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Masters Odds 2014: Predictions for Top Favorites Heading into Augusta

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Masters Odds 2014: Predictions for Top Favorites Heading into Augusta
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

If you want to know how wide open the 2014 Masters is, consider that since the first tournament of the year in January, there have been 18 different winners in 21 events. 

That's why looking at the odds for this year's first major is so problematic. It's easy to put a great betting line on a player whose name everyone recognizes, but there isn't one player on tour right now who is so far ahead of the pack that there's no doubt he will win. 

In fact, going over the rankings and odds for the Masters, the favorites are just as volatile as the mid-tier players. We've got a look at what Las Vegas is thinking heading into Augusta, as well as predictions for the players at the top of this list. 

Full odds can be found at Vegas Insider

 

Rory McIlroy

Wilfredo Lee

Rory McIlroy and Augusta, Ga., have a love-hate relationship. There's no doubt the 24-year-old loves playing the Masters and has the talent to win it, but since that meltdown on Sunday in 2011, it hasn't been a good place for him. 

The young Irishman went from finishing 15th in 2011 to 40th in 2012 to 25th last year. That's not the kind of progression you want to see from a player with his ability. 

There is some good news for McIlroy heading into Augusta. He's coming off one of his best rounds of the year at the Shell Houston Open, shooting a bogey-free 65 on Sunday to finish in the top 10. 

McIlroy told Ewan Murray of The Guardian after that performance, his second-best round of the year, it was exactly what he needed to prepare for the Masters. 

I can't ask for much more heading into next week. I didn't make any mistakes, didn't hit any balls into the water, didn't miss any short putts. I holed the putts that I felt I should hole and kept the ball in play all day. I had been saying all week that I felt comfortable with my game and the scores hadn't really reflected that. Today I just pieced it all together.

If that's the player we see this week, McIlroy is going to run away with the green jacket. His problems on the course at Augusta aren't really substantial, it's just one bad round that destroys him. 

For instance, last year McIlroy finished two over par despite shooting a combined five-under par on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. It was a 79 on Saturday that took him out of contention. 

McIlroy has that Phil Mickelson bug where one bad hole starts everything spiraling out of control. His ability to contain that this weekend will be key. He's got the right mindset and is poised for a big weekend. 

Prediction: Top-five finish, five-under par

 

Adam Scott

Chris O'Meara

There isn't a more consistent golfer on the PGA Tour right now than Adam Scott. The defending Masters champion returns to the sight of his greatest professional achievement playing stellar golf. 

In five PGA events so far this year, Scott has not missed a cut, finished in the top 10 three times and been at least 10 under par three times. He didn't fare well at the Cadillac Championship event in early March, shooting over par in three of four rounds, but has just one round over par in the four other events he's participated in. 

After years of floating around the PGA Tour aimlessly, Scott told Scott Michaux of Augusta.com that a change in putting three years ago really jump-started his career. 

I tried a completely new method of putting, which, you know, I had five weeks to get right. I’ve never putted like that before, and I had five weeks to get it right before I brought it on tour. Some of these guys have been putting the way they putt for their whole life. So I had to make a big adjustment there.

The easiest way to save shots at Augusta is putting well. Scott has become one of the best in the business on the greens, so his strengths play right into this tournament. 

Going back to back at any event is hard, but doing it at the Masters is virtually impossible. Only Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02) have been able to accomplish the feat. 

Scott is always going to have a chance to win, but the odds aren't in his favor to get a second consecutive green jacket. 

Prediction: Top-10 finish, two-under par

 

Phil Mickelson

Patric Schneider

There would be something poetic about Phil Mickelson winning the Masters this year since it was this event 10 years ago where the popular left-hander finally had his major breakthrough. 

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Unfortunately Lefty's performance so far this season, combined with an oblique injury that forced him to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open two weeks ago, makes him one of the most puzzling favorites this week. 

Mickelson did return last week at the Shell Houston Open, playing well with a 12th-place finish and shooting seven under par, but in nine events this season, he hasn't cracked the top 10. 

The 43-year-old also had a three-tournament stretch from February 27 through March 27 where he either missed the cut (twice) or had to withdraw due to injury. 

Where's the momentum for Mickelson heading into the Masters? He's been all over the place so far this season, which is also true of his recent performance at Augusta. Lefty has gone from winning the event in 2010 to 27th in 2011 to third in 2012 to 54th last year. 

If you can figure out what Mickelson is going to do when he steps on the course at Augusta, you should be setting odds, because consistency has never been his strength. Sometimes things just fall into place, but don't expect that to be the case in 2014. 

Prediction: Finishes outside top 25, five-over par

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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