The Masters Is A Major Play In Sports Betting 💲

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Mar 6, 2018
The Masters Is A Major Play In Sports Betting

By: Dan Kilbridge | April 9, 2019 7:00 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Sunday night traditions following the conclusion of the Masters are well ingrained in the golf world by now.

The previous year’s champion slipping the green jacket on the latest. The continuing pageantry at Butler Cabin centered around the winner and his eventual dinner with Augusta National Golf Club members.

By the time all the plates have been cleared from the dining room this Sunday, another tradition of sorts will have already taken place in Las Vegas – betting odds to win the 2020 Masters will be posted and open for action a full year ahead of the tournament.

“There is no comparison. It’s easily the most heavily bet-on golf tournament of the year,” said Jay Rood, VP of Race and Sports for MGM Resorts International.

With betting open year-round, the total amount of money wagered on the Masters in Las Vegas will be about twice as much as the British Open. It will also do about 20 times more than an average non-major, like last week’s Valero Texas Open.

The overwhelming majority of Masters bets are placed on an individual player to win the whole thing. Prop bets and matchups only represent about five percent of the total handle.

“We do a ton of amount of tickets on a lot of futures, and I would say the Masters is probably a little bit higher than most of the other sports like college basketball,” Rood said. “We’re not gonna have someone come and bet $60,000 on a golfer, but it’s not all $5 tickets. The average ticket is more like $50 on the Masters. They’ll take a shot on a guy that’s 200-1 or 300-1 for $5 or $10. But if you’re betting Jason Day at 30-1, most people are gonna put around $50.”

For the gambling novices and/or the mathematically challenged, a $50 wager on Day at 30-1 odds would yield a $1,500 profit should he win the Masters. It’s the type of bet friends place for friends back home. Putting coin on Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson to win the Masters is just one of those “things you do” in Las Vegas throughout the year, akin to betting your favorite baseball team to win the World Series.

Those tickets come in throughout the year, but the serious action is just starting to pick up. Gamblers generally don’t place the really big bets on a player to win until closer to tournament time, waiting to make sure he’s healthy and all systems are go before the opening round.

About 30 percent of total money wagered on the 2019 Masters will come in this week, and when it’s all said and done, the total handle is expected to be about half of that wagered on college basketball’s national championship game. [h=2]Impact of Tiger Woods[/h]
Having Woods back in contention the past two years has obviously led to an increase in total amount wagered. But, according to Rood, Woods’ impact on Masters wagering isn’t as significant as some might think.

“Golf right now is the strongest it’s ever been from a wagering standpoint, and I believe that would be with or without Tiger,” Rood said. “Not a lot of the chatter is necessarily about Tiger coming into the Masters from a wagering perspective. Golf provides such an opportunity to speculate on some really talented individuals and get some really good prices.”

That’s proven true the past several years at Augusta National. Patrick Reed’s odds were listed around 40-1 before his victory in 2018. Sergio Garcia was about 30-1 in 2017 and Danny Willett 50-1 in 2016.

Rory McIlroy is the favorite this year at 7-1 odds on Points Bet, with Dustin Johnson next at 10-1 and Tiger Woods and Justin Rose at 12-1. Players with odds more in-line with recent winners include the likes of Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar and Xander Schauffele at 40-1. [h=2]Is live betting next?[/h]
MGM also offers new betting lines to win at the conclusion of each round, as well as dozens of prop bets. This year, Rood says they may keep wagering open for a few holes Sunday to allow live in-round betting. Live betting has been prominent in other sports for years, and golf is certainly soon to follow once technology allows for it.

“I think golf has the most area to grow of all the major sports from where they are currently,” Rood said of the wagering interest. “A couple things that have to happen with the data from the PGA Tour coming into our wagering system. We need to get something that’s a little bit more real time and develops some models around it that can spit out some basic pricing on that.”

The PGA Tour seems open to this initiative, and we could soon see live wagering offered on things as specific as how far a player will hit their drive on certain tee shots.

That’s still a few years off. For now, based on interest compared to other tournaments, plunking a few bucks down on your favorite player to win the green jacket is still a tradition unlike any other.