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McIlroy now a betting favorite, but Tiger still the bettors' favorite

January 06, 2015

Tiger Woods hasn't won a tournament in 17 months and hasn't won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, yet he still generates more money bet on him than anyone else, Las Vegas Hotel Superbook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said.


(Stephen Szurlej/Golf Digest)

"Tiger still commands the most money [wagered] of anybody in the pool," Sherman said. "For the Masters, the most supportive amount of money wagered is on him. He's still the driving force behind everything."

This despite the fact that Rory McIlroy, a 6/1 betting favorite, has won the last two major championships and needs only a Masters victory to complete the career grand slam.

The latest odds on Woods winning the Masters are 12/1. Should Woods play well in the run-up to Augusta, the odds will diminish, but the betting dollars flowing toward him will increase as "people will have more confidence in his playing well," Sherman said.

Meanwhile, what are the odds that McIlroy will win the calendar-year grand slam, given that no one has ever done it and likely will never do it? A million to one? Ten million to one?

How about 80/1?

"It's basically a parlay of four major championship odds," Sherman said. If McIlroy were to win the Masters, the odds would get shorter for the U.S. Open and would decrease further should he win the British Open.

Another consideration is a sports book's need to manage its liability, Sherman said. If the odds on McIlroy winning all four majors better reflected reality and were, say, 1,000/1, it would generate a large number of $2 or $10 or even $100 bets that would substantially increase a sports book's liability in the event that he, indeed, did win the grand slam.

The odds on Woods of winning the grand slam, incidentally, are 250/1. He's 11/4 to win one major, 20/1 to win two and 100/1 to win three. He's 1/4 to win zero majors.