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McIlroy Still Favored Entering 2019 Masters, Johnson Surges

Jordan Bianchi for Bookies.com

Jordan Bianchi  | 3 mins

McIlroy Still Favored Entering 2019 Masters, Johnson Surges

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As the 2019 edition of The Masters gets set to tee it up Thursday, Rory McIlroy remains the betting favorite to win golf’s first major of the year. A surging Dustin Johnson has the second-best odds to celebrate victory at Augusta National Golf Club.

The majority of golf betting sportsbooks have McIlroy listed +700 (7/1) to win the Masters. Johnson, No. 2 in the official world rankings, is second at +750 (15/2), followed by No. 1-ranked Justin Rose at +1200 (12/1), Tiger Woods at +1400 (14/1), then Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm at +1600 (16/1). Of those players, only four-time champion Woods has won a Masters.

McIlroy Seeking Masters Breakthrough

McIlroy is ranked No. 3 but a sizzling stretch since the beginning of the year has many heralding him as the best player in the world. He has not finished outside the top 10 in any tournament in 2019 and won in March at the Players Championship.

The native of Northern Ireland is exhibiting high-level form and a game that plays well at Augusta. That explains why oddsmakers like McIlroy, who’s seeking to become the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam. McIlroy’s recent history suggests he’ll be in contention on Sunday; he has finished in the top 10 in his past five Masters starts, the only player to do so.

Never has McIlroy played better coming into the Masters.

McIlroy Still Favored Entering 2019 Masters, Johnson Surges 1
Dustin Johnson looks to capture his second career major this week at Augusta National.

Johnson’s Strong Play Hasn’t Gone Unnoticed

As well as McIlroy is playing, Johnson has been almost as good. The No. 2 ranked player in the world already has two wins in 2019 and a streak of four-straight top-10 finishes in stroke-play events. The second of those two wins came in the WGC-Mexico Championship in February where Johnson shot 5-under-par 66 to beat second-place McIlroy by five strokes.

Oddsmakers have taken notice of Johnson’s recent play and the betting line on him winning the Masters has reflected that. This places Johnson in a familiar position. He came into the 2017 Masters with three wins already that season, but never got to complete at the Masters because he hurt himself falling down a staircase at his rented Augusta home and had to withdraw.

Though lacking a Masters win, Johnson has a major win to his credit (U.S. Open, 2016). And he has done well at Augusta, with three top 10s in his past three starts.

Will Tiger Woods Lurk at Augusta?

Regardless of where any tournament is or how he is playing coming in, all eyes are usually always on Woods – especially at Augusta. Woods’ play has been solid, though not spectacular, in 2019 with a best finish of T-10.

In part because of how well others are doing, and in part because Woods’ last Masters triumph was 14 years ago –his last major win anywhere was in 2008 – oddsmakers are not as enamored with his prospects for winning as McIlroy or Johnson.

Still, name recognition means something to the betting public, as does a game that often puts Woods somewhere around the top 10 at Augusta. Thus, Woods -- who has 13 finishes of T8 or better in his 19 professional Masters starts -- is a popular pick to win Sunday.

About the Author

Jordan Bianchi for Bookies.com
Jordan Bianchi
Veteran sports journalist Jordan Bianchi has worked for numerous outlets during his career, including Reuters, Yahoo, SB Nation, Sporting News and Autoweek