Masters First-Round Leader Odds & Picks: Six Players with Value on Thursday at Augusta National

Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Golf is a game of patience, and betting it is no different. But every Thursday, there’s a chance to cash in early with a savvy First-Round Leader (FRL) pick.

The Masters is my favorite golf tournament. It’s the only men’s major held annually at the same course, so that makes FRL picks a little bit “easier” (it’s still really hard to hit one) compared to the constant course rotation that we see for the other slams.

Not every single competitor at this year’s Masters stands a chance of donning the Green Jacket come Sunday; but anyone can get off to a hot start on Thursday and set the pace.

Here are my favorite FRL picks for the 2021 Masters.

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Jordan Spieth +1800 | Tee time: 2 p.m. ET

Forget that Jordan Spieth just won on Sunday in San Antonio. Forget that he’s a past champ at Augusta. Look at his ball-striking numbers at this course since 2015. He led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach three of the last five Masters held in April.

Ok, now you can remember that he just won the Valero and won The Masters in 2015.

There has to a certain excitement and surge in adrenaline for Spieth at Augusta. When you combine that with a comeback win on the eve of Masters Week, I think there is a very good chance he’ll be your FRL at Augusta.

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Tony Finau +3300 | Tee time: 1:48 p.m. ET

If you bet Tony Finau for a top-5, top-10 and top-20 every week this season, I have a feeling you’d be able to buy an island. He can’t seem to get into the winner’s circle, despite his stellar play,  so I wouldn’t bet him outright this week.

However, he does make for a great FRL bet. He has two top-10 finishes in his three starts at Augusta. This is a course he likes, and he’ll be live so long as he gets the the putter going on Thursday.

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Matt Fitzpatrick +3300 | Tee time: 1:24 p.m. ET

I’ve been bullish on Matt “Don’t Call Me Matthew” Fitzpatrick over the last few months. He has been very consistent in his Thursday rounds, with a 69.7 scoring average on the season. From the Genesis Invitational until THE PLAYERS Championship (The WGC Dell Match Play broke the streak) Fitz shot 66, 66, 69, 68 on Thursdays.

His FRL value isn’t great this week, but he’s still worth taking. I fear Vegas is catching on to his good play…

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sentry-toc-buys-fades-finding-value-using-strokes-gained-data-friday-round-2Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Sergio Garcia.

Sergio Garcia +5000 | Tee time: 10:18 a.m. ET

Despite years of self-doubt, Sergio Garcia finally slipped on the Green Jacket in 2017. He’s one of the best ball strikers on tour, which is important around a second-shot golf course like Augusta.

He’s found some form again over the last year, with his Strokes Gained: APP improving on a weekly basis. He’s a great value to lead the pack on Thursday.

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Matt Kuchar +7000 | Tee time: 12:48 p.m. ET

Over the last four years, Matt Kuchar leads the field in Strokes Gained: Total at Augusta National during the first round. That should be enough for a FRL play on Kuchar but there’s more. He also has four top-10 finishes in 11 starts at The Masters. To boot, Kuchar is coming off back-to-back great finishes at the Match Play and Valero.

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Christiaan Bezuidenhout +9000 | Tee time: 10:18 a.m. ET

It was another South African, Dylan Frittelli, who finished in a three-way tie for the lead after Thursday’s round at Augusta in November. This year, however, I’m taking a different South African to set the pace for Thursday.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout has had some stellar on the European Tour over the last 12 months. One thing to keep in mind about South African golfers: they all play well in South Africa. While that doesn’t seem like it would matter in rural Georgia, I promise it does.

South Africans have had success at Augusta for decades. They have similar games, and for whatever reason, those games tend to carry over to Rae’s Creek pretty well.

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2021 Masters First-Round Leader Odds

Player Odds
Dustin Johnson +1800
Jordan Spieth +1800
Bryson DeChambeau +2000
Jon Rahm +2000
Justin Thomas +2000
Rory McIlroy +2500
Patrick Cantlay +2800
Daniel Berger +3300
Paul Casey +3300
Tony Finau +3300
Matthew Fitzpatrick +3300
Viktor Hovland +3300
Brooks Koepka +3300
Collin Morikawa +3300
Patrick Reed +3300
Xander Schauffele +3300
Webb Simpson +3500
Cameron Smith +3500
Sungjae Im +4000
Lee Westwood +4000
Jason Day +4500
Tyrrell Hatton +4500
Hideki Matsuyama +4500
Scottie Scheffler +4500
Abraham Ancer +5000
Corey Conners +5000
Tommy Fleetwood +5000
Sergio Garcia +5000
Billy Horschel +5000
Joaquin Niemann +5000
Louis Oosthuizen +5000
Adam Scott +5000
Will Zalatoris +5000
Jason Kokrak +6000
Harris English +6600
Max Homa +6600
Justin Rose +6600
Matt Wallace +6600
Bubba Watson +6600
Matthew Wolff +6600
Gary Woodland +6600
Matt Kuchar +7000
Dylan Frittelli +8000
Lanto Griffin +8000
Brian Harman +8000
Marc Leishman +8000
Shane Lowry +8000
Sebastian Munoz +8000
Kevin Na +8000
Ryan Palmer +8000
Victor Perez +8000
Ian Poulter +8000
Si Woo Kim +8000
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +9000
Zach Johnson +9000
Matt Jones +9000
Kevin Kisner +9000
Robert MacIntyre +9000
Phil Mickelson +9000
Francesco Molinari +9000
Carlos Ortiz +9000
Brendon Todd +9000
C.T. Pan +10000
Cameron Champ +10000
Mackenzie Hughes +10000
Michael Thompson +10000
Bernd Wiesberger +10000
Danny Willett +10000
Martin Laird +12500
Charl Schwartzel +12500
Stewart Cink +15000
Brian Gay +20000
Bernhard Langer +20000
Henrik Stenson +20000
Robert Streb +20000
Jim Herman +25000
Joe Long +25000
Charles Osborne +25000
Vijay Singh +25000
Tyler Strafaci +25000
Hudson Swafford +25000
Jimmy Walker +25000
Mike Weir +25000
Fred Couples +35000
Sandy Lyle +35000
Larry Mize +35000
Jose Maria Olazábal +35000
Ian Woosnam +35000

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