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Mickelson will win Masters, experts say

Each week during the official PGA Tour season, CBSSports.com's Steve Elling and The Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux identify nine players to watch in three distinct categories -- favorites, tweeners and longshots. The picks are based on a combination of homework, guesswork and just plain instinct.

The Favorites

Elling's picks:

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Phil Mickelson (Vegas odds: 13/2): If there was ever any hesitation to pick him, Mickelson erased doubts about his slow start with a win in Houston on Sunday. Seeks fourth green jacket since 2004.

Nick Watney (Odds 15/1): Has been on a career-best run and hasn't finished worse than 13th all season. Already has a win this spring and was seventh at Masters last year.

Ian Poulter (Odds 50/1): Of the European players, he's not the hottest, but he was in the mix over the first two rounds last year and is probably the best putter. Crucial asset.

Michaux's Picks:

Phil Mickelson (Odds: 13/2): Already had Phil tabbed as the favorite before he went 16-under on the weekend in Houston. It's his to lose.

Nick Watney (Odds: 15/1): Wish I could be more original, but there is a very good reason that Doral winner is a trendy pick. A green jacket is destined.

Luke Donald (Odds: 25/1): There are five Englishman in the field who could be considered favorites. Luke has the best short game and iron play of any.

Under the Radar

Elling's picks:

Matt Kuchar (Odds 25/1): Still rolling out the top-10 finishes like a machine and has the reputation as one of the best pure putters in the game. Again, here, that only helps.

Hunter Mahan (Odds: 25/1): Hasn't been great on the weekend this year, but has put himself in contention several times and was T10 and T8 in his last two Masters appearances.

Padraig Harrington (Odds: 40/1): Lost in the wilds of yet another swing makeover, Harrington resurfaced last week in Houston and was briefly in contention. Has three top-7 finishes here.

Michaux's Picks:

Anthony Kim (Odds: 30/1): Closing charge last year and 11-birdie round in 2009 prove that this guy has the goods to dissect Augusta National.

Paul Casey (Odds: 30/1): His best Augusta finish was still his first start (T6), but that T3 at St. Andrews show he's ready to be a major factor.

Martin Laird (Odds: 12/1): Masters rookie nearly spit the bit at Bay Hill, but his combination of length and putting might just surprise everyone.

Dark Horses

Elling's picks:

Anthony Kim (Odds: 30/1): Like Harrington, he's been mostly irrelevant for months, but he woke up last week. Finished third last year at Augusta and had an 11-birdie round in 2009.

K.J. Choi (Odds: 80/1): Few remember, but through with 8 holes remaining here last year, Choi held the lead. Played well at Bay Hill two weeks ago.

Jerry Kelly (Odds: 250/1): Not a guy who would immediately spring to mind as a contender, but he was T12 last year and T5 in 2007.

Michaux's Picks:

Justin Rose (Odds: 30/1): Has led after every round at Augusta except the last. Englishman's game is rounding into shape right on time.

Tiger Woods (Odds: 10/1): If 10/1 can ever be considered a dark horse, everyone writing off 4-time champion will be surprised how well he plays.

Gary Woodland (Odds: 12/1): Always dangerous to peg a first-timer, but his length and solid play this year make him an intriguing possibility.

Note: Odds courtesy of Las Vegas Hilton Sports Book and/or Golfodds.com.

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