Masters 2015: Early Betting Odds from Vegas for Entire Field

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2015

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland smiles during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Welcome to perhaps the busiest month on the sports calendar. The national championship in college basketball, the beginning of the NBA playoffs and the first round of the NFL draft are all confined within April's 30 days.

Oh yeah, and there's a pretty huge golf tournament too. The world's best are all preparing to head to Augusta, Georgia, over the next few days for the Masters Tournament, golf's first major on the calendar and arguably its most prestigious. Green jackets have become synonymous with on-course excellence over the event's eight decades of existence, with very few all-time greats not having a moment in the Augusta sun.

Bubba Watson enters this week looking to become the first player in more than a decade to win back-to-back Masters titles. Looking to knock him off will be a field chock-full of greats from past and present. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.)

With that in mind, let's take a look at the entire field and assess their chances of winning before Thursday's opening tee. (Note: All odds are via Odds Shark.)

2015 Masters Odds
Rory McIlroy11-2
Jordan Spieth 8-1
Bubba Watson10-1
Jason Day14-1
Dustin Johnson 16-1
Henrik Stenson18-1
Phil Mickelson18-1
Adam Scott20-1
Jimmy Walker22-1
Patrick Reed28-1
Justin Rose33-1
Matt Kuchar33-1
Rickie Fowler33-1
Tiger Woods33-1
J.B. Holmes40-1
Lee Westwood40-1
Sergio Garcia40-1
Billy Horschel50-1
Louis Oosthuizen50-1
Brooks Koepka66-1
Hideki Matsuyama66-1
Jim Furyk66-1
Keegan Bradley66-1
Paul Casey66-1
Angel Cabrera80-1
Charl Schwartzel80-1
Gary Woodland80-1
Hunter Mahan80-1
Ian Poulter80-1
Martin Kaymer80-1
Ryan Moore80-1
Victor Dubuisson80-1
Zach Johnson80-1
Bill Haas100-1
Luke Donald100-1
Ryan Palmer100-1
Chris Kirk125-1
Graeme McDowell125-1
Jamie Donaldson125-1
Jason Dufner125-1
Padraig Harrington125-1
Russell Henley125-1
Shane Lowry125-1
Webb Simpson125-1
Branden Grace150-1
Jonas Blixt150-1
Kevin Na150-1
Marc Leishman150-1
Steve Stricker150-1
Ernie Els175-1
Miguel Angel Jimenez175-1
Brendon Todd200-1
Charley Hoffman200-1
Danny Willett200-1
Fred Couples200-1
John Senden200-1
Joost Luiten200-1
Sang-Moon Bae200-1
Bernd Wiesberger250-1
Cameron Tringale250-1
Camilo Villegas250-1
Geoff Ogilvy250-1
Matt Every250-1
Morgan Hoffman250-1
Stephen Gallacher250-1
Thomas Bjorn250-1
Anirban Lahiri300-1
Bernhard Langer300-1
James Hahn300-1
Kevin Stadler300-1
Kevin Streelman300-1
Robert Streb300-1
Seung-yul Noh300-1
Thongchai Jaidee300-1
Vijay Singh300-1
Ben Martin350-1
Brian Harman400-1
Erik Compton400-1
Mikko Ilonen400-1
Ben Crane500-1
Jose Maria Olazabal500-1
Trevor Immelman500-1
Darren Clarke750-1
Mark O'Meara1,000-1
Mike Weir1,000-1
Tom Watson1,000-1
Bradley Neil1,500-1
Corey Conners1,500-1
Gunn Yang2,000-1
Matias Dominguez2,000-1
Scott Harvey2,000-1
Ian Woosnam2,500-1
Ben Crenshaw5,000-1
Byron Meth5,000-1
Larry Mize5,000-1
Sandy Lyle7,500-1
Odds Shark

The Favorites

George Bridges/Associated Press

Rory McIlroy (11-2)
Jordan Spieth (8-1)
Bubba Watson (10-1)

No surprises here. McIlroy and Spieth have established themselves as the two best golfers in the world, rankings be damned. (Spieth is No. 4 and had a chance to move up to No. 2 at the Houston Open, so we're not far off here.)

Watson is the world's third-ranked player and has won two of the last three Masters tournaments. When speaking of the logistical reasons behind the trio being pegged as favorites, there is a pretty clear through line.

