A 19-year-old Sergio Garcia in 1999 was looked at as a candidate to give Tiger Woods some competition, but the rivalry didn’t materialize.
And while Garcia would go on to win 30 tournaments over a solid career, he never won any of the four majors played each year. This is what made Sunday’s Masters win for the Spaniard so sweet for not only him, but the millions of golf fans throughout the world.
It wasn’t just the sentiment of Garcia finally winning a major that thrilled fans, it was also that he and Justin Rose would go to a playoff, which had the every sportsbook in town buzzing with excitement whether or not they have action on either one. The last few holes, going back and forth, were intense and made for great television.
Bettors at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook could have had 50-to-1 on Garcia to win, and he was 15-1 following his 1-under performance in the first round.
“We ended up a small winner on the day with possibly a record handle for us between the odds to win, props and Sunday’s in-progress wagering,” said SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “Garcia has always been one of those golfers that garners public support. People have been rooting for him to win a major for some time.”
CG Technology books also set a record with this years Masters handle.
“We wrote 21 percent more on it this year,” said CG’s VP of risk management Jason Simbal. “We would have done slightly better with Rose winning, but still ended up faring well with Garcia, despite having someone bet $300 at 40-to-1 in December on him, and prior to that we had a $230 wager on him at 45-to-1.”
What a week!
You never want to get too excited after one week of baseball, but if you are from Phoenix, Denver, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Minneapolis or Tampa/St. Pete you’re walking with a little extra zip in your step because your clubs have come smashing out of the gate strong with first or second-place starts.
Yes, it’s just one week, but following a rough 2016 campaign for all those clubs, optimism is high. The ultimate dream of winning the World Series is still high, and why not since witnessing the Cubs just win it all for the first time in 108 years.
The trick for Las Vegas sportsbooks is to figure out reality versus risk when dealing with futures. Most of those teams playing better than expectations offered some of the highest odds to win the World Series. Again, it’s just one week, but bettors/fans are more inspired to take those long odds after just a quick glimpse of a few teams showing well.
“It’s always an overreaction, so we try to stay ahead of it by lowering the odds (daily).” said Westgate SuperBook manager Ed Salmons. “In one week we’ve adjusted the Diamondbacks from 100-to-1 down to 40-1, and we’ll get a better piece of their story this week as they hit the road for the first time. Teams like that we have to react quickly, but favorites like the Cubs and Dodgers we don’t really do anything with no matter how they start.”
When dropping odds on teams, in order to keep the desired theoretic hold relatively the same as it opened, bookmakers have to adjust other teams higher. The Westgate offers the lowest hold in town at 27 percent.
“We had the Yankees at 30-1, but they look like they have no chance of winning the World Series and we’ve got them at 60-1 now,” Salmons said. “The Giants have been one of those teams that traditionally have artificial odds because they’re so popular, but they looked awful last week and it was enough to move them from 12-1 up to 18-1.”
Salmons said it’s important to guard the future odds daily and move with the streaks to stay ahead of perception. He said their three biggest futures are the Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball Championship and World Series. For most books, futures are free cash to the bottom line because of all the volume and built in juice. That is, of course, unless being reckless and not paying attention, which oddly some books still regularly practice.
The Diamondbacks at 6-1 finished the week with the best record using their improved lineup to get come-from-behind wins all week at Chase Field. They have an MLB leading .313 team batting average led by 2B Brandon Drury (.476), SS Chris Owings (.360) and a rejuvented 1B Paul Goldschmidt (.346). Center fielder A.J. Pollock (.286), who missed the entire 2016 season, has been the straw that stirs the drink at the top of the order.
Arizona’s party got started with a walk-off win Sunday against the Giants and came back to win in dramatic fashion twice more in the four game set. Then they swept defending A.L. Champion Cleveland. Next up is three games at San Francisco where they have won 13 of their last 19, and then a four game series at Dodger Stadium.
We’ll get a real look at how good Arizona is away from their home park. But so far, the question marks about the starting rotation and bullpen haven’t been an issue. New manager Torey Lovullo has definitely brought some new energy to what had been a stagnant clubhouse for the past few seasons. The Diamondbacks’ season win total closed at 78 wins.
Sitting just a game behind Arizona in the N.L. West are the Rockies (5-2), who won three of four at Milwaukee and took two of three at home against the Dodgers, which included handing Clayton Kershaw a loss. The Rockies had a win total at 80.5 wins and their World Series odds have dropped from 60-1 to 50-1.
Everyone knew the Twins lineup would hit the ball, but the starting rotation and bullpen would be the big question this year. They were the best Over-the-total team last season because of bad pitching and great hitting, though finishing dead last in the A.L. Central at 59-103.
Their season win total was set at 73.5. They swept the Royals and won two of three at the White Sox, allowing just one run in four of the five wins. The Twins are still at odds of 100-1 at the Westgate.