Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington faced off at the WGC Bridgestone on Sunday, Las Vegas odds makers must have been watching because Tiger and Paddy are almost the only guys who’ve seen their odds of winning the PGA Championship drop in the last week.Woods opened as an 8 to 5 bet to win the PGA and now a wager on Woods will pay just even money (that means you have to bet $1 to win $1, which for a golf tournament are ridiculously short odds). His Bridgestone co-star Harrington opened at 35 to 1 after his middling British Open and he’s now dropped to 20 to 1 odds, according to Las Vegas sportsbook insider Chuck Esposito. The only other player to drop: white-hot Hunter Mahan, who’s gone from 40 to 1 to 30 to 1.“Everyone knows Woods is hot right now and the odds drop has been dramatic,” Esposito said. “The next closest player is Phil Mickelson at 12 to 1. Woods is such a favorite that you’re seeing the odds on other guys going up.”For example, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Kenny Perry and Vijay Singh opened at 20 to 1. They are all 25 to 1 now. Yearly golf wagering in Las Vegas totals in the low seven figures, according to Esposito, but when Woods is in contention it electrifies the casino crowd.“Tiger changes the entire complexion of the event,” Esposito said. “If he’s not there, the handle is off 50 percent.”Odds to win PGA Championship:Tiger Woods: evenPhil Mickelson: 12 to 1Padraig Harrington: 20 to 1Jim Furyk: 25 to 1Lee Westwood: 25 to 1Kenny Perry: 25 to 1Vijay Singh: 25 to 1Paul Casey: 30 to 1Hunter Mahan: 30 to 1Steve Stricker: 30 to 1Rory McIlroy: 35 to 1Henrik Stenson: 35 to 1Ernie Els: 35 to 1Stewart Cink: 40 to 1The Field: 5 to 2

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