US Masters Betting: Top Irish Market

Rory McIlroy – worth taking on at heavy odds-on
Rory McIlroy – worth opposing at heavy odds-on

Steve takes a look at the five Irishmen heading for Augusta this week where he fancies taking on Rory McIlroy at odds-on may well pay dividends...

“Pod has four top-tens to his name at Augusta and if his performance at PGA National last month is anything to go by his short game can still cope with the examination he’ll face this week at Augusta.”

World number one, Rory McIlroy, will be many people's idea of the winner this week but I think he's worth taking on and this market looks an ideal place to do it.

Rory's record at Augusta really isn't anything special and in six visits to date, last year's tied eighth is still his only top-ten. He didn't putt especially well last time out (ranked 48th at Bay Hill) and he has the added pressure of trying to win the career grand slam - having already won the other three majors. He's also trying to win his third major in-a-row and all things considered, there are enough niggles about his chances to justify taking him on.

It takes a sizable leap of faith to give out-of-form Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke, much of a chance this week but any one of the other three could easily end the week in front of Rory.

Shane Lowry is playing here for the first time so it's hard to know what to expect from him but he's had a couple of encouraging efforts in the US of late, finishing seventh at the Farmers Insurance Open and 17th in the WGC - Cadillac Championship and even if he flops on in his first ever US Masters, there are two major champions to back him up...

The 2010 US Open champion, Graeme McDowell, hasn't been firing of late and he doesn't have a brilliant record at Augusta either. He's missed the cut five times in seven starts but when he has made it through to the weekend he's finished inside the top-20. He was 17th in 2009 and 12th in 2012 and having low expectations may help him to relax this week.

Last of the three realistic challenges to Rory is recent Honda Classic winner, Padraig Harrington, and instead of laying Rory, could backing Pod at a double-figure price be the way to play this market? Harrington has four top-tens to his name at Augusta and if his performance at PGA National last month is anything to go by his short game can still cope with the examination he'll face this week.

Harrington ranked 6th for scrambling and 5th for putting on his way to the title there and he ranked 10th for driving distance too. If he can get close to putting those sort of figures together again here he'll give Rory a game even if the world number one turns up on-song at at a double-figure price he could be a bit of value.


Selection:
Lay Rory McIlroy @ 1.454/9 or shorter or
Back Padraig Harrington @ 11.010/1 or bigger


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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