Can Tiger Woods become a Masters champion again? Some bettors think so, and are putting their money on it in a big way.
$10K on Woods
As March Madness nears, the tune-up tournaments toward the Masters, which are held April 11-14 at Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia, are in full swing. This means that betting on the Masters — golf’s biggest event — is also on course.
The games’ biggest name just had a big bet placed on him. Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas took a $10,000 bet on Woods to win the 2019 Masters at 12 to 1 odds.
just took 10k on @TigerWoods to win 2019 Masters at 12/1
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) February 28, 2019
The ‘Tiger’ effect
Jeff Sherman is the vice president of risk management and golf oddsmaker at the SuperBook. Westgate SuperBook has the biggest menu of golf betting options and matchups in Vegas. Last year’s Masters drew a record handle at the SuperBook, thanks to Woods.
“Tiger’s effect has been about 30 percent extra to what we normally do,” Sherman said.
Last year, the SuperBook had 100 Masters props, while in more recent years, the SuperBook would post about 40 props.
Woods ranked first in ticket count to win. This year will have more Woods props after many bettors lost in the 2018 Masters when Woods finished tied for 32nd and 1-over par with the best score of 69 in the final round.
Woods prop bets
- Will Tiger finish in the Top 5? Yes +300; No -400
- Will Tiger finish in the Top 10? Yes +155; No -175
- Will Tiger finish in the Top 20? Yes -160; No +140
- Lowest round shot by Woods: 68.5
“Any time Tiger plays, he garners so much attention from the general public that his odds are generally half of what they would be had his name not been associated with the odds,” Sherman said.
Last season, Woods returned to relevance brought more fans and betting interest to golf. In fact, in late 2017 before Woods made his 2018 debut, Woods was 100-1 to win the Masters.
Woods’ last major victory
Woods last significant win was his 14th in 2008 when he won the US Open at Torrey Pines on the first sudden death hole following an 18-hole playoff.
Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship at East Lake in September for his 80th career PGA Tour victory; the event drew the highest-ever TV rating for a FedEx Cup Playoff event.
Woods is a four-time Masters champion (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005). He tied for 17th in the 2015 Masters at 5-under par. He did not play in 2016 or 2017 due to health and injury issues.
Woods sitting out
Woods was scheduled to return to Bay Hill this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he has won eight times in 18 starts. But he announced Monday afternoon that he would miss the tournament.
1) Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I'm forced to withdraw from the API. I’ve been receiving treatment, but it hasn't improved enough to play. My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 4, 2019
Woods will likely play next week in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass as he makes the Florida swing in preparation for next month’s Masters.
His health and odds to win will be watched closely as well, but they can’t go much lower unless he wins an event or seriously contends leading up to the Masters. For now, one bettor thought 12-1 was good enough and hopes Woods will play at Augusta and turn his $10,000 into $120,000 with a Masters victory.
Whether you’re betting on golf or playing daily fantasy sports and fantasy golf, the Masters will be a major betting event to enjoy and be engaged in as Woods continues his pursuit of another major victory.
2019 Masters odds (Updated March 4)
Here’s a look at where things stand for betting on the Masters:
Tiger Woods didn’t win the Masters.
Las Vegas sportsbooks rejoiced.
Sports bettors did not.
Bettors Would’ve Blitzed Books with Woods Win
Jordan Spieth’s final round surge and Rickie Fowler’s near miss could’ve proved costly as well. Both were among the most wagered golfers for the tournament.
The leaderboard at times was littered with betting favorites across the board, from Rory McIlroy to Jon Rahm and Justin Rose.
Reed Rises to the Occasion
Instead, fan favorite Patrick Reed, he of 40-1 odds and 40” waistline, held off all-comers for the win.
Despite going to college at both UGA and Augusta State, Reed’s win was considered downer for the locals and mainstream golf fans.
Bookmakers though were doing awkward golf fist-pumps and high-fives over the victory.
The Masters tees off shortly and Las Vegas is expecting something special. There is talk around town is that this could be the most wagered on Masters of all time for the state of Nevada. Tiger Woods went from long shot to favorite but he’s not the only reason for the surge in golf betting at Las Vegas casinos.
- Handle at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas is up 60% to 70%. Could be largest ever.
- The high activity on Tiger Woods is making other golfers a better value. Bets are up for all golfers.
- Sharp sports bettors look for value outside of the big names.
Jay Rood, VP of Race & Sports for MGM Resorts casinos in Las Vegas says that Masters betting at his properties is through the roof. Handle, the amount of money wagered, is up by 60% to 70% over last year’s Masters betting.
The number of bets made this year is up about 30% and the average wager per ticket is higher than previous years. Additionally, while mobile wagering is usually 25%-30% of overall handle, golf is at least that and maybe more. The easy access to betting via mobile device makes it easy to drop $20 on a random prop bet or two.
This should be the largest-bet Masters of all time
The Tiger Effect
Tiger Woods’ comeback is certainly having an effect on Masters betting. However he may move the needle for television ratings, he’s just another golfer that gets a lot of action in the sportsbook. Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and other popular golfers are also seeing a lot of bets.
While a record betting handle is expected on the Masters, it isn’t only because of one factor. It’s the combination of the popular golfers playing well and the possible comeback event for Tiger Woods.
