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Betting on the return: How will Tiger fare in 1st start since the Masters?

Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR / Getty

Tiger Woods returns to professional golf this week for his first PGA TOUR event since the Masters.

The 47-year-old, who is the tournament host for this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, was out nearly eight months after undergoing ankle surgery in April.

For the first time in a while, bettors will have the opportunity to bet on - or against - the 15-time major champion.

Let's take a look at how oddsmakers at theScore Bet like Tiger's chances this week.

Tiger's odds

Market Odds Implied Prob.
Winner +5000 2%
Top 5 +500 16.7%
Top 10 +100 50%
1st Round Leader +2200 4.3%
Top American +2800 3.4%

Expectations are low.

Woods was given a 2% chance to beat the 20-man field, with only Lucas Glover receiving worse odds.

Long odds in the outright market translate to long odds in secondary markets as well. It's considered a coin-flip if he will finish inside the top 10.

For comparison, two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland is the tournament favorite at +375, and 13 of 20 golfers are priced below +3000. Tiger's in the same long-shot neighborhood as Sepp Straka, Brian Harman, Jason Day, and Keegan Bradley.

Woods has played this event four times since 2016 and came inside the top 10 twice. He placed fourth in 2019 - eight months after winning the Masters - for his best result since it moved to the Albany Golf Course in 2015.

But even if he's far too rusty to win, or even contend, it doesn't mean Tiger can't show flashes of his former self.

Oddsmakers are giving Tiger +500 odds (16.7% implied probability) of posting a 6-under 66 in Round 1. He's -110 to make 12 or more pars on Thursday and +150 to make six or more birdies.

However, perhaps the most surprising line of the week is in Tiger's Round 1 matchup against his pal, Justin Thomas.

The two will tee off alongside each other at 11:52 a.m. ET on Thursday with Thomas only a slight favorite at -140. Oddsmakers are giving Tiger a 47.6% chance of beating Thomas, who is +1400 to win the tournament, and you know Tiger, the most fierce competitor the sport has seen, will want to do everything he can to beat his friend.

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