Tiger Woods is back at the top of a leaderboard.
In terms of number of tickets and amount of money wagered on a golfer to win the 2018 Masters, Woods is the runaway leader at Las Vegas sports books.
“We get murdered with him if he wins the Masters,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “We’ve got twice as many tickets on him than anyone else. People that took him at 100-1, 70-1, 30-1, they’ve got a live ticket.”
Woods’ odds to win his fifth green jacket improved drastically after he tied for ninth place at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas with an 8-under-par 280 (69-68-75-68) on Sunday to start his comeback attempt from his fourth back surgery.
“It seems like this time he really was prudent about taking his time and not rushing to come back,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “He looked as good as he’s been in many years. In a quality field, to finish in the middle of the pack, it exceeded everyone’s expectations for his first four rounds of golf.”
The Westgate has Woods at 20-1 to win the Masters and 5-1 to win any major in 2018. William Hill has Woods as the 12-1 third choice to win at Augusta, along with Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy, behind Dustin Johnson (10-1) and Jordan Spieth (7-1).
“His best chance to win a major is at Augusta because of the consistency of the course and how he likes the course,” Sherman said. “But there are a lot of things working against him. His age (41) and just the fact there are so many good young golfers from all over the world on the tour.
“The competition he’s coming back against isn’t the same as it was when he was winning at his peak. It’s a tougher go-round.”
Still, provided Woods stays healthy, Sherman said the odds on him winning another PGA Tour event are decent.
“Before the Hero Challenge, I had him in the 5-1 range,” he said. “After what I saw last week, I’d put 2-1 odds on him to win any PGA tournament.”
Strike a pose
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield closed as the minus-800 favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at William Hill, which had him as a 14-1 long shot at one point during the season.
Stanford running back Bryce Love closed as the 7-1 second choice on Nov. 19, when Nevada Gaming Control requires sports books to stop taking bets on the Heisman, which will be presented Saturday.
The most tickets were on Mayfield at William Hill and the most money was on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who wasn’t invited to Saturday’s ceremony in New York.
“We’re a small winner with Mayfield. A lot of that money on Mayfield came in when he was minus money,” Bogdanovich said. “He’s going to win it, for sure, unless some voters take some umbrage at his obscene gesture on the sideline. A few will take exception but not enough to cost him the title.”
As for which college quarterback projects the best in the NFL, Bogdanovich said he would take Mayfield over Southern California’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen.
“But I’m no draft expert,” he said. “In other words, I’m not employed by the Browns.”
Curry causes line move
Steph Curry is worth about a 3-pointer to the line in Warriors games. Golden State was a 5-point favorite over Charlotte without Curry — out for at least two weeks with a sprained ankle — in Wednesday’s 101-87 win over Charlotte.
“Had he played, the line probably would’ve been about 8,” Sherman said. “I think he’s worth a little less. When the Warriors played before Durant, they were the best team. Replacing Curry with Durant, they’re still the best in the NBA.
“When Durant and Curry are out, it compounds things a bit for an 8-point difference. Individually, they’re worth maybe 2½ points to the line. The total is slightly less, just because you’re taking a guy averaging 25 points and the next guy doesn’t score that much.”