The PGA Championship tees off Thursday at the Bethpage Black course on Long Island where the main storyline is a continuation from last month’s Masters where the world witnessed the rebirth of Tiger Woods winning his 15th career major and first since 2008.
He hasn’t played in a tournament since then, but he does have a win on this course during the 2002 U.S. Open, and bettors are backing him once again at the Las Vegas sportsbook bet windows.
“Tiger has the most tickets written for this event, but we do pretty well with him winning,” said Wynn sportsbook director Doug Castaneda.
It’s been a similar story like that around Las Vegas with mostly smaller bets and nothing like the Masters where multiple five-figure wagers were taken.
“Pretty solid handle so far,” Caesars Palace oddsmaker Matt Lindeman said. “Tiger surprisingly doesn’t lead in ticket counts. We’ve taken more bets on Brooks Koepka to this point. We don’t have any big bets on Tiger, just about everything in the three-figure range.”
Woods is the 8-to-1 favorite to win at most bet shops with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka both at 10-to-1 and Rory McIlroy at 12-to-1.
Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman is seeing betting patterns where he has the most cash bet on Woods followed by defending PGA Championship winner Koepka and the two golfers are flipped on ticket counts with Koepka leading Woods and Tony Finau. The SuperBook’s action has been better than expected so far.
“We’re on pace to break last seasons PGA Championship handle, but I was hoping we might have something similar to what we usually do for the U.S. Open as the second major, which is handling about half of what we see from the Masters, our largest handled event of the year,” Sherman said.
The SuperBook is using attractive Woods odds to drum up some additional business.
“We moved Woods up to 10-1, just because we weren’t attracting the type of action on him at 8-to-1 as we should have among the favorites,” Sherman said. “We don’t have any single digit odds now.”
Sherman has odds posted on all 156 golfers entered.
Woods practiced at Bethpage Black over the weekend in cold rainy conditions. Sherman says the wet grass will help the longer hitters.
“To be successful at Bethpage, they’re going to need accuracy and length off the tee,” he said. “I’m expecting the winning score to be about 10-under.”
While no large bets were reported on Woods to win the PGA, there was one familiar face making a six-figure wager on a prop involving Woods and the Grand Slam.
James Adducci, the Wisconsin bettor who won $1.19 million with Woods winning the Masters, went back to the William Hill sportsbook at SLS and laid down $100,000 at 100-1 odds to win $10 million for Woods to complete the sweep of majors this season.
William Hill’s stance on the risk is an attempt to get some of their $1.19 million back while knowing the fact that no golfer has ever won the grand slam in a single season. And 100-1 is low if considering he could roll over the winnings in each major and get better odds.
But what book is going to accept a $1 million bet at 10-1 odds to win the PGA? It’s a bit surprising to see William Hill take on that type of risk, but it’s understandable after losing the largest amount Las Vegas has ever seen in golf wagering.
The SuperBook offered the same prop but started at a higher number and it’s been dropping weekly since the Masters.
“We started at 150-1 and dropped it to 100, then 80 and down to 60-1 this week just because it’s been a popular wager,” said Sherman, who added the proper price probably should be in the 250-1 range if just rolling over odds of winning all four tournaments with individual prices.
The SuperBook has Woods 60-1 to win all four majors, 16-1 to win three of them, 13-4 to win two, and the favored price is 1-4 (-400) for him to not win any of the next three.
Woods is the main story this week for obvious reason, but bettors are believing in plenty of others at the bet windows.
“We’ve had decent action on the major having had it up since well before the Grand Slam started in Augusta,” Castaneda said. “Other golfers are players are rooting for are Rickie Fowler (16-1), Xander Schauaffele (25-1), Jon Rahm (18-1), and J.B. Holmes (250-1). All four of those have significant payouts pending in our sportsbook.”
Rahm is a golfer that caught the attention of the SuperBook’s Sherman.
“I played Jon Rahm at 20-1 and Patrick Cantlay at 50-1,” Sherman said. “Anytime I can get Rahm at 20-1 or higher I’m going to take a shot. He’s going to win a major soon.”
Sherman has Rahm listed at 18-1 odds at his book, but he’s right on point about the Spainard who is just three years removed from playing for Arizona State.
He’s got six wins in his past 60 starts and was tied for ninth in the Masters and tied for fourth in last seasons PGA Championship which was played in August and closed out the major season.
This will be the first year the PGA Championship, in its 101st edition, will be played in May.
Fowler seems to be the golfer keyed on consistently the past few years to finally win a major. Caesars’ books have three golfers listed as their riskiest through Monday.
“Our worst results are Jason Dufner (150-1), Tiger and Tony Finau (30-1),” Lindeman said. “And we did just take some take some bets from ‘sharps’ on Tiger at -150 and -160 to finish in the top-20.”
Woods has won the PGA Championship four times, and one more win will tie him with Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus for the most all-time with five each.
It will also bring Woods two wins away from tying Nicklaus’ record 18 wins in majors.
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