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    Categories Sports & BettingThe Masters

Can Tiger Woods Really Win the 2019 Masters?

If you were to suggest that this week is the best sports week on the calendar, I would not argue. This week alone brings us the national championship games in men’s and women’s college hoops, the start of the playoffs in the NHL and NBA, and Major League Baseball is officially in full swing.

We also happen to have the most prestigious golf tournament on the planet getting underway on Thursday. Yes, it’s time for the Masters once again. As is the case seemingly every year he’s healthy, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods.

Tiger has still yet to win a major since taking home the PGA Championship way back in 2008. Most still consider Woods to be the greatest or second-greatest golfer of all-time, but now that he’s gone over a decade without winning a major, his fans may be getting a bit restless.

The drought is what it is, but it has not done much to quell the betting interest in Woods. Tiger is still among the odds-on favorites to win the 2019 Masters. While he is no longer the player he was during his peak years, Woods is still considered to be one of the best golfers on the planet. Some believe it’s only a matter of time until he tastes glory again.

Is Tiger a viable betting option to win the Masters? Or should you put your money elsewhere?

Woods’ Familiarity with Augusta

As mentioned, Woods is among the betting favorites. MyBookie has Tiger listed at +1400 to win this weekend, which is tied for the fourth-best odds. The favorites are as follows:

  • Rory McIlroy +600
  • Dustin Johnson +1000
  • Justin Rose +1200
  • Tiger Woods +1400
  • Jon Rahm +1400
  • Justin Thomas +1800
  • Rickie Fowler +1800
  • Jordan Spieth +1800

There are plenty of big names here, but Tiger is the one that will generate the most interest from the general betting public. Woods said earlier this week that he feels as though he’s still capable of winning the tournament. While that may have sounded a bit ridiculous as recently as a year ago, I don’t think it’s a ridiculous notion now.

Woods has missed 3 of the last 5 Masters due to injury, but he is reportedly back to full strength these days. Tiger said, “I’ve proven that I can do it and I put myself there with a chance to win the last two major championships of the year last year. I was right there and just needed to have a couple more things go my way and not throw away a couple shots here and there, which I was able to do at East Lake (the Tour Championship). I just feel like I’ve improved a lot over the past 12-14 months, but I’ve more than anything just proven to myself that I can play at this level again. I’ve worked my way back into one of the players that can win events.”

Golf is as important mentally as physically, so Woods having newfound confidence in his abilities is no small thing. That’s the kind of thing that, in turn, gives me more confidence in taking a chance on Woods as a bettor.

Woods’ familiarity with the course will obviously enhance his chances of finishing atop the leaderboard. Woods has won this tournament 4 times in the past, though his most recent green jacket came back in 2005. Tiger did take home the Tour Championship last season, but he has finished in the top-10 just twice thus far.

One bettor is particularly optimistic about Woods’ chances. William Hill, a sportsbook in Nevada, reportedly took an $85,000 bet on Woods to win the Masters at +1400. If it wins, the bet would pay out a whopping $1,190,000. William Hill says the bet is the largest liability on a bet the sportsbook has taken since it began operating in the United States.

Woods’ 32nd-place finish last year doesn’t instill me with a ton of confidence, but he’s a hard betting option to ignore considering he’s still Tiger Woods. I have a feeling this is the year he really gives it a serious run. But will he actually win?

Rory’s Tournament to Lose

Rory McIlroy has had an up-and-down few years, but the Northern Ireland native has been installed as a pretty heavy pre-tournament favorite. He is the only golfer with odds better than +1000, and it’s fairly rare to see a golfer with odds as favorable as +600 before a tournament even begins.

McIlroy is the favorite because he has looked downright dominant this season. He held on to win the Players Championship, and being able to hang on to his lead entering the final round should make him feel a little better heading into Augusta. He has finished in the top-10 in 7 of 8 events so far this season.

Of course, Rory’s track record at this course will give me some pause. The Masters is the only major McIlroy has yet to win. He has come close, though. Rory has finished eighth, fourth, 10th, seventh and fifth in each of his last 5 tries. He was in the final pairing last year, but a final round score of 74 wound up being the nail in his coffin.

