Picking one of the top favorites to win the Masters is like picking a No. 1 seed to win the NCAA tournament. You might be right, but it's just boring.
Then again, if any place has been geared toward surprise champions, it's Augusta National Golf Club. Five of the last seven Masters champions were first-time major winners.
Odds for major tournaments, especially one as notable as the Masters, are filled with names like Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy or Adam Scott. But considering all of those names are either struggling at the moment or facing injuries, it's just as likely—if not more likely—that a name not found at the top of the oddsmakers' list will don the green jacket.
No Tiger, an inconsistent group of favorites and an always-tricky Augusta National mean that putting the house on a lesser-known but still dangerous name could pay off this year.
Let's break down the updated list of odds, including sleepers you can't forget about heading into Thursday and the start of the 2014 Masters.
|2014 Masters Odds (as of April 9)|
Note: All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com
Harris English is being talked about plenty heading into this year's Masters, but not really as a potential winner.
Instead, the 24-year-old American youngster has been making waves due to his young age, his 15th-place finish at the U.S. Open last year and a hole-in-one at the 12th hole in warmups at the Masters earlier this week, per Golf.com.
But don't be surprised if he wins the whole thing. Despite his young age, English already has a whopping four victories as a professional—two on the PGA Tour, one on the Nationwide Tour and the other with Matt Kuchar at the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Three of those wins came in 2013, which speaks volumes about his form compared to the rest of the golf world.
Despite his young age, English has the power to attack Augusta's long holes but also excels on the greens. If the greens stay under control and he keeps his nerves balanced, English should be able to ride his talent into the weekend and contend.
English will be patted on the back if he finishes anywhere near the top of the leaderboard, but don't sleep on him. With minuscule odds and him playing fantastic golf as of late, English wouldn't be a poor bet to place.
Next up is a man old enough to be English's father but is also facing similar odds and a similar outside shot at crashing the Masters party.
Jim Furyk is no stranger to the spotlight. The 2010 PGA Player of the Year has been a mainstay at the top of major leaderboards over his long career that has seen 26 professional victories—one of which the 2003 U.S. Open.
But it's Furyk's style of golf, not his accolades, that makes him an attractive candidate at Augusta. Few golfers have the command and accuracy that the 43-year-old possesses, and with a course as unique, tricky and quirky as this one, that style of play is tailor-made. Furyk showed that in 1998 and 2003 with fourth-place finishes.
Perhaps most encouraging about Furyk is his threats in majors as of late. He led both the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2013 PGA Championship after 54 holes and has been as relevant in the past two or three years as he's ever been.
Whatever was missing in Jason Dufner's game late in 2013, he seemed to have found it at the PGA Championship.
The 37-year-old has always been one of the world's more renowned golfers, but couldn't stick around late in the weekend of major tournaments. And the ones he did stick around in—the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Opens—ended with oh-so-close top-five finishes.
But things clicked in a big way at the 2013 PGA Championship. He broke a course record by shooting a 63 in the second round and beat out Furyk in the final round to win by two strokes.
What gives Dufner more of an advantage than anything heading into Augusta, though, is his cool approach. Nerves shouldn't be a factor for him on golf's biggest stage, which can't be said of many of his counterparts.
On top of that, Dufner comes in with impressive form, as he has three top-15 finishes already in 2014.
Dufner took it home the last time golf's biggest stars met for a major and hasn't shown any signs of regressing, so his incredibly low odds make him an obvious sleeper betting choice.