Home Sports Bettor wins $1.19M on Tiger as books take bath

Bettor wins $1.19M on Tiger as books take bath

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Bettor wins $1.19M on Tiger as books take bath
5:42 PM ET

  • David PurdumESPN Staff Writer

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    • Joined ESPN in 2014
    • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

Some bookmakers, from Nevada to New Jersey, didn’t believe Tiger Woods would win the Masters.

It was an expensive miscalculation.

Woods captured the Masters on Sunday, his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open and first win at Augusta National since 2005. Woods was listed among the top tier of contenders, closing at around 12-1.

On Tuesday, a bettor at a William Hill U.S. sportsbook at SLS Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada placed an $85,000 bet on Woods to win at 14-1 odds. It was the first bet ever placed by the customer at William Hill and will pay out $1.19 million, the largest single golf ticket in the company’s history in the U.S.

“Pretty good first bet,” William Hill U.S. director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN.

It’s believed to be the fourth seven-figure payout on a bet at a William Hill U.S. sportsbook. The previous three were on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots.

“It’s great to see Tiger back,” Bogdanovich added in a release. “It’s a painful day for William Hill — our biggest loss ever — but a great day for golf.”

The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas reported a high-five-figure net loss on its Masters futures. Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk for the SuperBook and a golf odds specialist, said he couldn’t recall the last time the book had suffered a net loss on the Masters winner and that Woods’ win likely produced the book’s largest loss on a golf event.

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

“I thought he had a chance to be competitive,” Sherman told ESPN, “but I’m a little surprised by him winning, especially with the competition he faced. I said before the tournament that if you took the ‘Tiger Woods’ off, you’d have a golfer with the statistics of someone at 25-1 odds.”

Offshore sportsbook BetOnline.ag told ESPN that Woods’ victory produced the company’s biggest loss on a futures market, greater than any loss it had suffered on even the Super Bowl.

It wasn’t all bad for the bookmakers. Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks, which reported salvaging a small win on the Masters, took a big bet on a yes/no proposition wager, “Will Tiger Woods win all four majors?” The bettor put up $20,000 on the “no” at -100,000 odds. If Woods does not win the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship, the bettor will collect a net $20. Woods opened as the +850 favorite to win the PGA Championship at FanDuel, with Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson behind him at +950.

Woods finished off the win with a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday. He entered the final round 2 shots back of Francesco Molinari.

Several sportsbooks weren’t convinced Woods had it in him and were willing to offer extended odds and promotional refunds.

On Saturday with Woods very much in contention, DraftKings bumped his odds from 3-1 to 10-1 and to as high as 15-1 during Sunday’s final round. Nearly 60 percent of bets since the third round were on Woods at DraftKings, and approximately 30 percent of all live wagers placed during the tournament were on Woods.

FanDuel told ESPN that its daily fantasy contest offerings on the Masters would be more costly than its results at the sportsbook. FanDuel ran a promotion for its $1 million Mega Eagle Daily Fantasy contest for the Masters that refunded entry fees for every contestant, even if Woods wasn’t in their lineup.

FanDuel said it will pay out more than $2 million in winnings and promotional refunds from its $1 million Mega Eagle contest on the Masters, the largest fantasy golf contest ever for the company.

BetStars’ sportsbook in New Jersey reported taking an approximately $360,000 net loss on its Masters futures market, the largest in the company’s brief history offering sports betting in the U.S. BetStars also boosted Woods’ odds, at one point offering the five-time Masters champion at 100-1 with a $10 limit as a promotion.

Matthew Primeaux, senior vice president of strategy and operations for BetStars, said the book had discussed allowing players to bet $100 on Woods at 100-1, but later settled on $10.

“I believe my direct quote was, ‘Guys, there’s no way Tiger is winning this tournament,'” Primeaux told ESPN. “Whoops.”

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