Tiger Woods is easily the best choice to win the 2013 Masters. However, he is not the best bet. Favorites in golf tournaments seldom are—especially when their odds are as low as Tiger's this year.
As far as this tournament goes, I'm not thrilled with the odds on any of the top-three favorites. However, the golfer with the fourth-lowest odds is another story.
Here is how I break down the plays on the four golfers with the lowest odds heading into Augusta.
*Odds according to Bovada on April 8.
Tiger Woods, 7-2
Tiger Woods is the overwhelming favorite for a reason. However, those low odds make this a less-than-ideal bet.
It's hard to win a golf a tournament, even for Woods. While Tiger has won his last two Tour events, is striking the ball well and leads the Tour in strokes gained-putting, he hasn't won at Augusta since 2005.
If I'm going to pick a golfer to win this tournament, it is definitely going to be Woods. However, the 7-2 odds just don't offer a big enough reward.
Rory McIlroy, 8-1
I'd lay money on Tiger before I put it on Rory.
McIlroy looked much better last week as he finished second in the Texas Open. He displayed much better control with his shots, and his confidence increased as the tournament wore on.
That said, he has still been wildly inconsistent this year, and it is too much too expect him to suddenly put it all together for four rounds in the high-pressure atmosphere of a major.
This isn't just any major for Rory either. This is the same tournament where he had an infamous collapse on the back nine of the final round in 2011 and slumped to a terrible final two rounds last year.
Phil Mickelson, 10-1
Phil Mickelson loves Augusta. Three of his four major titles have come at the Masters, and he's been good here in recent seasons. He won in 2010, was 27th in 2011 and then finished third last year.
Lefty has been in good form this year, and he is undoubtedly geared up to perform well at Augusta.
The question with Phil is can he avoid the big mistake that takes him out of contention. This is, and always will be, the big gamble with Phil.
At 10-1, that gamble is not terrible, and I wouldn't advise against this bet. However, I don't like it nearly as much as our next golfer.
Justin Rose, 20-1
Justin Rose was fantastic through the Florida swing. He had a fourth and eighth-place finish and wrapped it up with a second at Bay Hill. That was his last time on the course.
At the heart of his success is improved confidence on the greens, and when he putts well, he will score well. Rose is a good ball striker and he has great distance off the tee.
Given this, it is no surprise that he has played well at Augusta. He came in eighth last year and 11th the year before that.
I fully expect him to be right in the thick of contention on Sunday, and at 20-1, he's the best bet in the field.