Golf

The Masters 2024 Preview: Why Each Top Golfer Could Win — Or Not

Chris McNeil's reasons why a number of top golfers will — or won't — win The Masters this year.

April 8, 2024

Ladies and gentlemen, we have made it. Despite the enduring rain, snow, cold, and total solar eclipses there are telltale signs that spring upon us. March Madness is giving way to championship games, Opening Day has led into the MLB regular season, the NBA playoffs are nearly upon us and, of course, The Masters is about to tee off.

Though The Masters always brings, famously, a tradition unlike any other, this year it will once again also be a crossover unlike any other — as the best of the PGA and European PGA Tours come together to play with the best from the LIV Tour. This will make for some compelling drama throughout the week, as the media gets to bait the full field into saying something provocative about the respective tours.

In fact, we already had one media member in Brandel Chamblee criticize Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas for not supporting Rory McIlroy in the PGA Tour/ LIV Tour feud.

On top of this extra off-the-course drama, it also means a chance to bet on the deepest and most intriguing field of the year in the premier event in golf. Let’s break down the top players’ odds of winning The Masters and why they will or will not be donning a green jacket come Sunday, with odds (current as of this writing) courtesy of Tipico Sportsbook. Also, find our Boosted Odds here.

The Favorites

Scottie Scheffler +360

Why he wins: The world number one checks in here with the best odds by far to don a Green Jacket — which would be the second of his career. He comes in with convincing wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. He nearly became the first player since Dustin Johnson in 2017 to win three events in a row after heading into Sunday at the Houston Open in a tie for the lead. He leads the tour in strokes gained tee-to-green by nearly a stroke (2.798 v 1.817) over the second-ranked Xander Schauffele.

Why he doesn’t: Dare I say “choke?” Most recently he missed a five-foot birdie on the 72nd hole of that Houston Open to force a playoff. On the Augusta greens he mastered in 2022, he will need to avoid these kinds of crucial lapses.

Rory McIlroy +900

Why he wins: The big news out of Rory McIlroy’s camp is that he has brought back legendary instructor Butch Harmon to work with him for the first time since they split back in November 2021 after an eight-month run. The hope is that he can get Rory feeling confident enough in his physical game and his mental game. He has all the tools to win this tournament, but needs to bring a strong mental approach all four days.

Why he doesn’t: He started this season strong with a win at the Dubai Desert Classic but has struggled to achieve the same success in PGA events up until this past week at the Valero Texas Open. In the five events prior he had not registered a top 10 finish.

At the Texas Open, he played well — including a nearly flawless round on Sunday, finishing third — seemingly the perfect tune up for Augusta. Despite that, tt has been a long stretch now since his last major win at the 2014 PGA Championship. His iron play has plagued him at times and Augusta can be unforgiving for errant iron play.

Jon Rahm +1000

Why he wins: The defending champion is one of 13 LIV golfers in the field at Augusta. On that tour, he has recorded three top 10 finishes thus far, while playing 17 fewer rounds than the prior year due to the schedule structure of LIV Golf. Only three golfers have ever gone back-to-back at Augusta: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, and Tiger Woods. Rahm seems poised to give it a strong run this year.

On top of the quick start this year, Rahm has finished in the top 10 in five of his last six starts overall. He has a love for Augusta and a game that matches the course well.

Why he doesn’t: There is a reason only three golfers in history have ever gone back-to-back: it’s damn hard. In addition, this week will be rife with distractions, from the Champions Dinner to pervasive media scrutiny about his LIV affiliation. It will present different challenges than he faced last year, and he needs to focus to take home another green jacket.

Xander Schauffele +1300

Why he wins: Schauffele sits at number five in the world right now and is a fixture in the top of the leaderboard. He had a heartbreaking runner-up finish at the Players Championship but has been playing solid golf. He hasn’t won since 2022 but has five top 10 finishes this year, coupled with 11 last year. This consistency paired with a little luck on Sunday could have him selecting the Champions Dinner this time next year.

Why he doesn’t: He famously was runner-up to Tiger Woods in this tournament in 2019 and pushed Hideki Matsuyama to the brink in 2021 before an errant 8-iron into the water on the sixth derailed his green jacket hopes. He needs to play clean through the finish line to finally capture a Masters title. He has struggled with the putter down the stretch in multiple tournaments and needs to turn that around this week.

Brooks Koepka +1700

Why he wins: Brooks Koepka was the 54-hole leader at the Masters last year despite dislocating his knee in a slip at home. He followed it up by winning his fifth major at the PGA Championship only a month later. Koepka seems more comfortable in his own skin and with his game since joining the LIV Tour and has said he is more focused than ever on getting that elusive green jacket.

Why he doesn’t: It is no secret Brooks is pressing hard for the title this year after blowing that lead last year. He needs to avoid getting caught up in distractions such as the pace of play of other golfers.

