Masters betting: First-round leaders were Dustin Johnson and two unexpected long shots

Frank Schwab
·2-min read

The early charge up the leaderboard by Dustin Johnson at the Masters wasn’t exactly what sportsbooks were hoping for. However, it wasn’t unexpected either.

Johnson, one of the game’s biggest stars and best players, was a popular bet before the tournament began. Johnson was the second-highest bet golfer to win the Masters, in terms of tickets written and money wagered. Johnson was +1600 to lead the tournament after the first round, and at the continuation of play Friday he went to the top of the leaderboard as the first round ended.

That paid off several bets at BetMGM, but two other long shots cut into the profit for those bettors.

Three tie for first-round lead

Two names down the odds had big first rounds, too. Paul Casey and Dylan Frittelli shared the first-round lead with Johnson.

Casey was +5000 to be the first-round leader and Frittelli was an even longer shot at +10000. There were people who bet on those two, as well. Casey got 1.8% of the tickets and Frittelli had 1.2% of the tickets in the first-round leader market. Johnson had 5.7 percent of the tickets to be the first-round leader.

The bad news for bettors of either of the three golfers is they were subject to the “dead heat rules.” That dictates when multiple golfers tie for the same position in an event, the return is divided by the number of golfers who are tied. So Johnson’s payout went from +1600 to about +533, Casey went from +5000 to about +1667, and Frittelli went from +10000 to about +3333.

Still, not a bad Friday morning for those Casey and Frittelli backers.

Dustin Johnson watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the Masters. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Dustin Johnson watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the Masters. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Huge interest in Masters betting

The Masters being held in November hasn’t stopped betting interest in it. Tiger Woods having a good first round helped even more.

“We’re continuing to see a lot of interest on the Masters from the public,” BetMGM VP of trading Jason Scott said. “If Tiger stays in contention over the weekend we will have record liability on a golf tournament come Sunday.”

Johnson reached 10-under-par early in the second round, and the sportsbooks were having a hard time keeping up. On Friday morning, Johnson’s odds to win the Masters were bet down from +450 to +120

The sportsbooks will be rooting against Johnson to win, given the volume of bets placed on him. Maybe Casey or Frittelli can continue to shock the world.

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