With the return of Tiger Woods coupled with a small but elite field, the Hero World Challenge has quite a few prop betting options we wouldn’t get at a regular PGA Tour stop.
Bovada has a half dozen or so bets set up around Tiger’s return and how he’ll fare throughout the event. We’ll examine below.
Woods birdie or better on the first hole (+400)
Woods to birdie the first hole is the most interesting play for me. The hole is a 423-yard par 4 that requires a good drive to set up a short iron onto an elevated green. The hole didn’t present much of a challenge in 2016, with 25 birdies compared to just two bogeys recorded in 69 rounds. Woods birdied the hole in the second and third rounds a year ago. Just looking at the raw numbers, a birdie occurs at far more often than a 4-1 rate, so there appears to be good value. The only thing to consider would be some nerves or maybe a little rust on that first shot, which could put him out of position.
Woods to make an eagle (+150)
With four reachable par 5s and a couple of driveable par 4s, the Hero World Challenge is ripe with eagle opportunities. In 2016, the field recorded 14 eagles during the week. Tiger, however, was held off the board in that regard last year. About half the players will get an eagle this week, and if Woods is hitting the ball off the tee well, he’ll get a couple looks. This is a pretty easy course with some generous pin positions, so there’s also the off chance he could simply chip in or hole out from the fairway. This is a bet that should probably be closer to even money.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 27, 2017
Woods to go bogey-free in the first round (12-1)
Tiger completed the second round without a bogey a year ago, but for me, this is a bet to avoid. It’s hard to imagine him coming back after nearly a year away and not hitting a stray drive or missing a short par putt. Last year, Woods made two bogeys and two doubles in the opening round, and he finished with 14 bogeys or worse in the event.
Woods to finish last (+330)
If you think Woods is just going to flame out, then this is your play. He’s the longest shot in the field and the only player who hasn’t competed in the last month, so he’s likely to struggle at times. But I think he cares far too much about playing well, while there are a lot of other players who may just phone it in after a long season. I’ll be targeting Tommy Fleetwood for this play at 11-1. Fleetwood has been solid all season and won the Race to Dubai. but after a grueling year and playing a week ago in Hong Kong, there isn’t anyone more in need of a vacation more.
Woods as first-round leader (20-1)
This is probably the best place to hit Tiger at a big number. It’s hard to imagine him holding off the field for four days given the caliber of players he’s up against. But for one day, he’s capable of firing a round in the mid-60s. He showed that last year here when he shot 65 in the second round. The value is gone for me, though, after the number was bet down from 33-1 on Monday afternoon, so I won’t be on this. I do think it’s a better play though than betting him to win the tournament, however.
Woods (+220) vs. Justin Thomas first round
Tiger will tee it up with the reigning FedEx Cup and PGA champion for the opening 18 holes. I won’t bet this, but Tiger winning this matchup wouldn’t shock me at all. Thomas is one of many pros in vacation mode, and it’s his first trip to this tournament. I doubt he’s been putting in a lot of work during practice rounds, while Tiger knows this course inside and out. There will be a lot of parlays fading Woods and pairing Thomas with another matchup, but I’d advise against that.
Full Card (Units)
Note: The odds listed below reflect listings at time of the writer’s plays. They are not necessarily current.
Brooks Koepka 11-1 (3.2)
Rickie Fowler 11-1 (3.2)
Tommy Fleetwood 10-1 (1)
Alex Noren over Henrik Stenson +185 (2)
Note: Stenson is coming off a rib injury and is a withdraw risk in an exhibition event. I think Noren’s number against a healthy Stenson is about right, but factoring in the injury gives this some value.
2017-18 season review
Safeway: +3.6 units (Hadley Top 5)
CIMB: -2.0 units (Schauffele Top 5)
CJ Cup: -3.3 units (Harman Top 5)
HSBC Champions: +1.8 units (Stanley Top 10)
Sanderson Farms: -2.6 units (Silverman Top 10)
Shriners Hospitals: -9.75 units (Zilch)
OHL Classic: +46.625 units (Kizzire win/Top 5, Howell III/Knox Top 10s)
RSM Classic: +30.5 units (Cook win/Top 5)
Joshua has spent the last five years writing about sports and the last 10 years betting them, mostly on golf. He’s one of approximately five people who will watch the PGA over the NFL in November. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaPerry22
Photo: © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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