The Masters betting: Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas worth backing at Augusta

After a long wait, the Masters is finally here and Sporting Life betting expert Ben Coley has four selections this week at Augusta National, led by Rory McIlroy…

There’s real strength to the top of the Masters market, perhaps more so than ever, and any one of the top six could argue they deserve to be considered the man to beat.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka found form in Houston, Jon Rahm is perhaps the most consistent player in the sport and Bryson DeChambeau won the US Open by six – victory for any of these would hardly be surprising.

But the two who are perhaps most suited to Augusta are Rory McIlroy (11/1 with Sky Bet) and Justin Thomas (11/1), and they’re preferred.

Some will tell you McIlroy (11/1) has struggled under the weight of expectation since aiming for a career slam here, perhaps even the man himself, but the reality is he has four top-10 finishes across his latest five visits.

A switch to November and the rain which has fallen in Georgia are both potentially in his favour, making this long par 72 play longer still, and the absence of fans may be no bad thing either.

McIlroy has alluded to this and appears to quietly fancy his chances, without feeling as though he’s the man everyone else is aiming at. These are small factors but could make the world of difference given that we know he adores this golf course.

It’s also worth mentioning that he’s improved since becoming a father, and that his wife and daughter will be with him this week. Everything is set for a significant bid for a place in the history books as one of the greatest golfers of all-time.

If it’s not McIlroy’s week, the man might be Thomas (11/1), who was second last time out, eighth in the US Open, and won another big title in August.

Thomas is the best iron player in the sport and that’s invaluable at Augusta, where he’s improved his finishing position throughout each of his four starts. Last year, despite finishing 12th, he told reporters he could and perhaps should have won.

Take the hint and pair McIlroy with Thomas at the front of the market, with Hideki Matsuyama (22/1) the pick from the next wave.

A regular Augusta contender with three top-11 finishes (Sky Bet pay down to 11th this week) in his last five visits, Matsuyama couldn’t have timed last week’s runner-up effort in Houston any better.

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Finally, though debutants don’t win here as a rule – the only one was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 – Cameron Champ (60/1) is worth chancing to break the spell.

That move to November at least means there’s something new about this to everyone, and Champ, a big-hitter who arrives in form, has the tools to take apart the par-fives and contend as he did in the US PGA.

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