Masters may be particularly tough to handicap. The world #1 is coming off a five month hiatus. The rest of the field is relatively even with who should have been a favorite, Phil Mickelson, playing poorly, and who shouldn't have been considered, Ernie Els, on a tear.
Sticking with tradition, in a tradition laden event, we rely on our trusty British bookmakers, Ladbrokes. In an unusual tactic to attract more money, Ladbrokes, if Woods wins the Masters, will pay off a 2nd place finish as a win. You get to bet the Masters without Woods skewing the board. Interesting.
Ready, let's figure this baby out.....
Woods, 5:1 - No brainer. Of course he can win. I think the ring rust will prevent him from doing so. Still, bet against him at your own peril.
Mickelson, 14:1 - Lefty hasn't been exactly sharp. Expect him to find some here though. Won't win.
Els, 16:1 - Riding a current hot streak. Easy to root for. Could win.
Harrington, 20:1 - Seemingly steps it up for majors. Has the cajones. Could win.
Westwood, 20:1 - Popular pick. Should have bagged a major by now. Putter fails him on bathtub greens. Won't win.
Stricker, 25:1 - Find me a reason he can't win here. See? Could win.
Goosen, 25:1 - Has the short game and stomach for Augusta. Expect him to contend. Could win.
Casey, 33:1 - Another trendy pick. Suspect putter though. Great putters shine here. He's not one. Won't win.
McIlroy, 40:1 - Would be a huge story. Needs a little more seasoning. Doubt it, but maybe if....
Ogilvy, 40:1 - Two years ago, perhaps. Now, who knows? Has the tools and psyche. Could win.
Furyk, 40:1 - He's straight enough and just long enough. Needs hot putter which is no guarantee. Could win.
Poulter, 40:1 - Think he deserves better odds. Unflappable and underrated. Could win.
Kaymer, 40:1 - Under the radar. Would benefit from more looks at Augusta. Don't think so.
Villegas, 40:1 - Hard to argue. His game is better than it appears, if that makes sense. Could win.
Anthony Kim, 40:1 - Fresh off a win. Talent's there. Set birdie record last year here. Could win.
For the sake of brevity I've left anyone with 50:1 odds or greater out of the discussion. Keep in mind there's a plethora of great players in that group highlighted by defending champ Cabrera, Dustin Johnson, Mahan, Vijay Singh, O'Hair, Garcia, et al. Some relatively straight tee balls and a hot putter can bring one a long way at the Masters.
Enjoy and thank me later for the picks......
Average Golfer's Expert Masters Picks