Golf is certainly more of a niche sport, but even the most casual of golf fans love placing a few bucks on the four major tournaments. A $20 bet on the favorite could pay out over $200 in most cases and there's plenty of value found throughout the board. It's no surprise that anytime Tiger Woods plays a major, he's a popular bet. Woods is one of the more prominent athletes of our generation.
Heading into the British Open, Woods was 66-to-1 to win it. Woods was the third-most popular bet at BetMGM, behind only Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. He was far and away the biggest liability for BetMGM, but the book welcomed the action. In fact, they moved Woods' odds from 40-to-1 to 66-to-1 just to get more Tiger money. “Tiger Woods is already a significant liability for BetMGM at The Open Championship. Judging from his last few tournaments, playing four days in a row seems to put incredible stress on Tiger’s body so we're comfortable with the huge liability," said Jason Scott, who is the VP of trading at BetMGM.
Some bettors took the bait in search of a massive payday. On Wednesday, a bettor placed a $10,000 on Tiger Woods to win the Open Championship. If Woods won, the bet would have paid out $660,000. There was a smaller bet earlier in the week on Woods as well. The bettor risked $4,500 to win $180,000.
With the British Open getting underway in Scotland on Thursday, it became obvious early why BetMGM wanted all the Tiger money they could get. While the first round is still ongoing, at the time of writing, Woods was 6-over through eight holes. He double-bogey'd the first hole. On the live lines, Tiger is now 250-to-1 to win the tournament.
Woods is seeking his fourth win at the Open Championship, but that dream looks dashed early. Even making the cut will take a tremendous recovery from the legendary golfer. For bettors who wanted to cash in on the long odds and be a part of history, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
Cameron Young shoots 8-under, still not favored
Cameron Young was a 100-to-1 long shot to win the Open Championship, but he started off strong going 8-under in his first round. He's currently just 10-to-1 to win it, but he's still not the betting favorite.
Rory McIlroy was the betting favorite before the tournament started, and he had a solid first round, shooting 6-under. As a result, McIlroy is currently still the favorite and his odds have moved all the way down to +350.
What about baseball?
Maybe golf isn't for you. Well, there's always baseball.
There's a 13-game slate on deck for MLB on Thursday, including two afternoon games. The Marlins are -160 favorites against the Pirates in the noon game, while the Padres are -135 road favorites against the Rockies in a game that gets going at 3:10 ET.
It's a slate that has some massive favorites, including the Toronto Blue Jays as -350 favorites against the Kansas City Royals. In case you missed it, almost half of the Royals' players are ineligible for this series due to Canada's vaccine rules. That includes Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, both catchers and their two top starting pitchers.
The Braves are -225 favorites in Washington D.C. against the Nationals, the Guardians are -250 favorites at home against the Tigers and the Yankees are -190 favorites at home against Cincinnati.
The most intriguing matchup from a standings perspective might be the White Sox-Twins affair. They kick off a four-game series that could either tighten up or widen the AL Central Race. The White Sox entered the season as massive favorites to win the AL Central, but they are two games under .500 and five games behind the first place Twins. The Twins are -160 home favorites in the series opener.
There are eight NBA summer league games on the schedule if you're trying to satisfy a basketball betting itch.
NHL free agency got under way on Wednesday. The Columbus Blue Jackets added the NHL's second-leading scorer from last season in Johnny Gaudreau. Did the futures market react? Nope. Columbus is still 100-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup.