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The Masters: Trading on Golf vs. Betting on Golf

Trading on golf holds a special place in the hearts and minds of those who work at Sporttrade. CEO Alex Kane developed the initial idea for a sports betting platform that performed more like a financial trading app as opposed to a sportsbook after successfully identifying Kiradech Aphibarnrat to be in the mix in the 2016 Masters. Initially a 1000-to-1 long shot to win, Aphibarnrat was T8 through the first two days of the tournament, working his way into the top ten and dropping his odds down to 12-1. 

Although Aphibarnrat didn’t win, Alex thought it was ridiculous he wasn’t able to make any money on his (correct) assumption.

While not initially being offered, the ability to directionally trade the leaderboard on golfers you like and trade against golfers you don’t like will be one of our apps' great assets. 

Social Media Manager, Greg Rappaport, and Executive Producer of Media and Content, Dan Koob, have identified the ways to utilize Sporttrade’s unique differences to maximize your golf trading experience.

Masters pricing as of 4/3/22
Pricing as of April 3, 2022

Dan: Ok, Greg. Let’s give the people what they want. Trades that reveal winners, losers, who to fade and who to ride for profit.

Greg: Shhh, can you hear that? If you listen closely you can hear the soft spoken words of a Jim Nantz Masters monologue. March Madness was fun, but it’s April Azealia Appreciation time for me. 

Dan: He will have plenty of ties left over

Our Best Pick to Win: Buy and Hold

Dan: No one has won back-to-back Green Jackets since Tiger in 2001/2002. So Hideki Matsuyama ($2/contract) is out for me. Jon Rahm ($7/contract) hasn’t won on tour since last year’s U.S. Open and he’s the favorite - so what’s the fun in that?

You could definitely talk me into Cam Smith’s mustache ($100/contract) or Cam Smith’s chances to win The Masters ($6/contract). Greg now runs the New Jersey chapter of the Tyrrell Hatton-Fan Club ($1/contract) so I’ll let him explain.

But let’s consider these finishes. 1, T7, 1, T55, 1. I’m not a math guy, persea, but I know a lower finish is a good thing. 

Scottie Scheffler’s ($5.50/contract) loud entry into the world’s No. 1 ranking has come thanks to his wizardry on the green. He must be muttering ‘Wingardium Putt-iosa’ every time he pulls back. 14 of his last 16 rounds dating back to R1 of the Phoenix Open have yielded positive Strokes-Gained putting scores. 

His driving accuracy is a little blah (57%), but he’s 29th in Strokes Gained approaching the green. He’ll work his way out. It’s a bit chalky, but grabbing 3 contracts for $16.50 for the world’s top golfer screams bargain to me. If he wins, my $16.50 would turn into roughly $300. 

Greg: Did someone say Tyrrell Hatton? I’ll get to him later when we discuss some longshot plays. But yes, the Hatton Fan Club—Hatties, as we like to call ourselves—is most definitely open for business. 

Among the favorites in this year’s field, I must admit I am in on one of the most steadfastly boring picks you can make: Justin Thomas ($6.50/contract). There’s a reason JT enters The Masters trailing only Jon Rahm in the odds; he’s been playing incredible golf all year. In 10 tournaments this season, Thomas has notched six Top-10 finishes and has yet to miss a cut. His worst finish to date was a T35 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. 

While he’s yet to don the Green Jacket, Thomas has been in or near contention in all six of his previous appearances, notching a 4th place in the 2020 Covid-delayed Masters. Thomas’ combination of bombing off the tee and following up with elite approach shots is a perfect recipe for success at Augusta National. JT not being in striking distance on Sunday would come as a surprise to me given his play of late. 

Our Best Mid-Tier Value Play: Directional Trading 

Greg: When you look at the contract prices here for winners, there’s no shortage of strong picks, but I’m targeting young Will Zalatoris ($2/Contract). Just last year Zalatoris nearly became the first golfer since Fuzzy Zoeller (take a shot!) in 1979 to win The Masters on his first attempt, eventually losing to Matsuyama by one stroke. 

While Zalatoris’ putter is still an Achilles heel, his driving distance and approach shots do more than enough to keep him involved. After a herky jerky start to the season, the 25-year-old American’s play has been solid over the past few months. 

My play for Zalatoris would be to buy six contracts for $12 and see where things stand at the end of Round 3 on Saturday. If the price of the contract is trading for less than $2, I’d probably sell the whole lot. If it’s trading above $2, my move would be selling two or three contracts and letting the rest ride on one of golf’s rising stars.  

Dan: This section is all about directionally trading. Who can you unearth for the best value that you think will be in the mix come Sunday, but ultimately you’d be ok trading out of and securing a profit once the tide turns?

Zalatoris is a great pick at a lesser price than what I’m suggesting here. At $4 per contract, Viktor Hovland is my answer. He’s 10th priciest on our board and profiles as someone who could be in contention off the tee (33rd on tour for driving distance, 48th in driving accuracy) at a course you have to produce bombs in the box. 

But he’s literally the worst player approaching the cup. He’s 210th in the PGA on Shots Gained around the green. He may be able to save himself some strokes with the short stick (51st in strokes gained putting), but that won’t be enough to overcome his short game. I’m grabbing him in the hopes of a hot start for one of golf’s up-and-comers, but fine just solidifying gains in my portfolio. 

Our Best Longshot 

Dan: If you want to get nuts, Sam Burns ($1/contract) has continued to craft and hone his game since turning pro in 2017. The Valspar Championship winner has steadily improved and is now Data Golf’s 9th best player on tour with his putter and irons contending with the top 10 in the world. 