Jordan Spieth +1700

Why he wins: Spieth started off the 2024 campaign strong with a third-place finish in Hawaii. He then followed up with a top 10 at the Phoenix Open. Now he is sputtering, missing two cuts at The Players Championship and the Valspar Championship. Despite his uneven season, Spieth tends to rally for the Masters — never missing a cut, even during his slump. He registered a tie for third at Augusta in 2021 and is not that far removed from his glory run.

Why he doesn’t: There is a lingering question of whether Spieth can return to his promising form before 2018. Brandel Chamblee has been vocal on Spieth’s issues saying he has tinkered too much and is a shell of his former self.

Hideki Matsuyama +1700

Why he wins: Matsuyama has had an excellent start to his season — finishing with a win at the Genesis Invitational — and he is playing some of the best golf of his career. He had a sixth-place finish at The Players Championship and finished tied for 12th and 22nd respectively at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WM Phoenix Open. He followed this up with another top ten this week at the Valero Texas Open and may be playing the most consistently good golf of anyone on the tour. He has a win at Augusta in 2021 and followed it up with top twenty finishes the last two years.

Why he doesn’t: By his own account he is not playing up to his own high standards. He told KYODO NEWS after his final round at the Valero Texas Open, “I’m in the worst form. Everything is bad—from full shots to putting.” But his “bad” right now is better than 95% of the field. If slow and steady becomes the theme of the weekend, look for Matsuyama to be a contender.

CHECK OUT OUR UPDATED BETTING PREVIEWS FOR THESE GOLFERS AND MANY MORE

Long Shots

Dustin Johnson +3500

Why he wins: A prior winner in 2020, Dustin seeks to be the first LIV Tour winner at Augusta. He will try and overpower the course once again, and he is not that far removed from donning that green jacket four years ago.

Why he doesn’t: His short game comes up, well, short again at Augusta and he isn’t able to finish off holes when it counts.

Phil Mickelson +15000

Why he wins: With Phil fully embracing his heel turn status and now more comfortable with his cash grab, perhaps he provides another twist by winning the green jacket and totally redeeming himself to the masses. He was already right there just last year. Phil always plays well at Augusta with three wins and that second-place finish last year.

Why he doesn’t: Despite last year, he is 53 and way past his prime to get fitted for a green jacket. Even Jack Nicklaus thinks that is ridiculous.

Tony Finau +3500

Why he wins: Last year, we saw two first time major winners break through, which brings me to Finau — why not him? He has a top five finish in every major and put together his best effort at Augusta with a fifth-place finish in 2019. If he can avoid breaking his ankle during the par three contest, I like his chances.

Why he doesn’t: Well, according to Netflix’s Full Swing, his family gets in the way. I think he is a good dad and affable character who is prime for finally getting a major.

Jason Day +5000

Why he wins: Ohio’s adopted son from Australia is currently ranked number 22 in the world. His best finish at Augusta came way back in 2011 where he finished runner-up. He has three top ten finishes this year and is showing promise.

Why he doesn’t: Back injuries and vertigo have derailed his quests for a green jacket in the past and he will most likely not have enough once again to get an elusive title this week.

Akshay Bhatia +8000

Why he wins: He rides the momentum off of qualifiying for The Masters by winning the Valero Texas Open on Sunday to the most unlikely Masters victory in the tournament history. That would be a tale.

He seemed to be cruising on Sunday before blowing a six stroke lead over Denny McCarthy, eventually beating him with a birdie on the first playoff hole. He had to play through a little bit of pain as he threw his left shoulder out of socket celebrating his clutch putt to force the playoff on 18. It really made for a wild Sunday.

Why he doesn’t: At only 22 years old and qualifying for the event only hours before it begins, it would be amazing for him to make the leap to Masters champion. A veteran of the Korn Ferry Tour, he has won twice on the PGA Tour and put up a tie for 57th in the US Open — his only other major. No matter how he does Sunday, he already made his mom proud, saying, “It was my mom’s birthday recently and she was hoping I would get into the Masters.”

Tiger Woods +15000

Why he wins: Everyone else drops out of the tournament due to various maladies all occurring at the same time.

Why he doesn’t: The sun comes up.

Most have seen the video of Tiger Woods hobbling around the course last year so it is miraculous that he has even gotten himself to the point where he can play four rounds at the hilly Augusta National track. Serious kudos to his perseverance and sheer will to overcome injury and personal strife to get to this point. Having said that: no shot.

Well, there we have it. The Masters 2024. Lock in those bets, grab your favorite beverage, and wait for those magical two words from Jim Nantz: “Hello, Friends.”

Chris McNeil
Chris McNeil is the brains behind the infamous Cleveland Browns 0-16 parade. A viral internet personality, McNeil’s audience of over 500,000 social media followers (@reflog_18) hangs onto his every word and every meme about the Browns, Guardians, Cavs, Buckeyes, and all Ohio sports. He is a co-host on the Big Play Reflog Show on BigPlay.com
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