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The Masters Sleeper Picks: Pamela’s Best Long Shots to Win

The 2021 Masters gets underway at Augusta National this week for the first major of the calendar year. It also marks the return of the tournament back to its normal spot in April after we saw Dustin Johnson absolutely dominate the field in November.

DJ will be looking to defend his title after finishing 20 under par in the fall, setting the all-time scoring record by two strokes. Of the 89 players in the field, 18 have previously won the coveted green jacket. All of the top-10 players will be in the field, but it’s not the top-10 players or the previous winners that I am here to consider. Instead, I am here to offer some of the best long-shot options to do well this week.

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In the field will be three amateurs: Joe Long, Charles Osborne and Tyler Strafaci, plus three pros, Carlos Ortiz, Will Zalatoris and Robert MacIntyre, who will all be making their Masters debut.

It’s actually really tough for a long shot to win. One tidbit from Sports Odds History is that only four winners since 1985 had odds of 100-1 (+10000) or higher. Every other winner has been no higher than 50-1. Bah humbug! These are the players I think can have a stellar Masters week. To be specific, I am considering anyone outside of the 50-1 range, which leaves a good bunch to consider.

Sergio Garcia

  • Top 20 +175
  • Top 10 +400
  • Top 5 +900
  • To Win +6600

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I think this will be a ball striker’s week. If the course is playing firm, then putting could be made difficult for anyone, no matter how good a putter you are. So then, I’m looking to those who can hit well off the tee and with their irons – basically, have a good tee-to-green stat. 

Garcia ranks fourth in tee-to-green, has gained strokes ball striking in his last four events, has good recent form and good course history.

After winning the Sanderson Farms in October, he took ninth at the Players Championship in March but did hold the Round 1 lead after shooting a 65, closing his round with birdie-eagle-birdie.

Other notable finishes:

  • 21st at the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek, Oct. 2020
  • 11th at Sentry Tournament of Champions, Jan. 2021
  • 5th at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, March 2021

Plus, he has all the Masters experience, having played Augusta 21 times. Having not played in November, he did miss the cut in both 2019 and 2018 but won in 2017. Combined, he has six top-25 finishes and four top-10s, and has made the cut in 14.

Be sure to check out our breakdowns of the Masters Odds and Masters prop bets for more of the best betting markets of 2021.

Corey Conners

  • Top 20 +190
  • Top 10 +175
  • Top 5 +1200
  • To Win +10000

How does a guy who took 10th at the November Masters and is top 10 off the tee, approach, tee-to-green and 11th in SG Total and in fantastic form have odds this high? Connors has gained strokes ball striking and tee-to-green in 10 straight events and gained strokes total in eight of his last 10. This has yielded him, since October, nine top-20s out of 14 events, five top-10s and a third-place finish at the Genesis Invitational. This would be his fourth trip here with a missed cut in 2015, 46th in 2019 and, as mentioned, 10th in November. His putting was always his trouble part but he has gained strokes putting in four of his last six events. He is 125th in scrambling but if his irons are hot, hopefully that can wash some of that away.

Will Zalatoris

  • Top 20 +175
  • Top 10 +500
  • Top 5 +1200
  • To Win +12500

If I am considering iron play, I’m looking to a crazy good iron player – my boy Will Zalatoris. If you look at both 2020 and 2021, he is third in SG APP behind only Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa. He’s fourth in T2G behind those two plus Jon Rahm and ninth in SG Total behind players like Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau. Pretty good for a guy coming off the Korn Ferry Tour.

His ball striking is there; if he can just wake up with a hot putter, he can be in contention. Since his sixth-place finish at the U.S. Open, he’s played 13 events – 10 of those have been top-25s, five have been top-10s.

Yes, he is making his Masters debut but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a player making his Masters debut can excel. We did just see Sungjae Im finish T-2 in November. The difference, though: Sungjae can putt.

Jason Kokrak

  • Top 20 +275
  • Top 10 +750
  • Top 5 +1600
  • To Win +15000

Let’s eliminate Match Play for a second because stat tracking for that is not entirely accurate considering holes don’t have to be played out. Though, yes, it is necessary to point out that Kokrak did lose strokes in every category except for putting. However, Kokrak is an “exceeds expectations” type of player. Prior to his Austin stint, he had three straight rounds of gaining strokes ball striking of at least 3.6 or better, gained around the green and putting in two of three.

He’s top 40 in birdie or better percentage, tee-to-green, and eighth in ball striking, if you can believe it. The November Masters was his debut performance and it was a dud with a missed cut, having shot 5 over par in Round 2.

Since the June restart, he has eight missed cuts, not ideal, but does also have 10 top-20s, including six top-10s. He finished third last June at the Charles Schwab, sixth at the BMW in August, and won the CJ Cup in October. His recent top 10s came at the WGC Workday, Arnold Palmer and Players. He’s not new to the big stage and clearly capable.

Ryan Palmer

  • Top 20 +325
  • Top 10 +900
  • Top 5 +2000
  • To Win +150000

Palmer is 20th in ball striking. In the field, he ranks 12th in par-5 scoring, he’s 15th in birdie or better percentage, 29th in tee-to-green, and 23rd in scrambling.

This is his first trip to Augusta since 2015 but this will also be his sixth appearance. In those five prior trips, he does have two missed cuts, 33rd- and 39th-place finishes and his best was 10th back in 2011.

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He is playing with some good mojo right now, though. Since September, he has played 12 tournaments – seven have been top-20s and three have been top-10s, including a fourth at the Zozo, fourth at the Sentry and second at the Farmers in January. He is coming into this week having placed 17th in three straight events, one of which was the Players, and gaining strokes off the tee and putting in all three.

Looking for some mega-mega long shots?

Victor Perez

  • Top 20 +450
  • Top 10 +1100
  • Top 5 +2200
  • To Win +20000

Perez made his Masters debut in November with a 46th-place finish. Eliminate his Round 3 score of 76 and he did pretty well for his first time. Hailing from France, he doesn’t play in the States too often. On the European tour, he did take fourth in Saudi Arabia in February and seventh in December in Dubai.

He’s played just six events in the States since September but in back-to-back weeks has really surprised, taking ninth at the Players and fourth at WGC Match Play, defeating players like Marc Leishman, Sungjae Im and Sergio Garcia.

In these last two events, he gained four and six strokes ball striking, doing well both off the tee and with his irons, and gained strokes putting. He lost five strokes around the green at Match Play but he’s coming into this with some rhythm and if his irons hold steady, he could surprise once again.

CT Pan

  • Top 20 +700
  • Top 10 +1600
  • Top 5 +4000
  • To Win +30000

My super mega long shot is Pan, kind of for one reason only and it’s not because of his stellar stats. He’s all over the place but he took seventh in his November Masters debut and is coming into this week having placed third at the Honda Classic in March, gaining strokes in every category. Momentum at the right time?

Perhaps not every player is a good long shot to win but they would make for some good top-20 and top-10 options. Consider these players for some small pizza money wagers.