PGA Betting Guide to Specials and Props for The Masters

Brandon Gdula recently covered his picks for this week's outright winners at The Masters, ranging from favorites to dark horses. But here, I'll be highlighting some betting values for everything else. After all, golf is incredibly difficult to pinpoint winners, as only one guy can hoist the trophy at the end of the week. Specials offer bettors the delightful experience of maintaining a rooting interest beyond just the man at the top of the leaderboard.

We'll break it down into the categories offered over at FanDuel Sportsbook. Now, let's go hunting for cash!

All stats come from Fantasy National Golf Club and are for golfers over their last 50 rounds as ranked in this field.

Finishing Position

Bettors can go an entire season with a good process and fail to nab even a single outright winner on the PGA Tour. Natural variance in the game and the remarkably deep pool of talent, not just from America but across the globe, make picking a single winner at any given event quite difficult to pull off.

Take last week's winner, Corey Conners. He wasn't even in the field until qualifying earlier in the week, and he goes out and wins the Valera Texas Open at odds as long as 150/1. Meanwhile, Tommy Fleetwood is the 13th-ranked player in the world and has never won on the PGA Tour.

Enter finishing position props.

In order to determine which golfers present good value, we'll need to set a baseline for where golfers should be priced based on their overall win odds. We'll start by assuming the betting odds for outright winners are efficient and correct. They have the tall buildings, so let's give them due credit that they can rate the outright field better than we can.

There are 87 golfers in the field, so to find our baseline we should assess the shortest, median, and longest odds and see how they compare in each position tier. For example, Rory McIlroy is currently the odds-on favorite to win The Masters at +650. The 43rd-longest odds (our median) are owned by Charles Howell at +19000. And I'll cap the longest odds at +65000. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has five golfers at +100000, but no one is (or should be) betting them, and that wide of a margin at the back end is basically meaningless. To put a face to it, we'll go with Satoshi Kodaira, who won the RBC Heritage the week after last year's Masters.

McIlroy is +135 to finish Top 5. His Top 5 value quotient is 20 basis points (a simple math problem: 135 divided by 650). We will want to find golfers who present a number as close to 1.00 as possible, but since McIlroy is the class of the field we will mostly be looking to find golfers in lower ranges (offering better payouts) who are as close to or better than his 20 basis points.

Golfer Outright Odds Finishing Position Odds Value Quotient
Rory McIlroy +650 Top 5 +135 0.21
Top 10 -165 -0.25
Top 20 -420 -0.65
Top 30 -750 -1.15
Top 40 -1500 -2.31
Charles Howell +19000 Top 5 +2600 0.14
Top 10 +900 0.05
Top 20 +320 0.02
Top 30 +145 0.01
Top 40 -140 -0.01
Satoshi Kodaira +65000 Top 5 +9500 0.15
Top 10 +3400 0.05
Top 20 +1200 0.02
Top 30 +1000 0.02
Top 40 +500 0.01

As you can see, McIlroy is a better Top 5 bet than either Howell or Kodaira, but he is a worse bet in every other category. He may be a lock to finish in the top 40, but given how steep the price is, it is not a bet worth making. Based off this limited and crude data set, the value likely lies in top 10s and top 20s for golfers in the middle range of outright odds.

Top 5

Tony Finau (+850) - Finau finished inside the top 10 in his Augusta debut last year despite a gruesome ankle injury. He is 10th in total strokes gained over his last 50 rounds and comes in with the 17th-highest win odds. At outright odds of +4000, he has a value quotient of 21.25 basis points.

Charley Hoffman (+2200) - He proved his top 5 chops at the Valero Texas Open with a solo second, and his T12 finish here last year is something to build on. At +10000 to win outright, he has a value quotient of 22.00 basis points.

Top 10

Dustin Johnson (+100) and Justin Rose (+105) - While Rory veers into the negative for a top 10, Johnson and Rose sport a value quotient of 9.00 and 8.75 basis points, respectively. Significantly higher than McIlory's market-leading baseline and well above the middle or long market, close to even money odds for a top 10 is extremely juicy for both of these studs.

Bubba Watson (+280) - Watson is a two-time winner and finished in fifth place last year. He's coming off a fourth place at the Valspar, and if his off-the-tee game is on, he has as much confidence as anyone in the field. His value quotient for a top 10 is 8.50 basis points.

Top 20

Xander Schauffele (+125) - Schauffele is fourth in total strokes gained over the last 50 rounds and is known to thrive in strong fields like the majors and THE PLAYERS. He finished T50 in his Masters debut last year, but his all-around game should help him improve significantly with a few rounds under his belt. He has a value quotient of 3.13 basis points for a top 20.

Louis Oosthuizen (+130) - The South African has three top-20 finishes in his last four trips to Augusta, and coming off a second-place finish at the Valspar Championship, as well as a strong showing in Match Play, his game is rounding into from just in time. He has a value quotient of 3.25 basis points.

Phil Mickelson (+150) - Mickelson knows Augusta well, and as he proved with a win and runner-up finish so far this year, the young guns have not left Phil in the dust -- at least yet. His value quotient of 3.33 basis points stands out even though he has not booked a top-20 Masters finish since he was runner-up in 2015.


Given how many golfers will be vying for Top American, keep in mind that the top finisher is likely to be in the top 5 or even win. Unless you feel overwhelmingly confident in McIlroy or Rose at the top of the market, skip the American section and just bet DJ, Tiger Woods, or Rickie Fowler to win outright. There's more of a return and value in it.

The same goes for Top European and Top Rest of World, where the odds are better to just pick your favorites to win the whole thing.

Top Asian Player: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+650) - Aphibarnrat makes his Official World Golf Ranking bones on the Asian Tour, though he's no unknown out there anymore, after appearing at majors and WGC events for the past year. He is feast or famine, with four missed cuts and two top-5s in his last eight events. But Aphibarnrat stands out as the best value because of the market on favorite Hideki Matsuyama (-105), which is too short for someone putting so poorly heading into The Masters.

Top Australian Player: Adam Scott (+250) - Scott is the only man in this region with a green jacket, though he was lowest finisher of this crew in 2018. His game is coming back to him, and with three top-12 finishes in his last five events I expect him to contend this week. He is good value at the third-highest odds in the four-man Aussie group.

Top English Player: Matt Wallace (+1600) - This is another loaded group, but Wallace stands out strictly for his ability to rise up the leaderboard. American audiences saw glimpses of it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but his European Tour chops are unimpeachable. He has three wins and two runner-ups since the start of 2018.


FanDuel offers five groups of some of the world's best golfers where all the bettor needs to do is pick which golfer will end up with the best finish of the group of four specific golfers. It doesn't matter what place they come in with or even if they make the cut, as long as they finish higher than the rest of the group.

Group B: Rickie Fowler (+260) over Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas - Fowler was runner up last year, and if not for Patrick Reed's unwavering consistency would have charged from the back of the field to win his first major. He's a prime candidate again this year, and though this group is stacked, I'd take Fowler head to head over anyone outside the top three this week.

Group E: Bubba Watson (+230) over Matt Kuchar, Marc Leishman and Tony Finau - Bubba's game just has so much upside that I don't think anyone in this group -- outside of maybe Finau -- can keep up with him if he's on. He's the rightful favorite in this group, and since the odds are all so close he represents the best value.