Masters betting heats up
March 06, 2019 3:00 AM
by Micah Roberts
A man walked into the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week and wagered $10,000 on Tiger Woods to win next month’s Masters at 12-to-1 odds.
SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman didn’t blink and just took the bet. The SuperBook’s odds board also didn’t blink and left Woods at 12-to-1.
“We get enough money in the Masters pool that the risk will get spread out with action on all the others,” Sherman said. “And we also don’t want to get below the market value which is anywhere from 14-to-1 to 12-to-1.”
The textbook operating procedure would be to drop Woods down to 8-to-1. Who wants any more risk on him? But Sherman is thinking long term and knows the money he’ll handle on it. And he’s also not handicapping. His opinion on Woods doesn’t factor, either. It’s just straight bookmaking like the UC Santa Barbara grad has done for the past 25 years in Las Vegas.
“Before the wager, we didn’t have much liability with Woods, even though he was No. 2 in ticket counts just because of the low odds,” he said. “It’s a lot different from what we had when offering 100-to-1 odds the past few years. But he’s had continual steady action. And now he’s No. 1 in cash wagered after that bet.”
Woods has played in three events this season and his best was 10th-place at Mexico. But that was also the last tournament he played. Last year, he finished second in the PGA Championship and won the Tour Championship to give hope for all the Tiger fans out there. And those Tiger fans love to rekindle moments of 2006 when he won nine times in 19 events. That was the era when taking 3-to-1 on him was great value.
The SuperBook hasn’t even taken half of what they’re expecting on the first Major of the golf season.The Masters is scheduled for April 11-14.
“We’ve written about 30 percent of what we expect to handle already,” Sherman said.
Woods will once again be the top story coming into the Masters, but other golfers have found several fans at the bet windows.
“Tommy Fleetwood is No. 1 in tickets counts,” said Sherman who has Fleetwood posted at 30-to-1. “We see this a lot with the public in Majors where they all jump on a guy that has never won one before but that is ready to bust out. They’ve been on Fleetwood the last few majors and another guy like that is Rickie Fowler.
“They also like Tony Finau, a good long hitter that should do well on the course. He did well at the Masters last season after hurting his ankle the day before in the Par-3 contest. We had him 40-to-1 and now he’s down to 25-to-1.”
The SuperBook currently has Fowler at 16-to-1 to win his first Major. This guy has been knocking on the door a long time.
Finau is the World’s No. 13 ranked golfer but hasn’t cracked the top-10 this year in five starts. Last season he was runner-up four times.
One puzzling story evolving with a month to go is what’s going on with Jordan Spieth? He has played in five events this season and missed the cut to start his season in Hawaii and has finished 35th or worse in his last four, progressively worse along the way.
The signs were there last season that he was in a downward cycle by not finishing first or second in any of his 24 events entered after five straight seasons of getting at least one win.
“Spieth just can’t putt right now, but he’s young and talented enough and the Masters should be the ideal spot for him to bounce back,” Sherman said. “He’s been really good at Augusta and despite his recent slump we’re still getting bets on him at 16-to-1.”
Spieth’s best finish last season was third-place and he did it back-to-back weekends at Houston and then also the week after at the Masters. He missed the cut five times in 2018. The Texas Longhorn has won three Majors in his career, including the 2015 Masters.
Dustin Johnson is currently the SuperBook’s 10-to-1 favorite to win at Augusta. Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are next at 12-to-1. To see all of the updated golf odds, props and matchups, check out Sherman’s page, Golfofdds.com.
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