Looking over the favorites for this year's Masters, I've talked myself out of predicting anyone. There are serious question marks hanging over all the top favorites.
Of course, even when there aren't as many question marks, picking the winner of the Masters is typically an exercise in frustration.
Save for Mickelson and Scott last year, none of these winners received much in the way of pre-tournament hype.
Will this be a year with another winner no one saw coming, or will one of the favorites step up? I'll asses the chances of the favorites below, but first, enjoy a look at all the golfers Oddsshark.com lists with odds lower than 100-1.
|2014 Masters Odds|
Phil Mickelson 12-1
Phil Mickelson will be entering Augusta without a win on the season for the first time since 2010. That is cause for concern, until remembering he won a green jacket in 2010, and this is Mickelson we're talking about.
Mickelson can get hot at a moment's notice, and he's almost always a factor at the Masters. Since 1998, Mickelson has finished outside of the top 10 just three times.
One of those times happened to be last year when he finished tied for 54th. It is safe to treat that as an aberration, however. First, consider this accurate self assessment passed along by Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman:
Mickelson is still more than capable of playing at an elite level, and this course suits his game well.
At 43, Mickelson will need his body to hold up, however, and that is my biggest question mark surrounding Lefty. It was just a couple of weeks ago when he pulled out of the Texas Open with a pulled abdominal muscle.
Despite the health concern, given his track record here, backing Mickelson at 12-1 is a good play.
Rory McIlroy 9-1
Rory McIlroy is drawing a lot of pre-tournament buzz, but I'm not buying it. At 9-1, forget about laying any money on McIlroy.
The Northern Irishman is having a solid season and, as Eye on Golf points out, enters this tournament with a hot hand:
Still, he is struggling to put together four solid rounds.
McIlroy has stumbled to a round of 74 or worse in each of his past three tournaments, and consistency has not been his friend at the Masters.
You may remember when this happened in 2011, as McIlroy blew a 54-hole lead:
Counting that final-round 80, McIlroy has now had a round of 77 or higher at each of the past three Masters.
I see no reason to believe he can buck that trend this year.
Adam Scott 9-1
There is a lot to like about Adam Scott's chances of defending his title. As he showed last year, he can excel on this course and handle the pressure of the moment.
Also, he's been in strong form. He's played in five PGA events in 2014, and has finished in the top 12 in four of them.
The hesitation with Scott comes from his last performance. Scott was third in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his last event. That is a strong finish, but he disintegrated as the tournament advanced.
Scott surged to a big, early lead by posting a 62 on the first day. He then shot, in order, a 68, 71 and 74 and wound up blowing a 54-hole lead.
Still, don't let this sway you away from Scott if you liked his chances. He has been putting well, and in each of his last three PGA events, he's finished with a strokes gained-putting mark of at least .641. If Scott putts well at Augusta, he will be in contention.
The 9-1 odds on Scott are a little to low for me to recommend this bet, but it is a decent play.
All stats via PGATour.com.