Justin Thomas PGA Championship Comeback Pays Off for Bettors, But Books Fare Well
Justin Thomas made history Sunday by coming from seven back to win the PGA Championship. The seven-stroke deficit entering the final round tied the largest PGA comeback in the tournament’s 106-year history.
The 29-year-old Thomas fired a three-under 67 yesterday to finish the tournament at -5. Chilean newcomer Mito Pereira seemed under control throughout most of the final round, but the leader faltered on the 72nd hole with a wayward drive on the 18th hole that ended up in a water hazard.
After Pereira made a double bogey to finish at -4, a playoff between Thomas and Will Zalatoris ensued. Zalatoris made clutch eight-footers on the final two holes to also finish at -5.
Thomas — affectionally known as “JT” — outdueled Zalatoris in the three-hole aggregate playoff with two birdies and a par. Thomas hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy for a second time, his first major coming in 2017 at the PGA at Quail Hollow.
Thomas’ come-from-behind win turned out to be a winner for both the betting public and oddsmakers. Thomas was responsible for about 4% of the betting tickets and money at legal sportsbooks in the US.
Heading into the PGA at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Ok., world no. 1 Scottie Scheffler presented oddsmakers with a grave liability. BetMGM revealed that the 2022 Masters champ was on 11% of its PGA tickets and responsible for 20% of the tournament betting money.
Even though Scheffler had the shortest odds of the 156-player field, such large action would have been devastating for books should he have won. Instead, Scheffler missed the cut.
Other pre-tournament front-runners who never mustered much of a serious run included Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele.
Though Tiger Woods remains injured from his February 2021 automobile accident that nearly claimed his life, the 15-time major winner still attracted much betting action. Woods, despite limping around Southern Hills yet somehow still managing to find a way to make the cut, was responsible for nearly 5% of the handle and tickets. But after a third-round 79, Woods withdrew citing injury.
Pereira was playing in just his 28th start on the PGA Tour. As such, he didn’t exactly garner many bets before the tournament. BetMGM said Pereira was responsible for just 0.2% of its tickets and essentially 0% of the overall money bet.
The SuperBook in Las Vegas reported taking only eight bets on Pereira prior to Thursday’s opening round. However, one was for $100. With Pereira as long as 150/1, such a win would have been a major blow to the house.
Thomas winning was certainly no major surprise. Most sportsbooks had him around 14/1 to 16/1 prior to the first round. But Saturday night still presented bettors with a handsome opportunity for those who had the foresight to predict such a historic comeback.
Thomas was around 25/1 to 30/1 prior to Sunday’s round due to being seven back of Pereira. At those odds, bettors who risked $100 on Thomas prior to Sunday’s showdown netted $2,500 to $3,000.
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