Tiger Woods appears to have given himself the green light at Augusta National. After thousands of patrons watched him play another nine practice holes Wednesday, Woods is all but certain to compete this week at the Masters.
Woods’ stirring return from a serious single-car accident less than 14 months ago has invigorated the sports world, and more specifically, sports bettors.
Woods is pulling in the largest share of the handle across a number of sportsbooks, making him their biggest liability should he pull off the near-unthinkable and win his sixth Masters on Sunday.
He opened the week at +6600 at most sportsbooks, but as of Wednesday afternoon his odds have shortened to +5000 at FanDuel, +4000 at BetMGM and DraftKings and +3500 at BetRivers as of Wednesday evening.
Woods accounts for 16 percent of the handle and 14 percent of the total bets at DraftKings, 14.8 percent of the handle and 12.4 percent of the tickets at BetMGM, 14 percent of the handle and 10 percent of the bets at FanDuel and 8.3 percent of the handle and 6.7 percent of the bets at BetRivers.
The fervor has spread even though Woods, 46, has not played in an official tournament since the 2020 Masters that was delayed until November of that year as a precaution to the COVID-19 pandemic. Woods won the winner’s green jacket in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2019, accounting for five of his 15 majors all-time.
One of the most popular non-Tiger golfers this week is Australian Cameron Smith, who was last seen when he won The Players Championship a month ago.
FanDuel said Smith (+1500) accounted for 8 percent of the handle and 7 percent of the total bets as of Wednesday, ranking second behind Woods in each. He was inside the top four most popular bets for DraftKings, accounting for 5 percent of the handle and the total bets.
Smith is also the prime target for another prop: the leader after Thursday’s first round. Bettors believe the Aussie will be in contention despite his lack of a major victory. He has commanded 10 percent of the handle and 5 percent of the bets at FanDuel, along with 7 percent of the handle and 5 percent of the bets at DraftKings.
Another popular pick, Justin Thomas, is searching for his second major and his first since 2017. Thomas ranks second in handle (8.2 percent) and total bets (5.8 percent) at BetRivers, second in handle (7.0 percent) at BetMGM and tied with Smith for second in handle (8 percent) at FanDuel.
Spaniard Jon Rahm, formerly the world #1, owns the shortest odds as of Wednesday afternoon. Rahm is at +1000 at DraftKings, +1100 at BetMGM and BetRivers, and +1200 at FanDuel. Thomas and Rahm are actually co-favorites at BetRivers, and Thomas comes in second elsewhere (+1200 at BetMGM and DraftKings, +1300 at FanDuel).