News & Opinion

Recent betting history goes against favorite in Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dustin Johnson is the favorite among Las Vegas oddsmakers to win his first Masters this week, but is that a good sign or a warning? 

Johnson, a 5-1 choice, has earned the bettors’ confidence after three consecutive PGA Tour victories this season and his spot as No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But recent history at Augusta National has not been kind to the favorite. Since 2008, no Vegas betting favorite at the beginning of the week sported the green jacket on Sunday.

Consider how these recent Masters favorites have fared: 

·      2008: Tiger Woods won three consecutive times early in the season and was the 13-10 favorite to win at Augusta. South African Trevor Immelman, a 150-1 longshot, won his first major championship, three strokes ahead of Woods.

·      2009: Woods again was favored, at 11-5, after a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, two weeks before the Masters. Angel Cabrera, a 125-1 choice, won the Masters in a playoff over Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry. Woods finished four shots back, tied for sixth.

·      2010: Woods was the 11-2 choice to win, but he could not shake Phil Mickelson, who entering the week at 10-1. Mickelson won by three shots over Lee Westwood, with Woods at T-4, five strokes behind.

·      2011: Mickelson was the 13-2 favorite, but Charl Schwartzel, a 100-1 longshot, won by two strokes over Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott.

·      2012: The bettors lined up behind Woods again, at 9-2, but 30-1 choice Bubba Watson slipped into the green jacket after a playoff victory against Louis Oosthuizen. Woods tied for 40th.

·      2013: Oddsmakers stuck with Woods at Augusta for the final time, at 7-2. Adam Scott, a 25-1 choice, won in a playoff over Cabrera. Woods tied for fourth but never broke 70 in four rounds.

·      2014: Rory McIlroy and Scott started the week as 10-1 co-favorites, but Watson, a 20-1 choice, won his second green jacket. McIlroy finished T-8, eight strokes behind Watson, and Scott was another shot back, at T-14.

·      2015: McIlroy, the reigning British Open and PGA champion, was a 13-2 choice to complete the career Grand Slam. Jordan Spieth, a 10-1 selection, would win his first of two consecutive major championships, by four strokes over Mickelson and Justin Rose. McIlroy finished fourth, six shots behind.

·      2016: Oddsmakers liked McIlroy, at 8-1, to break through at Augusta, but a third-round 77 would send him to a T-10 finish, six strokes behind Danny Willett, a 50-1 underdog.

Will recent history repeat itself this week, or will Johnson overcome the Las Vegas betting karma? 

Alex Miceli is the founder and publisher of Morning Read. Email: alex@morningread.com; Twitter: @AlexMiceli