Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
- The 85th edition of the Masters Tournament from Augusta, GA tees off Thursday, April 8th
- Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are co-favorites to lead after the first round
- See the best bets and odds to grab the first-round lead in the article below
The 85th Masters is upon us, and there’s no shortage of storylines – starting with Dustin Johnson searching for back-to-back green jackets.
2015 champion Jordan Spieth is back in the winner’s circle making him one of the outright favorites to win. Bryson DeChambeau is attempting to win his second major in his last three starts, Rory McIlroy looks for the career grand slam and Brooks Koepka is returning from knee surgery.
With so many of the games best golfers playing well at the moment, getting off to a hot start is critical at Augusta National. The average position of the eventual winner after the opening round is 6.9 in the history of the tournament
In this article, we’ll explore which players have the best chance of being the leader after day one at Augusta National, along with what players are playing well on Thursday’s this season.
2021 Masters First Round Leader Odds
|Golfer||Odds at DraftKings||Tee Time|
Odds as of April 6th
The forecast is expected to be a mix of sun and clouds throughout the day with just a 20 percent chance of precipitation. The morning wave will start in mid 60 degree temperatures which will rise to mid 80’s for the afternoon players.
Those competing in the morning will catch a more docile wind, with gusts up to ten miles per hour, reaching a little bit higher for the afternoon wave at 16 miles per hour.
Another benefit for those teeing it up early Thursday is the exact same as it is every week – less bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up.
Spieth Riding Momentum
Jordan Spieth comes to his personal playground riding high, having taken the Valero Texas Open to taste victory for the first time since the 2017 Open Championship. That triumph marked his fifth top-10 finish in his last seven events, where he’s led the tour in total strokes gained in that span.
Spieth, the 2015 champion, also has a pair of runners-ups and a third place result in his career at Augusta National. More importantly, for the purposes of a FRL wager, he’s led outright after 18 holes in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Last Six Masters First Round Leaders
|2020||Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Dylan Frittelli (-7)|
|2019||Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka (-6)|
|2018||Jordan Spieth (-6)|
|2017||Charley Hoffman (-7)|
|2016||Jordan Spieth (-6)|
|2015||Jordan Spieth (-8)|
Something always clicks when Spieth gets onto these hallowed grounds, as he’s in elite company in all-time strokes gained at the Masters.
All-time strokes gained total leaders at #TheMasters – minimum 20 rounds
1. Ben Hogan
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Tiger Woods
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) April 4, 2021
Even though you’re not getting tremendous value on him as the +1800 co-favorite, it’s hard to argue with a player who’s led after Thursday in half of his last six attempts.
- Pick: Jordan Spieth (+1800)
Cameron Smith Coming Off Excellent 2020 Masters
Smith did something at the Masters last November that nobody has ever done in the history of this prestigious championship – shoot all four rounds in the 60’s in one event.
The Australian ended up in a tie for second for the week, the second time in his career he’s been inside the top-5 at the Masters (T-5th in 2018).
He’s also third in first round scoring average for the campaign, having posted seven of eleven opening 18-hole scores in the 60’s (with nothing worse than a 71).
2020-21 PGA Tour First Round Scoring Average Leaders
|1. Patrick Cantlay||68.10||+2800|
|2. Patrick Reed||68.22||+3300|
|3. Cameron Smith||68.64||+3500|
|4. Webb Simpson||68.80||+3500|
|5. Joaquin Niemann||68.83||+5000|
|7. Jon Rahm||69.00||+2000|
|9. Scottie Scheffler||69.14||+4500|
|10. Jason Kokrak||69.15||+6000|
|11. Brian Harman||69.29||+8000|
|12. Xander Schauffele||69.30||+3300|
*Sixth ranked Cameron Tringale and eighth ranked Russell Henley did not qualify
Smith enters the week with a quarter of solid finishes in a row – 4th, T-11th, T-17th, T-28th. At +3500, getting him at longer odds than 16 players is enticing.
- Pick: Cameron Smith (+3500)
Brian Harman an Intriguing Option
Not many golfers have been on such a sustained record of solid play than Harman, who has made the weekend in 19 of his last 20 events. He’s also eleventh in first round scoring average this season, posting four rounds of 68 or better in his last six tournaments.
That’s allowed him to be extremely consistent in several key strokes gained categories of late.
Harman’s Strokes Gained Rankings In Last 24 Rounds
|Short Game||Off-the-Tee||Around-the-Green||Tee-to-Green||Total||Putting||Ball Striking||Approach|
In his last two tournaments he finished T-3rd at the Players Championship and T-5th after making the quarter-finals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. For players much more down the board than the favorites, it’s hard to find better value than Harman.
- Pick: Brian Harman (+8000)
This article may contain links to external sports betting services. SBD may receive advertising revenue from these links, however editorial has hand-picked each individual link based on relevance to the article, without influence on the coverage.
Michael “Hound Dog” Harrison is well known in the sports industry as the resident statistician for the SC with Jay Onrait Show. He has worked at TSN for over 13 years, where he’s been featured on Sportscentre, That’s Hockey, That’s Hockey 2Nite, The Masters preview shows, and several more.