Find Me a 100 Winner: A trio of Masters picks available to back at 99-1 or better

Two-time PGA Tour champion Daniel Berger
Daniel Berger performed creditably on both previous Augusta appearances

Fancy an outside bet for the Masters? There's no shortage of proven winners to choose from as Paul Krishnamurty explains here. Check out his trio of selections plus some huge-priced alternatives...

"Daniel Berger went into many a notebook when finishing tenth on his Masters debut in 2016 and again last year, when recovering from an opening 77 to make the top-30."

Is this year's US Masters the strongest ever major championship? Looking down the betting list, it certainly feels that way with 15 unarguably elite characters trading below 50.049/1, and taking out around three quarters of the book combined.

Getting that lot beaten seems like a daunting task but it always does before this major yet plenty of outsiders have won it. When Danny Willett won in 2016, he became the fifth Masters champion in ten to start the week trading in excess of 99/1. This column has also enjoyed many a profitable renewal and 12 months ago, Charley Hoffman and William McGirt gave us a run to remember, at least for three rounds.

As always, a fundamental dilemma involves choosing between enhanced each-way terms or enhanced win odds via the exchange. The top-eight finish required to land a lucrative place payout in the former is very much within range, and may not involve ever contending for the title. However due to the strength up top, many more players are available at 100.099/1 plus on the exchange, many at twice or more their best High Street odds.

Take the example of Rafael Cabrera Bello. The Spaniard is my each-way pick at 90/1, yet available at 180.0179/1 on the exchange. I'm highly tempted to put Rafa up here too but, in the interests of variety, have excluded him in favour of the following three.

Georgia boy Henley showing form at the right time

Back Russell Henley 1 unit each-way @ 100/1 (8 places, 1/5 odds)

Let's start, then, with an each-way pick just inside our price range. It usually takes players several cracks at Augusta National to really get the place and find peak form. This will be Henley's fifth Masters appearance and his results are clearly progressive - missing his cut on debut, before finishing 31st, 21st and 11th last year.

This three-time PGA Tour winner hails from Georgia and has an excellent record in the state - at Sea Island and East Lake more so than here, yet. Ideally, I'd have wanted to see better form this term but a fast-finishing eighth in the Houston Open - where he hit over 80% of greens in regulation - was just the ticket.

Under-rated Berger a tasty proposition

Back Daniel Berger 2u @ 180.0179/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 20.019/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 6.05/1

Rather similar comments apply to Berger. A fine young American prospect, yet to show his best in a major championship, with evident Augusta credentials. At 24, he has bags of improvement to come and already does all the things that offer an edge here well enough - driving distance, scrambling, putting.

He went into many a notebook when finishing tenth on his Masters debut in 2016 and again last year, when recovering from an opening 77 to make the top-30. He played solidly in Houston to register his fifth top-20 of the season. While that sort of result has become typical to Berger - doing well though not quite enough to challenge - he's won twice before and lost two play-offs in a short PGA Tour career, and possesses as much talent as the market leaders.

Smith can be latest Aussie to embrace Augusta challenge

Back Cameron Smith 2u @ 290.0289/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 30.029/1
Place order to lay 15u @ 10.09/1

Normally good previous course form should be pre-requisite but in Smith's case, I'm prepared to drop that golden rule. His chance today is simply not comparable to when finishing a distant 55th on debut in 2016. At the time he could barely make a cut but since a brilliant winter in his homeland, Smith looks a different player, advancing through the ranks quickly.

In theory, Augusta should be perfect thanks to the emphasis on short game. He ranked eighth for strokes gained around the green last season, and is 24th this time around. In his must-read, comprehensive Masters preview, Steve Rawlings notes the correlation between this course and Riviera, where Smith finished sixth last month. This 24 year-old looks to be the next Aussie golfing superstar and has already impacted a major, finishing fourth on his US Open debut back in 2015.

The best of the rest

First reserve, should any of that trio withdraw, is a long-term fancy. I was going to pick Kevin Chappell but his odds have fallen by 40-odd points today. He ticks all the right boxes - long off the tee, excellent around the greens, likes tough courses, seventh last year, good numbers at Riviera. Rather than 140.0139/1 to win though, 90/1 each-way is preferred.

Two more alternatives made the shortlist. I reckon bang-in-form Kiradech Aphibarnrat 180.0179/1 has the right game for Augusta and 15th on debut was excellent. Finally, 220.0219/1 about Adam Hadwin seems big given his recent form. The Canadian is another with the stellar short game required to challenge in this major.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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