After a full day of football to be thankful for on Thursday, golf will take center stage on Friday with the highly anticipated head-to-head match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of buzz surrounding the match given the immense popularity over the past two-plus decades of these two highly accomplished golfers. Adding to the intrigue of the event are the high stakes wagers the two plan to make throughout the course of the match, and the betting odds available to the general public. Two of the sport’s legends in a one-on-one setting, talking trash and recklessly throwing around thousands of dollars?

Sign. Me. Up.



Note: All information is as of 3:00 p.m. Tuesday.

The Winner

Woods enters as a strong favorite. He is currently -230 to win outright at DraftKings, 888sport and Play SugarHouse. If you’re looking on the best value on Woods, it’s at BetStars NJ and FanDuel where Woods is only -200 to win.

Those looking to back Mickelson should know that there’s more variance on his value. DraftKings, SugarHouse, and 888sport each are offering Mickelson at +175. Given BetStars’ favorable odds on Woods, their conservative +163 offering on Mickelson is understandable. FanDuel checks in with Mickelson at +165.

First Hole

Those looking for some quick action can wager on the result of the first hole at DraftKings, SugarHouse, and 888sport where Woods is +225, Mickelson +275, and a tie is -110.

Front 9

DraftKings, SugarHouse, and 888sport are offering up odds on the first nine holes. Both books list Woods at -121, Mickelson +188, and a tie at +400.


I was underwhelmed on Monday by the lack of prop and special bets offered, but some fun alternative options have been released since then. Let’s see what’s out there.


DraftKings is going heavy on specific hole props that allow bettors to wager on the winner of the first hole, along with greens and fairway bets on one. There’s a longest tee shot on the third hole, as well as closest to the pin wagers on the fifth and eighth holes. Here’s a look at some other of their other offerings:

tiger phil prop bets


SugarHouse and 888sport

The lines and odds at DraftKings, SugarHouse, and 888sport are each set by the gaming operator Kambi. Why does this matter? Because all three books offer the same odds on available props, but each company has the ability to decide which ones they want to run. In this case, SugarHouse and 888sport are taking bets on Woods’ t-shirt color. As of Tuesday morning, you can only bet “red” at -305. DraftKings, meanwhile, is not offering this option.

Because SugarHouse and 888sport are offering  the same selections at the same prices, if you don’t have one of the apps it would be wise to download it and take advantage of the sign-up bonus (we prefer SugarHouse). If you already have an account at both books, then it just comes down to a matter of personal preference.


The props at BetStars go a bit deeper into the sport’s finer details, including wagering options on driving accuracy and one putts. Hardcore golfers will be intrigued by these.

tiger phil odds and special bets


Surprisingly, FanDuel isn’t offering and special plays on the match.



One of the elements of this spectacle that makes it an interesting watch is the fact that both men have already said they will be betting against each other within the match. Here is Phil Mickelson talking about what the live in-game action between them might look like:

“When we’re mic’d on the course, we’re going to have little challenges, let’s say, that can maybe get in each other’s head,” Mickelson said during a drop-in on an NBA on TNT telecast. “You have a downhill putt. I’ll bet you 50…50Gs that you miss this.”

For his part, Tiger doesn’t seem especially worried about any tests of his courage that Mickelson might throw at him — and he certainly doesn’t think he’s going to lose the psychological war against Mickelson. Now hear this from Eldrick:

“Well, I’ve been in Phil’s head for 20-some-odd years. Just look at the W total,” Tiger told Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith on Thursday night.

What makes these side bets interesting is that, unlike the $9 million purse which will go to the winner, these “challenges” as Mickelson described them are coming out of the players’ own pockets. Woods, and especially Mickelson, are known to love action — they are also both known to hate to lose. So while neither of these men will take any fiscal losses they can’t afford (especially since lost wagers will be donated to charity), they will both want to claim the bragging rights of having lightened the other’s wallet in the side games no matter who wins the match.



Phil Mickelson has been compelled to talk up his chances in the run-up to this match because his game hasn’t done much to make the betting public want any piece of him unless they’re getting good odds. Mickelson’s best finish on the PGA Tour last season was his World Golf Championships event win in Mexico in March. After that, things went bad quickly and pretty much stayed that way.

