There is something undeniably special about the Masters, whether because it’s the first major of the year or because it’s the only one always played at the same venue.
The fact that venue is the beautiful Augusta National also helps, with almost every hole – especially on the back nine – familiar to even the more casual golf fan.
Throw in a whole host of big names – including Tiger Woods – playing at the top of their game, it is no surprise that the 82nd Masters is one of the most eagerly-anticipated in recent memory.
When it comes to finding a winner, we have more course form to rely on than with any other major championship, except in the case of those players trying to become the first debut champion since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
And recent trends also point to the man slipping on the green jacket on Sunday as likely to come from a lofty position in the world rankings.
Since Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley won the last two majors of 2011 when ranked 111th and 108th in the world respectively, the lowest-ranked winner of any major has been Jimmy Walker, who was 48th when he won the 2016 US PGA Championship.
All of which leads us neatly to our first selection in the Masters betting odds, world number five Justin Rose.
Rose of course lost out to Sergio Garcia in a play-off last year when he looked to have weathered the storm of Garcia’s birdie-eagle burst on the back nine with a birdie on the 16th to reclaim the lead.
However, Rose bogeyed the 71st hole and went on to bogey the first play-off hole as well, meaning he had to settle for a second runners-up finish in the space of three years.
The former US Open champion’s other finish in that spell was a tie for 10th and he has not finished worse than 25th in his last seven appearances, so 14/1 seems a pretty fair price.
The same could also be said of 11/1 for world number one Dustin Johnson, who was around half the price last year before the unfortunate accident at his rental home which forced him to withdraw.
Admittedly Johnson was in better form 12 months ago after three straight wins, but his form in 2018 was excellent until a disappointing display in defence of his WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play title.
That early exit from Austin could work in his favour however if he can sort out his unusually poor driving and he was sixth and fourth on his last two Masters appearances.
Away from the favourites, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen is our third selection as he bids for a second major title.
Since winning the 2010 Open, Oosthuizen has completed an unwanted grand slam of second places in the majors, starting with a play-off loss to Bubba Watson in the 2012 Masters.
His record at Augusta National since then has not been exceptional, but he clearly knows how to play the course and comes into the week on the back of a decent performance in Austin. Oosthuizen can be backed at 66/1.
And finally, Russell Henley could reward a speculative bet in the each-way market at 100/1 after his tie for 11th last year and a top-10 finish in defence of his Houston Open title on Sunday.
US Masters tips
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