Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Sportsbooks Stand to Lose Millions if Tiger Woods Wins the Masters

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 06: Tiger Woods of the United States walks on the 16th hole during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

When Tiger Woods tees off Thursday at the Masters, millions will be watching, though perhaps none more closely than sportsbooks that stand to lose millions of dollars if he wins.

The 46-year-old Woods is a fan favorite, drawing massive crowds and big TV ratings whenever he plays. Without playing in an official event last year, the 15-time major champion won the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program, which tracks the athletes who generate the most interest, landing him $8 million.

Add the intrigue of Woods making his return to competitive golf, at the Masters no less, a little over the year after his right leg had to be surgically reconstructed following a car crash, and his round Thursday becomes a must-watch event. ESPN will broadcast the early rounds, with CBS airing the final two.

Tiger Woods Odds From DraftKings
To finish in the top 20: +150
To finish in the top five: +800
To make a hole-in-one: +6500

The excitement has spilled over to the betting world. DraftKings Inc., MGM Resorts International’s BetMGM and Flutter Entertainment Plc’s FanDuel have all seen more money bet on Woods to win than any other player in the field. DraftKings has also taken more action than anyone else for wagers that Woods finishes in the top five and top 10.

Woods is currently +4000 to win the tournament, which means risking $100 would net $4,000. DraftKings took a $10,000 bet on Woods to win at Augusta National, which would pay $400,000. The company stands to lose “millions and millions of dollars” if Woods wins, according to a company spokesperson. Jon Rahm is the favorite, at +1000.

On the whole, sportsbooks, colloquially called “the house,” tend to come out on top versus their customers. The house is set up such that if the same amount of money is bet on either side of a 50/50 wager it is guaranteed to make money no matter the result.

But when the betting goes heavily toward one side, the house can lose. Over time, such events tend to balance out, but a massive public darling like Woods exposes sportsbooks to more risk.

In its third-quarter earnings call, DraftKings said NFL games at the start of the season had tipped the public’s way. But the company bounced back thereafter, generating a positive variance of more than $25 million in revenue compared to what it anticipated in the final week of October, due to favorable outcomes.

If the five-time Masters winner struggles, the house stands to do well.

There’s many ways to wager on Woods — or against him. You can bet on whether he makes the cut, which is about even odds, or if he will shoot better or worse than 73.5 in his first round on Thursday.

After a half-hour delay for thunderstorms this morning, Woods is scheduled to tee off just after 11:00 a.m. New York time and is paired with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann — two players with even longer odds of a victory.

When asked on April 5 if he thought he could win the tournament, Woods responded “I do.”

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