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Tiger Gives Boost To Golf Betting

Thursday, 18 Jun 2009 | 9:38 AM ET

I'm here at the media center at the US Open and the common subject of "Would you bet against Tiger?" came up.

Tiger Woods
AP
Tiger Woods

It's a fun game to play—Tiger or the field? But for those who are serious about betting, that question has single-handedly made golf, for the first time ever, a sport to bet on.

Before Tiger became so dominant, you'd have to be a golf fan to bet on the sport. But Tiger creates the perfect environment for anyone who is looking for action and potentially a great return.

Here's why it's so compelling. For most majors, more than half the gamblers take Tiger. If you bet $100 on Tiger at the Open this year, you'd get $175 if he wins. Not a great deal, right? But some people see that as free money.

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In order to balance out the Tiger money, the books essentially have to open every other player as a longshot.

You bet $100 on Phil Mickelson? You'll get a return of $750 if he wins. ESPN's Andy North, who won the Open twice, is picking Geoff Ogilvy, who will return $2,000 for a $100 bet.

Other big names that have a shot, but will score huge money, are Camilo Villegas and Vijay Singh ($4,000 for every $100 bet) and Angel Cabrera, who is at 65-to-1 even after scoring huge fortunes for bettors at the 2007 Open and winning the Masters earlier this year.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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