The lowest of the lowlights of last season for Lefty included his bizarre, intentional rules violation at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills (he probably should have been disqualified), his missed cut at the PGA Championship (where Woods finished second) and his awful, terrible, no-good performance at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson’s Official World Golf Ranking is currently 27th, behind such household names as Alex Noren and Patrick Cantlay.

Woods is 13th, which is impressive enough in its own right but which is frankly shocking when you see that his World Golf Ranking at the end of 2017 was 656th. On these facts alone, it is understandable that Woods is in that range of a -225 favorite, with Mickelson offering the much better price in the neighborhood of +175. Mickelson claims to be thrilled. “I like it, the payoff on my side is very good, I like it,” Mickelson said recently. Then again…what’s he supposed to say? “I suck right now, and I might get embarrassed.” Probably not.

Mickelson’s chances to prevail are tied to the format. The vast majority of professional golf is played under stroke play rules, i.e., you make a seven or an eight on a hole, that’s pretty much it for your score for that day and possibly for that tournament. In match play, each hole is worth one point, and your score only matters in relation to the score your opponent made on that same hole. This is more likely to help Mickelson who is, as noted above, prone to odd stretches of wildness and poor decision-making. Mickelson could shoot even par in this match and still win if he makes enough birdies.

Woods was first on Tour in 2018 in shots gained approaching the green and seventh in scoring average (69.350.) The lone weakness in Tiger’s game right now continues to be his propensity to spray it off the tee — he was 129th in driving accuracy. It’s hard to make birdie from the trees or the water hazards. Shadow Creek appears to be reasonably forgiving off the tees, which will help both players but will probably help Tiger a little bit more.

If Mickelson is going to win this match, he will need to stay with Tiger to the best of his ability through the green and take advantage of his edge in putting. Even in an off-year in 2018, Mickelson was second on Tour in putts per round (27.88) and second in birdie or better conversions on the greens (36.6%.) That’s a match play stat if ever there was one, because eagles and birdies generally win holes. Woods had a decent year in 2018 with the putter (22nd in putts per round). But he also changed putters on multiple occasions and never seemed as comfortable on the greens as he did in his prime.

As the famous golf instructor Harvey Penick was fond of saying, “a good putter is a match for anyone.” Mickelson needs to come out hot with the putter and let Tiger know early that you only drive for show.



Phil: The most clever, and also the meanest, quip I’ve seen about this match was that it will cost $19.99 to watch, which is also the last year it would have been worth that much money to watch them play golf against each other on television. There is a touch of a Mayweather/Pacquiao feel to this. Mickelson’s last major title came in 2013 at The Masters, the only major he has won more than once. Tiger’s last major win was all the way back in 2008 at the U.S. Open. That’s right: Tiger hasn’t won a major in a decade, though he certainly came close at The Open Championship and at the PGA in 2018. Less so for Tiger but true of both is that we have probably already seen their best.

Still, it’s better to celebrate who they are rather than who they aren’t. In late November of 2018, in a sport where nobody is all that interested in watching anyone but Tiger, this match between Mickelson and Woods is the best of what’s around.

As indicated above, match play is an entirely different game than stroke play. At its core, though, at the highest level of competition, it usually comes down to who wants to win more. I have no doubt that Tiger Woods very much wants to beat Phil Mickelson. But as he said, he has been beating Phil’s brain in for the better part of 25 years now. Tiger wants to win…Phil needs to win, if only to have just one thing he can hold over Tiger in what has been less a rivalry than a lopsided comparison over the years.

And don’t forget, there probably won’t be a rematch if Phil doesn’t win or come really close to doing so. As Chris Rock so eloquently put it, the money is in the comeback. Take Phil at +175 or as high as you can get it. Use your deposit bonus at SugarHouse and let it rip.

Bob: Woods has been the superior golfer lately, so there’s a reason he’s such a heavy favorite in this matchup. I’d probably stay off the match winner due to the lack of value, but if I had to, I would back Woods in this spot. Take him at FanDuel.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable that each golfer takes a conservative approach to feel one another out early on, so I’ll probably take the two to be tied after the first hole at -110. And given Mickelson’s aforementioned statistical superior efficiency on the greens, I’ll go to BetStars and take him to have more one-putts.


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.


Full disclosure: We are an affiliate of legal New Jersey sports betting sites, so we may receive a commission if you use our links.