Speaking on past performance alone, McIlroy is actually the least likely of the three to come away with a green jacket. He has never finished better than a tie for eighth, which is his only top-10 finish in six appearances. To put it another way, McIlroy is historically just as likely to be cut as appear on Sunday's final leaderboard. Of course, that does not include McIlroy's 2011 meltdown, where he dropped a four-stroke lead and finished 15th.

"It [Augusta 2011] was a turning point in my career," McIlroy said, per ESPN. "I went from up and coming pro to major contender. It was the end of one part of my career and the start of another."

Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Spieth's introduction to a national audience came last year at Augusta, where he nearly won the whole thing in his first attempt. The 21-year-old was in a 54-hole tie for the lead before Watson shot 69 in the final round to pull away for a three-shot victory. That close call nonetheless helped spark Spieth's ascent toward the sport's pinnacle. He's since taken the Hero World Challenge, Valspar Championship and Emirates Australian Open while establishing himself as the clear future of USA golf.

"I felt very comfortable with more and more pressure going into Augusta, which has the most pressure anywhere," Spieth told reporters after Sunday's playoff.

Pressure for Watson will be trying to become the ninth player in history with at least three green jackets. He could also become the first since Tiger Woods to take back-to-back crowns. Given the depth of the field, Watson is a clear third place on this list to me; I don't feel comfortable betting on back-to-backs, even at 10-1 odds.

The Dark Horses

HUMBLE, TX - APRIL 04:  Phil Mickelson birdies the fifteenth hole during the third round of the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on April 4, 2015 in Humble, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson (18-1)
Keegan Bradley (66-1)
Charley Hoffman (200-1)

I decided to go with three "levels" of dark horse here. Mickelson sits in the first tier and is probably overqualified. I chose Lefty over a group that includes Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson at 20-1—just good enough odds to make you consider them but probably not enough to make the bet.

Mickelson has not finished better than a tie for 17th this calendar year and has not won on tour since the 2013 Open Championship. The 18-1 odds are more a product of the respect Vegas oddsmakers have for Mickelson than any indicator his play is improving. Given his last two years have seen a tie for 54th and an early cut, we might even be overstating Mickelson's Masters, umm, mastery.

I'd rather look at his overall body of work. From 1999 to 2010, Mickelson finished outside the top 10 at the Masters twice. Twice. Even if we acknowledge he's no longer at his apex, this course did not suddenly change overnight. It is what it is. Whenever Lefty tees off at Augusta, he has a chance to win until we get a more representative data set.

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Bradley's data set at the year's first major is mostly terrible. In three starts, he has never finished better than 27th and was cut in 2014. In fact, since winning the 2011 PGA Championship, Bradley's overall resume in majors is pretty shaky.

That said, you play this tournament 60 times, and he's winning at least once. The Vermont native has been consistently solid all season, with three top-five finishes and a number of performances on the fringes of contention. 

But my favorite deep, deep dark horse is Hoffman, who at age 38 only has one Masters appearance under his belt. The late bloomer currently sits in seventh place in the FedEx Cup standings and enters Augusta with consecutive solid performances in the Texas and Houston Opens. I don't think Hoffman is going to win; I merely think he's more deserving than 200-1 odds.

The Unknown

Tiger Woods (33-1)

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06:  Tiger Woods of the United States hits a chip shot on the practice range during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Ezra
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Maybe we're all suckers. Maybe we're all just not ready for the most spectacular athlete of this generation to fold up shop. Maybe these past few years will merely be seen as a roadblock before Tiger puts together one last stretch of dominance before his career fades to black.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. No one knows what's going to happen this weekend or for the next 200 weekends with Tiger Woods. Sure, there's the creeping feeling deep in your gut that says he's done. That one you get every time you see the pained expression his face makes when he's trying to put the full torque on his drive. And, sure, I was only a couple of weeks removed from graduating high school the last time Tiger won a major.

But still. This is Tiger Woods we're talking about—the dude who basically won said major playing on one leg and is still only a couple of years removed from winning five PGA Tour events. Perhaps his latest break was the thing he needed to remove the yips from his game and return to form—even if it's only for a short while.

We have no idea. Do I think it's likely we've seen Tiger win his last major? Do I think it's more likely we see him retire altogether within the next 18 months than win another tournament? At this point...probably. 

But Tiger says he's healthy. He says his game is ready to go. Playing this course is second nature to him, so if that's true, it's possible he comes out and shocks the world. Maybe we're even rooting for that to happen deep down. Maybe we all want to see the redemption story.

Then again, we're probably all suckers.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.