2023 Masters expert picks to win, sleepers to watch at Augusta National

Patrick Reed says it would be a boost. Cameron Smith, in an interview with a few outlets, says it would prove his new band plays “real golf” — and he believes the antithesis to that is “B.S.,” by the way.

Joaquin Niemann says as much, too.

“I think it’s going to be more fun knowing that they hate us,” he told GOLF.com. “Then go to the majors and beat them.”

Spicy! All three were talking about what a win at this week’s Masters would mean for LIV Golf, where they now play 14 tournaments a year, alongside events on the PGA Tour, where they once plied their trade. So, then, let’s go a step further, as we try to pick a winner at Augusta National:

Can they?

Why not.

For one, 18 LIVers — Reed, Smith, Niemann, Abraham Ancer, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Mito Pereira, Thomas Pieters, Charl Schwartzel, Harold Varner, Bubba Watson — will be at the Masters, including six former winners (Garcia, Johnson, Mickelson, Reed, Schwartzel, Watson). There are some betting favorites in there, too — over at BetMGM, Smith is going off at 18-1, and Johnson at 25-1.

And if you like the chip-on-the-shoulder play, the above quotes should tell you whom to go with (though, of course, the same could be true for the Team Tour).

With that, let’s see if we can find some winners.

Below, members of our staff have each made a to-win and sleeper bet to assist you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.

2023 Masters expert picks to win, sleepers to watch

Ryan Barath

To-win: Rory McIlroy, +750. I hate to do this, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Although he’s had a few ups and downs leading into the tournament, I can’t help but think he’s looking good after his performance at the match play and the equipment tweaks he’s made to the driver and putter. Add on last year’s high finish and how he has talked about some great play at Augusta during recent visits — and he’s my winner.

Sleeper pick: Shane Lowry +5,000. Shane’s wedge game is top notch, and that could be the difference. He also T3 last year.

Alan Bastable

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +700. Let’s not overthink this one, people. Scheffler isn’t only a proven winner at ANGC, but he also hasn’t finished worse than 12th — anywhere — since before Halloween. Scary good, indeed! Rory and Rahm are rightfully right there with him as the faves, but from that group, Scheffler feels like the least prone to do something unpredictable. This week, the chalk pick is the right pick.

Sleeper pick: Bernhard Langer, +100,000. Two MCs in his past two Masters starts is not cause for confidence — and neither, you might be saying, is Langer’s age: 65! But the forecast calls for rain and humidity, and a soft-ish course plays into Langer’s hands, as we saw in the fall 2020 Masters when he hit virtually every fairway and finished 29th. If the conditions cooperate again, he can driver-and-hybrid the place into submission.

Josh Berhow

To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,800. It seems like a Jordan Spieth kind of week, and I wish I had better insight than that, but we all know by now that Jordan is unpredictable. He’s not lights-out in any particular strokes gained category and missed the cut here for the first time last year, but it’s always been a place where he’s played well and his game fits Augusta National. I’m betting on Spieth — with some help from a crazy-low Saturday round — riding a streaky putter and winning his second green jacket.

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Sleeper pick: Tommy Fleetwood, +6,600. He’s played good but not great here, but Fleetwood has the type of game that usually translates well to this golf course. I like the value with his odds here.

James Colgan

To-win: Justin Thomas, +2,000: It’s this simple: Augusta National is a shotmaker’s golf course, and Justin Thomas is golf’s premier shotmaker. It’s incredible his best finish at this event is a solo fourth in 2020, but in 2023, he’s leaving with a green jacket. It’s inevitable.

Sleeper pick: Abe Ancer, +10,000: It feels as though LIV’s relative obscurity has opened up a market inefficiency for bettors, one that feels ripe for the taking in Abe Ancer, who’s nabbed a few top-25 finishes in recent years.

Dylan Dethier

To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,200: I have picked Xander to win roughly the past 13 major championships and I’ll be damned if I miss this one, the week he actually will win.

