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Rory McIlroy

Who will win the Masters?

Our betting expert Steve Carroll reveals the quintet who have a serious chance of grabbing the Green Jacket
 

Right, you’ve seen my outside tips to triumph at Augusta, but who are my Masters betting tips to slip into the Green Jacket on Sunday evening?

They are not quite a boy band, but with the Masters now upon us I’ve picked out five players who will all be harbouring serious claims to golf’s most famous piece of clothing.

Masters betting tips: Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Masters record: T20, MC, T15, T40, T25, T8, 4, T10, T7, T5

bet365 odds: 13/2

Could this really be Rory’s year? As was the case last year, the Northern Irishman comes to Augusta National on the back of a victory – this time it was The Players.

But his game seems in a completely different place to where it was when he went head-to-head with Patrick Reed in the final round 12 months ago.

Then there were question marks over both his short game and putting, this time he looks spot on.

You could still argue about whether he should have had more than one victory in 2019 – he’s had a chance to win almost every time he has lined up.

His more relaxed attitude – and approach to avoid pushing too hard – certainly paid dividends, though, when he shut the door on his rivals at Sawgrass.

If there’s one place where Rory has definitely been skittish in the past then it has been Augusta. Remember last year’s opening Sunday tee shot, when he was lucky to keep it on the property?

A real chance to grab the Green Jacket – the one prize you suspect that he really, really wants despite everything he has said in the run-up – will test his newfound calmness to the limit.

And yet there’s absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t have a legitimate chance once again.

His worst finish in the last five years is 10th. TENTH. He’s got the ability to take this course apart with his prodigiously long and accurate driving opening up all the par 5s and giving him a massive advantage on some of the shorter holes.

The only thing that has stopped McIlroy in the past is himself. That can change this time around.

Masters betting tips: Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth

Masters record: T2, 1, T2, T11, 3

bet365 odds: 18/1

What, you cry? Haven’t you seen him this season? The front nine on Saturday at the Texas Open was a case in point, as Jordan went out in a horrific 42.

But listen, Spieth could be fatting all his tee shots into Rae’s Creek for the next 10 years and I’d still take a look at him for the Masters.

The reason is this: 2-1-2-11-3.

Not my pin code, but Spieth’s record at Augusta. As tipping guru Ben Coley expertly puts it in his exhaustive – and must read – A-Z guide to the Masters field, Augusta is one of the few places Jordan can get away with some “errant” driving.

Spieth is losing more than half a shot on the field in strokes gained off the tee and it puts the rest of his game under enormous pressure.

People have rightly commented on his putting but if everything is a must-make par because you’re carving out of thick rough and wood all the time, then shooting low scores routinely is going to be a challenge.

Prior to last week, Jordan was still 7th on the PGA Tour stats in putting average and 12th in one-putt percentages but 158th in greens in regulation and 98th in going for the green percentages.

So what’s the point of all these figures? I’m trying to say you can get away with a lot at Augusta if you can do the necessary things correctly.

And, despite all the doom and gloom around his game, Spieth has also broken 70 13 times this season and started off in Texas with two 68s.

The way he fought back from that first half disaster in the third round was eye-catching too – with five birdies in the last seven holes.

He’s fired 66 or lower in the first round four times – so definitely keep an eye on him in the first round markets – and is adamant he’s not too far away.

Why wouldn’t Augusta be the place it all comes together once again?

That’s the first two revealed, but who is also on Steve’s shortlist on the outright markets? Turn the page to find out…

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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