US Open betting odds preview: Reasons to bet on Tiger Woods

Stephen Dunn

Tiger Woods is almost always favored to win a Major and this year's US Open odds are no different. But there are reasons to believe he's a better bet at Merion than in past tournaments.

Tiger Woods hasn't won a Major golf tournament in five years.

But as the golf world, and golf bettors, turn their attention this weekend to a hallowed 125 acres just west of Philadelphia for the 113th playing of the US Open at Merion, Tiger tops the betting.

Why is Tiger such a likely candidate to hoist the hardware Sunday afternoon? Let us count the ways.

Well, for one thing, he's due. Yeah, we know that theory didn't work for Krusty the Clown when he foolishly backed the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters, but the fact is Woods is still the No. 1 player in the world.

It seems just a matter of when and where he'll win another Major and his quality of play lately indicates that time is sooner than later.

That being said, Tiger might also be a good bet to win this weekend, because his odds to win the 2013 US Open, relatively speaking, are pretty good. Just a few years ago, you'd be lucky to get as much as 2/1 on Woods to win a Major tournament.

As of early this week, Bovada was offering 9/2 on Tiger winning this US Open. Rory McIlroy was the second betting choice, according US Open odds posted at OddsShark.com.

Tiger is also off to an excellent start to this season. He's already won four times this year and, even though he's only played eight events, he still tops both the PGA money list and the FedEx points list.

Woods might also go out Thursday thinking he's got something to prove, after his embarrassing performance at Jack's tournament in Muirfield a couple weeks ago. And a Tiger with a chip on his shoulder is dangerous.

As for this weekend's venue, Merion isn't long, but the rough off the fairways is. Consequently, strategy and placement will be important. And Tiger has had good luck in the past using clubs other than his driver off the tees, such as in winning the British Open at Royal Liverpool back in 2006.

After some soaking rains in recent days in Eastern Pennsylvania, Merion is expected to be a bit on the soggy side this weekend, and more rain could come during the tournament. That could play to Tiger's advantage, considering he can hit the ball further in the air than most players.

It's almost hard to believe but Merion hasn't hosted a PGA tournament, not to mention a Major, since 1981, when David Graham won the US Open there. The only player in the field this weekend with any competitive experience at Merion is Ricky Fowler, who went 4-0 in his matches in a US Walker Cup victory four years ago.

Among other Tiger-centric betting options, Bovada is offering Woods at 8/1 to be the first-round leader, -110 to finish in the Top 5, 100/1 to make a hole-in-one and 11/4 to finish as the top American.

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