The first golf major of 2019 tees off Thursday with the 83rd Masters at Augusta National Golf Club and the action has been piling up.
There’s 87 golfers entered at Las Vegas sportsbooks because it’s the tournament with the longest shelf life. A few bet shops had posted odds immediately after the 100th PGA Championship last August.
“Our largest liability so far is Jordan Spieth, then Tiger (Woods), and then Tommy Fleetwood,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman. “As far as the most tickets written, it’s Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler and Tiger.”
Sherman has been the industry leader for the last 25 years in regards to creating golf odds and when he talks golf, I always listen, take notes, and then immediately go bet it.
“I have Rory McIlroy as my No. 1 power rated golfer,” said Sherman who has McIlroy as the 8-1 favorite this week, the only golfer he has with single-digit odds. “The course suits him well with top-10s the past five years.
“He’s just missed winning it a few times. It’s all he needs to complete the career Grand Slam.”
McIlroy comes in on a roll like maybe never before heading to Augusta. Seven events this year, seven top-10s, including The Players Championship win and runner-up in Mexico. That is the epitome of “great form.”
Sherman has a couple of other golfers he thinks should do well this week.
“The guys I like this week are Justin Rose in the 15-1 range and Jon Rahm at 20-1,” he said. “I’m always on Rose in the Masters, and I expect him to do well again. And Rahm played great in the final three rounds last season finishing fourth.”
The biggest wager so far has come with the biggest name.
“We took a $10,000 wager on Tiger Woods last month at 12-1 odds, our largest wager on the Masters this year so far,” Sherman said. “But we’re at 14-to-1 on Woods now just because of the way more action has flowed in on other golfers to minimize his risk.”
“Sunday, we took a $6,000 wager on Jordan Spieth at 20-1 and dropped his odds down to 16-1.”
Spieth, the 2015 Masters champ, is someone that has struggled so far in 2019 dropping all the way to No. 32 in the world rankings thanks to missing the cut in two of his seven tournaments this season and not cracking the top-20 in the other five.
“He (Spieth) hasn’t put it together yet,” Sherman said. “And it’s not just one thing. He’s got issues with multiple areas of his game.
Woods will be going for his fifth green jacket and 15th Major overall, but his last Major win was the U.S. Open in 2008. It’s been a while and Sherman isn’t all that excited about his chances this week.
“Tiger got off to good start to the season, but hasn’t put four good rounds together in a tournament yet,” he said.
Last season Woods finished 32nd at the Masters, but he turned the corner in July at the Quicken Loans National, finishing fourth.
Six weeks later, he finished second in the PGA Championship and it all came full circle in September when he won the Tour Championship, aided by a pair of rounds of 65, just like the old days, for his first tournament win since 2013.
His best finish this season was 10th at Mexico and he hasn’t missed a cut. The possibility of Tiger on the rise again is a great business in the sportsbooks as well as ratings on TV.
Bubba Watson, who hails from Georgia and won the Masters in 2012 and 2014 for his only two major wins. He’s 25-1 to win and bettors have been taking him, but Sherman won’t be putting him in his betting portfolio this week.
“It’s all or nothing with Bubba Watson, feast or famine,” he said. “He’s got two wins and a fifth-place (last year), but his other finishes have been way back in the field.
“There’s not a lot of consistency on this course with him. Guys like McIlroy, Rose, and Spieth are always in great consistent form at Augusta.”
Watson and McIlroy were fifth in last year’s Masters, Speith was third and Rose was 12th.
Bryson Dechambeau won four events last season and then won at Dubai earlier this year. And because of it, he’s been a rapid mover on the SuperBook odds board.
“He’s been one of the solid movers in the last eight months since we’ve had these odds posted,” Sherman said. “He started at 60-to-1 and is down to 25-to-1. He’s cooled off a bit from his hot start this year, but I see his problem this week being more about limited course experience with just two starts.”
How about a decent long shot this week?
“Gary Woodland is probably the best long shot in the 80-1 or higher range,” Sherman said. “He’s a long hitter and he’s had a great start to the season. He was 100-1 before he had his great start.”
Woodland won the Phoenix Open last season and teed off his 2019 campaign by being runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He’s got two other top-10 finishes this year.
Based on my discussions with my advisor Sherman, who has been feeding me golf winners the past 25 years, here’s who I bet to win the Masters: McIlroy (8-1), Rose (15-1), Rahm (20-1), Paul Casey (30-1), and Woodland (80-1).
Sherman posted all his props and match-ups Monday and plans to run in-progress wagering Saturday and Sunday during the Masters. And if you’re looking for a place to watch each day throughout with some like-minded friends, the SuperBook will be pumping up the volume on coverage throughout the room.
Minor League action
The SuperBook offered odds on the first Triple-A baseball game I can remember last week with the Las Vegas Aviators -125 at the El Paso Chihuahuas with a total set at 10 Over -120.
They plan on carrying odds for every Aviators game this season in light of the new Las Vegas Ballpark excitement happening in Summerlin. The home opener was Tuesday against Sacramento as the Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate played in front of a sellout crowd of over 10,000.
Final Four good
Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick said they had an “excellent” Final Four Saturday with both underdogs covering and both Unders happening.
“Unders were more important than the sides,” he said. “Auburn outright is the only change to writing a perfect Saturday.”
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