Sleeper pick: Bryson DeChambeau, +10,000: Hard to believe, but it was just two and a half years ago that DeChambeau was the consensus favorite at this event. He’s never shown particularly well at Augusta, he’s struggled on its greens, and he’s also been in poor form in LIV events. But that’s why he’s a sleeper! Surely there’s some of the old Bryson hanging out in there and he’ll stop tinkering and zero in for the year’s first major. I’m intrigued to see how he plays, and at these odds, he seems worth a nibble. (Sidenote: Bet his ex-buddy Tiger Woods, too, while he’s still over 50-1 odds. Just do it.)

Nick Dimengo

To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,200. At some point, Schauffele is going to take the leap and join the upper echelon of golfers — but it requires a major title to even join that conversation. What better time than this year’s Masters to get the monkey off his back? After dealing with a back issue earlier this year, the 29-year-old has looked healthy in recent months, carding two top 10s this season. And, although he missed the cut last year, he did finish in the top three in two of the three years prior. Something tells me Xander’s ready for his moment, and he’s coming to Augusta just a little bit overlooked among some of his peers.

Sleeper pick: Brooks Koepka, +6,600. There’s just something about Brooksy that keeps me coming back. Maybe it’s his tenacity and four major titles, because I still think he has the ‘it’ factor. I think Koepka was embarrassed by his portrayal in Netflix’s Full Swing, where it appeared he couldn’t cut it with some of the world’s top players. Driven by that competitiveness, he’ll be out to show that he doesn’t fear anyone from either tour — causing full-blown chaos at Augusta with a LIV player winning the green jacket. With three top 11 finishes in previous starts at Augusta, he has the familiarity to make some noise.

Connor Federico

To-win: Cameron Smith, +1,800. Picking golf’s most recent major champion feels like a safe bet to perform well at Augusta. But Smith was more than just Champion Golfer of the Year — he was definitely the best golfer on the planet in ’22 not named Scottie Scheffler. The Aussie had a chance to beat Scheffler on Masters Sunday last year, and at 18-1, he’s a great value to get the job done this Easter Sunday.

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Sleeper pick: Kurt Kitayama, +12,500. Before we crowned Scheffler and Smith as the kings of golf last season, they had to start somewhere. Smith finished with a casual 34-under at the Tournament of Champions before winning the Players and the Open. And Scheffler won three events in the months leading up to his convincing win at Augusta, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational — where Kitayama also won. He beat a loaded field at one of the Tour’s toughest courses, Bay Hill, often seen as a great place for pros to gauge their game ahead of the Masters. He hasn’t (yet) done what Scheffler or Smith did in ‘22, but Kurt’s win and three top 10s this season give him a chance to write a similar story.

Jack Hirsh

To win: Collin Morikawa, +2,200. He’s played well in spurts throughout the year, but hasn’t really put four rounds together yet. The closest we’ve seen was the debacle at Maui, when he led by six entering the final round, only for Jon Rahm to lap him. His short game is on the rise, and that’s really the only thing missing from his game. Let’s also not forget, in the chaos from his back-to-back hole-outs with McIlroy on 18, he did finish fourth in 2022 after a Sunday 67.

Sleeper pick: Keegan Bradley, +10,000. OK, so he’s been a little Jekyll and Hyde of late, with three MCs and four Top 10s in 11 starts this season, but that includes his first win in four years last fall at the Zozo Championship. He’s really turned his putting around — from 186th in 2021, to 60th this season — and that’s all he needs when you hit the ball as well as Bradley does. He’ll be making his first trip to Augusta since 2019 and he doesn’t have the greatest history there, but hey, this is supposed to be a sleeper pick right?

Jessica Marksbury

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +700. I’m shocked there isn’t more love for the defending champ here! Yes, he’s the odds-on favorite, and for good reason: Scheffler is a machine. He hasn’t had a finish outside of the Top 12 since October. (!!) He’s the World No. 1 and consistent as can be. This year, he’ll join Tiger, Jack and Faldo as the only players to win back-to-back titles at Augusta.

Sleeper pick: Justin Rose, +6,600. A win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and a T6 at the Players are optimistic signs of resurgence for Rose. Plus, he’s usually a solid bet at Augusta, where he’s posted eight top-14 finishes in his past 12 appearances.

