Is a Bet on Tiger Woods to Win at the Masters a Guaranteed Loss?

Heading into the tournament, which he won in 2019, Woods was listed with the fourth-best odds to leave Augusta National Golf Club with a green jacket

Tiger Woods warms up during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Is Woods a good bet to win the 86th Masters in 2022? We take a look.
Tiger Woods warms up during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.
Andrew Redington/Getty

Heading into the Masters in 2019 after posting five consecutive top-30 finishes to begin the season, Tiger Woods was listed with the fourth-best odds to leave Augusta National Golf Club with a green jacket at +1400. Woods, who finished at -13, did just that and departed Augusta with his fifth Masters victory and first major win since George W. Bush was president. (Also, a big asterisk.)

Hoping to step on the course to play a major for the first time since suffering several severe leg injuries during a car accident in February of 2021, Woods is planning to return to action on Thursday at the 2022 Masters, as the 46-year-old told the media on Tuesday.

“As of right now, I feel like I am going to play, as of right now,” Woods said. “I’m going to play nine more holes tomorrow. My recovery has been good. I’ve been very excited about how I’ve recovered each and every day, and that’s been the challenge.”

Woods doesn’t just want to play at the 86th Masters. He wants to win.

“I do,” Woods said when asked if he could win his sixth green jacket on Sunday. “I can hit it just fine. I don’t have any qualms about what I can do physically from a golf standpoint. It’s now walking is the hard part. This is normally not an easy walk to begin with. Now given the conditions that my leg is in, it gets even more difficult. You know, 72 holes is a long road, and it’s going to be a tough challenge and a challenge that I’m up for.”

It’s a challenge that could prove quite lucrative for backers of golf’s most popular player if he’s able to meet it as many sportsbooks have Woods listed with +5000 odds to win at Augusta. (Others have him at other numbers including +3500.) As the odds reflect, oddsmakers don’t love Tiger’s chances of winning his first time back since major surgery, but he’ll nonetheless be a popular bet and, thanks to his experience on the course, one that could pay off.

“Woods always garners a significant amount of public betting action because he is one of the sport’s most popular athletes. That’s part of why his odds are typically so low even when he hasn’t been playing at his best — or at all,” per The Sporting News. “Casual bettors love to bet on their favorite athletes to win. So, they bet Woods no matter what the odds are.”

A bet on Woods to win will be a popular one, but a smarter move may just be to bet on Woods making the cut, according to ESPN. “Between past champions, amateurs and other exemptions, there are probably 15 to 20 players who have essentially no shot at making the cut,” according to The Worldwide Leader. “I say this because there will be many people who will be looking to bet Tiger Woods to miss the cut. Be careful. During the past two years, 3-over par made the cut. That’s a pretty low bar for someone who knows this course as Woods does. If he plays, there might actually be value on him making the cut.”

Seeking his 16th win at a major, Woods’s last official event was the 2020 Masters that was played in November of that year due to COVID-19. He tied for 38th.  Tops in both total number of tickets (10%) and total dollars wagered (11%) to win the Masters at Caesars Sportsbook, Woods will be a major liability for sportsbooks around the country if he somehow pulls off the comeback win.

“If I had to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him close at 20/1 or 25/1,”  Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading at Caesars, said. “We may not see that many large bets on him, but we’ll see a lot of little bets. It does not take a long time for liability to add up. I’m going to be checking pretty much every hour to see where we’re at, and money will just continue to pour in. It’s a balance of how much liability you’re willing to stomach, but also not moving his odds to something ridiculously low. I think it’ll be an all-timer as far as liability goes. It’s not like he’s 10/1, it’s a rarity that he’s priced as high as he is.”

Should be a hell of a weekend — if Tiger makes the cut.

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