The Big Cat is back.
Tiger Woods is set for his first PGA TOUR start since February at this week’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. Tiger’s presence alone gets golf fans in a tizzy and he has a similar effect on golf bettors.
People want to bet on their favorite golfer, and how can you blame them?
Unfortunately, the cold reality of betting is that you’re not going to get a fair price on Tiger in any tournament, probably ever. Bookmakers know that, given Woods’ popularity, people will bet him at any number so why would they risk hanging him at longer odds than they need to get action on Tiger?
Even though he’s coming off a five-month layoff and going up against a loaded field, sportsbooks have Tiger’s odds between +2500 ($10 bet wins $250) and +2800 for The Memorial. That puts him in the same range as Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele depending on the book.
At the same time, betting is supposed to be fun and we’re not here to stop you from putting a few bucks on Tiger because you love having action on your favorite golfer. Trust us, we get it.
With that in mind, our golf analysts shared what odds they would need if they were to put an outright ticket on Tiger in this field. Spoiler alert: It’s higher than 28-1.
Fair Odds: 55-1
Tiger has not played professionally since Riviera and while his form looked amazing in “The Match,” I cannot feel confident betting Tiger until he hits 55/1 or more. The field at the Memorial is stacked this week and Tiger is optimizing for the Majors.
As always I will be rooting for Tiger, but won’t be invested in him financially.
Fair Odds: 40-1
I like Tiger this week, I really do. I just don’t like him to win, which is, well, sorta the point of an outright bet.
I think Tiger will wade his way into his first start in five months — a decent opening round, a bit better in the second, a low one in the third to get us excited, but ultimately take a step back in the final round that leaves him somewhere around 10th place or so.
That said, if I could somehow get him at a number right around 40/1, I’d take a chance that I was wrong about the closer and maybe he’ll follow that torrid third round with another the next day to win a sixth career title at this event.
I’d start to think about it in the 40-1 range.
Tiger hasn’t played anything but an exhibition in months and is running up against a stacked field that’s had plenty of time to shake off any rust. This is just simply a warm-up event for Tiger as he preps for the PGA Championship next month.
Honestly, Tiger is almost never of any value because the books don’t need to offer him at a fair number. They could have posted him at 12-1 and made him a co-favorite this week and still got plenty of action.
Fair Odds: 45-1
Analyzing Tiger is tough for two reasons.
First, the handicapping part: Who knows where his game is at right now and how motivated he’ll be in his first event back from the COVID-19 layoff and with a major looming in a couple weeks. He looked awesome against Phil and Brady, absolutely piping bombs off the tee with his driver, usually the erratic part of his game. Maybe he’s on, and if so he can obviously win. Maybe he’s not, though.
And secondly, as the guys mentioned, there’s definitely a Tiger tax at books because, well, there can be given his public fame. I rarely ever recommend him just because he’s always overpriced vs. his actual win probability, but I’m also not out of touch (I hope) as a golf analyst.
I get it: It’s fun betting $5 and rooting on Tiger. And if that’s your thing, go for it.
Fair Odds: 50-1
The sportsbooks will have no problem getting action on Tiger this, or any week.
Similar to the New York Yankees or Notre Dame Football, there is a tax to ride along with the public on the Tiger Train.
Considering the level of play from the young guns and the low scores needed to contend since play resumed, it would take a massive effort for Woods to keep stride in his first tournament back.
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