Tiger Woods at the Masters Changes Everything for a Bookmaker
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Booking the Masters is different than any other major. The odds are released with eight months of shelf life, compared to one to two months for the other three majors. The Masters is also played on the same course each year, while other majors have less handicapping history to base off with their rotations of courses.
Average novice bettors who do not usually wager on golf will get involved in the Masters, just as they do on other popular events like the Super Bowl, Daytona 500 and Kentucky Derby. These factors contribute to the Masters doing at least twice the handle (money wagered) in Las Vegas compared to the next largest-wagered golf tournament of the year, the U.S. Open.
Booking Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods playing in any tournament makes it a uniquely booked event. In recent years, he has added around 20% to overall handle in tournaments in which he was involved. This year, the increase in handle has been even more drastic, pushing 30%.
With an increase in both handle and attention, an expansion of propositions will be offered. For the 2018 Masters, 11 props involve Tiger, while the next highest for any other golfer is six.
Any time Tiger plays, he garners so much attention from the general public that his odds are generally half of what they would be had his name not been associated with the odds. In fact, Tiger currently ranks first in ticket count and number three in money wagered for the Masters.
When Tiger’s odds are lower due to positive recent form, other golfers’ odds are increased to the point where perceived value is found among many. The optimal Tiger Woods for the book is for him to play well but not win. This is what he has been doing recently on the PGA Tour, and it has led to a record handle already for the 2018 Masters.
Who else moves the needle?
With so much action coming in, it is difficult to control liabilities on Tiger, even when his odds are short. Tiger has been good to the books in recent years, considering his last win in a major was the 2008 U.S. Open. Whether he is in poor form and has long odds or in good form with short odds, he attracts much more wagering interest than any other golfer. The only other golfer that liabilities often add up for is Phil Mickelson, exclusively during majors. The general public will support Mickelson on a smaller scale similar to Tiger.
Jeff Sherman is the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook manager and owner of GolfOdds.com.
Top photo: Tiger Woods practices on the driving range before the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational