It’s the first full week of April, which means it’s time for The Masters to tee off at the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club. I like to call it my adult spring break where I gather with friends and watch all the drama unfold through each round. It’s the only golf tournament of the year I watch wire-to-wire and I haven’t even golfed myself in 25 years, but I have really grown to love and respect the American tradition.
Beyond the adult beverages consumed and friendships gained during this break, what really completes my annual Masters experience is having wagers on a couple golfers and making a few prop bets, which means a visit to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook is in store to tackle the most expansive golf betting menu in Vegas.
SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman is the architect of all the wonderful golf odds and he’s been doing it better than anyone for the past 25 years. I talked with him on Sunday while he was formulating his dozens of props and asked him how the wagering was going so far, and also to pick his brain on a few golfers that might have some value.
“We’ve had the most tickets written on Dustin Johnson (5/1), Phil Mickelson (20/1), Jordan Spieth (7/1), but the most cash wagered has been on Dustin, Spieth and (Rory) McIlroy (8/1),” Sherman said.
Mickelson is a three-time Masters winner and Spieth tied a record 18 under par in his 2015 win, but both Johnson and McIlroy are looking for their first green jacket.
“The most consistent golfer so far this season has been Dustin Johnson,” said Sherman. “He’s won his past three events and has been sixth or better in six of seven this year.”
Sherman also says to watch out for Jon Rahm, who he’s dropped from 80-to-1 all the way down to 20-to-1.
“He’s been consistent throughout and has a top-five finish in four of his past five, including a Farmer’s Open win. He’s really been on a roll. However, this course can be real tough for first timers. Last year at this time he was playing for Arizona State.”
While respecting current form, Sherman also says it’s important to keep note of who has the best current course form.
“Spieth really has Augusta figured out,” he said. “In his first three starts he’s finished second, first and second.”
Spieth has finished 12th or worse in three tournaments since winning at Pebble Beach and is the second choice to win (7/1) just because of his course strength.
The favorite when Westgate’s Masters odds were first posted in August was Jason Day (7/1), who ended 2016 ranked No. 1 in the world, but his odds have jumped up to 15-to-1 with few takers.
“Day pulled out of Match Play to take care of his mother who has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and he hasn’t announced whether he’ll play or not. He’s had a subpar season so far with only one top-10 finish.”
Sherman has a couple long shot golfers he says could fare well.
“Some guys have long odds not because they’re not good, but because they just don’t get bet a lot, but one of those guys that did get bet a lot is Tyrrell Hatton, who was at 150-to-1 odds and has been adjusted down to 60-to-1. Another guy getting some attention is Adam Hadwin, who won a tournament a few weeks ago to qualify.”
Sherman has all 94 golfers listed to win, meaning there is no field bet, and Hadwin was first posted at 100-to-1 and is now 80-to-1. One of those golfers not getting action has been defending Masters champion Danny Willett, who opened at 50-to-1 and is now 125-to-1.
“Willett just isn’t getting any support and that’s because he’s not in very good form right now. He’s missed the cut twice already this season, was 39th in Match Play and 69th in Mexico. His odds are the highest for a defending champ I can remember. Trevor Immelman was close in 2009 at around 85-to-1.”
Sherman says the wagering volume has been outstanding, but not having Tiger Woods playing has an effect on handle.
“We’d certainly have more action if Tiger was playing, but I like the state of golf now. The game is so young now, so competitive compared to the days when Tiger was at his best. I think what we’re seeing now is the best I’ve ever seen the game.”
If you’re looking to join someone’s Masters party, the Westgate is the place to be with like-minded individuals passionate about the event. They’ve set up the smoke-free Fan Cave as “Links Central” and will have dedicated sound to the Masters and the HD screens will have all the DirecTV feeds displayed, which includes one feed fixed on the 15th and 16th holes.
Sherman will create matchups for each round, updated odds to win and have in-progress wagering during Sunday’s final round. Enjoy the party!