Sherman really hits Augusta in ’14

Apr 16, 2013 3:01 AM

Golf betting in general has increased tremendously the past few years. The marquis tournament spurring that growth has been The Masters.

Live betting has increased in all sports, as well. Put those factors together with a balanced Masters field including immense Tiger Woods drama and you have a confluence of events bookmakers would die for.

Jeff Sherman of the Las Vegas Hotel, and one of the top oddsmakers in the golfing world, said this was certainly one of their best betting Masters.

“It was the same as last year, which was great,” Sherman said. “Our betting handle has gone up at such a high rate it is hard to keep topping it.”

Start sharpening your handicapping. Sherman, who generally uses 40 betting props for the Masters will be adding more next year.

“This was an awesome tourney,” said Sherman. “This one will be defined by Tiger’s incredible shot that cost him the tournament. Just terrible luck.”

Sherman of course was referring to Tiger Woods’ shot on the 15th hole that hit the flagstick and ricocheted into the water. If his shot had been a little less close we would probably be talking about Tiger’s assault on Jack Nicklaus’ record with another major title under his belt. That was a four stroke difference. Woods wound up four strokes off the lead.

In case you are just coming in from the Convention Of The Ill-informed, Tiger’s shot and subsequent mis-drop led the rule makers at the Masters to make a determination on whether to disqualify the world’s number one player, penalize him or do nothing. 

I won’t go into the two stroke penalty other than to say while Friday’s shot was bad luck for Tiger, it was bad luck for his backers, as well.

Sherman re-posted the odds after Friday’s round with Tiger the favorite at 9-4. Massive action moved the odds to 7-4 by the time the LVH closed for business that night. By the time LVH reopened the following morning and Tiger’s penalty had been assessed, Sherman put Woods’ odds back up at 5-1. 

Quite a move, but certainly the proper one.

While Tiger attracts the biggest bets, it is still the popular Phil Mickelson who attracts the most action. 

“The smaller players want to get to get back more for their money,” said Sherman. “The bigger bettors have favored Tiger at the lower odds.”

While the reposting of the odds has increased betting recently, the advent of action while the tournament is running has done so as well.

Sunday morning’s betting was a little weak as there were too many contenders in the field. As the day began to sort itself out, the wagering increased. Of course the odds changed drastically with every shot. 

Jason Day, who wound up in third place, was favored in many places Saturday morning. He was among the shorter prices going to Sunday as well. Day surged to a lead but kept getting into trouble. While he was doing so, Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott refused to wilt and climbed into contention themselves. Then Cabrera then pulled ahead to a two shot lead and became odds on favorite at -175.

Barry Phillips, Vice President and General Manager of Baldini’s Sports Casino in Reno, and one of my go-to golf handicappers, had a decent sized ticket on Cabrera at 100-1. He was texting me with alternating messages of anticipation and dread. I’m pretty sure he didn’t hedge. Philips is a go-for-it kind of guy.

During the course of events you could have gotten Adam Scott at as high as 6-1 at the LVH. He never looked clear of the field, though as the other two had at different points.

Tied after 72 holes, Sherman opened Scott at -125 over Cabrera in the sudden death playoff. Maybe his instincts kicked in, but the two matched shot for shot in mirror images before Scott won the tournament with his long birdie putt. 

Sherman thinks Scott learned from his narrow loss at last year’s British Open and will be a regular betting favorite in majors going forward, if not a recurring winner. 

“Scott will be up there from now on,” Sherman said. “After this win the market will support him. He has had amazing consistency in recent majors. Now he has his first win.”

Personally, I had a few tickets but none on the winner.

 I could never find the right value for my money on Scott. Day gave me my best shot.  When he went to the clubhouse we were still alive, but barely. 

Sherman had him at 100-1 at that point. I would have needed a lot more than that to press my bet. 

If I had Cabrera at 100-1, I know I would have hedged something. Barry, I hope you did, too.

Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at [email protected].

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