It’s sometimes tough to think about the spring when you look at the temperatures outside in February. But before you know it the ice will thaw, the grass will grow, and sports bettors will be transported to Augusta National for the Masters.
We’re still a few months from April and the first major tournament of the PGA season, however, this could be the best time to shop for Masters futures before the value dries up on golf’s top talents. Here’s a look at the oddsmakers’ leaderboard and some free sports betting picks to win at Augusta.
Jordan Spieth (+750)
Spieth was the 2015 Masters champion, catching the golf universe by surprise with his dominance at the majors that year. That victory was bookended by T2 finishes in 2014 and 2016, however Spieth slide back outside of the Top 10 in 2017 with an 11th-place finish at Augusta.
His comfort level at this course and on this stage is why he’s perched atop the futures odds, but golf bettors will want to monitor is current form heading into April. So far in 2018, Spieth’s best finish was a third-place showing in the Hero World Challenge and he’s coming off a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Dustin Johnson (+800)
Johnson had a great 2017, capped by a victory in the U.S. Open. But in one of the stranger events of the season, he was forced to pull out of the Masters after falling down a flight of stairs. Before that injury, he was building momentum at Augusta. He finished tied for fourth in 2016 and T6 in 2015.
He’s in fine form to start 2018, opening the season with a second-place effort at WGC HSBC Champions back in November, posting a ninth-place finish in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. His work on the greens continues to be his strong suit, which is perfect for Augusta, currently ranked third in putting average at 1.648 putts per hole.
Rory McIlroy (+1,200)
A rib injury plagued McIlroy last season, leaving him with a goose egg in the win column and only six Top-10 finishes in 2017. He took some time off beginning in October and has looked quite sharp in his two events of 2018: finishing third in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and second in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
McIlroy has won every major tournament but the Masters, with his best finish at Augusta being a T4 in 2015. And it’s not for a lack of trying either. He’s finished inside the Top 10 in four straight Masters tournaments, including a T7 in 2017. If he can stay healthy heading into April and his recently announced heart irregularity doesn’t become an issue, there is very good value on the Irishman in 2018.
Jason Day (+1,400)
Day is another golfer coming off a quiet 2017. He failed to win a single tournament and placed inside the Top 10 only five times, and that led to the demotion of long-time caddie and mentor Colin Swatton. The decision could be paying off, as Day opened 2018 with a victory in the Farmers Insurance Open – his first tournament title since the THE PLAYERS Championship in May 2016.
As far as Day and Augusta go, he’s been terribly inconsistent in the Masters in recent years. He finished T10 in 2016, which was a rare highlight after finishing T20 in 2014, T28 in 2015, and T22 last April. He did place runner-up in the 2011 Masters tournament, but a lot has happened since then. While Day is among the top contenders, according to the golf betting odds, there could be better value behind him on the Masters futures board.