Masters sleeper picks, DFS plays and players to fade

One of the joys of golf betting is the sheer variety of wagers you can make beyond just picking the winner. You can bet on golfers to finish in the top 10 or top 20, or which ones will win matchups against others, or who will either make or miss the cut. And we can’t leave out daily fantasy, either, where you pick six golfers and hope that at least four of them make the cut.

We’ve already given you a list of the best bets to win the green jacket this year, but to help you fill out your Masters gambling card, here are a few more players who might not win but could still do pretty well, along with a few to fade.

Odds taken Monday via DraftKings sportsbook.

Tiger Woods says he aims to play in the Masters

Xander Schauffele (+2000 to win, $9,600 DraftKings DFS price): Schauffele’s odds suggest he’s less of a “sleeper” and more of a “contender no one really seems to be talking about,” but the defending Olympic gold medalist has to be considered here. Take away a weather-spoiled missed cut at the Players Championship and Schauffele has gone T-12, T-13, T-3, T-18 in his last four stroke-play tournaments. He also tied for third at the Masters last year — he was on the verge of catching eventual winner Hideki Matsuyama until he hit his tee shot into the water at No. 16, carding a triple bogey — and tied for second in 2019.

Russell Henley (+3500, $7,800): Henley hasn’t missed a cut since last year’s British Open, and that nice form has him back at the Masters for the first time since he tied for 15th in 2018. The Georgia native leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach this season, and good irons go a long way at Augusta National.

Shane Lowry (+5500 to win, $8,800): The 2019 British Open winner doesn’t have a very distinguished Augusta National track record, with three missed cuts in six tries and a best finish of T-21 last year. But he hasn’t finished worse than T-24 in his past six stroke-play events and has gained strokes off the tee, with his irons and — most crucially for Lowry, who is inconsistent on the greens — with his putter in each of his last three tournaments.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+5500, $7,700): The Englishman has top 10 finishes in four of his last five stroke-play events, with his one recent weakness — his irons — suddenly firing again. Fitzpatrick finished T-7 at Augusta National in 2016 but hasn’t cracked the top 20 since, though he also has made the cut every year since then. He’s in top form at just the right moment.

Joaquin Niemann (+6500, $8,200): Niemann, who is just 23 but seemingly has been around forever, has played well at courses that are seen as good comparisons to Augusta National, winning wire-to-wire earlier this year at Riviera and placing in the top five twice at the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.

Max Homa (+8000, $7,100): Homa has two missed cuts on his Masters résumé, but both came by one stroke. Maybe this is the year he can break through and make some noise on the weekend, as his recent stroke-play finishes might suggest (T-13, T-17, T-10, T-14 in his last four tournaments, with all four coming in rather strong fields). One of his three career PGA Tour wins came at Riviera, which is a good comparison to Augusta National.

Si Woo Kim (+9000, $ 7,100): Kim doesn’t have a top 10 finish since October, but if you’re looking for a cheap option to fill out your DFS lineup, he’s your guy because if there’s one thing he does well, it’s make the cut. The last time Kim failed to play the weekend at a stroke-play tournament — not counting his WD at the Players Championship — was at the Shriners in October. He has also made the cut in four consecutive Masters appearances and tied for 12th last year.

Gary Woodland (+10000, $6,900): Woodland’s game went a bit awry after his 2019 U.S. Open title, thanks mainly to a torn labrum in his left hip that was slow to heal, and he has never finished higher than a tie for 24th in nine trips to Augusta National (and that came in his first career appearance 11 years ago). But he has finished no worse than eighth in three of his past five PGA Tour events, he hits the ball a mile off the tee and he has been strong on approach and with his short game.

Jordan Spieth (+2200, $9,800): Spieth could well have gone in the first section because of his Masters track record: a win, two seconds and two thirds, including one last year. But the putter was his downfall in 2021, and his inconsistent short game has brought him back to Earth after a sizzling summer last year. Of all the players who made the cut at last weekend’s Texas Open, Spieth was next-to-last in strokes gained: putting.

Will Zalatoris (+3500, $9,200): Last year, the 25-year-old was oh-so-close to becoming the first Masters champion to win in his first attempt since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, finishing one stroke back of Hideki Matsuyama. But he did so by putting so far above his usual level that he is hard to back this year, with his overall résumé on the greens not getting any better. Zalatoris hasn’t gained strokes putting in a tournament since October.

Bryson DeChambeau (+4500, $9,100): DeChambeau has never missed the cut in five Masters starts. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he has also never finished better than T-21, which came in his first visit as an amateur in 2016. Oh, and he also has been injured all year, playing in only five 2022 tournaments (with one WD and one MC).

Sergio Garcia (+8000, $ 7,800): Garcia’s game isn’t in truly dismal shape, as he has made the cut in his last seven stroke-play tournaments. But the 2017 champion also doesn’t have a top 10 finish this calendar year, and he missed the cut in all three Masters he has played in since winning his green jacket.

Patrick Reed (+8000, $7,400): Recent green jacket winners usually make pretty good bets at the Masters, considering that course history has been a pretty good indicator of success. But Reed, the 2018 champion who also has top 10 finishes in each of the past two years, is playing so poorly right now that he just can’t be recommended. He’s been poor both off the tee and in the fairway, with three straight missed cuts preceding his tie for 26th at the Players Championship.

Who can win the green jacket? Our Masters picks.

Tiger Woods (+5000, $8,500): Gamblers are running to the window to bet Woods after he announced Tuesday that he aims to play. I cannot join them, simply because no one outside of a very small circle of people knows exactly how he’s going to handle any of this. How could you possibly predict what Woods is going to do here? Yes, few people on the planet know Augusta National better than him; Woods has five green jackets and nine other top 10s as evidence. But he is coming off catastrophic injuries, the course is a hilly minefield that’s playing longer than ever after a few holes were adjusted, and the projected wind and cold temperatures will make it play even longer. And it’s not like Woods was playing all that well before his leg needed extensive surgical reconstruction and physical therapy. His last tournament before this one was a tie for 38th at the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters, a tournament played in very forgiving November conditions. Woods shot a 4-under-par 68 and was only three shots off the lead after the first round but quickly faded, finishing 19 shots behind winner Dustin Johnson after a dismal final-round 76, his worst-ever 18 holes as a professional at Augusta National and a day that featured a 10 at the par-3 12th, his worst single-hole score as a professional.

The two tournaments that preceded that Masters were even worse, with Woods carding a U.S. Open missed cut at Winged Foot and a tie for 72nd at the Zozo Championship (only three golfers finished with a higher score at the no-cut event).

That’s the golfer Woods was before his car crash and 14 months of rehabilitation, a golfer not to be backed with any confidence, especially in DFS, where that $8,500 price tag is simply ludicrous compared with other options at that price point.

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