Veterans Padraig Harrington and Matt Kuchar each shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday to share the early lead with MJ Daffue and Roberto Diaz in the weather-delayed first round of the Valero Texas Open.
Rory favored at Open, but bettors backing Tiger
Rory McIlroy is the consensus favorite to win The Open and the only golfer with odds in the single digits at the majority of sportsbooks, but bettors in the U.S. and abroad can’t resist backing long shot Tiger Woods.
At Caesars Sportsbook, McIlroy is 9-1 to win this week at St. Andrews. Xander Schauffele, fresh off his win at the Scottish Open, is next at 14-1, followed by Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm, each 16-1. McIlroy and Rahm had been co-favorites at recently as June at Caesars Sportsbook, but McIlroy has since emerged as the favorite.
Woods can be found as long as 110-1 to win and is the largest liability for multiple sportsbooks. At Caesars Sportsbook, where he is listed at 65-1, the liability on Woods winning the tournament is double that of any other golfer in the field.
“The Tiger appeal is always going to be there,” said Anthony Salleroli, lead golf trader for Caesars Sportsbook. “Truth be told, his natural odds are probably more like 125-1. You just have to mitigate some liability by keeping his number lower. Nonetheless, you’re going to have enormous liability because people want the Cinderella story.”
As of Tuesday at DraftKings, more money had been bet on Woods to win than on any other golfer. Woods winning was the worst result for BetMGM and PointsBet. The largest reported bet at BetMGM was $4,500 on Woods at 40-1.
Woods has been a popular bet in Europe as well. At Paddy Power, he is 10th in terms of number of bets by punters, “who are clearly praying for a miracle from the master,” Rachael Kane, spokesperson for the Irish sportsbook, told ESPN.
Woods is not the only long shot veteran to attract big bets. BetMGM reported taking a $1,000 wager on Phil Mickelson to win at 250-1.