Masters week is officially here, and tournament betting is in full swing. On Monday’s ShackHouse Masters preview podcast, Joe House and Geoff Shackelford offered up some of their favorite sleeper picks for the weekend, as well as their cases for and against a possible second straight green jacket for Sergio Garcia.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
The Case For and Against a Sergio Garcia Repeat
Geoff Shackelford: I feel like if you look at the odds right now, where people are betting ... how is the defending champion [30-to-1]? I’m just befuddled. And I think he fits your theme, Sergio Garcia. He is somebody who has been playing very steadily, made the equipment switch no problem, has a couple of wins after a little bit of a post-Masters lull. Yes, his wife just gave birth, but man he was out here smiling, doing the drive, chip, and putt. The members love him, he’s hugging everybody, everybody in a green coat is giving Sergio a hug. I’ve never seen them love a defending a defending champion like this—except maybe Ben Crenshaw or something. I just think he’s somebody that, if you’re doing a [Masters] pool, if you’re wagering in some way, he’s going to be overlooked. I think that makes him dangerous.
Joe House: I absolutely love Sergio, and speaking of ball striking, he fits every one of those metrics in a beautiful way. ... The reason that I’m not going to bet on Sergio to win, but instead I am going [to bet on him to finish] both top 10 and top 20—I’m not betting on him to win because the odds are not very favorable for repeat champions. It just doesn’t happen. So I love where Sergio is at, I loved his performance down in Austin [at the WGC Match Play]. He ripped through his little pod there—
Shackelford: That was a tough pod. I thought he had the toughest group of the first day, myself. And I think it proved out that way. Xander Schauffele’s still playing great, and [Shubhankar] Sharma. It was a tough group.
House: And his daughter was all of 2 or 3 or 4 days old! … But I admire his form, I think he’s been playing awesome this season. It’s just that singular fact of how hard it is to repeat that I’m out on.
Masters Sleeper Picks
Shackelford: Long shots: Let’s talk about people who are not—obviously, I did a Golfweek breakdown, I picked [Justin] Rose and of course I had [Phil] Mickelson, [Tiger] Woods, Garcia, and Justin Thomas as the contenders who I think are going to be right there. Hardly going out on a limb. But we also looked at DraftKings bargains, sleepers, all that kind of good stuff. And I just settled on—partly because I was working with the DraftKings budget, but also just looking at the world ranking and we wanted somebody outside the top 50—I’m fascinated at the lack of respect for Bryson DeChambeau. So he’s sort of my one sleeper to keep an eye on.
He’s gotten those initial Masters out of the way, he is playing really good golf, and he is bombing the ball. If you’re in a draft and you start getting into that fifth and sixth round and he’s there, I think he’s a great value.
House: I like that—I like him quite a bit and he has good feels at the Masters. His memorable—was it the Friday round or the Thursday round from two years ago?
Shackelford: It was Friday.
House: Friday round, yeah. Where it really seemed like he was going to potentially contend all the way through the weekend. There was a Saturday—they had a bad weather day on that Saturday and it killed him.
Shackelford: And he’s a far more complete player since then. And then of course there’s Bubba [Watson]. The Bubba factor—by the way, I also have him in my group of contenders and watched him practice today, and there’s no reason to discourage anyone from that. But have you got any long shots that are sticking out? There’s Tommy Fleetwood, who’s not getting any attention even though he’s established himself as one of the better players in the world. Somebody in your ... pool that you’re liking? Somebody a little bit deeper down the list?
House: I’m going to say a name—now, I’m going to play Fleetwood for a top-20, I’m going to play Adam Scott for a top-20, I’m going to play DeChambeau for a top-20. Those are not guys that I think—now Fleetwood can win this tournament, let there be no doubt. I just don’t like his form in the two tournaments that he played in the lead-up to this. … The one guy that I keep talking about, keep coming back to, and I just love the odds, is Henrik Stenson at 45-to-1. I believe he can win this golf tournament. His ball striking is so unbelievable. Now he wasn’t on that list either, [but Alex] Norén deserves some recognition—I’m going to top-20 Norén also.
Shackelford: OK, I was going to ask you that. There are two—you know I’ve got Norén and I’ve got Kevin Kisner … but are you looking at either? Obviously you’re looking at Norén because you just mentioned him, but what about Kevin Kisner?
House: I’m not going to play Kisner to win. I will play him to top-20, and I will play him in one of my massive make-the-cut parlays, which will have six or seven or eight players all jammed together at once.