The world’s best golfers have descended on Augusta for the first major of the year The Masters.
Conditions have been far from perfect early in the week, with tornado sightings in the Georgia region, but they should improve by the time the competition gets underway.
World number one Dustin Johnson is the man to beat following his outstanding performance at the WGC Matchplay to secure the title.
The 32-year-old has been in exceptional form since claiming his first major crown at the US Open last year, making his breakthrough after a number of near misses.
Augusta remains one of the most challenging courses on the PGA Tour and the American will need to be at his best to clinch the green jacket on the final day.
We’ll now break down his odds of winning the competition and the other leading contenders for the crown.
Credit: Getty Images
Johnson earned a reputation before his US Open triumph as the nearly-man. The American managed to put himself in strong position in majors, but was never able to close out on the final round.
However, at Oakmont last year he got over the hump and has not looked back since, including a solid performance at the Ryder Cup.
This season he has been simply sensational on the tour, displaying power and poise on almost every course. The 32-year-old claimed a comfortable victory at the Genesis Open by five strokes, blowing away the rest of the field.
At the beginning of March he was able to come through the field and win the WGC-Mexico Championship by a single shot over Tommy Fleetwood.
In Austin Texans for the WGC Matchplay Johnson was dominant from the off, easing past Webb Simpson, Jimmy Walker and Martin Kaymer in the group stage.
He brushed aside Zach Johnson and Alexander Noren in the early knockout rounds before narrowly edging past Hideto Tanihara in the semi-finals. Johnson was magnificent against John Rahm in the final, but was forced to hang on in the end, just beating the Spaniard by one shot.
The 32-year-old is in prime form and has had relative success in Augusta, finishing tied-fourth last year and tied-sixth in 2015. Therefore given his form, backing Johnson at 13/27.50+6506.506.50-0.15 with BetFair is an excellent option to take.
Spieth returns to the scene of his infamous collapse last year, with the determination to put his horrific experience behind him.
The 23-year-old had the Green Jacket all but secured for the second year on the spin as he approached the back nine with a five-stroke lead.
However, bogeys on the 10th and 11th put him under pressure, which told on the 12th with a quadruple bogey – twice putting the ball into the water.
His meltdown allowed Danny Willett to snatch the title, with the American forced to help the Yorkshireman into his new jacket.
Since then Spieth has not been the player that had previously dominated the circuit and claimed pole position in the world rankings.
He still has the ability as proven in his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am along with top-five finishes at the Sony Open and SBS Tournament of Champions.
However, consistency has been an issue, highlighted in him missing the cut at the Houston Open last week following an atrocious second round.
At odds of 17/29.50+8508.508.50-0.12 with BetFred – there is good value to back the American should he manage to banish his demons to win the green jacket for the second time.
The enigma of McIlroy presents an intriguing option for punters this week. At his best he can blow away the rest of the field with ease, although he is just as capable of missing the cut.
The Northern Irishman had his own collapse at The Masters in 2011, recording the worst round in the history of the game of a player leading the competition, dropping nine shots on the back nine.
McIlroy recovered from that experience to win the US Open later in the same year, while he also claimed victory at the PGA Championship and The Open. However, the green jacket has evaded him, despite decent outings in the last three years, finishing inside the top 10 on each occasion.
The 28-year-old has played sparingly this season on the PGA Tour, participating in only four tournaments. He finished tied-fourth at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Arnold Palmer Invitational along with tied-seventh placing at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
He was far from his best in Austin for the Matchplay Championship with a premature exit, but his ability to find his peak out of nowhere makes him a good option for the win. Back him at 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13 with SkyBet for the best value this week.
Credit: AP Photo
The Australian heads into the tournament battling his emotions following improved news of his mother’s fight with cancer.
Day has admitted that a victory at The Masters would mean a great deal more to him that his maiden major crown at the PGA Championship in 2015 in light of recent events surrounding his personal life.
Form on the course could be an issue as he withdrew from the WGC MatchPlay to be with his mother as she underwent surgery, while his last performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was far from his best placing in 23rd.
He performed well at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to notch his first top-five finish of the season, but the 30-year-old will need to find his rhythm quickly at Augusta to compete for his first green jacket.
Day has come close to winning The Masters in the past, ending as runner-up in 2011 and notching a third-place finish in 2013. Therefore backing the Australian at 20/121.00+200020.0020.00-0.05 with Betway is an option that could prove to a solid earner on Sunday.
The 28-year-old came close to securing a victory last week at the Houston Open, but he could not maintain the momentum built from an impressive first round.
Fowler finished third at the tournament continuing his solid form this season following his victory at the Honda Classic and top-five finishes at the Hero World Challenge, World Cup of Golf and the Phoenix Open.
He has the ability to win his first major of his career this week, but the American needs to nail down four consistent rounds to claim the green jacket.
Fowler missed the cut in Augusta last year, but has a top-five finish to his name in The Masters. He shares a lot of similarities with the other contenders mentioned – all of whom have struggled for consistency at times in their careers.
Unlike them Fowler has failed to do it on the biggest stage yet. However, as Johnson proved last year once he got over the hump – he has been able to produce on a consistent basis. As a result, backing the American at25/126.00+250025.0025.00-0.04 with Ladbrokes is a sound bet this week.
Dustin Johnson To Win The Masters Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th April
Jordan Spieth To Win The Masters Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th April
Rory McIlroy To Win The Masters Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th April
Jason Day To Win The Masters Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th April
Rickie Fowler To Win The Masters Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th April
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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