The first major on the golfing calendar is upon us as sporting fanatics all over the globe look forward to the 87th edition of The Masters this week at Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia.
The smaller field of 88 which includes the 50 top-ranked PGA/DPWT players including 18 from the LIV Golf set-up as well as seven amateurs and previous champions will all be competing for a share of the $15M prize purse with the winner collecting The Master's title along with a winner’s cheque for $2.7M and the prestigious Green Jacket and a special invitation to return again every year.
I’d say this year's Masters has to be the most exciting yet since it all began back in 1934, especially with everything that's gone on in the world of golf over the past 12 months.
Can Rory finally land that Grand Slam which has so far eluded him? Will the World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler become only the fourth player to successfully defend The Masters crown? the last being Tiger Woods over 20 years ago in 2002 with the other two being Jack Nicklaus (1966) and Nick Faldo (1990). Or will Jon Rahm use his recent form to dominate at Augusta National just as he has done almost everywhere else over the past few months and win his first-ever Green Jacket?
Augusta National will be playing 7,545 yards long this week, it’s a spectacular par 72 Parkland layout which can arguably be called the best set-up golf has to offer with the slickest, fastest and most beautiful dance floors anywhere on the planet.
The key to success around Augusta will almost certainly involve a hot putter with 3 Putt Avoidance or more being the name of the game and mapping out where or not to leave your ball from Tee to Green. This is the stiffest test that golf has to offer and it’s definitely going to be all about mind games for all concerned from start to finish, Thursday 6th -Sunday 9th April.
Scottie Scheffler returns to Augusta as the defending champion when bagging his maiden major here last year with three shots to spare over his nearest challenger Rory McIlroy. His winning scorecard read 278, -10.
The weather at Augusta this week is forecast to be not so good with rain predicted for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thursdays opening round should see the best of the weather with calmer conditions. Breezes will peak at around 12mph.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf & Sky Sports Main event with live coverage starting at 2 pm on Thursday afternoon for those in the UK.
So let’s move on with my betting tips and try to narrow down the field and find the likely winner for The Masters 2023.
Tony Finau 25/1 EW 1-5 places BetVictor
Now if you read my previews every week then you’ll know just how much I’ve raved about the 33-year-old giant from Salt Lake City recently and that I’ve previously mentioned a maiden major could be on its way anytime soon, possibly this year.
Well, it’s the first major of the year and now is as good a time as any for Tony Finau to prove me correct. I’m actually going to put my neck on the line here and say I don’t think any of the top three in the markets will win this week and I’ll give my reasoning for why.
Rory I feel has too much pressure on his shoulders trying to win the only major that has so far eluded him. Scottie Scheffler has the near impossible task that in over 90 years, only three players have successfully defended The Master's title winning back to back, the last being Tiger over 20 years ago.
Jon Rahm who has looked unplayable since the turn of the year and beyond has recently come crashing back down to Earth and showed us all he can be beaten aswell as losing his World No1 status so I feel the door is wide open for all the others to take advantage this weekend in Georgia and Tony Finau is my leading contender.
Another point I’d like to make is the pricing, now I don’t believe any player should be 7/1 or 8/1 to win this tournament, Id say more like 20/1 the field for an event like this so the markets are a poor show as far as I'm concerned.
Since the start of this year, Finau has played at only eight events with his worst performance being 24th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That in itself isn’t too shabby but at the other seven events he has finished inside the Top 20 at every attempt, that’s truly phenomenal and as consistent as it gets.
Two of those were inside the Top 10 when finishing T9th at the Farmers Insurance Open and an even better T7th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. You then only have to go back a matter of weeks to see a win on Finau’s CV when he bagged the Houston Open at the end of 2022. A few weeks prior to that he won back-to-back when scooping the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and runner-up at both the Mexico Open and RBC Canadian Open are also worth a mention.
The five-time PGA champion has come close on a few occasions at majors, his best finish at Augusta was T5th in 2019 and he finished inside the Top 10 around this hallowed turf again in 2021 just as he did in 2018. On the stats front the gentle and likeable giant arrives at Augusta with a whole host of figures if I haven’t already tempted you.
On the PGA Tour this season Finau is 9th Greens in Regulation Percentage 7th Putts per Round, 6th Scoring Average, 5th SG Tee to Green, 4th Birdie or Better Conversion Percentage, 4th SG Total, 3rd SG Approach to Green which will be so important this week, 1st Scrambling from the Fringe and finally 1st Consecutive Par 3 Birdies.
I think I’ve said enough for now and laid my case in regards to Tony Finau winning this year's Masters, it’s for you to now decide if you think the same as me that he will be the one adorning the Green Jacket come Sunday evening.
I say he is the main contender at The Masters this year and the most likely winner in my book.
Come on Tony show me the money.
Jordan Speith 16/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365
For my next best betting tip to conquer Augusta National I’m going to point you all in the direction of Jordan Speith 16/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365.
