Tiger Woods Remains a Popular Bet at The Masters

Tiger Woods is incredibly unlikely to win The Masters for the sixth time on Sunday. Multitudes of factors conspire against one of the greatest ever to haul a club from a bag.

He’s 48.

His surgically repaired body requires much longer to limber and loosen than before numerous back surgeries and a 2021 car accident, and heavy rains forecast for Thursday could throw scheduling awry.

Then there’s Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.

None of this, as usual, has stopped the dabbling golf-betting public from betting on him. A lot. Even with his odds to win a 16th major currently at +14000 at DraftKings and similarly priced elsewhere.

“There were times when Tiger was in his prime where he was 7-to-5, 8-to-5 to win a tournament,” DraftKings director of race and sportsbook Johnny Avello told Gaming Today. “And I don’t think a lot of people have forgotten that. So when they see 130-1, 140-1 to one, I think their eyes pop out and they just take a chance on him, see if that magic can be there.”

Tiger Woods Masters betting
AP Photo

Size of Bets Suggest Golf Fans Are Monetizing Hope

Avello said most of the wagers coming in on Woods to win have been of moderate amounts, indicating there is no feeling among sharps that he can win at Augusta National for the first time since 2019. But sensing the betting public’s appetite, DraftKings and numerous other sportsbooks have launched reams of Woods-focused prop bets.

“We’ve put him at 12-to-1 on ‘Will he have any bogey-free rounds?’,” Avello said. “We got him to hit holes in one on all the various par-3s. We’ve got ‘Will he break a course record?’ That’s a big number. We’ve got him to get an albatross at 200-to-1. So we’ve certainly used him probably more than any other golfer in the props that we’ve put up.”

Woods betting stats through Wednesday:

  • 5% of the handle and 6% of the bets at DraftKings (Scheffler was at 15% and 12%.)
  • 3.7% of the slips at bet365
  • At Fanatics, Woods was the only entrant at +5000 or higher in the top 20 in handle or tickets.

This is no new phenomenon.

The shortest price on Woods at DraftKings is -115 to make what would be a record 24th-consecutive Masters cut. He’s missed just once, in 1996, but withdrew with plantar fasciitis after making the 36-hole cut last year. Still, Woods made it sound like a sound wager on Tuesday.

“I think it’s consistency, it’s longevity, and it’s an understanding of how to play this golf course,” Woods said of his success making cuts at Augusta. “That’s one of the reasons why you see players that are in their 50s and 60s make cuts here, or it’s players in their late 40s have runs at winning the event, just the understanding of how to play it.

“Now, you still have to go out and execute it, but there’s a lot of knowledge that goes into understanding how to play it. And, granted, every tee box has been changed since the first time I played. Every green has been changed. But the overall configuration of how they roll and how they move and the angles you take, that hasn’t changed.

“That’s the neat thing about this. I can still go through the mental Rolodex and bring out a few putts from the ’90s that still move generally in that direction and the effect that Rae’s Creek has on certain shots and putts. And it means a lot.”

Woods Victory Wouldn’t Be Celebrated by Sportsbooks

Even the favorite at DraftKings, Scheffler (+400) has a Woods angle.

“He’s the shortest price since the prime Tiger days,” Avello said of the PGA TOUR’s top-ranked player. “We haven’t seen a favorite this short to start the tournament in quite some time, and he’s deserving of it. He looks like he’s in golf form, whereas some of the others may not be. He’s taking quite a bit of action, but at that price, he’s not really going to hurt us.”

Woods, who has played one round of professional golf this year and just four tournaments since 2022, leads a contingent that could inflict great pain in trading rooms all around the country. Brooks Koepka (+1600), Wyndham Clark (+4000), Bryson Dechambeau (+3500), and Will Zalatoris (+4500) have DraftKings “in a minus category” in terms of liability, Avello said.

“But Tiger’s the main guy,” he added. “They’re betting him pretty good at 140-1, so it doesn’t take long to get yourself and get in a minus position.”

At Fanatics, Woods was at +11000 on Wednesday after being listed at +12000 on Sunday and skyrocketing to +20000 on Tuesday.

“All this Tiger action at such a long price just highlights his legendary status,” said Samir Tageldin, golf trader at Fanatics Sportsbook. “Moments like him winning the 2019 Masters stay fresh in one’s memory and people want to back him to the impossible again. When his odds first rose to +20000, the constant uncertainty surrounding the state of his health coupled with the elevation changes at Augusta played a big role in that. Bettors seemingly wanted to have some up-to-date news on Tiger’s condition before placing their bets on him this week, which is why we’ve seen stronger action on him as the week progresses and his price continues to come down with the liability adding up.”

In-Play Betting Expected to Be on Par With Trends

The popularity of golf betting has increased over the last four years, in part, Avello believes, because it was one of the first sports to return post-COVID shutdowns. The length of events and the pace of play also allow for copious amounts of pre-tournament and in-play wagering, he added.

“The Masters controls a lot of the camera work and data feeds and stuff,” Avello said, “so it might be a little more trying with the Masters over other tournaments, but we do a lot of in-play wagering on golf. Sometimes the in-play wagering could be 30% of the handle on an event because, let’s face it, you can bet it prior, and then you have four days to bet it once you see the action taking place. Now you can bet guys who are in the mix and we continue to put up more props and matchups and other things.

“At the beginning, sometimes you’re hoping that your golfer will be in it, but once it starts, sometimes he is out of it.”

Scores of Woods bettors hope their guy is in it for another green jacket.

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About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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