Finding Masters outside bets at Augusta is always a bit tricky. It’s a course where the world’s best generally perform well year after year – as you’ll see from my outright tips.
And the number of effectively ‘ceremonial’ invites – Ian Woosnam has missed the last 10 cuts – also means around half the field can’t win. The result is the odds are often bunched and if your man is bigger than 150/1 there’s a fair chance he won’t be making the weekend.
I’ve tried to pick out a quartet of players at larger prices who might have a week to savour in this most famous part of Georgia…
Masters outside bets: Brandt Snedeker
Masters record: T41, T3, MC, T15, T19, T6, T37, MC, T10, T27
bet365 odds: 100/1
Starting to rediscover the flatstick form that made him a contender seemingly every time he played a couple of years ago, I found Sneds’ display at The Players – where he hung around the summit before landing just inside the top 5 – a bit eye-catching.
He followed that up with a steady week at the Valspar and, while he didn’t get out of his group at the Match Play, he did take down Tiger in his second match.
Failing to qualify 12 months ago, he will be keen to draw on recent Augusta form that saw him finish 10th in 2016, 6th in 2013 and 3rd in 2008. He’s only missed two cuts in all that time.
Flying high in strokes gained putting and around the green on the PGA Tour this season, he only need keep it in relative play (he’s 174th in strokes gained: off the tee) to let the more impressive parts of his game take over.
There are players at shorter odds in this field that have a far lesser chance of getting into the frame than this man.
Masters outside bets: Ian Poulter
Masters record: T31, T33, T13, T25, T20, T10, T27, 7, MC, T20, T6, T49, T44
bet365 odds: 80/1
The Postman often flatters a little in major championships – contending before fading away during the weekend (see The Open at Royal Birkdale for a particularly good example).
That said, he’s usually a consistent horse to follow and he has thrived in the past in the unique surroundings of Augusta.
Tied 6th as recently as 2015, 7th in 2012 and tied 10th in 2010, it’s by no means impossible he could put together another solid week.
The course may suit bigger hitters from the tee but Poulter’s exceptional chipping gives him a distinct advantage when it comes to negotiating up and downs on some tricky putting surfaces.
At 43, time is running out for Poulter. After so nearly having his playing rights taken away a couple years ago, he seems to appreciate everything a little bit more these days. He could enjoy one last run at it at a nice price.
Masters outside bets: Eddie Pepperell
Masters record: Rookie
bet365 odds: 125/1
It’s going to seem pretty out there to compare TPC Sawgrass and Augusta National but – to my lopsided eye – there seems quite a few similarities.
Both are second shot golf courses, both have outrageously sloping greens and both demand you put the ball in the right place if you’re to score properly.
Not to mention the acres of pines, cavernous bunkers and preponderance of water on the back 9.
Now young Eddie did quite well at The Players – finishing only behind Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk – on a golf course that’s notorious for being difficult for first timers.
See where I’m going? No rookie has won The Masters, of course, since Fuzzy Zoeller 40 years ago but it’s not unheard of for debutants to get off to a flying start – Jason Day and Jordan Spieth are two of the most recent examples.
Pepperell seems to thrive on new surroundings and he’d never played at either Gullane or Walton Heath before performing so well at the Scottish Open and British Masters.
Given how taken he was with Sawgrass, it’s hard to see him not exhibiting the same enthusiasm for playing a course that would have seemed a complete dream when he lost his card a couple of years ago.
Masters outside bets: Keith Mitchell
Masters record: Rookie
bet365 odds: 200/1
Announced himself thanks to a gutsy 15-footer to win the Honda Classic – with Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka breathing down his neck – and then followed up with an equally impressive top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
A second round 65 at Sawgrass promised even greater things before his weekend petered out with 75 and 74 and he finished bottom of a tough Match Play group that included eventual winner Kevin Kisner.
Given that recent form, there’s no way Mitchell would be lining up at 200/1 in a tour event so you have to think the oddsmakers believe that playing his debut major at Augusta has the potential to overwhelm him.
But Mitchell should be more aware than most of The Masters phenomenon, having studied at the University of Georgia, in nearby Athens, and can take this in his stride.
For the latest prices for the Masters, visit bet365.