Four weeks out from the season's first major, much can still change in the Masters betting. Anyone who thrives in the run-up will see their odds tumble so Paul Krishnamurty recommends backing the following trio now...
"On the evidence of a superb start to a season, the 32-year-old is improving around the age where so many reach their peak...Woodland is a former champion of this week's Valspar Championship so could be primed for a win that would see his Masters odds tumble."
Back Paul Casey @ 65.064/1
It is hard to think of a course in the world where previous form stands up so well as Augusta National. While many will never have the length to compete or putt well enough on the lightning fast greens, several others register high finishes year in, year out. Casey is very much in the latter category and, after a brilliant 67/66 weekend to finish in Mexico, could be timing his run to form well.
Casey took to this place from the outset, finishing sixth on debut back in 2004 and registering top-20s on four of his first five visits. As his game peaked in early 2010, he started among the market leaders only to flop, before injuries set his career severely backwards. When it eventually returned, he re-affirmed that Augusta prowess, finishing top-six in the last two renewals.
Indeed, it has only been these last two seasons that Casey has really looked world-class again and, last summer, his PGA Tour form reached a new peak with four consecutive top-four finishes - the first three of which came in elite FedEx Cup fields. Last weekend's evidence suggests more of the same may be imminent.
When studying past Augusta form, one should always remember that this famously complex layout requires plenty of learning. Historically, debutants have a poor record and most players only produce their best efforts after several attempts. It is therefore well worth looking for players who look well suited to the course but are yet to make a big impact.
Gary Woodland is a classic case in point. Extremely talented and powerful off the tee, Woodland is precisely the type to overwhelm Augusta's par-fives - the key scoring holes that always determine this major. After four visits he's yet to better a promising debut 24th, although 26th in 2014 disguises the fact he made a brief appearance on the Sunday leaderboard.
On the evidence of a superb start to a season, the 32-year-old is improving at around the age where so many reach their peak. His last seven starts have yielded no fewer than four top-six finishes, twice as runner-up in the OHL and Honda Classics. Woodland is a former champion of this week's Valspar Championship so could be primed for a win that would see his Masters odds tumble.
Back Daniel Berger @ 120.0119/1
Here's a player with considerable potential for improvement, whose Augusta debut very much caught the eye. Few make the top-ten on their first attempt here. Fairly long off the tee, an excellent scrambler and good putter, Berger definitely has the game to thrive in this major going forward.
Though others around his age have won more events and made bigger impacts in majors, the 23 year-old's early career has been highly productive. His first two seasons have yielded a maiden title and three second places in big events, most recently the WGC-HSBC Champions. Perhaps as significantly given his inexperience, Berger is very consistent, registering an impressive 28 top-25 finishes in two-and-a-bit seasons on the PGA Tour.
One gets the feeling that Berger is one headline-grabbing win away from gaining much greater recognition. That could easily come at this week's Valspar Championship or the Houston Open, where he was fifth last year. Contenders in that Masters-preceding event are always very popular with punters.