Tiger Woods is a 5-to-1 favorite to win the U.S. Open, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which sets the odds for major Las Vegas and international sports books.
Phil Mickelson is second at 7-to-1.
Overseas, Ladbrokes makes Woods and Mickelson co-favorites at 7-to-1.
Mike Seba, a senior oddsmaker at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, said Woods has been listed as the favorite by his company at every major since after Woods won the Masters by 12 shots in 1997. Seba, however, said the odds haven't been this high on Woods since back when Vijay Singh made his run at No. 1 over portions of the 2004 and ’05 seasons. Typically, Las Vegas Sports Consultants makes Woods somewhere around a 2-to-1 favorite in majors.
Notable, however, is what Seba says about Woods being favored over Mickelson.
“In reality, the odds should probably be the other way around, with Mickelson favored,” Seba said.
So why didn’t he make Mickelson the favorite?
“If we made Mickelson the favorite, the public would bet the heck out of Tiger,” Seba said. “The perception, if Tiger wasn’t favored, would be that he’s a great value.”
Seba points out that oddsmakers aren’t making predictions when they set odds. Instead, they’re gauging public perception, with the aim to set odds that will entice bettors to spread money evenly across the board.