UA-33754892-1 Archives for 03 April 2011 | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

Golf Betting Tips

The Masters

Ben Crane played ok last week, shooting four solid rounds to finish 24th. Bad finishes to his first two rounds really stopped his momentum. Joe Ogilvie played like a 200/1 chance and missed the cut. We lost 5 points dropping us back to +194.83 points for the year. I said in the preview Mickelson was a solid bet but I felt he was not sharp enough..... turns out he was!

The intensity and focus Mickelson showed in winning last week makes him a very worthy favourite for this years first major, The Masters. Again I think he looks a solid bet. However, I think he had a lot go his way last week. After two poor opening rounds he chipped in twice, once in round 3 and once in the final round, both times for par. If he failed to get one up and down and made double I think his momentum disappears and who knows what would have happened. I think he can definitely win here but he will need to carry forward that momentum as he did in 2006 by winning the Bellsouth Classic the week before the Masters.

The real problem is I can make good arguments for maybe 50 players in this field and to side with one at 6/1 is difficult. 6/1 is a price one would consider about Woods at his peak, probably not a value bet about a guy who has shown one week of good form. I am not saying he won’t win, I think he has a very big chance especially with his record at Augusta (3 time winner), I am just saying 6/1 is short enough.

The weather for the week looks ideal after a little rain today. The course, as always, appears to be perfect according to the player’s reports so it is just about finding a player who fits the profile at a good price. So what’s the profile? Well, Mickelson ate up the par 5’s last year, he was -12 for them. Obviously this means length is a factor but I believe it is the fifth most important factor behind accurate iron play, short game, course management (experienced players) and putting. The only thing all Masters champions have in common is they are great putters. It is a second shot course for experienced players that can putt. Being able to put the ball in the right spot on the greens makes putting a lot easier.

Written on my shortlist are obviously Woods and Mickelson, they have won 6 of the last 10 stagings. I also like Laird, Rose, Watney, Kuchar, Stricker, Mahan, Crane, Donald and Woodland. Watney offers so much. Three starts at Augusta, three top 20’s. He is number 1 in bogey avoidance, adjusted scoring average and all round ranking. Second in par 4 performance and putting. He shot 65 last round last year to finish 8th bringing Butch Harmon, his coach, to say “You are looking at a future major winner and that will probably happen here’. Watney had a three shot lead going into the final round of last years USPGA and shot 81. He is a better player now but that is off putting. I would pair him with Mickelson as the most likely winner of this year’s Masters. However both their prices reflect this. I can’t back Mickelson at 6/1 or Watney at 16/1.

I think Martin Laird has the perfect game for Augusta and was eventually a good winner of the Bay Hill Invitational two weeks ago. I would be keen on him at 50/1 if he was not a rookie. The average first time Masters winner wins in his sixth attempt. Only three players have won on debut. Horton Smith in 1934 (in the first Masters), Sazazen in the second Masters and Zoeller in ’81. To have the knowledge of where to hit it to leave yourself the easiest putts is invaluable in addition to having the experience to deal with unusually large breaks on the greens. Therefore to back a debutant to win seems unrealistic. However there are other ways to be with the Scott who sits 6th in driving distance, 4th in total driving, 15th in putting and 10th in scoring average. Woodland is exactly the same, our 100/1 winner a couple of weeks ago has the perfect game but as a rookie has to be left alone.

Rose is an interesting one. He has lead after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds of different Masters but never after the 4th. Could this be his year? Well, last year was his best on the PGA Tour with two big wins. He is 3rd in greens in regulation and 5th in the all round ranking. He has decent credentials but in this sort of field I would want to see him nearer 66/1 than the 33’s on offer. Donald is another Englishman in with a shout. He is high on confidence and has a lot of momentum after wining the Matchplay a month ago. His shortgame and putting is more than good enough to win here, it is awesome. But it has to be when you see he is 181st in driving distance, 107th in fairways hit, 183rd in total driving and 145th in greens in regulation! It is staggering that with these horrific ball striking stats he ranks 2nd in adjusted scoring average and par 5 scoring performance. His shortgame can get him close here but it is a big ask for the 25/1 chance.

