The Back 9: 2020 Masters Preview & Picks

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BetMGM Jun 16, 2021, 2:20 PM
Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates winning the Masters during the final roubnd at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Welcome back to The Back 9. The wait is finally over. It’s officially Masters week, arguably the best time of the year. Let’s not waste any time and get right into the picks for this week.

The Course: Augusta National needs no introduction as it is possibly the most well-known course in the country. The layout is as follows: 7,425-yard Par 72 with lightning-fast bentgrass greens. This setup usually favors longer golfers and because of the course’s many intricacies, longer golfers who have played here multiple times and have some second shot creativity/craftiness.

Outrights:

Tony Finau of the United States plays his shot from the second tee during the third round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Brooks Koepka (+1600)

Unlike last week, this is a week to target the top of the board as big names often prevail at Augusta. Although I expect DJ and Bryson to play well this week, starting your card with Brooks isn’t a bad option given his odds are twice as long as the aforementioned golfers. As for Brooks himself, he showed little to no signs of rust, returning to competition at the Vivnt Houston Open last week and finishing T5 with a 7-under Sunday round. Brooks also seems to be figuring out Augusta and has improved his finishing position year over year, falling just short in his last time out (T2-T11-T21-T33). Could the next step be his first green jacket? Given his scorching play at Majors, it’s certainly possible. 

Tony Finau (+2500)

Tony, Tony, Tony. It’s hard watching this good of a guy and golfer struggle to get his second career win. And I know what you’re probably thinking, “If he can’t win at a regular tour event, how is he supposed to win at Augusta?” Well, let’s look at his only two outings here: T5 in 2019 and T10 in 2018. Now, I’m not saying third time’s the charm for Tony boy, but he clearly loves playing the course and that makes sense given his love of bentgrass greens and “newfound” monster distance off the tee. That coupled with his nice string of recent results (24-11-8-14) give me as much confidence in Tony as any other golfer in the field this week. One time for us Tony, one time.

Bubba Watson (+2800)

Bubba might be a popular pick this week, and for good reason. Over the last 50 rounds, the two-time Masters winner ranks fourth in this field in strokes gained ball striking and fifth in strokes gained off the tee per Fantasynational.com. The three golfers ahead of him in terms of ball striking? JT, Bryson and DJ. I’d say Bubba is in pretty good company. If we were to shrink that sample size to the last 24 rounds of play, Bubba leaps to second in strokes gained ball striking and strokes gained tee-to-green. Between his course history here and his recent ball striking, the Georgia Bulldog should come into this week with one thing on his mind, a trifecta.

Props

Jason Kokrak of the United States lines up a putt on the 15th green during the final round of The CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek on October 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Louis Oosthuizen, T20 (+150)

Louis seems to have a special place in his heart for the bigger events on tour. This year, he came in solo third place at the U.S. Open and a few months prior, T6 at the WGC FedEx St. Jude. Both of those results came on hard courses with hard fields, two things he’ll see this week at Augusta. Statistically, Louis fits what we’re looking for. Over the past 24 rounds, Louis ranks 15th in strokes gained total and 19th in strokes gained tee-to-green per Fantasynational.com. Seeing as he’s played the course ten times, all signs are pointing towards a solid week for the South African vet.

Jason Kokrak, T20 (+200)

Kokrak’s feature on the blog this week is not some sort of BetMGM bias. The guy has been playing some spectacular golf. How spectacular, you ask? In his last 7 starts on tour, Kokrak has finished T20 in 6 of those starts. Pretty good ROI for a T20 bet. Although he hasn’t played the course before, Kokrak’s game should matchup well with Augusta as he sits 12th in strokes gained off the tee and 17th in strokes gained ball striking in the past 24 rounds per Fantasynational.com.

Longshots/Cheek(s) of the Week

Si Woo Kim of South Korea plays a shot from a bunker on the second hole during the final round of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Zach Johnson (+15000) and Si Woo Kim (+15000)

For this week’s Cheek(s) of the Week, we turn to two bentgrass putting specialists, ZJ and Si Woo Kim. ZJ is a former winner at Augusta national (2007) and finds himself rounding back into form. Over the past 24 rounds, ZJ ranks 5th in strokes gained approach and 10th strokes gained total per Fantasynational.com. Si Woo is also experiencing a nice run of form with his success coming in the form of his short game, where he ranks first in the field over the past 24 rounds per Fantasynational.com. Both these players’ recent form combined with their course knowledge make them viable bombs for outrights, T20, and T10 bets.

All odds taken from the BetMGM Sportsbook.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.