Paul Williams

Paul Williams' The Masters Longshots 2022

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Picking out some of the best outsiders for The Masters is one of my favourite pieces to write all year. Fact is, with all the focus on the top dozen in the betting, there’s value to be found if you dig deep enough into the market at Augusta this week.

The last few years at The Masters has generally produced some tasty 3-figure places or better:

  • 2021: Marc Leishman, who’s perennially touted as a player to follow at the Majors, tied for 5th last year, which meant an each-way return with pretty much every bookmaker.
  • 2020: Dylan Frittelli finished in a tie for 5th at 250/1; CT Pan was tied 7th at a massive 500/1 which delighted those who’d backed him up to 10 places EW.
  • 2019: Webb Simpson finished tied 5th at 100/1.
  • 2018: Cameron Smith finished tied 5th at 125/1.
  • 2017: Kevin Chappell finished tied 7th at 300/1
  • 2016: Lee Westwood added another Major runner up finish at 200/1, whereas JB Holmes finished in a tie for 4th at 150/1.
  • 2014: Runner-up Jonas Blixt was 300/1 before the start and veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, who finished 4th, was 200/1.
  • 2013: Play-off loser Angel Cabrera was available at 110/1 before the event started; Marc Leishman, who finished 4th for a full each-way payout, was a massive 400/1 on the Tuesday before The Masters
  • 2012: Winner Bubba Watson was available at 55/1 pre-event despite consecutive top-4 finishes coming into Augusta. Runner up Louis Oosthuizen was 90/1 and 3rd place Peter Hanson was a massive 200/1. Some very tasty prices indeed!
  • Charl Schwartzel (100/1), Jason Day (150/1) and Adam Scott (90/1) filled the top 3 positions in 2011.
  • Angel Cabrera (140/1 – 2009), Trevor Immelman (150/1 – 2008) and Zach Johnson (200/1 – 2007) were also huge-priced Masters winners in recent times.

Now the each-way terms available from some bookmakers this week make for an interesting dilemma – do you stick rigidly to more regular each way terms and grab a top price on an outsider, or do you accept a reduced price in exchange for more favourable each-way terms? Value is in the eye of the beholder in my view and it’s possible to argue both sides here, however my view is that with an extremely strong group of players at the head of the betting, taking some extra places in this instance is my favoured route.

Personally I’ve opted to take a balanced approach with 3 selections at 8 places each way, 1/5 odds, combined with relatively strong prices. Both bet365 and Betfred are offering strong markets and 8 places each-way this week; their new customer offers are below:

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Here are my 3 favourite longer-priced players this week:

Jason Kokrak 1pt EW 125/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Recency bias has seen a number of players who’ve performed well over the past week or two cut significantly in price, and quite rightly so in many instances. A lack of sparkling results thus far in 2022 has seen the price of Jason Kokrak drift out to 3 figures and beyond for this though, despite the 36 year-old still residing inside the magical OWGR top-30 if we’re to interpret the incoming ranking of the past 12 winners here as a good barometer of potential success.

That lofty position on the world stage is no fluke given that he’s won 3 of his last 37 solo starts globally, holding off the likes of Xander Schauffele (CJ Cup), Jordan Spieth (Charles Schwab Challenge) and Scottie Scheffler (HP Houston Open) into the bargain. Those last 2 wins came at -14 and -10 respectively, so he’s already proven himself capable of performing in this kind of winning score region, and for me it’s only a matter of time before he improves on a set of solid if unspectacular career Major efforts thus far.

Averaging over 304 yards from off the tee is a good starting point for Kokrak’s justification this week on a long course that’s likely to play longer still, at least for the first day or two until the technology and westerly wind combine to dry out the course. Going for the Green ranks of 27th this season and 26th last shows the right kind of aggressive mindset on the par-5s here at Augusta, and his natural draw would seem to be an advantage given what we’ve learned here over the years.

