Bettors backed a wide range of favorites at the Masters this year. From world No. 1 Dustin Johnson to the surging Jordan Spieth, gamblers parked their money with familiar names. So when Hideki Matsuyama won his first major on Sunday, sportsbooks reaped the profits of his unlikely victory.
Matsuyama finished at 10-under-par to win the Masters by one shot over Will Zalatoris.
Matsuyama breaks four-year winless streak
The 29-year-old Matsuyama became the first male Japanese golfer to win a major title. He entered the tournament as a +4000 long shot at BetMGM, with the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook posting him at +6000.
While those odds might have tempted bettors who had watched Matsuyama show promise throughout his career, it turned out that the market had tired of backing a golfer who had yet to win the big one. Matsuyama was struggling through a four-year winless streak heading into the Masters.
“People have been backing him for a long time, but they finally jumped off of him,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There are so many other guys to back, and they’re tired of burning money on him.”
That meant that sportsbooks carried very little liability on Matsuyama. BetMGM reported that only 1.4% of tickets and 3.2% of handle was on the Japanese golfer at the Masters by the end of the tournament. Some of that money came in late, as Yahoo Sports reported that just 1% of tickets and 0.9% of the money bet before the event was on Matsuyama. By Sunday, bettors were looking at -120 odds on the leader.
Masters, NBA parlay pays big for one bettor
Even when Matsuyama entered Sunday with a four-shot lead, many gamblers were wary of backing him.
“That’s the frustrating thing for bettors, when the guy burns you and you give up on him,” Wes Reynolds, co-host of VSiN’s “Long Shots” golf betting show, told the Review-Journal before the final round. “The odds are this guy is going to get it done. But do I want to bet him at -120? Not really, at this point.”
That’s not to say that bettors failed to make any money on the Masters. One FanDuel Sportsbook user cashed out $44,650 on an odd $50 parlay combining Matsuyama to win the Masters (+4600) with New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe to score at least 25 points against the Brooklyn Nets last Wednesday (+1800). Bledsoe scored 26 points in the 139-111 loss.
Bettors looking to capitalize on Matsuyama’s success won’t be able to get quite the same odds on him going forward. FanDuel Sportsbook lists the Masters champion as a +2700 pick to win the 2021 US Open, +2700 to win the 2021 PGA Championship, and +2900 to win the British Open this year.
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