Golf — and betting on golf — is back, thanks to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Golf and gambling have gone together like golf and the nineteenth hole since duffers first pulled wood clubs from “bags” made of twine.
The pace and segmentation of play, granular to the shot and the hole allows for the concoction of friendly little wagers between participants, and in a modern, broadcast-in-high-definition sports entertainment world, for sports bettors in real-time.
The first time Woods and Mickelson tangled, there was criticism of the much-publicized match play event last November between Woods and Mickelson was there wasn’t enough of that making-it-interesting chat, especially considering Mickelson’s proclivity for a flutter.
They get their chance again on Sunday, in a staged-for-television event that will generate a $10 million donation to COVID-19 relief efforts: The Match: Champions for Charity. Oh, and their teammates will be NFL greats Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Betting on Tiger vs. Phil
Sportsbooks, groping for familiar content as most sports remain dormant because of the pandemic, eagerly await the proceedings.
“The last time they faced off in The Match you heard sort of the gaming banter that you often hear when you’re out on the course with your buddies,” PointsBet sports content manager Andrew Mannino told PlayUSA. “I think that as legalized gambling expands to more states, as more people get used to it and get involved, I think there’s a really a great opportunity to continue to expand on that kind of event and it’s going to let people infuse their sports experience with their sports betting experience.”
With the “big four” professional sports leagues in the United States continuing to formulate a return, golf takes its return at the fore, even with the PGA Tour not scheduled to return until June 11.
“Golf’s popularity in the US is undeniable; both in terms of playing and watching,” Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers Sportsbook and PlaySugarHouse.com told PlayUSA. “There is no reason why the betting product cannot thrive.
“The sport very much lends itself to betting with a wide variety of markets both pre-match and live. Enthusiasts have ample opportunity to wager pre-event with PGA Tour events priced up on Mondays, while the live product being more popular for those who want to see a quick turnaround in their wager.”
Where, When and how of ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’
- When: 2 p.m. EST, May 24
- Where: Medalist Golf Club, Hobe Sound, Fla.
- On TV: TBS, TNT, truTV, HLN.
- Format: Team of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
Each team member plays 18 holes. Fourball play with the best individual score for each team used on the front nine.
Teams will use the best drive on the back nine and alternate shots, keeping one scorecard, known as a modified alternate shot format.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 23, 2020
Mannino said betting volume on the match will be greater than the TaylorMade Relief charity event from last weekend and roughly equal “to a busy NHL game.”
Stetz said that over the last five days, handle has increased five-fold, with 60 percent of tickets written for Mickelson/Brady even though they are +180 underdogs.
Interesting prop bet for Woods-Mickelson
Longest Tee Shot, Third Hole: Brady -134, Manning +100 at PointsBet
Though Manning and Woods are favored to win, the odds are slanted toward the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback on the 540-yard par-5. Interestingly, the odds were diametrically opposite and DraftKings, which had Manning (-134) as the favorite over Brady (+100) on Tuesday.
“Some of the ones I really like are nearest to the whole after tee shot,” Mannino said. “We have them separated into Woods versus Mickelson and Manning versus Brady. So you can bet on those individual guys if you have a lean on Peyton Manning’s tee shot, then that really gives you an opportunity to put that to the test.”
At BetRivers and PlaySugarhouse, Stetz said, there will be specific holes where for Manning and Brady closest-to-the-pin or longest-tee bets. On the 12th hole, the company will offer whether Brady will hit the green in regulation on the par 3, and if Manning can find the fairway in regulation on 18.
Are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady good golfers?
Mickelson on teammate Brady: “I have confidence in Tom. I’ve seen him play some of his best golf when he wasn’t expecting to play well. Sometimes expectations get in the way of performing well and so going in here to a foreign site on their home course without his A-game, would lead anyone to think that we wouldn’t have much of a chance and I think we might even lull these two to sleep a little bit. We might even let them win a hole or two and get up early, try to lull them to sleep and then finish strong.”
Manning playing with Brady (they have partnered numerous times in tournaments): “The last time we played, we got beat by an 84-year-old and a 77-year old. Like, closed out on 15.”
Tiger and Co. will play the entire fifth hole with only one club 😤
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 19, 2020
Stetz said lines are made mostly on Woods vs. Mickelson, but noted some intel on the quarterbacks which has solidified the Manning tandem as favorites.
“The bulk of the price comes down to how you would price Tiger versus Phil, however, given the back nine will be based on an alternate shot format, Brady and Manning will clearly have a large bearing on the outcome,” Stetz said.
“It is well-publicized that both players are a good standard with Peyton Manning having a 6 handicap and Tom Brady an 8 handicap. It is currently unclear if Brady will have a shot on Manning, however the impact on price would be minimal.
“The front 9 will likely be dominated by the performance of the pros, however our golf experts will be keeping a close eye on how Manning and Brady are playing for pricing on the back 9. As you’d expect, everyone is in the dark to some extent, which certainly adds to the spectacle.”