Claire Komarek, CBS Sports

With the 88th Masters fast approaching, the key question everyone's asking is the same across the golf world: Who are you picking to win this year at Augusta National? With an extraordinary field featuring the best professionals and many of the top amateurs in the world, the first major championship of 2024 should be an epic ride from Thursday's first round through the awarding of the green jacket early Sunday evening.

While the Masters field is stacked, the last two champions -- Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm -- are riding momentum into the tournament. Rahm is seeking to become the first golfer to win consecutive green jackets since Tiger Woods, while Scheffler's blistering play has him standing as the clear favorite to win twice at Augusta National in a three-year span. Unlike two years ago when there were no single-digit favorites entering the Masters, Scheffler holds that distinction at 9/2.

Rahm and Rory McIlroy follow at 11-1 with the latter still seeking his first green jacket. Should he achieve it, the long-desired career grand slam would finally be complete for McIlroy.

There are plenty of golfers behind them who will surely be in contention, including Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Viktor Hovland, all of whom are among the top players on the odds board. Check out the full slate of Round 1 tee times and groupings scheduled for the Masters on Thursday, and plan your day with our Masters TV schedule and coverage guide.

Round 1 has seen a delayed start due to inclement weather, but you can follow live updates in our 2024 Masters leaderboard and coverage center.

And then there's the duo of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the former making the cut the last two years only for his body to fail him entering the weekend. Tiger stands at 140-0 entering the Masters, while Mickelson (despite playing more frequently) is 200-1. 

So, what is going to happen at Augusta National this week? Let's take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports experts as we attempt to project who will win -- and what will happen -- at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. 

Watch all four rounds of the 2024 Masters starting Thursday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world through Augusta National with Featured Groups, check in at the famed Amen Corner and see leaders round the turn on holes 15 & 16. Watch live on, the CBS Sports app and Paramount+.

2024 Masters expert picks, predictions

Kyle Porter, senior golf writer

Winner -- Scottie Scheffler (4-1): I tried as hard as I could to pick somebody other than Scheffler, but after listening to Viktor Hovland talk about how disciplined a player needs to be with his irons and where he misses -- and then combining that with the outrageous level at which Scheffler is playing (again, he's at 3.2 strokes gained tee to green per round this year while only one other golfer is over 2.0) -- it sure does seem like Scheffler will get a second green jacket.

Sleeper -- Cameron Young (50-1): There are a lot of golfers in the 45-1 to 60-1 range that I love, including Sahith Theegala, Russell Henley, Si Woo Kim and Shane Lowry. But I love Young the most. Why? He's playing good golf (he narrowly lost the Valspar Championship and is fifth in the world in ball striking this year) and has been awesome at major championships, including a top 10 at Augusta last year.

Top 10 lock -- Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama's history at Augusta National is underrated. He has not missed a cut since 2014, has four consecutive top 20s and is playing as well as anyone in the world this year not named "Scheffler." He's flying in under the radar and is the best top 10 value in the field. 

Star who definitely won't win -- Jon Rahm: It's difficult to go back to back at any major, much less a Masters, where there are extraordinary responsibilities for a defending champion. Rahm's vibe on Tuesday was not exactly jubilant, either; he had to field questions about the Official World Golf Rankings, his move to LIV Golf and whether he thought that move was going to bring LIV and the PGA Tour back together. There was something a bit ... off with him, and I don't think that's going to translate very well in his title defense. That said ... I put him in this space last year, and he proved me wrong.

Scottie Scheffler vs. Jon Rahm: Scheffler by a mile. He has lost to one golfer in his last three events, and for all the reasons outlined above, Rahm's disposition is a bit of a concern for me right now. 

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson, but it's close. This one is difficult. Tiger is apparently hitting the golf ball well, but I can't trust that he's going to finish the tournament given he's only completed one major since the 2020 PGA Championship.

Surprise prediction -- Par is good: In recent years, despite course changes, scoring has been probably easier than many of us would prefer. For the first time in tournament history, double digits under par has won this event six years in a row. The golf course is apparently firmer this year -- Xander Schauffele talked about balls "tomahawking" over greens earlier in the week -- which means that if you shoot four 72s, you should actually be in a decent spot.  

Lowest round: 66 (-6)
Winning score: 280 (-8)
Winner's Sunday score: 70 (-2)

Patrick McDonald, golf writer

Winner -- Xander Schauffele (16-1): I've done the mental gymnastics and concluded that losing Tthe Players Championship was the best thing to happen to Schauffele's Masters chances. His new swing was put under the microscope at TPC Sawgrass, and we identified what his misses were when under the gun. That experience should pay dividends this week as he has statistically been the second-best player in the world this season and has plenty of history around Augusta National with a couple of close calls. 

Sleeper -- Chris Kirk (200-1): We have seen a number of Masters winners find success at Kapalua (just look at Rahm last year), and Kirk could follow suit. The Georgia Bulldog's numbers since his win in the season opener don't jump off the page, but they remain sound. He's driving the ball as well as ever and his short game is vastly underrated. He will need his iron play to return to peak levels, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities for the man who finished T23 in last year's Masters.

Top 10 lock -- Scottie Scheffler: There's no need to overthink this. Scheffler is the best player in the world by a wide margin and should have a realistic chance come Sunday to slip on his second green jacket. He got absolutely nothing out of his putter at Augusta National last year and still finished in a share for 10th. That same tee-to-green prowess should show up, and if a slightly cooperative putter makes the trip, then Scheffler may be the one in Butler Cabin at week's end.

