The Masters is here and for the first time ever the event will be played on a November date. The course looks like it will play look very similar to what we’re used to seeing in April — with the exception of less flowers — although rain and some slightly cooler temperatures may make things a touch interesting. As always, expect course history and experience to play a big factor as Augusta typically rewards those who have played here multiple times and is often a challenge for first-timers to the event.
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Augusta plays as a traditional Par 72 at well over 7,400 yards. The Bentgrass greens are some of the quickest in the world, although the tree-lined fairways are overly generous and allow players to take driver off most holes. While the Par 5’s are easy and allow for aggressive play and scoring throughout the week, the Par 3’s here are some of the most difficult in the world.
While bombing it off the tee has its advantages, experience also counts as we found out with last year’s winner Tiger Woods, who won this event at the age of 43. Don’t count out those who have a large edge in that department, even if they don’t necessarily measure out with the same distance or metrics as today’s young stars.
Regardless of how you’re approaching things, I’ve written up my thoughts on this week’s DraftKings Sportsbook pool and have tried to give you decisive picks and strategies to employ at each level. Hope you enjoy.
Which will be greater? Tiger Woods total birdies on Sunday or Arizona Cardinals total touchdowns on Sunday
The Cardinals play the Bills this Sunday at home. They have averaged 29.3 points per game and 3.6 TDs per game in 2020. The Bills’ defense hasn’t been all that spectacular in 2020, either, allowing 3.0 TDs per game thus far and the 14th most points per game. With Kyler Murray operating at such an efficient rate, expecting anything less than three TDs from Arizona seems foolish, and they are coming off an embarrassing loss in their last game. Tiger isn’t coming in with good form, but over the last two years he has made 11 birdies in his final rounds at Augusta (five in 2018 and six last year). This one could be close, and you have to worry about Tiger even making the cut as he’s missed two of his last three coming in. It hurts to say, but the Cardinals’ offense should be in for a big day and there’s no guarantee Tiger even plays the weekend.
Choice: Arizona Cardinals
Which will be greater? Bryson DeChambeau total birdies on Sunday or Green Bay Packers total touchdowns on Sunday
Green Bay has averaged 3.9 TDs per game this year (fourth-best in the NFL) and play the Jaguars, who are allowing 3.6 TDs per game (fifth-worst in the NFL). This could be a bloodbath and you should 100% expect the Packers to punch it in at least four times. Still, even if they hit five or more TDs, they feel like they should be underdogs in this spot. Bryson ranked fifth on the PGA Tour in Birdie or Better percentage last season and will get to smack short irons into four relatively easy Par 5’s this week. It’s possible Sunday jitters get the best of Bryson here, but even just an average day by Green Bay would make this one easy for him to win. You have to side with the in-form bomber.
Choice: Bryson DeChambeau
Which will be greater? Number of Bryson DeChambeau drives over 350+ yards on Sunday or Number of quarterbacks over 350+ passing yards on Sunday
Last week there were three QBs who threw for 350 yards or more. Obviously that number can fluctuate on a weekly basis, but that’s probably a decent enough baseline to work off of. We have 12 games in action this Sunday, so 24 QBs could hit this mark. Bryson will have plenty of chances to hit 350-plus off the tee on Augusta’s big fairways, but you also have to figure in course management and the fact he may be in contention late Sunday, which may mean a more conservative approach. He may choose to take 3-wood or less on holes like 13, 14 and 18 coming in, which would still give him short approaches into the greens. That and a potentially wet course likely work against Bryson enough to give the edge to the QBs.
Choice: NFL QBs
Will both of these happen: New Orleans Saints win & Tiger Woods finish in the top 20? Yes or No
The Saints play the San Francisco 49ers who are starting Nick Mullens at QB and will be without their best player in George Kittle. They’re still struggling on defense, too, and come in as massive +9.5 underdogs, so it’s pretty likely we’ll see a Saints win this weekend. Woods is the one we truly have to worry about. He’s not produced a top 20 on the PGA Tour since back in January at the Farmers Insurance Open. In his last three Masters starts, Woods has finished T17 (2015), T32 (2018) and first (2019). A great Sunday to push Tiger into the top 20 wouldn’t be overly shocking, but his form, which has seen him miss the cut in two of his last three starts, is shockingly bad right now. I’d lean towards this not happening.
