18 Holes, 18 Predictions: Betting Tiger’s First Round
Let’s face it: You’re going to spend your entire Thursday watching the Masters.
Whether you’re camped out on the couch or sneaking peeks in the cubicle, you’ll be paying close attention to the opening round. And there’s little doubt you’ll be focused on one player in particular – a certain four-time green jacket winner named Tiger Woods.
After three years away from the festivities at Augusta National, there’s a palpable excitement to witnessing him attempt one of the game’s greatest comebacks.
It can be even more exciting, though. Through 5Dimes, you can now wager on Woods’ score on every hole during the first round. Here’s a little help to get you through the day.
No. 1: Tea Olive
Birdie or better: +380
Par or worse: -520
We could produce a lengthy documentary on Tiger’s long-term struggles with opening tee shots. (And, by the way, he’s +120 to miss the fairway Thursday.) He often admits he gets butterflies just before his round starts – and the numbers back it up. In his four Masters wins, there’s only one hole he’s played to a scoring average over par. Here’s guessing he’ll scramble to save par, but that -520 should be easy money.
No. 2: Pink Dogwood
Any other score: +110
In his prime, Woods dominated par-5s. He’s proven that at the second hole, where he owns a 4.6 career scoring average. He eagled this one in his Monday practice round, but he’ll reach this tee just before 11 a.m., and it might be chilly and a little rainy. Don’t be surprised if a tentative start leads to a disappointing failure to make birdie.
No. 3: Flowering Peach
Birdie or better: +540
Par or worse: -900
A couple of pars to kick things off will cool Tigermania for a few minutes, but his 3.8 career scoring average shows he can post some birdies here: that +540 number is way too enticing. Watch for a nice iron shot and smooth putt, then collect your cash.
No. 4: Flowering Crab Apple
Bogey or worse: +205
Par or better: -265
How often do we see it? Tiger posts a birdie, gets into red numbers, fires everyone up … and then takes a little step backward? This is perennially the toughest par-3 on the course and that fact is reflected in Tiger’s scoring average as well. Miss the green here and it’s a tough up-and-down, as he knows all too well.
No. 5: Magnolia
Any other score: +158
Tough hole. Tiger’s career scoring average is 4.1. He’ll take par and run to the next tee box.
No. 6: Juniper
Birdie or better: +305
Par or worse: -395
Easing his way into a comfort level during the round, Woods will be satisfied with another two-putt par on a par-3 that he’s played in just about level-par throughout his career.
No. 7: Pampas
Birdie or better: +355
Par or worse: -490
Back in 2001, Woods hit 1-iron off the tee during a practice round, and his buddy Mark O’Meara urged him to try driver. He liked it and played the hole in 3-under while winning that week. Depending on the wind, he might use a 3-wood on Thursday. You can more than triple your money betting on birdie at this tough hole. Even Tiger himself likes those odds.
No. 8: Yellow Jasmine
Any other score: +110
Just about even money for birdie on a hole that Woods has played 26-under for his career? Yes, please.
No. 9: Carolina Cherry
Any other score: +140
In his wins, Tiger owns a 3.9 scoring average on this hole; in his losses, he owns a 4.0 scoring average. That smells like a Thursday par to close his front nine.
No. 10: Camellia
Par or better: -390
Bogey or worse: +300
Listen to Tiger speak about this hole and it sounds even more treacherous than it looks. “There’s just no let-up on this demanding hole,” he told the Masters website a few years ago. At a 3-to-1 payoff, bogey here is a solid bet.
No. 11: White Dogwood
Birdie or better: +565
Par or worse: -960
Ben Hogan once famously said of this hole, “If you see my ball on that green in two, you’ll know I missed my second shot.” Woods paid his respects to Hogan earlier this week, insisting that his comeback pales in comparison to what the Wee Ice Mon endured, but that doesn’t mean he can’t prove him wrong. At these odds, let’s bank on Tiger “missing” his approach onto the green, then making an improbable birdie attempt.
No. 12: Golden Bell
Any other score: +150
There are no specific odds listed on Woods making a Spieth-like quadruple-bogey, but there’s some obvious trouble lurking on this hole, one of the world’s most famous par-3s. It’s tempting to hedge here and pick him to make something other than par, but he’ll play a safe tee shot and two-putt for the 3.
No. 13: Azalea
Par or better: -2250
Bogey or worse: +1200
Following a Tuesday eagle alongside Phil Mickelson, there’s going to be plenty of sentiment for Tiger to hit the repeat button. Besides, you know he’d love to do that on a hole that now shares a name with the daughter of his longtime nemesis, Sergio Garcia. He’ll probably make birdie, but give yourself the sure thing and bet the -2250 to account for the potential of a par.
No. 14: Chinese Fir
Any other score: +140
During his Masters career, Woods has a 4.0 scoring average here when he wins, a 4.0 average when he doesn’t, and a 4.0 average overall. If that doesn’t scream par, nothing will.
No. 15: Firethorn
Birdie or better: +130
Par or worse: -160
Yet another hole where he posted a practice round eagle (Tiger is missing out on some serious crystal with all these early-week eagles), but birdie seems a strong probability for the opening round. You know, unless his approach hits the flagstick again.
No. 16: Redbud
Any other score: +135
The scene of perhaps Tiger’s most memorable Masters moment, he’ll hope lightning can strike twice. That’s right: He’ll miss the green to the left, hit a beautiful chip, watch it roll all the way toward the hole, hang on the lip … and stay right there. Ouch.
No. 17: Nandina
Par or better: -515
Bogey or worse: +375
Yet another hole on which Tiger has played to a scoring average of right around par for his career. No reason to believe that changes now.
No. 18: Holly
Par or better: -385
Bogey or worse: +295
While his struggles on opening tee shots are well-documented, Woods’ issues with closing holes have been similarly disappointing over the years. A bogey on the last hole Thursday will turn a great round into just a very good one, leaving dinner tasting a little worse for him that night, as the old saying goes.
Add ‘em all up and that’s a roller coaster, six-birdie, three-bogey opening-round performance that will give Tiger a 3-under 69 for the day. With the over/under listed at 68.5, expect it to come down to a nail-biter on the 18th green, with the over eventually winning out.
Picture credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports