On paper at least, finding outsiders at the Masters always seems a tall order, due to the strength and blindingly obvious claims of the market leaders, who are usually Augusta specialists. However upsets do occur in this major. In fact, half of the last 10 winners started the week at 100.099/1 or better on the exchange.
Plus, there are many ways to make money from betting outsiders other than just winning the main event. You can bet each-way paying six places on the Sportsbook or bet on them reaching a finishing position target - ranging from the top-five to top-40. Or you can try a trade on the exchange, with a view towards cashing out in-running if the market goes the right way.
This 'back to lay' strategy is the plan for the second and third of my selections. By placing lay orders at pre-set targets once play starts, we plan to secure a profit if the players shorten to that target. The details of each particular set of trades is listed below.
Back Charley Hoffman 1 unit each-way @ 150/1 (1/5 odds, places 1-6)
Back Charley Hoffman for a Top 20 Finish 4u @ 4/1
First up, one of my main fancies this week, at least from a value perspective. Charley Hoffman is also my pick for our regular each-way column and the additional bet on a Top 20 Finish will also be among a forthcoming portfolio for our wide range of finishing positions markets.
As explained there, Hoffman is the type that owes their outsider status to inconsistency, yet fares consistently well at the venues he likes the most. He's certainly got the power to go well at Augusta and his early numbers - 27/9/29 - bode fairly well for a course where most improve considerably with experience.
Even regardless of those credentials, 150/1 is a big price about a player whose last four results include second at Bay Hill and fourth in the Genesis Open. Results at the latter event have a strong historical correlation with the Masters, as Steve Rawlings explains in his must-read, comprehensive preview.
Back Gary Woodland 2u @ 170.0169/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 15.014/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 5.04/1
There would be no more popular winner than Gary Woodland, in light of the tragic news that his wife had lost one of their unborn twins. The golfing world and crowds will offer immense goodwill and support, but we can only speculate about his mental preparedness to perform at his best. The market takes a dim view, with his odds now 70 points bigger than they were when he withdrew from the World Match Play citing then unknown personal reasons.
Yet tragedy can sometimes inspire, improve focus and even reduce the pressure. There are several examples of golfers producing career highlights immediately after a tragedy, from Jason Day in the World Cup to Ben Crenshaw in this major 22 years ago.
Were Woodland to merely start well, the market should theoretically respond. He looked a winner-in-waiting at the start of season, twice finishing runner-up among four top-six finishes. Having won his first game, he looked a highly plausible contender at the World Match Play before withdrawing. He has always had the power and potential for this major and, on the strength of wider progress, is liable to peak soon.
Back William McGirt 1u @ 730.0729/1
Place order to lay 4u @ 100.099/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 20.019/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 3.02/1
In truth, it would be something of a miracle were our last pick to actually win the Masters. No debutant has won since 1979 and these enormous odds reflect the fact William McGirt doesn't feature in many conversations about future major champions.
However we don't need him to win. Instead, to land a three-to-one bet while retaining a massive extra position, we need McGirt to shorten to 100.099/1 at any stage in-running. If he goes further, to 20.019/1 and ideally 3.02/1, we'll secure further profits by partially cashing out. The details are listed above.
McGirt has given this column a good run for our money before, including at the last major when contending through three rounds at the USPGA. Though not one of the stars of the PGA Tour, he gets into contention a few times each summer and won his maiden title at last year's Memorial Tournament - which has a good correlation with the Masters.
Another potential indicator for this challenge is McGirt's fine debut seventh at Firestone in the elite WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Like Augusta, one of the key skills required there is scrambling around fast greens and the world number 53 seems very proficient in that department.
Last time at the World Match Play, he won all three group matches before running into a bang-in-form Soren Kjeldsen. For my money this adds up to a lot less - no more than half - than 729-1 starting odds.
For all the latest Masters betting tips and previews, check out our dedicated category
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