U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau is favored to win The Masters this week, and he’ll debut his shiny new sponsorship deal with DraftKings at the first November edition of the famed golf major. The tournament starts today and runs through Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club. But if DeChambeau is playing on Sunday, he — like every other golfer who makes the cut — will find himself in a situation unlike any other.
For the first time in the 84-year history of The Masters, the final two days will be played against college football on Saturday, and the NFL on Sunday.
Most sports do what they can to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL, but sports betting operators say The Masters is always among the most-bet events of the year, and like bettors, they are not really sure what to expect on Sunday.
“A weekend with The Masters alongside college football and NFL has never happened since the advent of legal sports betting in the U.S., so it will be a really exciting weekend for our customers,” said John Sheeran, Director of Risk and Trading for FanDuel Group.
DraftKings offering Masters-NFL pool
The chance at dueling with the NFL has led to some interesting possibilities.
For example, DraftKings is offering its first multi-sport wagering offering with a $100,000 free-to-play pool that includes Masters Sunday and NFL Sunday. That’s a response to a DraftKings poll of 1,000 bettors that showed that 77% of bettors who follow golf and football are interested in multi-sport betting.
Masters Sunday as an NFL Sunday will also look different for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with sports betting:
- For what is probably the first time since it’s carried NFL games, CBS will not have a 1 p.m. game this Sunday — it will be airing The Masters, instead;
- Augusta’s signature azalea’s won’t be in bloom;
- There will be no fans;
- The average low temperature will be about the same, but the average high in November is 64 degrees as compared to 79 in April. There will be about two hours less daylight; and
- Golfers will play on a rye-Bermuda grass mixed turf tee-to-green rather than just rye, according to GolfWeek. That change will make the grass softer and the course play longer.
“There could be a clash in what people are watching at 1 p.m. EST, but the one thing it won’t impact is our offerings,” Sheeran said. “We will still have the same number of markets for The Masters and football that we would have offered during a normal time.”
2020 Masters might ‘perform better’
While Augusta will look and feel different, at least one sportsbook operator thinks that even though football is stiff competition, The Masters might be better positioned for betting this year without having to compete against basketball, baseball, and hockey.
“The Masters is always one our top events of the year in terms of overall handle,” a PointsBet spokesperson said. “Even with a special ‘fall ball’ rendition of the Masters in 2020, we still expect to see a ton of betting interest. The 2020 Masters might actually perform better than previous years, as it really only has college football and NFL to compete with in not taking place at its normal date.”
Like other sportsbooks, PointsBet so far has seen plenty of action on DeChambeau, including head-to-head betting on DeChambeau vs. Rory McIlroy. In terms of outright winner betting, PointsBet says the favorites are DeChambeau (+750) and Dustin Johnson (+850). Here’s a look at current odds on the two favorites from other sportsbooks (as of Wednesday night):
- BetMGM: DeChambeau (+750), Johnson (+800)
- BetRivers: DeChambeau (+700), Johnson (+800)
- DraftKings: DeChambeau (+900), Johnson (+900)
- FanDuel: DeChambeau (+800), Johnson (+850)
- William Hill: DeChambeau (+750), Johnson (+850)
Big bets, new offerings
In terms of wagers of note, BetRivers is so far reporting the biggest single bet on a golfer, $13,000 on Brooks Koepka (+1600), who finished second to Tiger Woods at Augusta last year.
FanDuel took a $5,000 wager on DeChambeau to win at +800, and is introducing its “Birdie Bonus Wheel,” available with a $50 pre-tournament outright-winner bet. Bettors will get paid in credits every time their chosen winner makes a birdie or eagle.
The man of the Masters is Bryson DeChambeau. You might notice a new logo on his cap. From @RickMaese, how golf raced to strengthen a relationship with sports betting in the midst of a pandemic.https://t.co/Fo9SdGomrH
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) November 11, 2020
And PointsBet took a $1,000 wager on DeChambeau in July when his odds to win were +1600.
Besides some interesting bet offerings, this week’s Masters’ broadcast will look and feel different since the PGA has signed deals with BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet. Those deals could mean signage around Augusta National, and it’s likely operators will have advertising spots during the broadcast, though advertising for The Masters has traditionally been limited.
How much sports wagering will bleed into the broadcast is an open question. CBS Sports Digital has a partnership with William Hill, but prior to last year’s Masters, broadcaster Jim Nantz said he wouldn’t be talking about odds.