I do like Ben Crane this week. He ticked along not doing a great deal last week. But he was solid and that is exactly what the stats suggest he will be. He is number one in greens in regulation and 13th in putting, these are two stats that are hard to ignore. It is a combination that should work! He finished 24th here last year closing with a 68 on his third appearance. He goes into the event under the radar and is a serious player. He is worth a go at 125/1.

Striker is a very similar player to Crane and although a short hitter he can launch his irons and putts as good as anyone. He is 50/1 and if I was not with Crane he would be a pick. Crane just offers better value and Striker has only two top tens in ten starts here. Mahan is another with all the right credentials. 6th in greens, 6th in birdie average and 6th in the all round rankings. He has finished in the top 10 here the last two years and is in sweet form this year with 5 top 10’s. He is also 6th in par 5 performance. For some reason I just don’t fancy him this week. Maybe it is just my memories of the Ryder Cup or maybe it is a price of 28/1 that is putting me off. He is a fair bet but not for me.

Matt Kuchar is my second pick. He has risen from shadows to become one of the best players never to have one a major. He won the US Money List last year posting 11 top 10’s and a win in the Barclays. Before Mickelson’s win last week you could argue he was the best American player in the world at the moment. He has three top 5’s and six top 10’s this year. His form and credentials are not in doubt. He finished T24 here last year and has fond memories of his dream debut as an amateu in 1998. His game suits too. He is 22nd in greens in regulation and 4th in putting, 3rd in scoring average 9th in birdie average. He is third in bogey avoidance and leads the tour in par 4 performance, two stats that will really be a factor this week. He impresses in every category and looks great value at 33/1.

My final outright selection and perhaps the most controversial is Tiger Woods. I have said that to people and they have laughed. If I told them in any year from 1997 to 2010 he would be 11/1 to win the Masters in 2011 they would have laughed. This price is seriously generous for a player we were offered 7/4 about a few years ago. I do understand he is not the same player right now with so much going on. The only thing that worries me about him is his putting. He is 97th in putting and this must improve if he is going to win here. Tiger has four green jackets and has not been outside the top 6 here in the last 6 years. His form is poor but he showed enough at Doral (66 in the last round) and Bay Hill (was bogey free -3 in a brutal final round in 8th before finishing bogey, double). His form last year was 6 months off going though hell and under unimaginable scrutiny and he shot -11 to finish fourth. His preparation is better this year and with the limelight relatively off him and a more insulated environment that Augusta offers I think he is a cracking bet at 11/1.

All prices with Geoff Banks Bookmakers - For the best prices and service bet with Geoff Banks - This week Geoff is treating all new and existing clients to a free £10 bet on The Masters or The Grand National. Apply for an account online or phone the office on 01344 873334

The US Masters

1 pt each way Ben Crane @ 125/1
2 pts each way Matt Kuchar @ 33/1
3 pts each way Tiger Woods @ 11/1

All outrights are 1/4 the odds, 6 places with Geoff Banks. Not the first five you get with most bookies.

3 pt double There to be a Hole In One @ 11/10 and Charl Schwartzel to beat Trevor Immelman @ 5/6 (72 hole matchbet)
1 pt each way Martin Laird Top GB&I @ 14/1
(1/4 the odds 3 places)
1 pt each way Dustin Johnson 1st Round leader at 25/1 (1/4 the odds 5 places)
0.5 pt yankee Mcilroy to be Top Irish @ 11/8, Donald Top Englishman @ 10/3, Quiros Top Spanish @ 2/1, Pettersson top Scandinavian @ 5/1
(a yankee is 11 bets. 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator)

2011 running total +194.83pts This weeks investment 24.5pts

My advice comes with a point system to rate the strength of a tip. A 1 point bet means placing your usual stake, so if you would consider your normal bet being £10 then a point signifies £10.

2010 record +189.33 points.

To get the tips first and receive exclusive in running advice - send an email to with the subject ‘register’.