A disappointing-looking ANGC record of MC/49 can be picked apart a little with his debut effort coming just 2 starts after his breakthrough win at the CJ Cup in scoreable conditions, which don’t necessarily play to the Ohio man’s strengths; 8th after day 1 last year when it was far tougher is a better sign in my view. Although he couldn’t maintain that level for all 4 rounds 12 months ago, the experience should have done him good and with 2 wins since, plus a pairs success with Kevin Na at the QBE shootout in December, Jason is a much more accomplished player nowadays. RESULT: T14

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Luke List 1pt EW 140/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

I made an initial case for Luke List on our Masters research podcast, and although the fanciest of Exchange prices are now gone, the more sensible approach is probably to accept the each-way price on offer and hope that the Augusta resident can sneak into the top 8 come Sunday evening.

The excitement following the 37 year-old’s fast start last week in Texas quickly abated as he followed up an opening round of 68, having led early on, with non-descript rounds of 74, 71 and 73 to finish in a tie for 53rd. Nothing to write home about after all despite his bright start I agree, yet there’s plenty to like about his chances this week.

Firstly there’s his breakthrough win at Torrey Pines in January to consider. Patrick Reed won the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open there; Bubba Watson’s a Torrey winner, as is Phil Mickelson, twice; then there’s Tiger Woods, whose record in San Diego is the stuff of legend. All Masters champions of course, providing the clearest of form links between the two tracks.

Course form is distant for List, with a tie for 33rd way back in 2005 his only competitive result to date, yet that effort as an amateur is still far better than many will ever boast in their careers, and the fact that he’ll be sleeping in his own bed this week with plenty of family and friends supporting him can’t be ignored.

What also can’t be ignored are Luke’s raw credentials when it comes to game shape for Augusta National. Checking the key factors in Steve Bamford’s excellent trends article, we find that he ranks 15th for the season in terms of Distance to Apex, 12th for Going for the Green, 24th for SG Approach and 35th for Par 4 Birdie or Better. That’s pretty much a full house of upper-tier rankings in my book and I’m excited about his chances this week. RESULT: MC

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✅ Bonus code SPORT50 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 4 Majors in 2021 with very competitive odds

bet365 New Customer Offer: Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code SPORT50 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Lucas Herbert 0.5pt EW 225/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Finally I’m taking a chance on the talented Aussie Lucas Herbert who’s well off the bookies’ radar here this week, despite ticking a lot of boxes as far as I’m concerned.

Referring back again to our research podcast, I mentioned that Christiaan Bezuidenhout ranks highly for SG Putting on Bentgrass greens when results from both Tours are combined since 2019; sitting just below the South African, and averaging a good 15 yards more off the tee which won’t hurt at a soggy AGNC, we find Lucas sitting 4th in this field on that count.

Other long game tangibles include 6th for Distance to Apex and 25th for Going for the Green – Greens Hit for the season to date, neither of which will hurt this week in my view.

The 26 year-old’s CV contains some interesting points worth exploring. His 2020 breakthrough on the then European Tour came at the Dubai Desert Classic, an event which preceded both Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia’s wins here, both in more testing renewals. Tiger Woods is twice a winner at the Emirates, as is Jose Marie Olazabal; Mark O’Meara won there in 2004, Fred Couples in 1995 and Seve in 1992 – all received the Green Jacket of course.

Success at the Irish Open the following July at Mount Juliet proved that his Dubai success was no fluke, and he went a step further by securing his maiden PGA Tour title at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in October, holding off Danny Lee and former Masters champion Patrick Reed in tricky, windy conditions.

The elephant in the room of course is his lack of experience around these parts, and the oft-cited Fuzzy Zoeller stat for debutants here at Augusta. I get that of course, however at the price on offer an each-way payout would be a great result. Perhaps a renewal which promises mixed conditions as the week progresses and challenging cross-winds on many holes will produce a surprise. We shall see. RESULT: MC

✅ Bet £10 get £50 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT50 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 4 Majors in 2021 with very competitive odds

bet365 New Customer Offer: Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code SPORT50 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 15:40BST 4.4.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.