While the mainstream public is betting heavily on Tiger, the golf fans and sharper sports bettors are finding value elsewhere. Rood sees bets coming in on a variety of golfers. Sharper money is being wagered on Tommy Fleetwood. The experienced golf bettors are also looking at younger guys like Alexander Noren. Jay Rood sees value with one of the younger golfers, Ryan Moore, at 100-1 odds.
Tiger is still Tiger
Odds on Woods to win the Masters are low across the board. He’s even moved from 12-1 to 10-1 at MGM Resorts sportsbooks. He’s still the favorite at a handful of casinos around Las Vegas but he’s not the prohibitive favorite that he appeared to be last week.
America loves a comeback story and there are plenty of people watching and wagering to see that from Woods. Meanwhile, the sharper sports bettors are laying in the weeds just watching odds get better for a variety of golfers that have a legitimate chance to win the tournament.
I’m not much of a golf fan but I always have a couple wagers because I love watching the Masters. My two slightly educated bets to win the Masters are on Noren and Louis Oosthuizen.
The Masters starts tomorrow. And bettors are losing their minds.
Some oddsmakers have put Tiger Woods as co-favorite with Jordan Spieth at 10-1.
Peak Tiger Woods is the best golfer of all time. He had a late 80’s Mike Tyson effect on the opposition. His dominance on Sunday, particularly when he had a lead, was unparalleled. He freaking won the US Open in 2008 with no knee ligament and a broken leg.
However, Tiger Woods is in his 40s now. He hasn’t won a major since George W Bush was President.
Still, having Woods as a favorite makes golf, and The Masters, a lot more interesting. Tiger Woods is like the DFS-effect on golf, only magnified and more exciting.
But 10-1? Seriously?
True story: It was April 1997, Sunday morning. I woke up after a fraternity party at UGA, called up a buddy who was an avid golf fan, and said, “Get up, drink some water, we’re driving to Augusta and watching history.”
When we got there, we hiked to the Augusta National entrance and waited. Local Augustans usually leave the Masters early on Sunday to watch the final round at lawn parties on a TV. We bought two day passes from exiting Augustans and made our way into the hallowed grounds.
As we walked up to the first fairway, a roar came. No, it wasn’t for the two hungover college kids walking up. Tiger Woods’ tee shot rolled right down the fairway right to where we were. I looked to my left, there was Tiger’s mom and half-brother. We ended up walking all 18 holes with them as Tiger broke records for his first Masters victory.
The crowd that entire 18 holes was giddy. The energy was off the charts. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event. Tiger has that impact on crowds. He’s to golf what Ernie McCracken is to bowling.
So of course he’s a Masters betting favorite.
But Is He a Good Bet?
Tiger Woods is my age. He hasn’t won a major since 2008. That’s *math math math* 10 years ago.
I’m not saying Tiger won’t win or can’t win. I’m saying having him as the favorite isn’t a good bet.
But it doesn’t matter. Tiger makes people lose their minds. And it makes The Masters exponentially more interesting.
Long live Tiger.
Tiger Woods won his first green jacket at The Masters in 1997. During his golf career, he’s won 14 Major championships, four of them at Augusta National.
- Woods is favored to win The Masters at multiple sportsbooks including Westgate (8-1), William Hill (8-1), and Station Casinos (4-1!).
- Woods was as high as 100-1 to win at William Hill sportsbooks in 2017.
Seriously, what happened?
This isn’t Tiger Woods’ first comeback attempt, but it might be real this time.
Woods didn’t start out as the favorite to win The Masters. In fact, he was listed at 100-1 just seven months ago.
What changed? The Tiger Woods fist pump is back baby! Tiger is back to being Tiger. Maybe. That’s what the general public thinks anyway, especially with him coming off promising results in his last three tournaments played this year (T-5, T-2, 12th).
The main reason odds change at a sportsbook is because there are people are wagering money on a certain event. In this case, people can’t wait to throw their money behind Tiger Woods winning The Masters. Forget watching golf, the Tiger comeback could be seen by watching his futures odds change at William Hill.
Not all sportsbooks offer the same odds. However, there’s an interesting thing to note about Tiger Woods’ Masters odds. He’s favored at almost every sportsbook in Las Vegas. Odds for Woods to win the Masters are as low as 4-1 at Station Casinos sportsbooks and as high as 12-1 at MGM Resorts sportsbooks. As of the writing of this article, MGM Resorts is the only sportsbook where Tiger isn’t favored to win the Masters.
People LOVE Tiger
Golf fans love Tiger Woods. Despite a rough patch in his personal life and career, Woods has been one of the best and most popular golfers to play the game. The majority of sports bettors wager with their heart, not their head. They tend to bet on teams or athletes they see in the news. There’s also a large number of people who wager on what the outcome they’d like to see happen.
The Masters brings golf fans out of hibernation. It’s the first major golf tournament of the year and is one of the most popular golf events of the year with all sports fans. Not only is March Madness a great lead into the Masters but it’s a great promotional vehicle with commercials for the Masters almost every break.
Bet On Woods?
Woods should be the favorite at The Masters if he’s the player that has the most money bet on him. This tournament is one of the few times a year that I wager on golf. It’s a great tournament to watch and having a few bucks on a few players to pay for a nice steak dinner only adds to the fun.
Yes, I love Tiger Woods. No, I won’t bet on Tiger Woods. I’m sure there are some golfers that are 20-1 to 30-1 that are worth a small bet. I’ll spend a little time researching better options than Tiger Woods to win the damn thing.