Life comes at you pretty fast. Gamblers know that all too well. And this week at the Masters, second betting favorite Jordan Spieth is a reminder of just how quickly everything can change.
Spieth currently is 10-1 at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill to capture a second green jacket. Those odds are a far cry from 60-1 offered as recently as early February. In the seven tournaments he’s entered over the past two months, Spieth has five top-10 finishes, including a win Sunday at the Valero Texas Open. His other two finishes in that span were a tie for 15th and a tie for 48th.
“No question he’s by far the leader with most tickets and most dollars bet,” William Hill U.S. director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN. “They walked it down pretty good — 60, 50, 40, 20. Every number there’s tickets and dollars, so I mean they’re loaded up on Spieth. People saw this coming from a long way away, and then he started playing well again, so hats off to the guys who got in early.”
Most sportsbooks report a solid liability on the 27-year-old Spieth. Public and respected bettors backed him, once he started to show signs of his peak game. In fact, Circa Sportsbook offered 86-1 odds in early December and took action then.
It’s a remarkable resurgence for a guy who, at age 21, won two majors in 2015 and finished runner-up in another as oddsmakers were routinely pricing him in the neighborhood of 10-1. But the wins stopped in 2017 and the struggles snowballed, but bettors and oddsmakers already had sensed that an end to the drought was looming.
“I went from 60-1 to 30-1 when he went out and shot a 61 at the Phoenix Open [in February] and really got people’s attention,” Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook head golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told ESPN. “But we’ve got a few tickets on him because he sat at 60-1 for a bit, and he’s a small liability for us now.”
Unlike other tournaments, the Masters appears on the betting boards throughout the entire calendar, so oddsmakers must constantly adjust before getting picked off.
Joining Spieth are the usual names atop the betting board. Defending Masters champ and world’s top-ranked golfer Dustin Johnson (9-1) is the consensus favorite at all sportsbooks. In November, Johnson shot a Masters record 20-under in a wire-to-wire dominant victory.
“There was a time in the market where D.J. was like 7-1 when he was fully in form, and now he hasn’t played great the last couple times out,” Circa Sportsbook assistant sportsbook manager Jeff Davis told ESPN. “To me, that doesn’t mean all that much. … These guys are still the best of the best.”
While Spieth is the main storyline this week, Bryson DeChambeau was in November after he labeled Augusta National as “a par 67.” The reigning U.S. Open champion entered the tourney as the 9-1 betting favorite, before finishing 2-under actual par and tied for 34th.
“The public doesn’t want him. The sharp guys don’t want him. He’s far and away our best result,” Davis said of DeChambeau, who is listed at 11-1 at William Hill. “Given how popular he usually is at the window in weekly events, it’s a bit surprising to me that nobody at all wants him.”
Circa’s biggest liability is 47-year-old Lee Westwood, whose odds have come crashing down from 145-1 to 47-1, before settling at its current price of 61-1.
“We were taking money at 70-1, we took money at 60-1, and it just keeps coming,” Davis said. “He’s largely been out of form for a while, and now he shows up and plays great two weeks in a row and he’s 47-1 to win at Augusta with every great player in the field. The number seems ridiculous to me.”
The SuperBook’s biggest liability is Jose Maria Olazabal. Sherman reported taking a $100 wager at 10,000-1 odds, which would pay a million dollars. The 55-year-old won two green jackets in 1994 and 1999. However, Olazabal has shot above par at Augusta in 12 straight appearances since 2006, which is when he carded a 4-under and finished tied for third.
In addition to odds to win the tournament, all sportsbooks will also offer a wide variety of proposition bets. They include fun outcomes, such as whether we will see a hole-in-one or playoff. Bettors can also wager on the winning score, the cut score or the lowest completed round. Most books will also offer yes/no propositions for several popular players and whether they make the cut.
Head-to-head matchups are a golf betting staple and the true measure of a player’s power rating. For example, Rahm is a -140 favorite to finish with a better score than Spieth. These offerings are two-way markets, which means a patron can bet either golfer. In the one-way market of odds to win the tournament, Spieth has shorter odds than Rahm because Spieth currently is a bigger liability to the house, and oddsmakers are trying to prevent any more bets. But given the head-to-head pricing, the market clearly thinks Rahm will perform better than Spieth at Augusta.
“This is the type of event that you love to book,” Bogdanovich said, citing a hold percentage for most sportsbooks between 15% and 25%, while the daily calendar of NBA and MLB games only offers around a 4.5% hold. The public also gets the opportunity to cash a ticket with sizeable odds.