Star who definitely won't win -- Viktor Hovland: The full swing isn't there and the short game isn't there. I'm no rocket scientist, but that doesn't sound like a great combination. Hovland has yet to crack the top 10 this season and ranks 183rd in strokes gained around the green out of 183 PGA Tour players. His streak of five straight major top 20s will be in jeopardy.

Scottie Scheffler vs. Jon Rahm: Give me Scheffler. The world No. 1 won't have to deal with hosting the Champions Dinner like Rahm and will roll into Thursday's action refreshed and ready to go. These two players are among the highest in strokes gained total at Augusta National, but it seems like Scheffler's floor is a hair higher than Rahm's at the moment. 

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Tiger goes for a record 24th straight made cut at the Masters, while Mickelson will aim to recapture the magic of 2023 when he finished runner up to Rahm. We have only seen Woods play 25 holes this year, so it's tough to have any sense of confidence about his form and makes me believe Mickelson will have the upper hand this year. Both players will use their extensive experience to their advantage to make their way into the weekend, but neither will seriously be a factor.

Surprise prediction -- Rory McIlroy is in the mix on the second nine on Sunday: Despite a bevy of nice finishes at Augusta, McIlroy has only had one great opportunity to complete the career grand slam. That came in 2018. I love that he didn't arrive at Augusta National until later in the week, and his quality took another step in the right direction at the Texas Open. There are still questions about the quick left miss off the tee and his approach play, but I bet they get ironed out and McIlroy gives himself a real chance at joining golf's most exclusive club.

Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 277 (-11)
Winner's Sunday score: 70 (-2)

The First Cut crew alongside Joe Musso gives you one final preview ahead of the 88th Masters Tournament. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Adam Silverstein, director of editorial

Winner -- Jordan Spieth (25-1): Is Scheffler more likely to win this Masters than anyone else in the field? Yes, of course. The odds tell that story. But as Kyle wrote this week, there are few courses or tournaments in the nation as sticky this one -- and Spieth is one of the best playing here. Spieth's strokes gained at Augusta National (2.81) is second only to Rahm (2.84) among golfers who have played at least four Masters over the last 10 years. That's 0.01 ahead of Scheffler (2.80). He was just a couple strokes shy of winning three straight Masters (2014-16) and has three top-four finishes in the seven he's played since with a T4 last year. He also has momentum coming in with a T10 finish at the Texas Open, though to be fair, he did miss the cut in consecutive events prior. Still, his likelihood of winning is nearly as strong as either Scheffler or Rahm, and his odds are six times as great as the former.

Sleeper -- Justin Rose (130-1): Speaking of quality golfers on this course, Rose is quite an option. He only has two modes at Augusta National: contention or the weekend back home. The 43-year-old has not won on the PGA Tour in a year, but he knows this course like the back of his hand. with six top 10s and two runner-ups, though those came nearly a decade ago. He has not won a major since 2013 yet frequently seems to be in contention with four top 10s in the last 13 he's played. Is he going to win the Masters? Probably not. But experience at Augusta matters, and throwing some beer money on Rose is a play that's ... better than most.

Top 10 lock -- Scottie Scheffler: The benefit of not picking Scheffler to win is that he can slide in right here with the utmost confidence. Scheffler has not finished outside the top 10 at a tournament since Jan. 21; he's placed among the top of the leaderboard in six straight events and enters the Masters going Win, Win, T2 in March. He ran into the top 10 last year after winning in 2022, and get this, has placed inside the top 10 across nine of his last 13 majors (69%). There's no way anyone in the field has a better percentage than that.

Star who definitely won't win -- Justin Thomas: Hopefully this is a reverse jinx situation for J.T., because it truly feels as if he should have won a Masters already given his skill and mastery of this course. The problem may be that he just wants it so much. Thomas missed the cut last year playing alongside idol Tiger Woods; luckily, that won't be the case this year, so he should be able to relax a bit. He is debuting a new bag man after splitting with Jim "Bones" Mackay. 

Scottie Scheffler vs. Jon Rahm: There's a general belief around Augusta National that Rahm is feeling the pressure given his controversial move to LIV Golf, serving as the reigning champion, hosting the Champions Dinner, etc. Maybe true; maybe not. What I do know is that there may be no golfer who enters an event feeling less pressure these days than Scheffler, and given the aforementioned streak he's running, it would almost be foolish to take Rahm in this head-to-head. 

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Speaking of general beliefs around Augusta, there is a lack of it in Woods. You know, the guy with five green jackets. The guy who who has made 19 straight cuts at Augusta National (never missing one) as a professional. The guy who won this event just five years ago. OK, Tiger's body is falling apart; he said this week that he "hurt[s] every day." What doesn't hurt, apparently, is his surgically repaired ankle. Nor does his mind, which understands the hills and valleys, the cut of the greens and how to transverse this course better than anyone in the world. Not only do I have Tiger over Phil, I have him over another rival, Sergio Garcia, too.

Surprise prediction -- Rory McIlroy backdoors his way to a top-five finish: The 2024 season has not been overly kind to McIlroy, nor has Augusta National over the years, as he's alternated between top-five finishes and missed cuts over the last four Masters. He has seven top 10s here since 2014 and seven top 10s in his last eight majors. It's unlikely that Rory wins at Augusta until he figures out a way to stop wanting it so badly. That sounds asinine, but we've seen that want be his undoing at countless events. Where he thrives at the Masters is when he plays from behind and has nothing to lose. 

Lowest round: 65 (-7)
Winning score: 278 (-12)
Winner's Sunday score: 69 (-3)

Who will win the 2024 Masters, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard, all from the model that's nailed 10 golf majors, including last year's Masters and Open Championship.