Ah, Augusta—your dogwoods and pines. They play on my mind like a song. It’s impossible to not wax poetic about the Masters, with its picture-perfect combination of history, geography and season, played on a course millions know intimately even if they’ve never been there. The azaleas, the hand-operated scoreboards, Amen Corner, the green jacket—there’s no other place, and no other event, quite like it.
For sports bettors visiting US sports betting sites and golf aficionados alike, the Masters brings a jolt of springtime energy as the first major championship of the year. Played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., the Masters is the only major that’s always held on the same course. Of the four majors, it also has the smallest field—just 91 players will be at the 2022 tournament at the time of writing. The field, as always, shapes up as a mix of old and young, American and international, and well-known contenders and unknown amateurs.
Players earn invitations by recording a high finish in a major, winning certain PGA tournaments or amateur events, or achieving a ranking inside the top 50 in the world, among other ways. Past Masters winners earn lifetime invitations, though most older champions choose not to play. Part of the beauty of the event is that it’s the only major you can find Jon Rahm, Larry Mize and Asian amateur champ Keita Nakajima all teeing it up together.
The Masters’ position as the first major of the year, along with its worldwide appeal, leads to a bounty of betting markets and betting offers. There’s a wager for everyone, beginning with the most obvious—picking the tournament winner—which promises a big payoff but is still very hard to do even in an event with such a relatively small field.
Major championships like the Masters lead sportsbooks to offer a range of wagers that typically aren’t available for week-to-week PGA tournaments, giving bettors more options and more opportunities to win. In addition to wagering on players to win, bettors can also back players to finish inside the top five, top 10, top 20 or even top 40, although the potential payoff goes down as the chances of winning rise. Bettors can also wager on players to make or miss the cut, which comes after the second round, when the field is reduced in size.
For big events like the Masters, sportsbooks also typically offer group betting options, in which you back a player to finish with the best score in a group of four or five players, either for the round or for the tournament. There are also “two-ball” and “three-ball” options, where bettors can pick someone to finish with the lowest score among a group of two or three players. The more players involved in the group bet, the better the potential payoff, and scores relative to the other players in the group are all that matter. Some bookmakers will also typically have new customer betting offers for those signing up with betting sites in the leadup to the Masters.
Given the strong amateur and international presence at the Masters, sportsbooks also usually offer wagers like highest-finishing amateur or highest-finishing player from a specific country—such as Spain, Great Britain, Australia or South Korea. Sometimes sportsbooks will offer bets like highest-finishing past champion, or top player over 50. And then there are fun prop bets that have nothing to do with who wins. These can have a special Masters flair like whether there will be a hole-in-one at the notorious par-3 12th, or a double-eagle on the azalea-lined par-5 13th.
Sportsbooks place odds on players based on how likely they are to win, and the potential payoff for backing tournament favorites will be less than wagering on a participant further down the board. At the same time, though, those odds can vary by sportsbook, so it pays to shop around and find the most favorable odds at UK betting sites or whichever country you’re betting from. Choosing odds of +1200 at one sportsbook over +1000 at another can mean a difference of $200 for every $100 wagered.
Who are the top contenders in this year’s Masters? Here’s a look, featuring their odds to win at the time of writing:
Jon Rahm (+800): The Spaniard has been fantastic at Augusta, finishing ninth or better in each of the last four years. The champion of last year’s U.S. Open has the pressure of winning that first major at last off his back and enters on the heels of four top-10 finishes in eight starts this year. He starts as favorite, but history suggests, the favorite often struggles at the Masters.
Scottie Scheffler (+1200): He may not be a household name, but Scheffler is No. 1 in the world after winning on three of his past five starts, most recently at the World Golf Championship match play event. He’s finished tied for 18th and 19th in two previous Masters appearances.
Justin Thomas (+1400): The steady Thomas has four top-10 finishes in seven starts this season, the best being a tie for third at Innisbrook in the Valspar Championship. His top finish is fourth at the Masters, where in seven appearances he’s never missed the cut.
Cameron Smith (+1400): It’s been a breakthrough season for Smith, whose two wins this season include the prestigious Players Championship. The Australian is also very good at Augusta, with three career top-10 finishes including a tie for second in 2020.
Dustin Johnson (+1600): Johnson has finished 10th or better in five of his last six Masters starts, a run that includes a victory in 2020. He’s rebounded from a rocky start to the 2022 season to card top 10s in three of his last five events.
Rory McIlroy (+1600): Always a favorite among bettors at Augusta, particularly those browsing Irish betting sites, McIlroy missed the cut last year after finishing seventh or better in four of his previous six starts. His uneven 2022 results include a third in Dubai and a 33rd at the Players.
Brooks Koepka (+1800): The four-time major champion has slid to 19th in the world after missing three cuts this season, though he rebounded to finish tied for fifth in the WGC match play event. Before missing the cut last year at Augusta, he had finished second and seventh in his previous two starts.
