Bookmakers Risk Management When it Comes to Tiger Woods

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

Bloomberg News featured a piece related to the impact of Tiger Woods on bookmakers worldwide, including those online.

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They noted that 1 in 5 bets were placed on Woods to win the MastersRisk management, specifically on Tiger, will be key with this week's PGA Championship.

FanDuel said 10% of the early wagers were on Woods to win the 2019 Masters, and that number shot up to around a quarter as the tournament progressed.

The majority of sportsbooks reported the biggest futures losses with Tiger Woods Masters win in their respective company history.

Bloomberg noted that the sports books were unsure how to price Masters champ at Bethpage while pointing out that money will pile on Woods despite rising cost of wagers.

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From Bloomberg News:

Wood’s resurgence means he’ll attract even more money this time, but if a sports book tries to redirect the flow to other golfers by tweaking the odds -- say, moving Tiger from an 8-1 shot to the 6-1 favorite -- the casino risks the money walking out the door for a higher payout across the street, or to a phone app.

Pricing Tiger fairly can be make or break for a sports book’s success on any tournament, let alone on one of golf’s four majors. Woods is a self-contained gambling ecosystem and his magnetism attracts more than just the money on the man himself.

“People are willing to overpay to bet on Tiger Woods,” said Adi Wyner, a professor of statistics at the University of Pennsylvania. “Casinos see this as a huge opportunity, but it’s very risky. They can attract a lot of action if they give odds that are closer to the truth, but it can lead to an unbalance.”

Most books had Woods set at 9-1 odds (for a payout potential of $90 on every $10 bet) to win the 2019 PGA Championship.

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It is not a stretch to suggest Woods alone is taking golf and betting on the sport to a whole new level.

This week's PGA Championship is expected to set wagering records, all because of Woods.

And the wait for the next major is shorter than ever.

“We were very excited about the May change before Tiger made his fireworks in Georgia,” said Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America. “We think we made a great decision, but we’d rather be lucky than good, in terms of what he did in the Masters. We thought it was smart. It looks brilliant now.”

In addition to the volume of futures coming in, most in the $10 to $50 range, bookmakers will need to worry about significant single wagers.

In February, the SuperBook took a $10,000 bet on Woods at 12-1, which paid $120,000.

One bettor at William Hill in Nevada placed an $85,000 bet on Woods to win at 14-1 odds, winning $1.19 million on the largest single golf ticket in the company’s history in the States.

“The Tiger effect is real,” said Mike Raffesnperger, CMO for FanDuel Group. “Tiger’s historic win today has cemented him as one of the most iconic figures in sports and we congratulate him on his tremendous achievement. We’re even happier for our customers who today have over three million reasons to believe there are more ways to win on FanDuel!”

- Don Shapiro,

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