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


Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods

May 14, 2019, 09:59 AM EDT
  • 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.

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