Here’s a few last minute comments based on the latest developments from Augusta National and around the gambling world to help you finalize your betting cards.
1. One of the things that’s been a point of emphasis when preparing to bet on The Masters was how the weather would cooperate. On Monday we discussed the preliminary weather forecast and how that could affect certain props, but there’s been a few notable developments in the forecast that might change expectations for how the tournament will play out. Here’s the latest forecast, courtesy of accuweather.com:
- The heavy rains overnight on Wednesday that were anticipated looks like it was #FAKENEWS. The course only received about 0.1 inches of rain today and no more rain is anticipated until Saturday. The course has received very little rain over the past few weeks, so at least until Saturday, the course should play fast and firm. This news may not be received well by those who backed Rory McIlroy this week to hope he could take advantage of a damp golf course, something he’s done well at in the past. This might present a good opportunity to fade Rory in tournament matchup props. For instance, over on mybookie.ag you can grab Jordan Spieth -130 over Rory McIlroy for the tournament, a fairly reasonable price given course conditions that may now favor Spieth instead of Rory at Augusta.
- While the course will play firm and fast Friday and Saturday instead of soft like was anticipated early in the week, the winds still don’t seem like too big of a factor in the first two rounds. Winds are still holding from the NE at 6-10 MPH tomorrow, and 7-12 MPH from the SSW on Friday. With a high temperature of 70 on Thursday and 79 on Friday, course conditions mimic a bit like they were in 2010. That year, the average score the first two rounds was 73.1 and 74.5, respectively, and the cut was set at +3. My assessment on taking Under +5.5 on the cut line hasn’t changed, though if you haven’t grabbed the under by now you’ll be paying -140 on it instead of the -115 that was available at most places early in the week.
- Lastly, the weather has drastically changed for Saturday. While temperatures remain in the mid 70’s the majority of the rain is now expected to take place during the round, and the winds are now forecast to be between 15-22 MPH out of the SSW. Wind is by far the biggest obstacle that Mother Nature can throw at the players. Even though 0.3 inches of rain is expected on Saturday, with as little rain the course has received and the sub-air systems under the greens operating a full capacity the course should still be relatively dried out. It might be a complete bloodbath on Saturday, possibly mimicking course conditions during the first round last year where the average score was 75.7. Early in the week, I had indicated that I liked the winning score to be under 277.5, but Saturday is now a complete wildcard to the outcome of the tournament. Unfortunately, my bet has already been placed but you can save yourself if you were still mulling this prop over. Right now I’d say this prop is a stay away. But as Over 277.5 stands at some places at +110, if that creeps up a little higher I may be tempted to lean the over.
2. Tiger Woods is getting a ton of love in the week leading up to the Masters, and we’re seeing some line movement as his backers’ money start pouring in on him. Last night on the podcast we discussed the “Will Tiger Woods make an Eagle” prop, which at the time stood at Yes at +125 and No at -165. After news spread that Tiger made two eagles at 13 and 15 during his practice round, the line has now moved at some books to Yes at +105 and No at -135.
Similarly, the Tiger Woods “Hit Fairway” prop (which was discussed earlier in the week) also saw some Tiger support and has shifted the line in favor of Yes at some books.
I would imagine that as more bettors get caught up in Tiger Fever and give in against their better judgments, props like those and tournament matchups involving him may continue to shift in Tiger’s favor. If you’re someone who is fading Tiger Woods and hasn’t yet put down their bets, I advise waiting until the last minute before doing so. You’ll probably get a better price going against Tiger with the shifting markets by being a little more patient than you would by acting now.
Conversely, if you’re a Tiger truther but haven’t yet acted, time is ticking…
3. In yesterday’s winner’s column and on the podcast last night Kevin Chappell was discussed as a very viable option for DraftKings lineups this week. After my touting, Ryan Kramer, host of the Sports Gambling Podcast, asked me if I was concerned at all about Kevin Chappell’s injury, to which I was a little confused about what he was referring to.
I’m not afraid to admit when I make a mistake in the space, and indeed I did overlook that Kevin Chappell withdrew from the WGC Match Play two weeks ago due to a back injury.
Does this mean you should run away from Chappell in any of your DFS or Office Pools this weekend? Not quite. The WD deserves a bit of context. For one, we’ve seen players who are eliminated before the end of pool play cite an injury and mysteriously withdraw, only to come back the next week as if nothing happened. When Chappell withdrew, he was 1-1 and facing a 2-0 Ian Poulter and was three down through 8 holes when he pressed the eject button. Maybe decided to call it quits, take his $65.5K check just for showing up and hit the bricks.
If he really did suffer an injury, we don’t know exactly when he did. Did he suffer the back injury against Poulter, or during his 7&6 shellacking at the hands of Tommy Fleetwood the day before? The latter would make sense given how badly he was vanquished by Fleetwood. If that’s so, he felt at least well enough the following day to tee it up against Poulter, but because he was already down 3 it’s possible he decided that he didn’t want to push it any further and called it quits to try and stay healthy for The Masters.
It’s been two weeks since then, and there really hasn’t been any update on his back injury. By all accounts, though, he’s a go for tomorrow.
Basically…there’s just a lot we don’t know.
I think he’s still safe to leave in your DFS lineups, but if you were heavily relying on him or if you just don’t want to risk a mid-round WD tomorrow or Friday there’s a few options to swap him out to limit exposure. You could swap him out for someone like Cameron Smith at $6,900. He’s a good iron player and made the cut in his lone Master’s appearance in 2016, and if it weren’t for a 3rd round 82 might have had a Top 25 finish instead of the T55 he had. Or if you have some extra room in your budget you could upgrade to someone like Ryan Moore at $7,000, who has made 9/11 cuts at Augusta and comes into the Masters in solid form.