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Masters 2013 Odds: Dustin Johnson and Biggest Bangs for Your Buck

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIApril 5, 2013

Masters 2013 Odds: Dustin Johnson and Biggest Bangs for Your Buck

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    As might be expected, Tiger Woods is the oddsmakers' favorite at 5-2 to win his fifth Masters Tournament. However, Dustin Johnson headlines several likely contenders who should challenge for the green jacket despite odds of victory set at 28-1 or worse as of Friday.

    Woods has won his past two starts on the PGA Tour, so it makes sense that arguably the greatest golfer of all time has the prohibitive advantage over the field. Still, there are plenty of experienced, tough players gunning for their first Masters—including a previous major champion—who can't be discounted.

    The following slides break down some of the world's best who have long odds of winning but could really provide a nice return with a hypothetical wager.

    Note: All odds courtesy of Bovada. Player statistics are from PGATOUR.com unless otherwise indicated.

Dustin Johnson

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    Odds: 28-1

    If you look at Johnson's track record at Augusta National, it seems laughable to even consider him among the serious contenders since he has never finished better than a tie for 30th.

    Do bear in mind, though, that defending champion Bubba Watson had previous results of T-20, 42 and T-38 before improbably pulling it out last year.

    Johnson has a game somewhat similar to Watson's to get it done on this track. His mind-blowing power gives him a huge edge, particularly on the reachable par-fives that Augusta serves up. In order to get it done at a major, nerves must be held in check on the greens.

    The biggest difference in Johnson's game recently has been his putting, where he ranks 32nd in strokes gained putting. After winning the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, it was a struggle for the talented 28-year-old, who has won in each of his seven seasons on Tour.

    However, a tie for 12th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and a joint fourth effort at the Shell Houston Open has his game trending in the right direction at the best possible time.

    Look for Johnson to capitalize on his ridiculous length and recent form to make a serious push for his first major. He has had close calls at majors before, and that should only help him in the heat of contention.

Lee Westwood

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    Odds: 28-1

    One of these times, Westy has to break through, right?

    The Englishman has been agonizingly close to many a major championship, and the window is probably beginning to close as he approaches his 40s this month.

    Westwood hadn't had much success at the Masters until 2010, when he finished alone in second. He followed that up with a tie for third in 2012, missing out on the playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen by two shots. That was in spite of a sensational four-under 32 on the back nine on Sunday.

    There isn't much more Westwood can do, as he continually puts himself in position but can't quite close the deal.

    A top-10 finish in Houston last week was a welcome return to form for Westwood, as it was only his second such result in 2013. Given his recently successful track record at Augusta and long overdue arrival of a maiden major championship, the odds that Westwood currently has are very favorable.

Ian Poulter

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    Odds: 40-1

    The brash Brit is a Ryder Cup stalwart and has emerged as one of the most clutch putters on the planet. Although he's risen as high as No. 5 in the world rankings, it hasn't quite translated to major success.

    Poulter sports a respectable history at the Masters, having made the cut in all eight previous appearances and finishing inside the top 10 in two of the past three years.

    Although his game isn't based on power, the number of big putts Poulter can hole is invaluable on the table-top, lightning-fast greens at Augusta. Plus, he clearly has the confidence and self-belief to eventually grab a major title.

    Thus far this season, lackluster iron play has crippled Poulter's game, as he ranks 153rd on tour in greens in regulation (h/t PGATOUR.com).

    As long as he can get his swing to lock in a little better in San Antonio this week, it's hard not to like 40-1 odds on such a world-class player with such a great short game.

Jason Dufner

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    Odds: 50-1

    Dufner has been making news lately more for his posture around schoolchildren than his play on the course, but that's neither here nor there. He is one of the greatest ball-strikers in the world and held a share of the lead after 36 holes at this event in 2012.

    It's really been a bad campaign for Dufner so far, as he has not registered a top-10 finish and isn't displaying the same explosiveness he showcased last season. After ranking fifth on tour in birdie average, Dufner is currently down to 101st.

    Birdies aren't always paramount in the Masters, but Dufner will continue giving himself opportunities by hitting fairways and greens.

    The length of the course also won't be as much of an issue for Dufner's lack of power, as he should be able to take advantage of scoring opportunities by utilizing wise course management and judiciousness in attacking flags.

    The experience Dufner gained as a co-leader at the midway point last year should bode well for him, and it wouldn't be surprising if he registered his best finish of the year next week.

Graeme McDowell

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    Odds: 50-1

    G-Mac is the epitome of "swag" in golf. When he hits a sensational shot, he strides up the fairway, fixed on the ball as it soars towards the stick. McDowell also isn't one to have his cage rattled under the gun of major pressure.

    On the weekend at Augusta in 2012, McDowell shot five under over the final two days—including a 68 on Sunday as he went three under on the back side. That gave him his best finish at the year's first major (T-12).

    Despite the struggles McDowell endured in a lackluster performance at Bay Hill, there are plenty of positive signs for his season thus far. Three top-10 finishes preceded that effort in marquee events, including a tie for third at the Cadillac Championship.

    McDowell is one of the most accurate drivers of the ball in the game, but what's really preventing him from posting even better results is his approach shots.

    The good news is he is still putting sensationally, and with a couple of weeks' hiatus from the tour to revamp his swing, he should be ready to roll and give the green jacket a good run.

Steve Stricker

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    Odds: 50-1

    A much more limited schedule has benefited Stricker as he approaches the twilight of his career. With how steady his all-around game is, it's surprising that he doesn't have a major on his impressive resume.

    Stricker placed in the top five at both World Golf Championships events, including a runner-up finish at Doral to Tiger Woods. The 46-year-old has been blistering in his limited tour action, hitting over 75 percent of greens in regulation, piling up 4.45 birdies per round and ranking 10th in total putting.

    The Masters hasn't been too kind to Stricker, as he only has two top-10 finishes in 12 career appearances. If there were ever a year he could get it done, though, this would be it.

    There isn't much pressure on Stricker to win, and the lightened share of tournaments seems to be helping his play on the course.

    As long as he can continue rolling the rock as well as he's capable of and crisply hitting irons as well as he has been, the odds should be in Stricker's favor to have a career-best finish here. And who knows? It may ultimately result in his first major, which probably should have happened already.

Jim Furyk

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    Odds: 80-1

    Whenever Furyk is doubted, he always seems to come back stronger. A lackluster 2011 campaign had many writing the wily veteran off, but he bounced back by seriously threatening to win his second U.S. Open.

    Although he faltered down the stretch, Furyk has shown he has plenty left in the tank. Maybe it's the 5-Hour Energy or maybe it's that he's accumulated so much valuable experience over the years.

    Furyk is struggling on the greens in 2013 but boasts one of the most precise long games in the world. That should naturally set up ample opportunities for him to get his feel back. He only has one top-10 finish to his name this season but is playing well thus far in San Antonio.

    Whether the weekend at the Valero Texas Open brings a good result shouldn't make much difference because Furyk should be a factor regardless.

    Few players can grind out a round like Furyk can, which will be an invaluable quality to possess making the turn around Amen Corner. Furyk is as battle tested as anyone in the field and could be dangerous with a hot putter and the oddsmakers dismissing his chances at a major once again.

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