Last year it was Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke seemingly coming out of nowhere to the British Open at odds of 150-to-1, payouts that few golf bettors in Las Vegas capitalized on according to LVH assistant manager Jeff Sherman, the state’s top golf oddsmaker.
“There weren’t very many takers on Clarke last year and it was one of our better majors wins in recent history,” said Sherman.
This year’s British Open visits the Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England, which the Open Championship last played at in 2001 won by David Duval. Sherman said the action has been spread across the board with bettors trying to catch lightning in a bottle again with a giant jackpot, but his worst case scenario this week is still one of the favorites.
“Rory McIlroy is our biggest decision,” said Sherman, the Cal-Santa Barbara graduate who has been setting the standard for golf odds in Las Vegas for nearly 20 years. “We opened him at 12-1 and settled at 10-1, despite the liability. Bettors just have a feeling that he may have an edge on the European soil.”
By keeping Northern Ireland’s McIlroy at 10-1, the LVH Super Book is the lone bet shop in the state to feature only two options on their betting index at single digits. Tiger Woods and the Field (all others not listed) are currently 8-1.
Woods has found plenty of support as well from the public, but it’s almost as if Sherman is baiting the public with the best odds in the world to entice action. Woods has won 14 majors over his career, including the British Open three times, but doesn’t have any since winning the U.S. Open in 2008.
“We have been rapidly changing Tiger’s odds based on what he’s done in tournaments over the last few months to adapt to what public perception might be,” said Sherman.
“After he won his third tournament a few weeks ago we dropped him from 10-1 down to 5-1. But when he missed the cut at his last event in West Virginia two weeks ago, we bumped him back up to 7-1. When hardly anyone was betting him at those odds (which were still the bets in the city), I thought I’d see how 8-1 would go and we’ve been there ever since.”
As a comparison to just how generous the LVH odds are, MGM Resorts sports books have Woods at 4-1 to win. William Hill’s sports books that comprise of Lucky’s, Leroy’s and Cal-Neva, although still not having sheets or signs at their locations that actually say ’William Hill’, have Woods listed at 9-2.
Two-time Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington has been a popular choice among bettors and has driven the LVH price on the Irishman from the opener 40-1 down to 20-1 and Sherman understands the bettor’s thought process.
“Harrington is always in consistent form on courses that he’s familiar with and had a good showing with fourth-place in his last major at the U.S. Open.”
MGM Resorts has Harrington at 15-to-1 while the William Hill books have the highest number on him at 25-1.
When asked what golfer he thought had the best chance at winning this week, Sherman said Justin Rose would be his choice in terms of value. LVH has Rose listed at 25-1, MGM Resorts is 15-1 and William Hill is offering the juiciest price of all at 35-1.
As for 2001 Open Championship winner Duval, he was 15-1 prior to that tournament. If you think he can somehow break a winless streak that extends all the way back to his only major win, you can take him at 500-1