Sobel: Betting or Passing on 26 Tiger Woods Props for the 2019 PGA Championship

Sobel: Betting or Passing on 26 Tiger Woods Props for the 2019 PGA Championship article feature image
Credit:

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods

  • Tiger Woods is among the favorites for the 2019 PGA Championship, which begins Thursday, May 16.
  • Jason Sobel breaks down 23 different Tiger props and decides whether to play or pass on each.
  • Sobel is splitting up 100 units into 11 different bets involving Woods.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Tiger Woods, on the heels of his first major championship title in 11 years, isn’t just the biggest story in golf at this week’s PGA Championship. He’s also the biggest story in golf betting.

Just like old times, Tiger is the pre-tournament favorite at Bethpage Black. And once again, there are a bevy of props — more than two dozen of ‘em — based around how he’ll perform here.

Let’s play a little game: I’ll give myself 100 units to bet on Tiger, as I go through all of the available wagers, skipping some and going big on some others.


Prop: Outright winner: Tiger Woods (+1100)

Analysis: Look, he’s proven he can win. He’s proven he is one of the world’s best players once again. He’s proven he’s worthy of the attention he receives. But I do think it’s a bit idealistic to think he can go more than a decade without a major win, then claim two in a row.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: There are much better outright bets on the board. Unless you really think Tiger is about to go back-to-back, save your money here.

The wager: None


Prop: Top-5 finish (+225)

Analysis: In my ranking of the entire field, I have Woods fifth on the list. This isn’t a bad bet, but it’s hardly a sure thing, either.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: At just over 2-1, there’s not enough value here. Saving my money for the next bet.

The wager: None.


Prop: Top-10 finish (+110)

Analysis: Here we go. Obviously, the payout isn’t as much as top-five, but I like having the cushion here. And one thing we know: Tiger always grinds on Sunday afternoons.

Play or pass: Play.

The decision: I think this is a fairly safe play at still better than even-money. Count me in.

The wager: 18 units on top-10


Prop: First-Round Leader (+1800)

Analysis: Here’s a fun piece of trivia: The last time Woods held or shared the opening-round lead at a major was the PGA Championship exactly 10 years ago, when he lost to Y.E. Yang three days later.

tiger woods-masters-2019
Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods.

Play or pass: Pass.

The decision: This one gets a “hell no” from me, as Tiger tends to ease his way into majors by throwing a few early jabs, as opposed to trying to land a knockout punch in the first round.

The wager: None.


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-115) vs. Brooks Koepka (-115)

Analysis: Depending on the book, each player is about the same odds to win — and for good reason. In the last two majors, Koepka has finished 1-2, while Woods finished 2-1. It’s an even matchup, but on a course that should suit Koepka perfectly, I give him a slight advantage.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: I have Koepka at second on my ranking and Woods fifth, so I think there’s value in taking Koepka here.

The wager: 8 units on Koepka


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-250) vs. Sergio Garcia (+185)

Analysis: If you believe Sergio can seriously contend this week, here’s a great way to get some big-time value out of him. If you’re going to take Tiger, though, you’d better be sure about the fade at this price.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: I think Tiger comes out on top in this matchup, but not so much that I’ll pay up for 2-5 odds.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-115) vs. Rory McIlroy (-115)

Analysis: Another pick’em between two legitimate contenders, but just as it should be: I’ve got them right next to each other on my list.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: Too close to call. I’d lean Rory, but I don’t love either side of this one.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-155) vs. Francesco Molinari (+120)

Analysis: As usual, the last three major champions are grouped together in the first two rounds, which also gives us a rematch of the Tiger/Francesco battle from last month’s Masters.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: You can lose a lot of money if you keep doubting Molinari, but on a long, wet golf course, I think Tiger owns a decided advantage.

The wager: 5 units on Woods


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-155) vs. Rickie Fowler (+120)

Analysis: Same odds as Woods against Molinari, but I feel less confident in Tiger here. I don’t like Fowler enough to bet him at this price.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: Give me Rickie at +150 or so and I’d take a shot, but there’s not enough value for me here.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-130) vs. Jon Rahm (Even)

Analysis: This could be a very good track for Rahm. Some have questioned his maturity level, but I think he’s ready to win a major and this track should suit his game.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: Give me just a small bet on Rahmbo at even-money, even though I have Tiger ranked higher on my list. Perhaps I’m just getting an itchy trigger finger.

The wager: 3 units on Rahm


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-115) vs. Justin Rose (-115)

Analysis: There’s value here — and it’s actually on Tiger! This is the same pricing as his matchup against Koepka, but I don’t like Rose nearly as much.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: I’m surprised Tiger is the same price as Rose, but I’m not complaining. Fire away.

