a solid putting stroke that can withstand the pressures of putting on lightning fast, highly undulating greens over four rounds of intense pressure. Simple!
5 - Masters Betting Strategies
Back Long Hitters
As mentioned in the opening section, Augusta National is a long golf course. It pays to belt it off the tee here and The Masters Leaderboard each year is littered with big hitters. Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods – all winners from the last ten years or so that are renowned for regularly topping the driving distance statistics. Jordan Spieth and Danny Willett are hardly short off the tee either, both regularly average over 290 yards off the tips. One basic Masters betting tip is to favour a bomber over a plotter.
Select a golfer that scores well on par fives
Danny Willett was a real trend-breaker at Augusta. Original course designer Bobby Jones was quoted in 1933 as saying 'We want to make bogeys easy if frankly sought, pars readily obtainable by standard good play and birdies - except on par-fives - dearly bought' Willett's 2016 win was surprising in that he played the four par fives in just level par for the week. The previous ten winners had combined to play the par fives in -90 under par! Mickelson finished runner-up in 2014 having played the par fives -15 and winner Spieth had played them in -12. Taking advantage of the par fives is key here, and Willett's win looks nothing more than a blip in regards this key statistical trend.
Select a player that keeps mistakes to a minimum
Some golf courses allow big mistakes to go reasonably unpunished over the course of a 72-hole event. Augusta isn't one of these. In the first 82 editions of The Masters, nobody has ever won having recorded a score of triple bogey or worse on any hole. Between 2004-2016 only Immelman and Spieth won having registered a double bogey. If your pick has a tendency to throw in the odd card-wreckerthen the chances are he won't win The Masters.
Select a player that can draw the ball
Due to its natural layout, Augusta is a course that suits a golfer that can shape the ball from right to left . Many of the fairways dogleg from right to left, meaning golfers that naturally draw the ball, as opposed fade it, tend to excel here. Golfers such as multiple Major winner Martin Kaymer who naturally fades the ball (left to right) tend to struggle to hit the ball either in the correct part of the fairway off the tee, or more often than not even run out of fairway by hitting the ball in the opposite way that the fairway bends.
Keep an eye on ante-post value
We can bet on the four Majors throughout the year on the ante-post markets that are offered by all the traditional bookies. This means some of the best Masters betting prices and Masters betting odds can be found months in advance of the tournament getting under way in early April. With the large amount of Masters betting tips online and the fact the same course is used year-after-year, we can place our Masters bets months in advance with confidence, usually securing a better price for our picks than if we waited for the week prior the event beginning.
Don't back a débutante
Looking at the history of The Masters winners, it is clear that backing an Augusta virgin in the outright win only market is a sure fire way of losing your money. As of 2016, there have only ever been three débutante winners of The Masters – two of which were the first two stagings of the event back in 1934 & 1935. The only ever man to don the green jacket on his first Augusta appearance since was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
Don't back someone who missed the cut last year
Having minimal recent experience of Augusta isn't enough to be a winner here. You need to have played all four rounds the year before in order to be considered for a green jacket. Between Zoeller's win in '79 and Danny Willett's in 2016, only Tiger Woods in 1996 missed the cut the year before winning The Masters.
Don't back someone who isn't in form
Augusta National is not a golf course to suddenly find form. Danny Willett's 2016 victory saw a growing trend continue where nine of the last eleven winners of The Masters had at T30 finish in one of their previous two tournaments that they competed in prior to teeing it up at Augusta.
Don't back the defending champion
This may seem a big statement, especially given there are 17 multiple winners of The Masters, but defending the green jacket is almost unheard of. Three of the biggest names in the history of golf are the only ones to go back-to-back at Augusta - Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo Tiger Woods. Jordan Spieth in 2016 showed exactly why it's so hard to win two in a row here. Spieth led by five shots with nine holes to play before a disastrous run of bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey saw six shots lost in three holes to hand Danny Willett his first Major.
Don't back someone in-play who hasn't got off to a fast start
Augusta National is the kind of course where a fast start is imperative. If you are having a Masters bet in play, bear in mind that only multiple winners Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have won the event when being outside the top ten after round one since 1998. You need to be right up with the pace from the very start here.
To learn more about golf betting strategy, please read our How To Bet On Golf guide.
