When the 82nd annual edition of the Masters tees off April 5 at Augusta National, the scene will be straight out of 2015.
That year, Tiger Woods limped to a T-17th finish in what many golf fans feared might be his final shot at the green jacket. The four-time Masters champion hasn’t played Augusta since – until this year.
That tournament saw Woods play the Sunday session alongside Rory McIlroy, whose valiant 66 final round to finish 12-under wasn’t nearly enough to chase down champion Jordan Spieth (-18).
That trio will reunite at Augusta this Thursday, and according to the linemakers at online sportsbook Bovada, they’ll represent three of the tournament’s top-five favorites.
At (+900), Spieth offers the best odds of any golfer in the 87-man field – and for good reason. He’s played in four Masters thus far, and along with 2015’s wire-to-wire victory, Spieth has had a shot to win each and every one.
In 2014, the 20-year old phenom briefly held the final round lead before notching a T-2nd finish. After breaking through to claim the green jacket in 2015, Spieth returned to Augusta and came agonizingly close to defending the title. Despite holding a five-stroke lead heading to the back nine, Spieth collapsed and lodged his second runner-up run at the Masters.
Last year marked the first time Spieth didn’t hold a 54-hole lead, but he did enter the final round down just two strokes before finishing T-11th.
Sufficed to say, Spieth’s dominance at Augusta makes him the rightful favorite this time around – and his (-16) performance for a T-3rd finish in last week’s Houston Open tune-up certainly doesn’t hurt.
Trailing just behind Spieth on the betting board is McIlroy, a four-time Major champion who can complete the career Grand Slam with a win this week. The Northern Irishman is no stranger to Augusta, having secured his first Masters berth as a 19-year old back in 2009.
McIlroy wouldn’t make the top-10 until 2008, but he’s made that mark ever since, stringing together T-8th, 4th, T-10th, and T-7th finishes between 2014-2017.
It’s been a mixed bag of cuts and middling finishes of late for McIlroy, but he did top the field with a 1st-place run at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are both listed at (+1100), but it’s Thomas who will be riding a wave of momentum heading to Augusta.
Thomas, who won the PGA Championship for his first Major last year, has reached a playoff in his last two tournaments. He was runner-up to Phil Mickelson at WGC-Mexico to begin March, after winning the Honda Classic to end April. Overall, Thomas has placed in the top-20 in his last five tournaments, leading to a 2nd-place spot in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Johnson leads that list, having put up a win and a T-2nd finish, along with three other top-20 runs to begin 2018.
As for golf’s supreme superstar, Woods returns to Augusta for the first time since 2015. He hasn’t won a Major in 10 years, and he’s winless outright since 2013.
Even so, the oddsmakers have Woods at (+1400) thanks to a torrid mid-March streak. After briefly leading the Valspar Championship en route to a T-2nd finish, Woods found himself one stroke back on the back nine at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He wound up with a T-5th run at Bay Hill, but that made it three straight top-15 finishes – signaling the start of a comeback for the 79-time PGA Tour winner.
Check out the table below to see Bovada’s odds on the top-25 contenders to win the 82nd annual Masters:
Odds to Win the 2018 Masters
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