Golf betting notebook: Major wagers already rolling in on 2020 Masters

The Masters is golf's first major
AP PHOTO/CHARLIE RIEDEL
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The Azaleas at Augusta National may be dormant, but the big bets for the 2020 Masters are not.

In August, CG Technology sportsbooks in Nevada posted odds to win the Masters, opening Dustin Johnson as the 9/1 favorite, ahead of Brooks Koepka at 10/1. The sportsbook took an immediate $5,000 bet on Koepka, and after several more bets on the world No. 1, moved him to the 7/1 favorite.

The sportsbook operator, which listed 99 golfers and a “field” option on its Masters futures board, also accepted a $2,000 bet on the “field” at 25/1.

Based on betting handle for the 2019 Masters, this is only the beginning of major wagers across the nation. Last season, a bettor in Las Vegas placed an $85,000 wager on Tiger Woods to win at 14/1 odds that resulted in a net win of $1,190,000.

How golf bookmakers treat the slow season

The PGA Tour has a year-round schedule, but in the fall, when star golfers aren’t dominating leaderboards and the betting handle decreases, golf oddsmakers spend time preparing for next season. Part of that is adjusting futures odds.

“Adjustments to Masters odds are made based on betting volume and the recent play of golfers,” CG Technology’s golf oddsmaker Richard Zanco told BetIndiana News. “For example, Joaquin Niemann recently won at the Greenbrier, and we adjusted his Masters odds down based on that. People like to bet on the here and now. They see somebody win a tournament and they kind of just assume they are live for a major. They love guys like Patrick Cantlay (who won the Memorial in June), and if he wins soon, or gets top two or three, I’m going to have to lower his Masters odds, which are 30/1 (as of early October).”

CG Technology was the first sportsbook in Las Vegas to post outright odds for golf’s second major of 2020, the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. The usual suspects – Koepka, Johnson, Rory McIlroy – sit atop that oddsboard.

Aussie to watch

One golfer Zanco suggests bettors keep an eye on ahead of the 2020 majors is Australian Cameron Smith. The 26-year-old has just one PGA Tour win to his name (2017 Zurich Classic with partner Jonas Blixt) but has top-five finishes at the 2018 Masters and 2015 U.S. Open.

“He hasn’t been in form of late, but he’s got a great golf coach and actually showed up (T20) in the most-recent British Open,” Zanco said. “I could see him getting hot before returning home for the Presidents’ Cup and carrying it over to the rest of the season.”

Smith is making his first appearance in the Presidents’ Cup, which pits Team USA against the International team Dec. 12-15. International captain Ernie Els said Smith’s familiarity with the course at Royal Melbourne is key to his team beating the Americans for only the second time in 21 years.

On the oddsboard, the International team is a +240 underdog (bet $100 to win $240) to beat the U.S. (-270, or bet $270 to win $100), which is captained by Tiger Woods and features stars Johnson, Koepka, Justin Thomas and more.

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