1. DON’T back any player who is a debutant at Augusta – it is a well-documented fact Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 remains the only player to win on his first visit. It comes as no great surprise as it is a course which a player needs to know before performing well on. With so many nuances it is unlike any other course.
2. DON’T bet on the Par 3 contest on the Wednesday. The field is unknown, as not all Masters contenders play and there are various past champions and honorary invitees who take part. Most importantly, you will often find players allow their five year- old sons/daughters/nephews etc to putt out hence rendering their scores null and void.
3. DON’T back the winner of the Par 3 contest – not a single player has won on the Wednesday and gone on to win the full title on the Sunday. Padraig Harrington has to tell himself not to play well in the Par 3 contest which he has won three times recently – he then might give himself another chance at a Major.
4. DON’T back defending champion Bubba Watson unless you think he is a player of the very highest calibre. The only players to win back to back so far are: Jack Nicklaus 65-66, Faldo 89-90 and Woods 01-02. So if you don’t think he belongs in such illustrious company, give him a swerve.
5. DON’T back players who have passed their 40th birthday – the last 14 winners have all been in their 20s and 30s. The last winner in his 40s was Mark O’Meara back in 1998 and he was only 41 and was at the peak of his career, also going on to win the Open Championship later that year.
6. DO make sure your player made the cut at last year’s Masters as all the winners bar one in the last 20 years made the weekend at Augusta the year before. The only player to have missed the cut and then won was Tiger Woods in 1996, when he was still an amateur, so I guess that is one exception we can accept as an anomaly.
7. DO wait until the actual week of the tournament to have a bet as bookmakers will offer greater value and enhanced place terms (ie top 6 or even 7) to attract new clients. I only bet ante post on the Masters several months before and have actually only had one bet so far – that was Brandt Snedeker when he hit form in January and was 66/1. There is no value in the 20/1 price quoted now and I know SkyBet have laid him as low as 14/1!
8. DO check the weather – not just the forecast compared with tee times as to who might get the most favourable conditions such as wind strength, but also look at what the weather has been like running up to the tournament. If, for example, it has been really wet and Augusta National is playing even longer than normal then you can rule out the shorter hitters.
9. DO bet in running – all bookmakers will be doing this through all four days, but try and wait until your player is through the 12th hole. The reasons are fairly straightforward as the all-time hardest holes are the 10th followed by the 12th and then the 11th. After those challenges things ease down a little as the 13th is the second easiest and the 15th the easiest.
10. DO look closely at Hole in One betting – in the last 10 years there have been seven holes in one in total but only in four different years. Last year, odds were around 10/11 ‘Yes’ and 10/11 ‘No’ so there will probably be value on a ‘No’ bet. In 2004 Chris DiMarco had an ace on the 6th but all the others have been on the 16th and usually when the pin is in its Sunday position – so you’ll likely have to sweat things out!