Will both of these happen: Green Bay Packers win & Bryson DeChambeau finish in the top 10? Yes or No
The Packers play the Jaguars this week in Green Bay. If you needed more analysis on that front, Jacksonville comes in having lost seven games in a row and are sitting as +13.5 underdogs. There’s no guarantees in sports, but a Packers win here seems like a foregone conclusion. Right now, Bryson’s top 10 odds sit at +100, so we’re basically at a coin flip level in terms of pure odds. Bryson has yet to crack the top 20 at Augusta in three previous attempts, otherwise his odds may even be shorter. Even if he’s not in contention, a backdoor top 10 on Sunday, care of a pile of late birdies, seems very likely, so leaning yes here seems like the better play, long-term.
Will both of these happen: Tampa Bay Buccaneers win & Jon Rahm finish in the top 10? Yes or No
The Buccaneers do enter this week’s game with the Carolina Panthers as -4.5 favorites, but considering they just got embarrassed on national TV last week, a win here isn’t a lock. Carolina also played Kansas City competitively last week, so anything could happen in that game. Rahm has finished inside the top 10 at Augusta the last two seasons and comes in with scintillating form. He gained +10-strokes TTG at the CJ Cup and has finished inside the top 10 in four of his last six starts. This one will probably be close, and I like the Buccaneers for a bounce back, but “No” is probably the correct choice. Rahm has been inconsistent at the majors and the line for Tampa Bay is close enough to have some worry.
Will both of these happen: Seattle Seahawks win & Justin Thomas finish in the top 10? Yes or No
I’m pretty bullish on Justin Thomas’ chances of getting himself in contention this year. The American posted a T8 at the US Open in the last major and has gained strokes on approach in ten-straight starts heading into the year’s last major. All that means is that his ball-striking has been uber consistent this year and that the rest of his game is also starting to take shape. He finished T2 in his last warmup and has been great on and around the greens of late. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are coming off a disappointing loss and are actually two-point underdogs in this week’s game against the Rams. Los Angeles feels overvalued, though, and the Hawks have a huge advantage at QB. With Seattle at +110 to win and Thomas at +150 for a top-10, this one has pretty long odds of actually hitting, but I think both do happen this Sunday.
Which combination of players will have the most combined birdies & receptions on Sunday?
Tiger Woods & Davante Adams or Bryson Dechambeau & DeAndre Hopkins or Justin Thomas & Tyler Lockett or Jon Rahm & Alvin Kamara or Rory McIlroy & Cooper Kupp or Colin Morikawa & Keenan Allen
We get to our most interesting prop in this Sunday’s pool where we’re asked to tabulate potential birdies and receptions. Despite Rory struggling at times this year, he’s still managed to put together some low rounds and has shot under-par in six of his last seven Sunday rounds at Augusta. Cooper Kupp also has a ton of appeal, as the Seahawks’ secondary has allowed the most receptions to the wide receiver position in the league this year — leading second place Tennessee by nearly 30 receptions allowed. Kupp’s also landed 17 catches in his last two games combined. Bryson DeChambeau and DeAndre Hopkins definitely make for a great choice, too, but I’ll lean Rory and Kupp given the history of Rory at Augusta and the matchup for the Rams on Sunday.
Choice: Rory McIlroy and Cooper Kupp
Will there be a hole in one or safety on Sunday? Yes or No
The 16th hole at Augusta is set up every Sunday to allow for perfectly hit balls to roll right off the slope and at the hole. As a result, it’s allowed the most hole-in-ones of any hole on the course in the history of the event, and we even saw three different players make a hole-in-one there in 2016. There has been a hole-in-one at Augusta in each of the past four seasons and they’ve all come on the 16th. The last non-16th hole-in-one came in 2013 at the 6th hole. With the field deeper than ever and players hitting shorter and shorter irons into the 16th every year — as power in the game grows out of hand — going against this happening seems futile.
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