Masters - May 31, 2019 - USA - Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the Masters last month, his fifth title at Augusta National and his 15th major championship. (Credit Image: © TNS via ZUMA Wire)

Inside Edge ‘Masters 2020’ special: The race for the green jacket

It seems like a lifetime since we saw Tiger Woods in Sunday red punching the air at Augusta upon winning his 15th major at The Masters, writes Nick Haynes from Form Labs.

In all fairness, it has been the longest break between two Masters tournaments since World War II. Yet speaking of breaks, we have the international football break coming after this weekend’s fixtures, so the golf serves as the perfect respite for bettors.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to have a look at what makes a winner at Augusta:

  • Top 35 – At Augusta, the cream tends to rise to the top. It’s almost a given that one of the world’s best is going to don the green jacket come Sunday, with 33 of the last 35 winners coming from the top 35 in the rankings. Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera in 2007 and 2009, respectively, are the only two to buck that trend. 
  • Played Augusta at least twice – While in recent years we’ve seen a couple of exceptions to this trend, course experience is without doubt a key contributor to coming up trumps here. Since Nick Faldo in 1989, only three players (Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, and Danny Willett) have won without having played twice before.
  • Younger than 40 – Tiger Woods was the first player in the 21st century to win the Masters in their 40s. Though he is very much an exception to the rule in many instances and this is no different. Mark O’Meara was the last player before Woods to win in his 40s back in 1998. 
  • Top five finish – Although this discounts many of the world’s top 35, 24 of the 39 winners (62%) in the Bentgrass Era have had a top five finish at Augusta prior to their victory, including six of the last nine winners. 
  • Made the cut last year – Knowing you had a good round last year to build on is imperative here, with only Tiger Woods in 1997 and Patrick Reed in 2018 managing to win the Masters having missed the cut in their previous attempt, though Woods was still an amateur in 1996. 

A few players that could be worth taking note of based on the trends above are as follows: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Hideki Matsuyama and Marc Leishman. 

However, that is by no means where our analysis ends, and if you want to access our full preview which highlights more key criteria as well as narrowing the field down to a select few, then please contact [email protected]. We’ll also be doing our comprehensive hole by hole 4th round guide for what the winner has to do.

Man City v Liverpool: Hosts looking to defend strong record against Reds

City haven’t lost at home to Liverpool in the league since 2015, winning the last three, and so it would be bold to look beyond them. They’ve now won five of six games in all competitions, most notably over Arsenal, Porto and Marseille, and look a decent price to win at the Etihad given Liverpool have lost six times on their travels since February. 

City conceded just two goals over these recent outings as summer signing Ruben Dias has proved himself integral at centre-back and has calmed them in defence. Although both he and Aymeric Laporte were rested midweek, we wouldn’t expect another shutout here.

Since Liverpool became a real force under Klopp in 2017/18, seven of nine head to heads have seen at least three goals, with the last two meetings each featuring four strikes. The Reds have seen over 3.5 goals land in seven of 10 road trips in all competitions since July, while the same has occurred in six of City’s past 11 at the Etihad. City have certainly improved at the back, but they remain top heavy, as are Liverpool in the absence of van Dijk, so more goals should be on the agenda.

There are further absentees in this clash. Klopp will be without Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with Guardiola missing Sergio Aguero, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho. The loss of the latter could harm the protection City’s backline receives, but they have more options to cope without Aguero. 

Surprisingly, since the start of last season, City have won just 55% of the matches Aguero has started, compared with 75% without him, whereas their win percentage jumps from 45% to 86% when Gabriel Jesus starts.

IPL: Can the Capitals dust themselves off?

The Indian Premier League (IPL) had a new look about it this season, not least because of the fact it was played outside India and stadiums were empty owing to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Whether that was a direct contributor or not, perhaps due to a lack of home advantage for any side, we witnessed the most competitive IPL in recent memory. In the end, only one win (two points) separated the third placed Sunrisers and the star-studded Royals side that finished in last. With most sides experiencing highs and lows, we’re now left with just four teams and the playoff format allows for a massive advantage for the top two.

History doesn’t make for pretty reading if you’re a Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) fan. Seven of the nine fourth placed sides since 2011 fell at the first hurdle and stayed in fourth, with the Chennai Super Kings in the 2012 edition the only fourth placed finishers to reach the final. By the same logic, it’s the Delhi Capitals that have the best chance of going on to win, with the second placed side reaching all nine finals in that period, and only failing to win three of them.

That is very much in the balance now after the result of the first qualifier, and the Indians definitely have the experience and the history on their side. The side that wins the first qualifier has gone on to win four of the last six finals, including the last two, though it’s not all doom and gloom for the Capitals just yet as the qualifier one loser has still gone on to reach the final in seven of the last nine years. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them meet the Indians again on Tuesday (currently trading longer than 5 on the Betfair Exchange). 

Stat of the day

Everton have won just one of their 10 matches which Richarlison hasn’t started since he joined back in 2018, coming against Burnley in his debut season, while they’ve drawn 50% of them.

SBC News Inside Edge ‘Masters 2020’ special: The race for the green jacket

Form Labs delivers bespoke editorial covering a variety of sports to a number of sportsbooks. Click here for more information or contact Nick Haynes on [email protected].

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