Best Sites For Golf Stats
If you're looking to further your betting analysis for this year's Masters tournament, here are our top five best sites for golf statistics:
6 - Masters Bookmakers
Competition for punters cash is fierce within all the traditional bookmakers – The Masters is the single most popular annual event on the golfing calendar and as you can see from the below free bet and offers section, there are great deals to have.
Once we have decided on our list of reputable bookmakers that we can trust, we should factor in three things when backing a golfer in The Masters betting odds outright win market
- Price for the win
- How many places for the each way payout
- What fraction of the win price do we get for our each way payout
SkyBet offered an unprecedented 8 places for their each way payouts in the 2016 outright winners Masters market. This was a remarkable offer given the reasons outlined above in regards the small field that tees it up at Augusta. They even kept the each way part of the bet as ¼ of the original odds – far better than Paddy Power who might have offered a competitive 7 places, but at a 1/5 of the original odds.
This means backing a golfer at 40.0 that 'placed' with Skybet would have paid out at 10.0 whereas backing that same golfer with Paddy Power at the same 40.0 price would have only yielded a payout of 8.00 – a pretty big 20% difference.
Quite often the more places on offer for an each way payout, the smaller the price for the win. Some bookies often stick to just 5 places for The Masters and as such, their outright win price tends to be bigger than any of the bookmakers offering 6/7/8 for each way places.
It is down to the individual punter to decide which to go with – we would suggest chasing the bigger prices and less places for someone we fancy backing at sub 26.0, but any longer priced fancies it is always worth looking at 'losing' a bit on the win price to ensure we get an extra couple of places that payout.
For more information of the industries best golf bookmakers, please refer to our Bookmaker Reviews page.
7 - Masters Free Bet Offers
In an increasingly competitive industry, many bookmakers now offer free bets and other promotional offers as a way of attracting new customers as well as encouraging existing customers to bet on particular events and markets.
As explained above, The Masters is the most popular golf event to bet on and as such we can find plenty of Masters bet offers in the lead up to the event. In fact, many of the leading bookmakers compete with each other to try and attract new customers during the week building up to Augusta, with some bookies offering fantastic value for punters that bet on the Masters.
Paddy Power and Betfair tried to attract new customers during the 2016 Masters by offering a price boost of 26.00 if Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth or Jason Day won the coveted green jacket. There was a maximum stake of £10 attached to this offer, but if you consider the odds of all three of these pre-event were single figures, this was a very nice offer indeed for potential customers.
Betfair also had another offer involving these three pre-tournament favourites in which they offered odds of 4.00 if any of McIlroy, Spieth or Day made the 36 hole cut mark. The only catch was the winnings would be paid out in free bets as opposed withdrawable money – but given the heavy odds on nature of any of these leading players making the weekend, this was effectively giving punters free bets further down the line with minimal risk.
Those friendly chaps at Betfair were at it again in regards McIlroy and Spieth during the 2016 Masters. Here they were offering money back as a free bet if your pre-tournament outright selection finished second to the two favourites.
Finally Coral had a free Masters bet offer for punters that like betting on match bet accumulators. If you backed four or more golfers to win their 2/3 ball matches and only one lost, you would get that money back as a free bet.
To see a detailed list of all current golf free bet and bookmaker promotions available, please refer to ourBookmaker Free Bets page. Everything you need to know about free bets and bookmaker promotions.
8 - Masters Live Streaming
Traditionally the Masters is quite protective when it comes to full televised coverage. In particular, we do not see coverage of the morning groups from days one and two before the 36 hole cut is made. Recently the powers that be at Augusta National have relaxed this somewhat, now allowing The Golf Channel to distribute additional pictures around the world before full coverage starts. We now get two featured groups from each morning, plus cameras following all the action from Amen Corner (holes 11-12-13) The Masters live stream is growing with each year, with the hope one day that we will get full coverage like we do with the other three Major golf tournaments.
Remember, due to Sky Sports' total ownership of golf coverage in the UK, no betting website offers golf live streaming. Of course Sky Sports customers can access coverage on SkyGo through their phones, laptops and tablets. The early additional coverage mentioned above is usually available on Sky's red button, interactive service.
9 - Masters Betting TIps
If you're looking for golf betting tips for the Masters, then be sure to check our Golf Betting Tips page particularly in the lead up to each of the Majors. There are some great betting minds in the bettingexpert community, posting profitable tips for a broad range of sports and leagues, including golf throughout the year.
Visit our Golf Betting Tipspage now to see which tipsters have identified the betting value.