Who’s the pick to win 2021 Masters? Look for big names, hot hands

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Bob Spear
·6 min read
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One thing about the Masters never changes: The “big names” automatically are cast in the roles of favorites.

Once upon a time, the oddsmakers picked Hogan or Snead, then Arnold or Jack. More recently, Tiger and Phil got the call. There’s a reason. Not often does a relatively unknown player earn the green jacket.

And so it is in 2021, the “usual suspects” draw the most interest from the forecasters.

Masters betting odds: The favorites

Defending champion Dustin Johnson gets the call in most quarters at odds around 9 to 1. Justin Thomas (10-1) and Bryson DeChambeau (11-1) will be popular plays, and Jordan Spieth jumped from nowhere to 11-1 at some books.

Of course, Jon Rahm (12-1) will get some action and Rory McIlroy (18-1) will, too.

What to make of those? Well, DJ arrives at Augusta playing nowhere near as well as in November when he shattered records. DeChambeau’s record at Augusta is not impressive. Thomas, on the other hand, forged a weekend to remember to win the 2021 Players Championship in March. Spieth, who had Masters finishes of T2, 1, T2 at one stretch, has gained his world-class form in recent weeks.

The McIlroy story line will center on his needing a Masters win to complete the career grand slam, and maybe being a bit out of the spotlight will help. But he has struggled since the pandemic began and has not won in 18 months. Rahm is the only one of the world’s top 16 who advanced in the Match Play in March, but he and his wife had their first child Saturday and that creates a question: Will his mind be on golf?

On form alone, Thomas and Spieth stand out. However, the Masters brings out the best in Johnson. His recent finishes at Augusta National — T6, T4, T10, T2 and 1 — cannot be ignored.

Worthy of a look at Augusta

Brooks Koepka (25-1) will be playing two weeks after knee surgery, not ideal in any case and especially not on Augusta National’s hilly terrain. Patrick Cantlay (22-1) comes in playing well, and Xander Schauffele (22-1) has the game for Augusta.

Former champion Patrick Reed (28-1) can run hot, and both Lee Westwood (30-1) and Collin Morikawa (28-1) are playing well. Morikawa illustrated his 2020 PGA Championship was no fluke by winning the WGC event at the Concession Club in late February. Don’t sleep on Viktor Hovland, either.

Don’t forget these

Cam Smith did something that no one — not Tiger, Phil, Jack, Arnold, Ben Hogan or Sam Snead — ever did at the Masters. In 2020, he became the first player to post four rounds in the 60s in the same Masters. But he had the misfortune of chasing Johnson to the finish line. He’s at 35-1 for this Masters.

Abraham Ancer (80-1) and Sungjae Im (40-1) are players to watch, and Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, No. 8 in the world rankings, looks better than 50-1.

Masters longshots

Lots of players fall into this category. Matthew Wolff (100-1) is finally healthy and has the length to make a difference at Augusta. Gary Woodland, who outdueled Koepka in the U.S. Open a couple of year ago, is worth watching at 125-1.

One guy getting no love from the oddsmakers is Jason Kokrak (150-1), and he just might be the best value on the board. He is No. 15 in the season-long FedEx Cup standings and No. 33 in the world rankings. He has a victory this season — in the fall’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek — and his last three medal play finishes are T8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T9 at the Players and T9 at the WGC at the Concession.

Projecting the Masters winner

Go with history and one of the big guns.

History works against Johnson’s winning again. Only Jack Nicklaus (1965, ’66), Nick Faldo (1989, ’90) and Tiger Woods (2001, ’02) have triumphed in back-to-back Masters.

If not Dustin, who? Look hard at Justin Thomas. His 64-68 weekend at the Players suggest he is primed to earn his second major title and his first Masters.

Masters 2021: What time, what channel

Thursday-Friday: 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN

Saturday: 3-7 p.m., CBS

Sunday: 2-7 p.m., CBS

Masters.com and the ESPN app also will stream the ESPN/CBS coverage along with channels devoted to featured groups, Holes 4, 5 and 6, Amen Corner and Holes 15 and 16. That coverage will begin at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and 10:15 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Masters tee times

Listed with Thursday-Friday start times; a-denotes amateur

8 a.m.-11:06 a.m. — Michael Thompson, Hudson Swafford

8:12 a.m.-11:18 a.m. — Sandy Lyle, Matt Jones, Dylan Frittelli

8:24 a.m.-11:30 a.m. — Ian Woosnam, Jim Herman, Stewart Cink

8:36 a.m.-11:42 a.m. — Sebastian Munoz, Henrik Stenson, Robert Streb

8:48 a.m.-11:54 a.m. — Bernhard Langer, Will Zalatoris, a-Joe Long

9 a.m.-12:12 p.m. — Brian Harman, Ian Poulter, Brendon Todd

9:12 a.m.-12:24 p.m. — Charl Schwartzel, Si Woo Kim, Corey Conners

9:24 a.m.-12:36 p.m. — Danny Willett, Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Kisner

9:36 a.m.-12:48 p.m. — Jason Day, Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ

9:48 a.m.-1 p.m. — Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English, Abraham Ancer

10:06 a.m.-1:12 p.m. — Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland

10:18 a.m.-1:24 p.m. — Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout

10:30 a.m.-1:36 p.m. — Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, a-Tylre Strafaci

10:42 a.m.-1:48 p.m. — Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy

10:54 a.m.-2 p.m. — Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey

11:06 a.m.-8 a.m. — Vijay Singh, Martin Laird

11:18 a.m.-8:12 a.m. — Larry Mize, Jimmy Walker, Brian Gay

11:30 a.m.-8:24 a.m. — Carlos Ortiz, Mackenzie Hughes, Bernd Wiesberger

11:42 a.m.-8:36 a.m. — Mike Weir, C.T. Pan, Robert MacIntyre

11:54 a.m.-8:48 a.m. — Jose Maria Olazabal, Matt Wallace, Lanto Griffin

12:12 p.m.-9 a.m. — Victor Perez, Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman

12:24 p.m.-9:12 a.m. — Fred Couples, Francesco Molinari, a-Charles Osborne

12:36 p.m.-9:24 a.m. — Zach Johnson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland

12:48 p.m.-9:36 a.m. — Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar

1 p.m.-9:48 a.m. — Billy Horschel, Tyrrell Hatton, Ryan Palmer

1:12 p.m.-10:06 a.m. — Phil Mickelson, Tommy Fleetwood, Scottie Scheffler

1:24 p.m.-10:18 a.m. — Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Matt Fitzpatrick

1:36 p.m.-10:30 a.m. — Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Max Homa

1:48 p.m.-10:42 a.m. — Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Thomas

2 p.m.-10:54 a.m. — Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith, Collin Morikawa