The overwhelming majority of golf fans are excited about Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf. But no one is happier than the people running Las Vegas' sports books.
Woods always draws a crowd if he plays in a tournament -- and that crowd shows up at the betting windows as well. So after a Tiger-free season of golf, you can bet bookies are anticipating a much busier year of golf wagering in 2017 with Woods back on the scene.
Of course, that starts with the Masters, the first major of the calendar year -- and the tournament that receives the most action. We're still four months away, but odds for the 2017 tournament have been out since August, and now golf's biggest name has made a big move in the betting world. Check out these odds posted on Monday by Jeff Sherman, an oddsmaker and manager for Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook:
Woods is tied with Bubba Watson and Adam Scott for the sixth-lowest odds in the field. Really?! That seems like a bit of a stretch.
Only five players -- Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama -- are favored ahead of Tiger. We know Woods is a 14-time major champ and has donned the green jacket four times, but that seems like a LOT of respect for someone who just finished 15th in an 18-man field after being sidelined with a bad back for 15 months.
For further perspective, Woods' opening odds in August were 60/1. Before playing in the Hero World Challenge, he'd moved to 40/1. And now, they've been cut in half. This seems like a bit of an overreaction. Imagine if he had closed with a 66 instead of a 76?
Then again, there are other factors going into that seemingly low 20/1 number. For one, Vegas knows they'll get action on Woods no matter the price. And secondly, if by some way he's able to win a fifth green jacket, they don't want to get crushed by hordes of people cashing in tickets with longer odds.
In any matter, those are Tiger's current Masters odds. And if you really believe he's on his way to returning to top form when he was a straight-up bet against the rest of the field, then you're still getting a steal.