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Best bets: Bettors fading Tiger Woods in PGA Championship

Tiger Woods has attracted ample support from bettors virtually his entire career, especially at majors.

But that’s not the case at the PGA Championship, which tees off Thursday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

“Tiger’s not getting much play,” Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said. “We opened him at 20-1 but we went to 35-1 (Tuesday) morning. We keep bumping him up to attract betting support.”

Bettors are leery of backing Woods, who has competed in one tournament since the PGA Tour resumed play June 11, placing 40th (+6) at the Memorial.

Sherman recommends wagering against Woods in tournament matchups.

“I faded him in every matchup I can find,” he said. “The guys I bet him against are some of the top guys: Xander (Schauffele), (Patrick) Cantlay, (Collin) Morikawa, Webb Simpson.

“These guys are playing great. Tiger could go out and play well and still not beat some of them.”

Sherman also is fading former UNLV golfer Adam Scott, who hasn’t played competitively since before the restart.

Brooks Koepka is the 10-1 co-favorite with Justin Thomas to win the PGA Championship, as Koepka tries to become the first golfer since Walter Hagen in 1926 to win the major in three consecutive years.

Sherman (@golfodds) and handicapper Wes Reynolds (@WesReynolds1) made Schauffele one of their best bets to win the year’s first major. He’s been one of the biggest movers on the betting board, dropping from 25-1 to 16-1 at the Westgate.

Xander Schauffele, 18-1 (at William Hill)

“Schauffele has five top-six finishes the last three years in majors and a top-three finish or better in every major with the exception of the PGA,” said Reynolds, co-host of VSiN’s “Long Shots” golf betting show who also pointed to several metrics that should help Schauffele on a course with narrow fairways and thick rough.

“He’s one of the best in the game at escaping trouble,” Reynolds said.

Schauffele shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday to tie for sixth (-9) at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

“He’s been playing well relative to the other top guys,” Sherman said. “He’s not too far off guys at half his odds so, from a value standpoint, he was a guy I wanted to go with.”

Here are Reynolds’ other best bets:

Patrick Cantlay, 28-1 (at Circa)

“Continuing with the California theme here as both Schauffele and Cantlay return to their home state,” he said. “Cantlay showed that he’s got the game to contend in majors with a tie for third at the PGA and a tie for ninth at the Masters, where he held the outright lead for a brief spell on Sunday.”

Hideki Matsuyama, 40-1 (at Westgate)

“He’s a perennial disappointment in majors but comes in under the radar this week,” Reynolds said.

Jason Day, 48-1 (at Circa)

“It’s been a lean two-plus years for former world No. 1 Day,” Reynolds said. “But three straight top-seven finishes at the Workday, Memorial and the WGC event last week may indicate that he’s found something.”

Tony Finau, 50-1 (at Westgate)

Finau has the most top-10 finishes without a win on the PGA Tour since the 2016-17 season, with 30.

“It would almost be fitting if he were to finally break this mark with a win where you’d least expect it,” Reynolds said.

Sergio Garcia, 86-1 (at Circa)

“Sergio is now on the other side of 40, but he has won at least one worldwide event in nine consecutive years dating back to 2011,” Reynolds said.

Shane Lowry, 134-1 (at Circa)

“This is a big price for the No. 26 player in the world who is one of only four men (Koepka, Woods, Gary Woodland) to be a current reigning major champion,” Reynolds said.

Danny Willett, 150-1 (at Westgate)

“Another wind specialist (like Day), I bet Willett after the Memorial, where he finished 32nd but was fourth after three rounds,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds also placed early bets on the PGA on Bryson DeChambeau at 25-1 (now 16-1) and on Paul Casey at 50-1 (now 125-1).

Here are Sherman’s other best bets:

Matthew Fitzpatrick, 54-1 (at Circa)

Billy Horschel, 108-1 (at Circa)

“During play last week, I got Fitzpatrick at 80-1 and knew that would be good value. He’s had two top-1os the last two weeks,” Sherman said. “I played Horschel last week at 50-1 in a good field, and this week his odds are tripled at 150-1. The odds made sense to me.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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