Last year's Masters tournament had plenty of intriguing storylines. Jordan Spieth was looking for redemption from his collapse in 2016, and Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia entertained us all with a spectacular duel that ended in Sergio winning his first major.

However, none of those storylines come close to Tiger Woods playing in his first Masters since 2015. The Tiger hype train really took off when he finished one shot behind the winner of the Valspar Championship, Paul Casey. Tiger's return makes this the most high-profile Masters in years, and there is no clear favorite to prevent him from having a chance on Sunday.

Tiger Woods

Woods' driving is starting to look like the bombs he hit back in his prime.

He ranks 34th on the tour in driving distance, and 23rd in shots gained from tee to green. He's also putting extremely well, ranking 11th in shots gained with his putter so far this season. Tiger has struggled with the accuracy of his driver and his approach shot stats aren't great, but his statistics should be taken with a grain of salt as he has only played 18 rounds of PGA Tour golf this season.

I think you'd have to be slightly insane to bet on Tiger at 15:1 odds because he's clearly still working his way back into the swing of things, but if you want to have a couple of dollars on Woods to root for him on Sunday, be my guest.

Woods will tee off at 10:42 AM ET on Thursday in his quest to win his fifth green jacket.

Contenders

I've identified three players that I would bet on to win this tournament: Justin Rose, Paul Casey, and Justin Thomas.

Justin Rose finished second to Sergio Garcia last year, and that bodes well for Rose as the previous year's runner-up has won this tournament nine times (courtesy of the ShackHouse Podcast). Rose has a history of success at Augusta -- finishing tenth in 2016, second in 2015, and he has ten top-25 finishes, including five top-ten finishes in his 12 starts at Augusta. His driving accuracy could get him into some trouble, but he's playing really well in every other aspect of the game this season.

Paul Casey has never won a major, but he is almost always in the mix. Casey finished in the top six at Augusta in each of the past three years, and he has five top-ten finishes in 11 starts at the Masters. Casey is ranked second on the tour in shots gained from tee to green this year as his ball-striking has been on another level. His short game has also been much-improved this year, and he's coming off of a recent win at the Valspar Championship. Sergio Garcia finally got the monkey off his back and won his first major last year, and this could be Paul Casey's year to finally slay that dragon as well.

(Pardon me for mixing animal metaphors.)

Justin Thomas was the PGA Tour Player of the Year last season, and he's continued that incredible form in 2018. Thomas is known as a bomber, but his short game has been outstanding, as well as ranking fifth in converting putts for an under-par score. This will be Thomas' third Masters appearance, and with a major championship (last year's PGA Championship) already under his belt he might be ready to put on his first green jacket.

Prediction

While I think those three players are good bets to win the tournament this year, I'll make Justin Rose my official pick. He has the major championship pedigree and some incredible stats that prove he is one of the favorites this year.

I'll be rooting for Tiger Woods to be on the leaderboard on Sunday, but I just don't think he's ready to win a major this early in the season.