We’re about six weeks out from the first major golf tournament of the year, which seems like a time to look at some Masters best bets, and in particular, a few futures.
For now, let’s look ahead to Augusta and one of my favorite outright-winner bets.
There are a few trends that recent Masters winners or so have followed over the past decade:
- Have a Top 10 at Augusta on your resume
- Make the cut the previous year (Patrick Reed was the exception last year)
- Don’t be the defending champion
- Top 30 OWGR (but not #1)
- Be younger than 40
If we follow all of those rules, I think there’s some real value on this future:
The Pick: Cameron Smith (+8000)
There aren’t a ton of options at long odds that fit all of that criteria, but Smith is one of them.
The 25-year-old Aussie has made a couple of starts at Augusta over the past few years, getting into the 2016 Masters thanks to his T4 finish at Chambers Bay during the 2015 US Open. That year, Smith was T33 heading into the weekend but blew up on Saturday with an 82 to fall out of it. He didn’t earn an invite in 2017 but got in as one of the Top 50 Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) golfers last year.
In 2018, he was in the thick of things from the start.
After a first round 71, he was in 16th place and climbed the leaderboard as the week went on all the way to a fifth-place finish thanks to his 66 on Sunday.
If you’ve followed any of my work, you know that I put very little stock into course history, but I make an exception for Augusta. The pressure of playing there is real, and guys making their debut rarely play well there, but Smith is two-for-two and showed strongly last year.
The beauty of futures is that we can get numbers that we’d never get on a golfer the week of an event.
The negative to that is that we don’t know exactly how our guy will be playing when the event actually rolls around. All we have to go off of right now is his current form, and there’s a lot to like with Cam Smith.
From the Masters to the PGA Championship last year, Smith had trouble putting his game together. In that stretch, he made nine starts but only made five cuts. Something clicked after the PGA Championship, though, and he caught fire.
The Aussie made 13 starts that have resulted in 10 top-25 finishes, including a victory at the Australian PGA Championship, where he outdueled Marc Leishman down the stretch.
Last week, he finished T6 at the WGC Mexico Championship, and these +8000 odds are just too low for a man of his talent and form.