Mickelson favored at Masters, but Vegas still fears Tiger

For the first time in a long time, Tiger Woods is not the favorite at the Masters this year, according to Chuck Esposito, sportsbook director at the Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas.
After an impressive win at the Shell Houston Open on Sunday, Phil Mickelson is the favorite to win the Masters at 8 to 1. However, Woods has the second shortest odds in the field at 10 to 1, despite going winless on the PGA Tour since the 2009 Bridgestone. Esposito said Woods remains a favorite in the event due to a still-bullish betting public and also leery bookmakers who worry about getting burned if Woods won the event at the longer odds he probably deserves.
“There has been some reluctance on our part [to give longer odds on Woods],” Esposito said. “I’d hate to have him up there at 25 to 1, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t ever happen. It takes a while for things to sink in.”
Still, Woods at double-digit odds is a dramatic change from years past, where he’d routinely be close to an even-money bet at the Masters, Esposito said.
“He’s still a very popular golfer so the odds aren’t indicative of where he probably should be,” Esposito said.
If Woods goes another year without a win, Esposito said that the betting public would probably cool to Woods and bookmakers would become more comfortable treating Woods as they would any other golfer.
“This year is a big test because he has proclaimed that he feels good,” Esposito said. “If he doesn’t have a good year, then you’ll start to see those odds go up.” Here are the Tropicana’s Masters odds for the top favorites: Phil Mickelson: 8 to 1
Tiger Woods: 10 to 1
Dustin Johnson: 12 to 1
Nick Watney: 15 to 1
Lee Westwood: 15 to 1
Martin Kaymer: 18 to 1
Matt Kuchar: 18 to 1
Rory McIlroy: 20 to 1
Graeme McDowell: 25 to 1
Luke Donald: 25 to 1 Esposito said Las Vegas casinos have been seeing enough action to drop the odds on these players: Bubba Watson: 25 to 1
Ricky Barnes: 35 to 1
Rickie Fowler: 35 to 1 Outside of Woods (2006 champion) and Mickelson (2010 champion), recent Masters winners aren’t considered strong contenders: 2009 champion Angel Cabrera: 100 to 1
2008 champion Trevor Immelman: 100 to 1
2007 champion Zach Johnson: 80 to 1 The field (all the players not given individual odds) is 10 to 1.  

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by Kevin Cunningham