Rory McIlroy did not fare well at Augusta National Golf Club early in his career, as he finished no better than 15th in his first five Masters appearances. The 33-year-old native of Northern Ireland has turned his game around, however, posting seven top-10 finishes over his last nine appearances at Augusta. McIlroy will look to continue the surge and record his first victory at the course when he competes in the 2023 Masters, which begins Thursday. This tournament is the only one of the four majors yet to be won by McIlroy, who was the runner-up last year.

McIlroy is 15-2, while reigning champion Scottie Scheffler is the 13-2 favorite in the latest 2023 Masters odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Jon Rahm is 8-1 among the 2023 Masters contenders, while 2015 winner Jordan Spieth and Cameron Smith are 14-1. Before locking in any 2023 Masters picks or golf predictions, you need to see what proven golf betting expert Patrick McDonald has to say, considering his recent track record. 

McDonald still likes to dip his toes into the betting pools on a weekly basis on the PGA Tour. He takes a measured approach to his outright selections and is having a profitable 2022-23 season. McDonald is up almost 17 units this season, meaning a haul of nearly $1,700 for $100 bettors. He is having a profitable season in both outright picks and head-to-head matchups.

McDonald nailed the Farmers Insurance Open, backing Homa (25-1) as his top choice. He hit another 25-1 shot at the Houston Open, taking Tony Finau to win, and finished the 2021-22 season up 42 units on his outrights, including a monster 250-1 payout on Hudson Swafford at The American Express. Anyone who follows McDonald's advice has been cashing in.

Now, McDonald has focused his attention on the 2023 Masters field and has locked in his best bets, top sleepers and favorites to avoid. You can see them here.

Top 2023 Masters expert picks

One stunning prediction from McDonald: He is fading Viktor Hovland, even though the Norwegian recently tied for third at the Players Championship. It was the seventh top-20 finish for the 25-year-old Norwegian in nine events this season.

Hovland posted four top-10s during the 2021-22 campaign, including a victory in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. He ranks in the top 15 in strokes gained off-the-tee and tee-to-green, but then his troubles begin. Hovland is 79th in strokes gained putting and 164th around the green, and McDonald expects that to be a problem for him at Augusta. See who else to fade here.

On the other hand, McDonald says "Scottie Scheffler should have a legitimate claim to another green jacket." The defending champion is ranked No. 1 in the world and has finished no lower than 12th in eight consecutive tournaments, going 118-under par during that stretch, before reaching the semifinals of the Match Play event.

Scheffler won two of his four starts prior to that event, repeating as champion of the Phoenix Open in February before recording a five-stroke victory in the Players Championship last month. He leads the PGA Tour in greens in regulation and ranks second in both scoring average and total strokes gained. See who else to back here.

How to make 2023 Masters picks, bets

McDonald has locked in his best bets for the Masters 2023 and has found multiple longshots he loves, including one golfer who's had plenty of success at Augusta, but is still listed at nearly 100-1 to win it all. You can only see the picks at SportsLine.

So which players should you target or avoid for the 2023 Masters? And which proven golfer in the Masters 2023 field could bring a monster payday of almost 100-1? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Patrick McDonald's top picks for the Masters 2023, all from the expert who is up nearly $1,700 on his PGA Tour picks this season, and find out.

2023 Masters odds, field 

See full 2023 Masters picks at SportsLine
Scottie Scheffler +650
Rory McIlroy +750
Jon Rahm +800
Cameron Smith +1400
Jordan Spieth +1400
Justin Thomas +1500
Will Zalatoris +1600
Collin Morikawa +1600
Max Homa +1600
Xander Schauffele +2000
Patrick Cantlay +2000
Sam Burns +2500
Jason Day +2500
Tony Finau +2800
Sungjae Im +2800
Dustin Johnson +2800
Viktor Hovland +2800
Cameron Young +3000
Brooks Koepka +3000
Joohyung (Tom) Kim +3300
Hideki Matsuyama +3500
Matthew Fitzpatrick +3500
Joaquin Niemann +4000
Shane Lowry +4500
Keith Mitchell +5000
Tyrrell Hatton +5500
Tiger Woods +6000
Tommy Fleetwood +6000
Bryson DeChambeau +6500
Justin Rose +7000
Corey Conners +7500
Louis Oosthuizen +7500
Patrick Reed +8000
Russell Henley +8000
Sahith Theegala +8000
Abraham Ancer +8500
Talor Gooch +9000
Si-Woo Kim +9000
Mito Pereira +9000
Adam Scott +10000
Bubba Watson +10000
Chris Kirk +12500
Min Woo Lee +12500
Billy Horschel +12500
Tom Hoge +12500
Sergio Garcia +12500
Scott Stallings +15000
Gary Woodland +15000
Kurt Kitayama +15000
K H Lee +15000
Sepp Straka +15000
Keegan Bradley +15000
Ryan Fox +15000
Harold Varner +15000
Brian Harman +15000
Kevin Na +15000
Alex Noren +17500
Seamus Power +17500
Harris English +17500
Cameron Champ +17500
Thomas Pieters +17500
Charl Schwartzel +20000
Jason Kokrak +20000
Phil Mickelson +20000
Kevin Kisner +20000
Danny Willett +22500
Adrian Meronk +22500
J T Poston +22500
Mackenzie Hughes +25000
Taylor Moore +25000
Francesco Molinari +25000
Adam Svensson +30000
Zach Johnson +35000
Kazuki Higa +50000
Fred Couples +100000
Bernhard Langer +100000
Vijay Singh +150000
Mike Weir +150000
Larry Mize +250000
Jose Maria Olazabal +250000
Sandy Lyle +500000