We are now just hours away from the first (competitive) shots of the 2020 Masters.
Player prep is winding down, as is the annual deluge of press conferences. Without the Par-3 Contest to serve as a welcome distraction, players may spend a bit more time tinkering with their game. But at this point, the chances of a range session epiphany are slim. You either have it or you don't.
Bettors have spent the past two days whittling down their card and deciding which players are worth backing. Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson have traded back and forth as the overall betting favorite at PointsBet Sportsbook, although DeChambeau (+750) currently has the slight edge.
The Masters is perhaps the most popular golf event of the year, so it comes as no surprise that there are a number of ways to bet the event as well. From win bets and top-10s to enticing prop opportunities, bettors have a bevy of options at their disposal. Including, yes, the classic head-to-head wager.
Pitting one player against another for 72 holes, there are dozens of head-to-head options this week. But here are three that caught my attention, with odds via PointsBet:
DeChambeau has received plenty of buzz this week, and deservedly so. But don't sleep on the two-time green jacket winner, who only a few years ago was seen as the guy who was breaking the Augusta National mold while cutting the corner on No. 13. Watson has finished T-12 or better each of the last two years at this event and clearly has a comfort level here. He's also buoyed by some strong recent play, having led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green at the CJ Cup and having finished fifth in the category at the Zozo. DeChambeau will be swinging for the fences all week long, but he'll also have to putt Augusta National's slippery greens without the green-reading book he uses to plot putting surfaces at most PGA Tour events, a factor that has slowed him significantly over the last three years. This is an enticing price for a veteran who could easily factor against a player whose stock is at an all-time high.
This matchup is rooted in the fact that Augusta National and McDowell don't play well together - and the Ulsterman readily admits as much. McDowell has struggled mightily at this event, missing the cut in five of his last seven trips, and he hasn't played since 2016. Harding, meanwhile, qualified thanks to his T-12 finish a year ago. Although neither player comes in with an especially attractive run of form, Harding was solid last week (T-38) at the Houston Open and finished T-30 at the Scottish Open three weeks prior. McDowell has been out of sorts since the break, recently ending a run of six straight missed cuts that included each of the first two majors this year. He has missed nine of 13 cuts overall since June and could be poised for another early exit on a course where he has had issues even at his peak.
This bet is rooted in the premise that Olazabal shouldn't be a -239 favorite against, well, anyone. These are a pair of aging past champions, with Lyle, 62, the 1988 champ and eight years the senior of Olazabal, winner in both 1994 and 1999. But the recent tale of the tape has actually favored the Scot, as last year Olazabal tied for last and finished nine shots behind Lyle. The year before, they tied. This is likely a wager that can be graded Friday evening once both players miss the cut, but in a matchup that feels a bit like a coin flip, I'll happily take a +170 price on the underdog.
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