He’s 24th on the Tour in driving distance (308 yards) and 101st in accuracy (60.23% of fairways). That’s fine. His true success lives and dies with his putter. After missing 3 straight cuts (Farmers, WM, Genesis), Burns has put together finishes of T9, T26 and 1, averaging over 1.3 strokes gained on the green. 

As Greg mentioned above, no golfer has won in their first appearance at The Masters since Magic Johnson beat Larry Bird in the NCAA Title game and I’d be lying if I thought Burns could buck that trend. But even trades that don’t ‘win’ can still win you money on Sporttrade. 

Greg: Before you even ask, no, I am not affiliated with Tyrrell Hatton’s entourage. I am just a fan of this man’s game and how it fits on Augusta despite not having a noteworthy track record there. If everything breaks right, I could see Hatton ($1/Contract) winning this thing. That’s why I’m grabbing up 10 contracts and keeping an eye on how things develop over the weekend. 

So what’s the case for Hatton to win his first Major? He enters The Masters in some of the top form of any golfer in the world, currently ranked 13th on datagolf.com. His strokes gained putting leads the PGA Tour this season, and his total strokes gained lands him at 7th. 

Par-5 scoring is a massive part of the formula for success at Augusta and he did just that last year with his career-best T-18 finish at The Masters, wrapping up 6-under par on the par-5’s. It was his performances on the par 3’s and 4’s that cost him a better weekend. But since the 2022 season has been underway, Hatton has been ripping on par-3’s, ranking 15th on tour with a 2.97 scoring average. 

If Hatton puts it all together at The Masters, meet me at an English Pub on Sunday night because the Hatties will be celebrating like never before. And if he doesn’t put it together, then CBS should probably mute the microphones in advance. 

A few other longshots who are worth throwing a dart at in my opinion: Russell Henley (.50/Contract), Adam Scott ($1.50/Contract), Joaquin Niemann ($1/Contract), Webb Simpson ($.50/Contract), Shane Lowry ($1.50/Contract), and Bryson DeChambeau ($2/contract)

Dan: I lived in the south for a few years. This is my response to anyone betting DeChambeau:

Bless your heart. 

Who To Short This Weekend

Greg: It’s Friday night and Round 2 has just wrapped up. Who do you spy right at the top of the leaderboard? Brooks Koepka. The Brooks Bros will be climbing out of the woodwork to throw down money on Koepka winning The Masters after a year of meandering play following a knee surgery in March of 2021. And barring a Tiger Woods miracle, a strong start from Brooks might be the biggest headline after the first few days of action. 

Don’t buy into the hype. Despite showing signs of a return to form, including an impressive performance at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Open, Koepka’s third-round scoring ranks 103rd on tour this season. Moving day has featured more backwards movement for Brooks, so I’m shorting any Koepka contract available here: Top-20, Top-10, Outright, I’m out on Brooks this year even if he starts off hot. And with his impressive performances in past Masters and heavy betting interest, you would likely get quoted a solid price for shorting Brooksie. 

Dan: If you’re looking for someone who attracts bets and appears as though they’re in contention, but won’t actually threaten to win, you’ve found your guy in Rory McIlroy. The Green Jacket continues to elude Rory ($5.50/contract) who has been sitting on 3-parts of a Major Grand Slam since 2014 (that’s almost 10 years ago, Greg). Don’t expect a coronation at Augusta. 

Rory has played well historically at The Masters, but not good enough. 6 of his last 8 outings resulted in T10 finishes, but two of his last three have seen him out of contention (including missing the cut last year). 

In fact, Rory has never finished within 6 shots of the eventual Masters champion in any career start:

2021: T5 - Finished 9 shots back 

2020: Missed cut 

2019: T21 - finished 8 shots back 

2018: T5 - finished 6 shots back 

2017: T7 - finished 6 shots back 

2016: T10 - finished 6 shots back (shot 77 in R3)

2015: 4th - finished 6 shots back 

2014: T8 - finished 8 shots back 

2013: T25 - finished 11 shots back 

2012: T40 - finished 15 shots back 

2011: T15 - finished 10 shots back 

2010: Missed cut 

Since winning the CJ Cup in October, Rory has finished 18, 10, 13, 33 and 50th.

 His price is inflated. 

Who Will Miss The Cut? 

Dan: I mean… It has to be Tiger, right? He’s 46 years old coming off an injury that could have ended his life, let alone his playing career. The mental gymnastics of Tiger’s faithful are insane.  “Yeah, but he won in 2008 on a broken leg!”

Yeah, when he was 32 and a modern-day Superman. It’s been sixteen years. Even our mightiest of heroes have the game pass them by. 

Greg: It brings me absolutely no joy to say this, but I’m also going to say Tiger Woods, if he actually plays, will not be making the cut at The Masters. The Tiger Woods betting market might be one of the most irrational in all of sports. A video of him chipping on the driving range racks up millions of views, thousands of “HE’S BACK” tweets, and likely many losing bets to go along with it. Tiger actually giving it a go would be must-see TV, but just look at the timeline here: 

  • FEB 2021: A serious car accident that nearly resulted in the amputation of his leg. 

  • FEB 2022: Woods says he’s been mainly working on chipping. “My golf activity has been very limited.” 

Are we really buying into the idea that this is someone who was recently quoted as saying they are “still working on the walking part” is ready to make the cut at The Masters? Going with my head and not my heart here. 

Now Tiger at The Masters in 2023? Sign me up please. 

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Greg Rappaport & Dan Koob are employees at Sporttrade and recreational sports bettors. While Greg & Dan may place some of the discussed wagers with licensed sports betting operators, their advice is purely for entertainment purposes only.  Their opinions are not gambling advice and do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of Sporttrade.  They do not have access to any non-public information. Trades described above are similar to options trading and are illustrative (i.e. not real) and absent any commission Sporttrade will charge on winning trades.

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