Viktor Hovland (+1800): A victory in Dubai, a runner-up finish at Bay Hill and a ninth-place result at The Players have vaulted Hovland to fourth in the world. In two previous Masters appearances, his best finish has been 21st.
Collin Morikawa (+2000): The two-time major champion finished tied for 18th last year in his second career appearance at Augusta. Although he’s struggled in his past two stroke-play events, Morikawa still enters ranked No. 3 in the world.
Bryson DeChambeau (+3500): Hand and hip injuries have left DeChambeau with a missed cut, a withdrawal and a tie for 58th in his last three starts. He’s also struggled at Augusta, where his career best is 21st and his scoring average is over par.
Tiger Woods (+4000): The five-time Masters champion has not played in an official event since suffering serious leg injuries in a 2021 car crash. He reportedly played at Augusta this week to assess his fitness levels for the tournament, so stay tuned.
Once you’ve determined the type of wager you want to make and the player you’d like to back, the rest is easy. Bookmakers.com scours the globe for the best legal and licensed online sports betting sites, most of which offer a wealth of wagering options on big global events like the Masters. Betting is as simple as perusing the various online platforms available, signing up, making a deposit and placing your bets.
Bets placed in the days prior to the tournament are known as “futures,” and in some cases can provide more favorable odds depending on the player. Once the Masters begins, most sites offer in-play or live betting, in which the odds change based on the action unfolding on the course. Golf with its long lag time between shots is ideal for in-play betting, giving bettors several minutes to scrutinize odds changes and make smart bets.
New bettors, or those who are new to a particular wagering site, can receive incentives in the form of free bets or other online betting offers, all of which are easy to find under the “Betting Offers” tab at Bookmakers.com. In many cases, that means a risk-free bet up to a certain dollar amount, which means a bettor can make an initial wager on the Masters without the risk of losing anything.
Some online bookmakers offer new players a first free bet of up to $1,000, while others offer a deposit bonus up to $1,000 or will match your first bet, giving you the opportunity to double your potential winnings. Also, be on the lookout for a “free bet plus,” which can combine a bonus offer and a free bet. Many free bets for the Masters and other events are activated by promo codes that can be found on the Bookmakers betting offers page.
At the Masters, the sense of history is unmistakable, given that every great player since 1934 has walked these same fairways and greens. None have done it more memorably than Jack Nicklaus, the Masters’ all-time leader with six victories, the last coming in 1986 at age 46, when he defied all predictions to become the tournament’s oldest champion ever.
Woods’ five victories span 22 years, from his history-making rout of the field as a 21-year-old in 1997, to his stirring comeback in 2019. Nick Faldo’s two wins include a rally from six strokes down to Greg Norman in 1996, while Larry Mize’s 1987 victory was sealed by a 140-yard playoff chip-in that remains one of the tournament’s greatest shots.
The Masters was where the “Tiger Slam” was completed in 2001, when Woods held all four major trophies at the same time. In 2004, Phil Mickelson won his first major title, which concluded a tense duel with Ernie Els. And the Masters has also produced a number of somewhat surprising international winners, including Charl Schwartzel of South Africa in 2011, Danny Willett of England in 2016 and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan last year.
In the United States, the Masters is televised by longtime broadcast partners CBS and ESPN. To maintain a bit of its mystique, the Masters limits its TV window compared to other golf majors. ESPN will air the first two rounds Thursday and Friday from 15:00 to 19:30 ET, while CBS will televise Saturday from 15:00-19:00 and Sunday from 14:00-19:00 ET.
American viewers also have streaming options available through ESPN+, Paramount+ and the tournament’s official site, Masters.com, the latter of which will show featured groups, select holes and Amen Corner action in addition to broadcast coverage. Beginning at noon on Monday of tournament week, you can even watch players on the practice range.
The Masters is a worldwide event and has television partners around the globe. CTV and TSN will offer coverage in Canada, Sky Sports will broadcast the tournament in the United Kingdom and the Nine Network will air the event in Australia. Streaming options are also available through those networks’ online platforms or official apps.
Who are the best bets for this year’s Masters? Here are a few picks:
Cameron Smith, +1400: Among the tournament favorites, it’s hard not to like Smith, who’s gone under 70 in six of his last 10 rounds at Augusta and has a clear comfort level with the course. His victory at The Players Championship showed the Australian could handle the pressure of a big event with $3.6 million to win on the line, and his next step is a major title.
Will Zalatoris, +3500: Zalatoris last year nearly became the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters as a rookie. The only player to break par in all four rounds, he finished one stroke behind Matsuyama. His trio of top 10s this season include a runner-up result at Torrey Pines.
Abraham Ancer, +7000: Looking for a long shot who fits the mold of past international Masters champions? Ancer has been a very competitive PGA Tour player, with three career wins and a fifth at the WGC match play event last time out. The Mexican also owns four Augusta rounds in the 60s, and a best Masters result of 13th in 2020.