Betting on golf can be a very profitable endeavour, but it can also be a frustrating one. At the end of the day it’s all about picking your spots. When it comes to the 2016 edition of the Masters, starry names like Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are topping odds lists, but there’s plenty of sleeper value in the tournament if you dig deep.
The Masters is unique for many reasons. Unarguably the biggest spectacle on the golfing calendar, the event is the only one on the PGA Tour that features the same venue every year. That means golfers who consistently perform decent at the unforgiving confines of Augusta National are an attractive pick, while players with less appealing records should be fade material since they’ve proven they’ll never be able to master it.
For rookies at the course, getting invited to the Masters is a big enough win in itself. It’s definitely a huge accomplishment, however, newbies haven’t been impressive in this scenario. No golfer playing in his first ever Masters has gone on to win in the last 10 years, while seven of the previous 10 champions had participated in at least three fixtures in Georgia.
The Masters also features a much smaller field than most PGA tournaments, meaning those long shots may not be as long as you thought due to the lesser amount of participants. The typical PGA hosts 150 players, but only 100 travel to Augusta.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some potential sleeper value in this year’s Masters.
Charl Schwartzel (+3500)
The South African came out of nowhere to slip on the green jacket in 2011, and he could easily do it again this time around. Schwartzel, ranked No. 21 in the world, has been in fine form this season.
The 31-year-old recently claimed the Valspar Championship just three weeks ago and is peaking at the right time. There are more attractive names on the board, but Schwartzel has proven he can never be counted out at Augusta.
Danny Willett (+7000)
Willett made his Masters debut in 2015 and finished in a respectable 38th place. The Brit has been a monster in his home continent, highlighted by a sixth place showing at the Open Championship last year.
Willett has kept that momentum rolling this season, establishing himself as one of the game’s most exciting young players in the process. Willett had stated he would miss the major if his wife did not give birth before the event but had a change of plans after she went into labor on March 30.
The 28-year-old will face some stiff competition, but he’s definitely trending in the right direction at this point of his career, and it feels like it won’t be long until he gets his first major title under his belt.
Bill Haas (+10000)
Haas is far from a household name, but that doesn’t mean he should be overlooked. Haas is clearly comfortable in his surroundings at the tournament, as the 33-year-old finished 12th last year, 14th in 2014 and 15, 37th in 2012 and 42nd in 2011.
Haas is another player who’s in fine form heading into the highly anticipated major championship. The Charlotte native lost the Valspar in a playoff to Schwartzel, and came close at Pebble Beach (8th) and the CareerBuilder Challenge (ninth). Experience is everything at this course, and Haas has all the makings of a fantastic dark horse pick at +10000 odds.
The 80th Masters gets underway on April 7.