How Sportsbooks Set Tiger Woods Odds For His Latest Comeback
Dan Kilbridge | 6 mins
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Tiger Woods has been dominating the PGA Tour for decades, in a class of his own with 82 wins and 15 career majors. He attracts such a massive and passionate following that things can get complicated – particularly at the sportsbooks.
Oddsmakers have so many factors to consider when pricing Woods' golf odds these days – he will be 46 years old the next time he plays in a major and is still recovering from a life-threatening car crash in February. It’s unclear when he’ll be healthy enough to walk a course in a serious tournament environment again, but we know the competitive fire still burns. A final-round surge including 11 straight birdies en route to a second-place finish at the PNC Championship alongside son, Charlie, proved that.
This all adds up to a big challenge pricing Woods’ major odds in 2022 on betting sites. The demand is huge and the lines need to go up. And whatever the line is, heavy golf betting action on Woods is always sure to follow.
“We know that the money will pour in on him and we’ll have a seven-figure loss on him if he goes out and wins,” DraftKings Director of Race and Sportsbook Johnny Avello said.
Tiger Woods Odds
|To Win 2022 Masters||+5000 at DraftKings ➜|
|To Win Any Major In 2022||+900 at DraftKings ➜|
Odds accurate at time of publication.
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Woods is currently listed with 2022 Masters odds of +3500 at DraftKings. Avello has not yet posted individual Woods odds for the PGA Championship, U.S. Open or British Open. There’s a lot to consider, especially since Woods continues to pump the brakes and remind everyone how far he still has to go in the rehab process.
”We’re following it pretty closely,” Avello said. “We only have him up for the Masters … he’s so good at that course at Augusta and we’re not sure how many tournaments he’s actually decided to play in, if he can even play in this one. From what we’ve been reading the caddie is saying he’s swinging good, but the walking of the course is a problem. Let’s face it, even a good golfer in good shape might have a problem at Augusta.
While DraftKings is still waiting to post odds on the other majors – Woods is priced at +5000 for all three at other betting sites – they do list a prop on Woods to win any major next year at +900.
“I think if he said, ‘I’m feeling good, I’m gonna play in the Masters and see how it goes,’ we may still wait to post (other major odds),” Avello said. “But if he says, ‘I’m feeling good, I’ll play the other tournaments,’ then we’ll probably post it. … If we knew positively he was going to play, we’d love to add him to those fields.”
Golf's Summit Crowded With Contenders
Avello started cutting his teeth as a bookmaker in the early 1980s and worked as an oddsmaker for Bally’s in the mid-90s, just as Woods was about to begin one of the most dominant stretches in sports history.
Avello remembers some of the ludicrous golf odds he used to set on Woods in those days, often around +140 for non-majors. Nowadays it’s extremely rare to see a player any shorter than +800 entering the week.
That’s partly due to the parity at the top of the sport right now, with so many elite players and next-tier guys capable of winning any given major. It’s also because we’ll likely never see another player torch the field on a weekly basis like Woods did in his prime.
There simply weren’t this many quality players in the field 20 years ago, which is another reason Avello is checking his expectations when it comes to Tiger Woods’ major odds.
“My gut feeling is that it’s a real stretch,” Avello said. “First of all, he’s older and it takes a little more time to heal from an injury. And I think the biggest factor is the competition he’s up against. Tiger still I’m sure can play a great round of golf, go out there and have times where he’s brilliant. But can he put together four good days? That’s difficult to do, even for these guys that are playing every single day.”
Durability A Concern For Tiger
Woods eventually dealt with so many injuries and suffered chronic back pain to the point he thought his playing career was over, a possibility he floated to fellow diners at the 2017 Masters Champions Dinner. But a last-chance spinal fusion surgery allowed Woods to return and win three more times to date – including the 2018 Tour Championship and 2019 Masters.
That comeback began much the same way. Woods tempered expectations throughout the early stages – even on days in which he looked like the Woods of old – and grinded his way back to the top.
This is a different challenge for Woods. As strong as he looked at times in the PNC in Orlando, he was able to ride a golf cart and rely on his son’s tee shots on several occasions. For every promising sign there were questions about durability. The swing looks good but the exterior factors remain unknown.
It’s an uphill climb, for sure. But just as bettors will always flood the windows and betting apps with Woods tickets when he’s in the field, those who’ve watched him know it’s unwise to count him out at times like this – even for those who understand the long odds he’s facing.
”I’ll never underestimate Tiger,” Avello said. "(Augusta National) he knows well, he plays well there. I wouldn’t underestimate him. But it’s gonna be a very difficult chore".
The same could be said for bookmakers trying to read the tea leaves and set Woods’ major odds with serious bottom-line implications.