He’s a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last prediction. Former sports blogger…about to become…the golf gambling champion.
It looks like a mirac…it’s a winning bet slip! It’s a winning bet slip! He drops his…
Uh, um, certainly, your Embolency. I mean, your Eggalences. Yes, indeed I know “Cinderella” is a word readers tie to March Madness and basketball in the early springtime. I was just thinking of Bill Murray, because this is the also time of year when tee boxes, greens and fairways begin to thaw out and take a primping.
Especially in Augusta, Georgia.
Masters futures odds are fun to watch shift around in the late winter months. Right now the MyBookie lines for Augusta National look all out of kilter, since the sportsbook doesn’t rearrange the names after guessing who gamblers will pick most often.
Dustin Johnson is the current favorite at (+900) odds-to-win the 2019 Masters Tournament, or “tune-a-munt” as they call it on Magnolia Lane, which tees off on April 11th.
The Cheetah’s heavy betting action is a little weird at the moment, since he doesn’t always putt well and has never finished better than 4th at Augusta. It’s also strange to see Tiger Woods’ action flagging at (+1300) as the icon enjoys a winter and early spring of preparation.
Murray may have also sprang to mind because wintertime means celebrities on the links. The crown jewel of golf’s “silly season” – corporate hit-and-giggle events held in tandem with the PGA in suitable climates – is the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Maybe that’s because Pebble Beach isn’t always a “suitable” climate – it requires golf skills and stamina beyond that of a parkland muni. But rain or shine, Murray often slays the weekday gallery there.
Things get serious in a hurry. After all, Pebble Beach is hosting the U.S. Open in 2019. When pros battle on the harsh rocky shoreline of the Monterrey Peninsula, it means that the PGA Tour is done goofing-off for the year.
Then there’s The Players Championship, at the rather oddly-named TPC at Sawgrass. I say “oddly-named” because “TPC” stands for The Players’ Club, meaning that TV announcers unthinkingly introduced the setting as “the the” for years before getting used to it.
Tiger Woods believes that Sawgrass is set up to trap golfers who use their driver too much. But there is no need for a driver on the infamous 17th hole, a flick to a small island green in the middle of an oft-choppy Florida lake. It’s a test of nerves similar to the Par 3 12th hole at Augusta.
The Sawgrass greens aren’t as tile-slick as those at Augusta, though, and Tiger once made a bomb on the 17th that no witness will ever forget.
Bay Hill and Sawgrass make players hit targets and putt with caution. The courses also penalize those who are wayward off the tee. Tiger’s strategy at Sawgrass is to get the ball in the fairway at all costs, a lesson linksmen must remember in April now that they’ve grown rough to go along with the evergreen straw at Augusta.
Sorting Through Futures Lines for The 2019 Masters
It’s a bad idea to use March leaderboards as form-analysis for The Masters. Only the rookies and also-rans on the PGA Tour go all-out to win prior to the major championships. But by looking at who is not on the leaderboard at Bay Hill and TPC, we can guess who might struggle in the magnolias…assuming that their problems have to do with driving or putting.
That invites process-of-elimination in finding the right futures pick.
Bettors aren’t sleeping on Phil Mickelson after seeing the aging veteran handle Tiger in a $9,000,000 match in November and then whip the field at Pebble early this year.
We know Phil has not contended for the last time at The Masters, a fact that has driven his futures odds at MyBookie inside 30-to-1 at (+2800). But Phil had a poor showing at Bay Hill, driving erratically and cursing the greens in a 2nd-round 78.
Rory McIlroy (a current 11-to-1 wager) was one of the only superstars to play at the Bay Hill Invitational, and he played well. Not the case for popular underdog Rickie Fowler (currently (+1600) for Augusta) who had early episodes, carding a 1st-round 74 and playing catch-up all week.
From Sawgrass to Savvy Masters Pick
Rory looks solid right now. His arrival at The Masters could have more shine than Jordan Spieth’s or Dustin Johnson’s. Spieth’s average length puts him at a disadvantage in a late-Sunday mano-a-mano scenario against a long-ball hitter who can reach hole locations at 13 and 15 in 2 shots. Meanwhile, D.J.’s ball-striking makes him a forever-competitor in any major, but McIlroy can putt circles around him on devilish Augusta greens.
Handicapping Tiger is a puzzle as usual. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if his fanfare is driving the lines short, or general skepticism and a % of haters are holding his odds long.
As of the early stretch of the season, Tiger is playing it safe and protecting his assets. Golf gamblers could stand to do the same before more information can be reeled-in.
But considering that Tiger is off to a decent start at The Players’ Championship, his current line of 13-to-1 is superior to Justin Rose’s at (+1200).
In fact, I’d take Justin Thomas’s (+1400) over Rose’s line as well. The latter missed 9 out of 14 fairways at TPC on Thursday morning despite damp, forgiving fairways.
Finally, why is 2-time 2018 major winner Brooks Koepka’s line-to-win (+1600)? Are gamblers at MyBookie that concerned with style over substance?
It’s just another one of golf’s great mysteries.
Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.