Zephyr Melton

To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +700. In the words of Drake, “we goin’ back to back.” Much like in 2022, Scheffler’s game is rounding into form heading into the Masters. And after his performance last year, there’s no reason to doubt him as the favorite once again.

Sleeper pick: Corey Conners, +5,000. T10, T8, T6. Those are Conners’ finishes the past three years at Augusta. He’s proven he can contend at the Masters; now all he needs to do is hole a few clutch putts and he’s got a great chance to wear the green jacket.

Nick Piastowski

To-win: Brooks Koepka, +6,600. He’s lost his touch. He’s thinking of leaving LIV. He looked defeated in Full Swing. All logs on the fire. Major Brooks is back.

Sleeper pick: Keith Mitchell, +8,000. This is a hunch. Maybe the hunchiest of hunches. But he’s been in the conversation all year long. Sharply dressed Cashmere Keith slips on a sportcoat.

Tim Reilly

To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,600. He’s been knocking on the winner’s circle door recently. Unfortunately, the roller coaster ride has taken a nosedive down the stretch on him during those runs. Spieth’s due to finish one of these off, and he’s certainly due to finish off another Masters after a few close calls. It won’t come easy — fans will be watching with one eye open around Amen Corner — but Spieth puts back on his green jacket.

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Sleeper pick: Phil Mickelson, +20,000. Contending at the Masters this year would be a spectacle — for a number of reasons. Hand up, I’m cheering for the drama with this pick. But, Phil has won the Masters three times and we’ve seen golfers with successful Masters’ track records defy the odds when it comes to age at Augusta National. I’m tossing a few bucks Lefty’s way in hopes of catching one more thrill from Phil. You know he’s coming into the week motivated after sitting 2022 out.

Josh Sens

To-win: Cam Smith: +1,800. The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward entertaining stories. Since joining LIV, Smith has vanished into a media vortex. But nothing suggests he’s not the same player who has looked very much at home at Augusta. Primed to win, even. The conventional knock against the LIV guys is that they’ll have lost their fire and edge. I suspect that will be true of quite a few of them. But Smith was never a ruthless range rat to begin with, so I don’t take that as a difference-maker. Throw in the Tour vs. LIV subplot, and Sunday should be interesting, with a bad mustache and mullet getting airtime.

Sleeper pick: Danny Willett, +12,500. I concede that ‘two-time Masters champion Danny Willett’ doesn’t have the ring of inevitability. But that’s why it’s called a long shot. And given Willett’s comfort level with Augusta, and the fact that he has put in some good showings already this year, with his shoulder problems seemingly behind him, I like the number here.

Marley Sims

To-win: Rory Mcllroy, +750. Seven top-10 finishes in the past nine years. A second-place showing last year. It’s McIroy’s turn.

Sleeper pick: Si Woo Kim, +9,000. It’s a long shot, but he’s finished in the top 25 in three of six appearances at the Masters. An incredible golf talent.

Jonathan Wall

To-win: Sam Burns, +3,300. Only one Masters appearance gives me pause, but I love the way Burns is playing at the moment. He seems to have figured out the driver and has one of the best iron games around. Putter will still be warm from his win in Austin. It feels like a risky pick based on Burns’ past form at Augusta, but I’ll take my chances.

Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala, +10,000. I’d expect Theegala will need a few strolls around Augusta to get a good handle on the subtle nuances. That being said, I love his game and think he’s the perfect Masters rookie to make some noise early in the week. With seven top-25 finishes in 14 Tour starts this season, he’s proving to be a constant presence on leaderboards. He’s the perfect dart throw.

Sean Zak

To-win: Collin Morikawa, +2,200. He’s way closer to winning than we’ve likely perceived. I think a big summer is coming from him, starting with a smooth 13-under victory at The National.

Sleeper pick: Patrick Reed +6,600. No one seems to play better when surrounded by angst, and that’s what LIV players will certainly feel this week. Angst. Reed thrives in that. I think he contends.

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