The 29-year-old from Dallas, Texas has shown a rich vein return to form and is producing some of the golf that made him almost unplayable a few years back when winning three majors. In 2015 alone this talented kid, had his most successful year to date winning two majors, The Masters here at Augusta as well as The US Open.
He was also so unlucky at the USPGA Championship finishing runner-up the same year, a year when he also bagged the Tour Championship, John Deere Classic and the Valspar Championship.
Honestly, you just have to look at this kid's CV to truly believe his credentials. I could go on and on over the next few years before he went quiet for a while but I firmly believe Jordan Spieth is back where he belongs at the top of the pile and he’s going to crash that door down anytime soon on his way to bagging another major, possibly this weekend.
This year alone Spieth has five Top 20 finishes with three of those inside the Top 10 and two being Top 5 places, 3rd at the recent Valspar Championship can be backed up with 4th at the Arnold Palmer International and 6th at the Phoenix Open, this is all in just a matter of weeks.
He did get back to winning ways in 2022 when bagging the RBC Heritage and the week after that victory he finished runner-up at the AT&T Byron Nelson. It's hard to believe that his W at the Valero Texas Open in 2021 was his first victory in four years but since then he has been producing the goods and should have had more success in my opinion.
Winner already at three majors with the other being the 146th Open Championship in 2017 where he also finished runner-up in 2021, I’m finding it hard to dismiss Spieth’s chances this week. Having already won this tournament in 2015 and runner up in 2014 and 2016 as well as 3rd in 2018 and 2021, do you think course management will be a problem, I certainly don’t think so, the figures don’t lie as they say.
Talking about figures let’s have a look at some stats that Spieth will be arriving with at Augusta this week. On the PGA Tour Jordan Spieth ranks 10th in Longest Drives, 8th in Putt Performance, 8th Par 5 Scoring Average, 7th in Consecutive Greens in Regulation, 7th in Approach from 150-175 yards and, 6th Scrambling from 20-30 yards.
There are all stats in the Top 10 amongst the best players in the world and it could be time for the showman to show us all that he’s still one of the best players on the planet when he conquers Augusta National once again to become one of only a handful of players to win The Masters more than once.
Don’t say I never told you.
Sam Burns 40/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365
For my final outright pick to win The Masters this year, I’m going to include, this is hard as you should see my shortlist but I need to narrow it down therefore I’ll choose Sam Burns 40/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365.
The 26-year-old from Louisiana never usually lets me down when I pick him so I’m hoping for more of the same from the hot Sam Burns especially since he’s arriving at Augusta fresh from a victory when winning the WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay last time out and that could be the clue right there.
Not only did he beat the best players in the World at the last-ever edition of the knockout WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay but he also finished 6th at the event prior to that at the Valspar Championship.
He certainly arrives at The Masters as hot as they come and Burns could be on fire yet again this week amongst the worlds golfing elite to claim his first major, he certainly deserves to win one anytime soon and definitely has the game to do just that.
With a famous five PGA titles already safely in the bag, Burns can relax and produce fireworks this week again especially after arriving with the most recent W at the Austin Country Club. I’ve tipped Sam Burns to win a few of those PGA crowns but more importantly, he’s another who I told you all about before he won anything and he certainly hasn’t disappointed.
Since winning his maiden title at the Valspar Championship in 2021 which I said he would, he then defended that crown in 2022 along with the Sanderson Farms Championship, Charles Schwab Challenge and as previously mentioned his victory last time out at the WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay.
His best finish at a major to date was 20th at the USPGA Championship last year and that should give him confidence that he can compete on the big stage at these majors. Now the stats that stick out a mile for me regarding Sam Burns ate the most important this week.
These greens are like velvet, so slick and fast but Burns is hotter than most with a putter in hand where he ranks 5th on the PGA Tour for Total Putting. He is also 5th Putting from 7’ and 1st on the PGA Tour Putting from 3’. This is where The Masters could be won or lost and I’m counting on Sam Burns to be hotter than ever on these slick dance floors.
He could be the one dancing all the way into the exclusive Augusta National Clubhouse this weekend as he gets measured up for that prestigious Green Jacket, nice blazer Sam Burns.
So all that’s left now is the Matchbet Nap which I know a good few of you will be looking out for and since it’s The Masters it has to be a SuperBanker Nap that until now has an over 80% strike rate.
I’m looking to continue that trend with my main selection Tony Finau getting the better of Collin Morikawa over 72 holes 5/6 Bet365, SuperBanker Nap.
Good Luck everyone, enjoy The Masters 2023.
Masters 2023 Betting Tips
- Tony Finau 25/1 EW 1-5 places BetVictor
- Jordan Speith 16/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365
- Sam Burns 40/1 EW 1-8 places Bet365
- Tony Finau to beat Collin Morikawa over 72 holes 5/6 Bet365