I’d like the odds to be a little more favorable, but given his recent form I have a hard time imagining McIlroy isn’t in contention come Sunday. That alone means anything can happen, so making a bet on McIlroy at +600 is an outstanding play. If his showing at the Players was any indication, Rory should be able to avoid a final round meltdown this time around.

What About the Defending Champion?

It’s easy to forget that last year’s Masters wasn’t won by one of the household names. Patrick Reed took home the green jacket in 2018. Reed essentially came out of nowhere to win the tournament last year, and oddsmakers aren’t particularly optimistic about his chances of going back-to-back.

Reed is listed at +5000 to win the 2019 Masters at MyBookie. He makes for an alluring betting option simply because we know what he’s capable of doing, but his recent form leaves plenty to be desired. Reed missed the cut at the Valspar Championship in his most recent start, and he finished 47th, 50th, 14th and 22nd in each of his previous events.

+5000 makes him fairly appealing, but based on his actual talent level and lack of positive results over the last few months, it’s not a bet I’d be particularly inclined to place.

Golfers in the Hunt

A number of the world’s best players have yet to taste glory at Augusta. Of those at or near the top of the list of betting favorites, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and McIlroy are still searching for their first green jackets.

Woods and Spieth are the only golfers among the odds-on favorites to have won here in the past. Spieth has been in ragged form for months, though, and his victory at Augusta came back in 2015. There is plenty of reason to buy into Spieth as a potentially sneaky option here at +1800, though.

Spieth believes his status as something of an underdog can be helpful. He said, “I don’t feel like there’s any added pressure this week. I feel kind of under the radar, which is really nice.” Spieth has previously said that the Masters is his favorite event, and it’s easy to see why. Spieth has never finished worse than 11th in any of his 5 previous starts at Augusta.

I will happily bet on Spieth at +1800 given his stellar track record at the course, and the fact that he hasn’t garnered a ton of attention from the betting public could prove beneficial.

Johnson, Fowler and Rahm are each very interesting, but they’re behind the likes of McIlroy and Spieth when it comes to my own preferences. Johnson has the profile to fare very well at this course, but the results haven’t been there. Johnson hasn’t finished better than fourth at the Masters in his career, and his general performance in recent majors is pretty underwhelming. He has just 2 top-10 finishes in his last 7 major appearances.

Johnson will always be among the heavy favorites because he looks completely dominant at times, but until he starts to show some real form I will continue to pass on betting on him to win the Masters.

Who Will Win the 2019 Masters?

The main narratives heading into the 2019 Masters will surround McIlroy’s chances at completing the career grand slam and Woods’ latest attempt to win another major. These are probably the 2 most well-known golfers on the planet right now, so television executives have to be pleased that there is so much interest being generated by the 2 headliners heading into the weekend.

As much as I would like to see Woods donning a fifth green jacket, it just feels like his odds should be a little more favorable from a profit perspective. This isn’t necessarily to say that +1400 is a bad price, but considering it’s been 14 years since Woods won this event, it does feel like he should be closer to +2000, at best.

Still, I wouldn’t talk you out of wagering on Tiger if you wanted to. He has looked pretty respectable over the last year or so, and he’s come close to getting back over that hump in that span.

Even so, I feel like Spieth, who has come far closer to Woods at Augusta in recent years, is just the smarter bet at +1800 to win the Masters this year. Spieth will surely go overlooked with all eyes on Rory and Tiger, so I’d be jumping all over that bet here.

If forced to choose, I would take McIlroy. The stars seem to be aligning perfectly for him given his awesome form this season and the career slam narrative. Betting on the Masters is tough considering we have no clue what will actually happen over the course of the 4-day tournament, but Rory looks like the best bet on the board here.

My favorite 2019 Masters bets are as follows:

  1. Rory McIlroy +600
  2. Jordan Spieth +1800
  3. Jon Rahm +1400
  4. Justin Thomas +1800
  5. Tiger Woods +1400

Taylor Smith :