2021 Masters picks, odds: Expert predictions, favorites to win from betting field at Augusta National

We’re fast approaching the action of the 85th edition of the Masters this week, so the key question on most everyone’s mind is the same across the golf world: Who are you picking to win at Augusta National in April? With a tremendous field featuring most of the best professionals and a few of the top amateurs in the world, the first major of 2021 should be an epic ride from Thursday’s first round onward.

The Masters storylines are plentiful this week. Dustin Johnson is looking to become the fourth golfer to win back-to-back green jackets, while Rory McIlroy remains in the hunt for his first. Unfortunately for McIlroy, he’s not playing at his highest level at this time, which puts him further back on the odds board than he’d otherwise sit. Justin Thomas as the winner of The Players Championship is hot entering the event, but so is Jordan Spieth, who has not only had an incredible start to 2021 but just won the Texas Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory since 2017.

So what is going to happen this week at Augusta? Let’s take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports experts. Check out a full set of 2021 Masters odds via William Hill Sportsbook.

2021 Masters expert picks, predictions

Kyle Porter, golf writer

Winner — Jordan Spieth (10-1): Well, I’m all in at this point. Might as well make it official. Try to ignore the Texas Open victory if you can and focus on the fact that he’s tops when it comes to recent iron play and history on this golf course. Last week’s win may have relaxed him a bit, though I have no idea if it’s even good for Spieth to be relaxed. Either way, he’ll contend (and I think, win) because he’s unbelievably smart on this golf course and he’s gained strokes on approach shots in 22 of his last 25 stroke-play rounds. The rumors are true, people. He’s back, and he’s been back for a while.

Sleeper — Sergio Garcia (45-1):
 I know I will regret this, but I cannot help myself. Since Feb. 1, only Paul Casey has hit the ball better than Garcia. I’m concerned about his recent history at major championships (nine missed cuts since his win here in 2017), but he has win equity at massive events, and the tee-to-green numbers (2.35 strokes gained per round since Feb. 1, according to Data Golf) are difficult to ignore.

Top 10 lock — Dustin Johnson:
 It seems amid the Spieth hoopla like we have all forgotten about the No. 1 player in the world and defending champion of this event. He has five straight top 10s here and has only lost to Tiger Woods in his last two outings. A tough course should actually benefit what he does best, and some of his recent struggles (if you want to call them that) have been on account of some unusually poor putting, which is far less concerning than if he was not hitting the ball well.

Star who definitely won’t win — Brooks Koepka: 
Does this count? Only one player in the field has more majors than Koepka, who won back in February, but I don’t buy into the bravado about being able to gut it out this week. It’s unfortunate because Koepka provides a nice depth to major championships, but I would be absolutely stunned if he came in and won this after undergoing a knee procedure and showing up at the tournament with no real tournament work in the weeks leading into it.

Surprise prediction: Phil Mickelson gets into contention at some point. Again, I don’t know how bold it is to say that a three-time Masters champion is going to play well at the Masters, but Lefty has also dropped out of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings and does not have a top 10 here since 2015. However, he’s been flushing his irons, and on a tough, speedy setup, his course knowledge will be disproportionately valuable. I don’t know that it will run all the way until Sunday, but I think Mickelson might have himself a fun little week around Augusta National.

Lowest round: 66 (-6) 
Winning score: 278 (-10)
Winner’s Sunday score: 70 (-2)

Chip Patterson, writer

Winner — Dustin Johnson (8-1): When D.J. capped his 20-under win in November, I immediately considered him my pick to run it back. It’s not specifically the way he managed the course and the current state of his game as the No. 1 player in the world but rather how the 2020 win was the culmination of recent success at Augusta National. Since 2015, D.J. has finished in the top 10 of every Masters start with a T2 in 2019 and a T4 in 2016. So often we refer to the course history and discuss who has “figured out the Rubik’s cube,” and the results clearly point to D.J. being one of those golfers who has got the game plan to win. The only reason to bet against D.J. prior was a belief that all those high finishes without wins were indicative of some extra piece missing from his major championship repertoire, but now that he’s broken the seal and joined the multiple majors club, I think we might see a floodgates-type of run. 

