The Masters starts on Thursday and the familiar face of Tiger Woods will be walking the fairways at least for the first two days of the tournament.
The 14-time major champion has not won one since 2008, but bettors do not let that reality bother them. Once Woods announced he would play the Masters last week, bettors promptly made him the biggest risk for sportsbooks on the Masters futures.
Woods opened with 40 to 1 odds to win, his highest ever odds at a major. Even while sportsbooks are looking at a big risk, they have yet to shorten Woods’ odds since he has played so poorly.
Some bookmakers believe that if it were any other player than Woods, the odds would be much higher. Since June of last year, Woods has a few withdraws, missed cuts (3), a tie for last place and a 69th, which was his best finish. Add to that the problems he has had chipping and his game looks scary.
However, with the two months of work he has put into his game, the results could be impressive and that is what keeps bettors at the betting window calling his number.
There have been props made for the Master that are Tiger-specific. The over/under for example for round one is 73.5. Another is if he will make the cut and that currently has the NO as the favored at -120.
Some bookmakers believe that having Tiger play will add about 10% to the handle, but if he plays well that could go up to as much as 20%. Regardless, the champion is still one of the biggest draws for the books.
The bettors have seen Tiger play well and want that again from the champion and when they look at odds of 40 to 1 they tell themselves they must bet on him.
Some bookmakers believe that Woods’ presence will help another golfer’s chances of winning. Even though his odds have not been shortened, Rory McIlroy could be the big beneficiary of Woods playing as some, albeit not all, but some attention will be off him.
At this point, McIlroy is the favorite at 6 to 1 and just one of two golfers with odds in the single digits. The course is said to be playing soft and that will help McIlroy since he is a long hitter.
Jordan Spieth is the other player with single digit odds because of how well he has played the past four weeks. He has not had the most money wagered on him, but does have the most tickets in his name as he is a fan and bettor favorite. That has dropped his odds from an open of 20 to 1 down to just 8 to 1. Bubba Watson opened at 20 to 1 and he has been bet down to 10 to 1.