The wager: 9 units on Woods


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-185) vs. Hideki Matsuyama (+145)

Analysis: There’s a school of thought that Bethpage could neutralize putting, which would be terrific news for Matsuyama, who hasn’t made an 8-footer* since Obama was still in office. (*This isn’t true. It just seems like it.)

pga championship 2019-hideki matsuyama
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: I’m tempted to place a little on Hideki here, but his results have been too average for too long. I’m out until I see him roll in a few putts.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-155) vs. Jason Day (+120)

Analysis: Day is another high-ceiling, low-floor guy. I can absolutely see him winning here, but I can also see his notoriously balky back seizing up in this cold weather.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: Too risky either way. With so many other potential plays, we don’t need to guess at this one.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-250) vs. Patrick Reed (+185)

Analysis: My guess is that this one sees some action on the ‘dog, as Reed was the last player to win at Bethpage, taking the 2016 Barclays.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: Tough call. My heart says to take a chance on the nearly 2-1 payout, but my head reminds me that Reed ain’t beating Tiger this week.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-200) vs. Matt Kuchar (+150)

Analysis: If you go back and check out Kuchar’s long list of top results this season, they almost all occurred on dry, short-ish courses where his lack of distance wasn’t a factor. That won’t be the case this week.

Matt-Kuchar
Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Kuchar

Play or pass: Play

The decision: Kuch’s odds are too low, a reflection of his recent history rather than how his game will fit this course. I love the Tiger bet here.

The wager: 8 units on Woods


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-200) vs. Patrick Cantlay (+150)

Analysis: Cantlay is going to be a guy who starts seriously contending in major championships, just as he did at last month’s Masters. He’s more talented than a lot of observers probably realize.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: I like the value on Cantlay here, but I’m still a bit gun-shy to take him in these conditions.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-170) vs. Tony Finau (+130)

Analysis: This feels like a smash spot for Finau, who tends to play his best golf in the biggest tournaments.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: At this price, I’d take Finau against just about anyone in the field.

The wager: 10 units on Finau


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-170) vs. Xander Schauffele (+130)

Analysis: In eight career majors starts, Schauffele has finished sixth-or-better in half of ‘em. I like him at this number, but I certainly don’t love him.

tiger woods-2019 pga championship
Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: Considering X-man is the same price as Finau, I’d much rather have the latter, but I’ll take a small piece of him, too.

The wager: 4 units on Schauffele


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-170) vs. Tommy Fleetwood (+130)

Analysis: I think Fleetwood is getting a little too much love this week. He’s shown a propensity for playing well in the other three majors, but this one hasn’t seemed to suit him, with no result better than T-35 in four starts.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: Not a great value picking Tiger here, but I think it’s a fairly easy winner.

The wager: 10 units on Woods


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-250) vs. Phil Mickelson (+185)

Analysis: Man, can you imagine the action in “The Match” if they’d had these types of odds?

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: Woods wins the matchup, but at this price, it’s not worth risking it.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-200) vs. Paul Casey (+150)

Analysis: Casey is always a tough one for me to figure out. He was trending in the right direction entering the Masters, where he’s played well, but missed the cut by a mile.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: I don’t feel strongly about Casey pulling off the upset, so I’ll sit this one out.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-200) vs. Jordan Spieth (+150)

Analysis: Poor Spieth. He went from a three-time major champion to a guy who hasn’t broken the top-20 in a tourney since last summer. There’s something wrong right now, whether it’s physical, mental, technical or psychological.

Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth
Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth

Play or pass: Play

The decision: Give me all of the matchup bets against Spieth. Load ‘em up.

The wager: 20 units on Woods


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-105) vs. Dustin Johnson (-125)

Analysis: Johnson has shown an affinity for long, wet, Northeast courses — perhaps not all at the same time, but that could be a magic formula to his second major title.

Play or pass: Play

The decision: There aren’t many guys I’d take as a favorite against Tiger. DJ might be the beginning and end of that list.

The wager: 5 units on Johnson


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-200) vs. Bubba Watson (+160)

Analysis: I feel the same way about Bubba that I do about Day: The numbers suggest a big week, but the intangibles are working against him. For Day, it’s his back; for Bubba, it’s the fact that he hates crowds — and this one should be the most raucous we’ve seen in a while.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: I don’t hate some action on Bubba here, but he could go downhill in a hurry in front of these New York fans.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-170) vs. Bryson DeChambeau (+130)

Analysis: I’m not really sure what to make of DeChambeau right now, who hasn’t pulled a top-10 since playing back-to-back events on the European Tour in January/February.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: I don’t dislike Bryson enough to fade him, but I’m waiting for next month’s U.S. Open at Pebble to go all-in on him.

The wager: None


Prop: Tournament Matchup: Tiger Woods (-185) vs. Adam Scott (+145)

Analysis: When I arrived in the media center here at he tourney, the writer in the seat next to me didn’t even say hello before he told me that he loves Scott this week. On a course where ball-striking is more important than putting, I don’t necessarily disagree.

Play or pass: Pass

The decision: It’s a solid number for Scott, but let’s not go overboard: Putting always means something — and his putting has looked brutal lately.

The wager: None

Final Card

  • Top-10 finish (+110): 18 units
  • Koepka over Woods (-115): 8 units
  • Woods over Molinari (-155): 5 units
  • Rahm over Woods (Even): 3 units
  • Woods over Rose (-115): 9 units
  • Woods over Kuchar (-200): 8 units
  • Finau over Woods (+130): 10 units
  • Schauffele over Woods (+130): 4 units
  • Woods over Fleetwood (-170): 10 units
  • Woods over Spieth (-200): 20 units
  • Johnson over Woods (-125): 5 units