Sleeper — Matthew Fitzpatrick (60-1): Often lost when discussing the great young players in golf is their successes outside the PGA Tour. Fitzpatrick, 26, does not yet have a winner on the tour but is a six-time winner on the European Tour. I like the value here because of his recent form in PGA Tour events, finishing T9 at The Players, T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T11 at the WGC-Workday Championship and T5 at the Genesis Invitational. Those are strong finishes against solid fields, and they have propelled Fitzpatrick to No. 16 in the OWGR, a new career high. Statistically, he doesn’t have anything I would categorize as elite based on his limited sample size in 2021, but it’s his improvements on the green (finishing No. 2 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting in 2020) that give me confidence he can succeed at Augusta National. Fitzpatrick has made every cut at the Masters since 2016 when he had his career-best major finish at T7. 

Top 10 lock — Jon Rahm: Shout out to the just had a baby bump, but even without the trend of golfers playing well with a newborn in the world, this is a rock solid pick. Rahm is too good and has too much appreciation for this course to think he’s not going to finish 72 holes near the top of the leaderboard. He might win it, be in contention the whole way or backdoor his way in with a low score on Sunday. Either way, over the course of the week, he’ll be play well enough compared to the rest of the field to finish in the top 10. 

Star who definitely won’t win — Brooks Koepka: I love the storyline of Koepka showing up to Augusta with surging confidence less than a month removed from surgery on his right knee. He says he was hitting balls “seven days out of surgery” and going through intense rehab sessions to get ready for this championship. Again, it’s one of my top five favorite storylines of the week, and I’ll be thrilled to talk about it but I don’t think walking the course for four days straight — a tougher walk than most would think given elevation changes that don’t always show up on TV — is going to have him positioned to win late Sunday afternoon. 

Surprise prediction: Multiple hole-in-ones! I want to go a step farther and say we’ll have multiple aces at No. 16, as “Redbud” has provided the most hole-in-ones in Masters history, but let’s leave some room open for this prediction to hit. Each of the last four times the Masters has been held in its traditional April spot on the calendar there has been at least one ace on No. 16, including two in 2019 (Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas) and three in 2016 (Shane Lowry, Davis Love III and Louis Oosthuizen).  

Lowest round: 63 (-9)
Winning score: 269 (-19) 
Winner’s Sunday score: 68 (-4) 

Who will win the Masters, and which long shots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine to see the latest projected leaderboard, all from the model that’s nailed six golf majors and is up almost $10,000 since the restart.

Kyle Boone, writer

Winner — Rory McIlroy (14-1): While McIlroy has not been able to topple Augusta National and claim a green jacket, he has been close in recent years with six top-10 showings in his last seven outings. McIlroy was nails in his Masters showing in November, too. If not for an opening-round 75, we may be talking about his attempt at a repeat come this week. His final 54-hole score of 202 was one stroke better than Johnson, who carded a 203 over his final three days to don the green jacket. At 14-1, McIlroy presents fantastic value. If he brings his “A” game, he’ll be in the mix to the end on Sunday. 

Sleeper — Cameron Smith (35-1): Still relatively green on the PGA Tour, the 28-year-old Aussie makes up for his inexperience with some real, early success. He finished top 20 at The Players Championship and came in fourth at the Genesis Invitational. He’s also found tremendous success at the Masters led by a T2 finish last November and a T5 finish in 2018. Getting 35-1 odds on a player with two career top-five finishes in four Masters appearances is about as good a value as you can find.

Top 10 lock — Justin Thomas: When J.T. is on his game, he is one of the best tee-to-green golfers on the tour. And even when he’s not, he can labor and grind his way to contention as he figures things out on the fly. But the way he’s played most of the last six months is tracking towards a surefire top-10 finish. He finished fourth at the Masters in November and managed a top-10 U.S. Open finish in September despite fighting through a few ugly rounds to get there. He’s improved his final standing at this tournament each year over the last five years so it tracks that this week could be one of his best showings.

Star who definitely won’t win — Jordan Spieth: Winning the Texas Open in the lead-up to Masters week is a good indication that Spieth, whose career has been a roller coaster, is back on an upward trajectory. And no doubt, what he’s done over the past few months has been encouraging. But Spieth’s ghosts at Augusta are real. He has finished outside the top-20 his last two showings at Augusta National, and this course can be unforgiving when you get into your own head, which Spieth is wont to do. 

Surprise prediction: Bryson DeChambeau leads after more rounds than the eventual champion. A lot was made in the lead-up to his Masters appearance last year because of his length off the tee and the confidence he displayed before the tournament in his ability to break Augusta, which ended in a T34 finish. That was a humbling experience for one of golf’s longest, strongest golfers. He’ll be in the mix entering the weekend and atop the leaderboard entering Saturday fueled by that failure.

Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 270 (-18)
Winner’s Sunday score: 67 (-5)

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