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2021 Masters Tips & Predictions: Justin Thomas can bag his first Green Jacket

2021 Masters Tips & Predictions: Justin Thomas heads our selections
2021 Masters Tips & Predictions: Justin Thomas heads our selections

Resident tipster Russell Palmer has selected his three to follow this week at the Masters, the first major of the season...

You wait ages for one Masters to come along and then you have two in the space of six months. Yep, it's Masters time already, my favourite week of the golfing year and only 21 weeks ago we were treated to an Autumn Masters postponed from this time last year due to the global pandemic.

Back in it's rightful place in the calendar, we can expect Augusta to be full of the spring colours which are synonymous with the venue plus there will also be a small amount of patrons watching.

It looks like being a fascinating betting event and I've picked out three players who are all up around the top of the betting this week, for an event where the cream usually rises to the top.  

The Market leaders

At the top of the betting is world number one and last year's winner Dustin Johnson who is pretty weak in the market at 9/1.

Johnson picked up his second major title here in November and whilst his best is the best, his recent form makes him easy enough to oppose in such a competitive field. His last three starts read 54-48-24 and with the added pressure of being the reigning champ I'm overlooking him this week.

Can Bryson overpower Augusta? Second favourite in the betting at 11/1, Dechambeau was all the rage coming into the 2020 tournament having recently winning the US Open but he slumped to a T34. In fact, Bryson's best finish at Augusta in four tournaments in 21st and although he comes in off the back of a win five weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer he's another I'm happy to take on.

Also an 11/1 chance is Jordan Spieth, as big as 66/1 a couple of months ago, the Texan rounded off some really good performances in 2021 with a win on Sunday in the Valero Texas Open. Winner here in 2015 and four top five finishes in his seven visits, he's obviously got claims but I can't have him at the prices.

At 12/1 this week is Jon Rahm who was very close to being a pick this week. Rahm had publicly said he may miss the event due to the impending birth of his son, who was in fact born on Saturday. I'm of the opinion that it could go either way with Rahm upon this news, we've seen the baby boost before in golf but he's not had many days to get his head around it and I just wonder if mentally he has what it takes to get it done in a major. I hope I'm wrong but not this week.

Rory McIlroy looks a big price this week at 18/1 on a course where he has six top ten finishes in his last seven visits. The Northern Irishman also has three top tens in his last eight tournaments but you feel as though there's still something missing from his game. At 18's I'm pretty tempted to get involved but it's been a while now since we've seen Rory at his best and in such a competitive field on a course which has found him wanting at the sharp end I'm leaving him here.

Of the rest in the top echelon of the betting, Patrick Cantlay might be a popular pick this week at 22/1. The American finished 9th here in 2019 and has been consistently good this season. Brooks Koepka is a 25/1 chance but off the back of recent surgery it's hard to know what we'll get from him whilst I don't think Xander Schauffele can putt well enough at Augusta to win (25/1).

So the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice there's one name I've omitted at the top of the betting and I've got a full write up on him plus two others at bigger prices below.

2021 Masters Selections

Golf betting tips
2021 Masters at a glance
2021 Masters at a glance
Justin Thomas to win
12/1
Odds correct as of 2021-04-05 17:05 Odds subject to change.

I'm really strong on Justin Thomas this week. A player who is improving on every visit to Augusta, his fourth place here in November was his best return so far (39-22-17-12-4). The American has had plenty of looks at the course now and he has the all round game to win at Augusta National.

His recent form has picked up following a difficult spell at the start of the year and was an impressive winner at The Players Championship four weeks ago.

Augusta's key stats point at very much it being a second shot course and this is where Thomas excels, ranking second in the field for shots gained approaching the green this season. Ranking 5th for shots gained tee to green and top 15 for shots gained around the green, the world number two has the game and the mentality to get it done this week.

At 12/1 I'm taking him to win best price with William Hill, but note that a lot of the bookies are paying extra places this week.

Golf odds
Webb Simpson each-way (10 places)
35/1
Odds correct as of 2021-04-05 17:05 Odds subject to change.

Second up I really liked the price about Webb Simpson at 35/1 with Paddy Power paying 10 places.

The American kind of slips under the radar as he's a fuss free, quiet and unspectacular individual but he's a serial winner on the PGA Tour and can add to his major tally of one, winning the US Open in 2012.

Simpson's record at Augusta is also sneaky good carding two top tens in his last two visits and I just think he looks a value play given the players he's around at a similar price.

Whilst he's not as long off the tee as we'd ideally like here, he makes up for that being an excellent iron player and around the green, ranking 8th for shots gained around the green and 15th for shots gained putting this season.

He has four top tens on the PGA Tour this season and like I said, he knows how to get it done, already a major winner and seven PGA Tour wins in total including high profile events like The Players Championship and a FedEx Cup play-off. Not forgetting he's in the top ten in the world and to see him priced in the same bracket as Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey and Sung-Jae Im I'd take Simpson against those guys and at these prices. 

Max Homa each-way (8 places)
90/1
Odds correct as of 2021-04-05 17:10 Odds subject to change.

Last up I'm going to take a bit of a flyer on Max Homa who is a 90/1 chance with Bet365 paying down to eight places.

He doesn't have a heap of experience at the course but he had a look in November where he missed the cut. But what I like about the American is that he has a couple of PGA Tour wins on courses which correlate in style and results with Augusta.

A winner at the Riviera Country Club (The Genesis) as seven weeks ago for example, a course which can boast former winners who have also donned the Green Jacket such as Bubba Watson three times and Adam Scott twice. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson (twice), Mike Weir (twice) all the way back to the likes of Nick Faldo, Fred Couples and beyond.

The 30-year-old's stats are solid enough, he's in good form, eight top 25s from 15 events played this season including three top tens. At 90/1 he's giving us some each-way interest paying all the way down to eight places.

Best of the rest

With so much course form to go on there's plenty in the field I like to go well at bigger prices. I'm pretty tempted to have a saver on Jon Rahm for reasons already mentioned at the top of this article, but I also like the chances of the following to go well.

Cameron Smith has two top five finishes here in his last three visits but I think the 40/1 about his chances are just a tad too slim. I backed Marc Leishman earlier in the year at 100/1 and whilst his form is a heap better than it was in 2020 you can back him at 110/1 in places which I think is a good bet.

Left handers have reaped rewards at Augusta down the years with Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir all champions on a course which sets up well for players working the ball right to left. Brian Harman caught the eye in the Matchplay a couple of weeks ago and whilst he's pretty short off the tee I'd like him to have a decent run at it at big prices and perhaps in a top lefty category if the bookies price that up.

Will Zalatoris looks like being a lock in the top debutant market whilst like Harman, Matt Kuchar found something at the WGC Matchplay that brings him back into the conversation at a big price on a course where he has a bunch of top tens.

As ever, good luck with your bets if you're following and please gamble responsibly.

Follow me at Twitter @rustyboy75.

2021 form:

Winners

  • Daniel Berger - Pebble Beach Pro-am - advised at 14/1

Placed

  • Colin Morikawa - T7 Sony Open In Hawaii - advised at 14/1
  • Xander Schauffele - T5 Sentry Tournament of Champions - advised at 10/1
  • Russell Henley - T3 Honda Classic - advised at 30/1
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