Best three-ball bets for Thursday at the Masters: Hovland, Schauffele to come out hot
Just five months after Dustin Johnson donned the green jacket for the first time in his career, the Masters is back! The Augusta National festivities begin on Thursday, when nobody can win the tournament but it would be fair to say that you can shoot yourself out of it with a bad round. So the saying that the Masters does not begin until the back nine on Sunday is not exactly true. It is a fun saying come Sunday afternoon, though, just to build up the drama.
Will any big-game out of the tournament on Day 1? Who will go low and put themselves in title contention heading into the last three days? Let’s take a look some of the pairings and best three-ball bets for Thursday in Augusta.
Ian Poulter (+175) over Brian Harman and Brendon Todd
To say Poulter is far more proven around the grounds of Augusta National than Harman and Todd would be a gross understatement. The 45-year-old Englishman has played the Masters 15 times and has placed in the top 10 three times in his last 10 appearances. He has made 14 cuts in his 15 appearances, which clearly indicates that he is accustomed to strong starts. Harman has played in Augusta only twice (one MC and a T44), while Todd is 0-for-2 lifetime in cuts made at the Masters.
Joaquin Niemann (+130) over Kevin Kisner and Danny Willett
Niemann has made an incredible 14 cuts in a row dating back to last fall. The 22-year-old Chilean has shot in the 60s in six of his last seven opening rounds, including a 62 at the Sony Open in January (ended up finishing runner-up). In Kisner and Willett, the competition level is unspectacular. Kisner missed the cut at the Masters this past November and is coming off a MC at The Players Championship. Willett is only in the field because is a former champion (2016); he is a shadow of his old self.
Viktor Hovland (+163) over Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson
Watson is another former champion who is struggling. Okay, he is nowhere near as bad as Willett. Watson winning the Masters wasn’t a fluke; after all, he has won it twice and was one of the best players in the world at the time of his triumphs. Plus he is still decent…but probably not good enough to outclass Hovland on Sunday. The 23-year-old has four top-five performances in his last seven starts. Meanwhile, Koepka is coming off knee surgery, has not played since February, and literally cannot bend down to read putts.
Xander Schauffele (+220) over Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy
What a pairing this is for the first two days. McIlroy always wants to win the Masters too badly, because it would complete the career Grand Slam. He is also in poor form these days, so there is nothing to like about his chances. Rahm is formidable, but his wife just gave birth to their first child so he has had other things on his mind. Schauffele missed the cut at The Players but did not play terribly, and he had previously been in great form. The 27-year-old American finished T17 at the 2020 Masters and carded an opening 67. He has been under par in two of his three opening rounds at Augusta National and the only exception (a 73 in 2019) ended up seeing him finish the tournament in second place.
Want more picks and predictions for the 2021 Masters? Check out all our expert previews below:
- 2021 Masters winner picks and predictions
- Best prop bets for the 2021 Masters
- Breaking down the top 10 players in Masters betting
- The Masters 2021 course guide
- Golf betting guide: Available markets for the Masters
- The 2020 Masters: Reacting to Dustin Johnson’s win
Pickswise is the home of free expert Golf Picks and Predictions. Our outright PGA expert picks go live every Tuesday, so check out our latest golf picks, best bets, and analysis for this week’s PGA tournament now. We will also have our 2020 Masters 3-ball picks and our best golf prop bets for each round of the 2020 Masters.