Updated on 09/17/2011 2:18PM

Books glad Singh won PGA playoff


Vijay Singh didn't play the best golf on Sunday in the PGA Championship, but he was best when it counted, winning a three-way playoff over Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisc.

Singh led by one stroke going into the final round, but bettors who took Singh, offered at various sports books between 10-1 and 15-1, had to be sweating the whole day as Singh didn't make a birdie in the final 18 holes. He trailed by two shots with five holes to play and only got into the playoff when Leonard bogeyed two of the final three holes, including the 18th.

While Singh was among the favorites - the fourth choice to be exact - DiMarco was a 40-1 longshot and Leonard was in the 60-1 range. When the three-hole playoff began, Las Vegas Hilton golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman knew where his future-book liability stood.

"Singh was a good result for the book," Sherman said. "Bettors seem to shy away from him in relation to Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els, even though his play warrants his odds. Justin Leonard would have been the best result during the playoff, as he had minimal support. We even raised his odds from 60-1 to 75-1 prior to the start of the tournament. We had reasonable support for Chris DiMarco at 40-1, so he was our worst scenario of the three."

Singh birdied the first playoff hole, and Leonard and DiMarco were unable to get into position for even a legitimate birdie putt. Singh coasted to his fifth victory of the year and third major title. At the beginning of the year at the Imperial Palace, Singh was 3-1 to win a major (note: Woods was 4-5, and yet went 0 for 4).

The tough windy conditions and resulting high scores on Sunday were what the PGA was expecting when it chose the long, links-style Whistling Straits course. Sherman said the bettors bought into the hype by betting over 283 1/2 in the winning-score prop. Singh, Leonard, and DiMarco shot 8-under-par 280's. Sherman said some bettors made out like bandits on the "Will there be a playoff?" prop, cashing at odds of 3-1.

Sherman didn't waste any time putting up odds for next year's first major, The Masters. Tiger Woods, who was pounded around town in the PGA Championship (including some of my money), is again the favorite at 6-1. Mickelson is 7-1, with Singh and Els both at 8-1. Retief Goosen, who withdrew from the PGA, is a distant fifth choice at 20-1. In all, the Las Vegas Hilton has 100 golfers listed - including Sergio Garcia at 30-1, DiMarco at 40-1, Leonard at 50-1, John Daly at 100-1, and Tom Watson at 500-1 - plus a field bet at 30-1.

Juveniles added to BC futures

John Avello, director of race and sports at Bally's and Paris hotels on the Strip and the horse racing oddsmaker for the Caesars Entertainment chain, was putting his finishing touches on his Breeders' Cup futures Monday morning.

In the Juvenile, Avello made Roman Ruler the favorite at 7-1. Roman Ruler romped to an impressive seven-length victory Sunday in the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. Afleet Alex, winner of Saratoga's Sanford Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths back on July 29, is the early East Coast buzz horse at 8-1.

"Both have run huge, huge races far above the rest," Avello said. "You have to take into account that they are 2 years old and you don't know if they'll hold true to form, but right now they're at the head of the class."

Other early contenders are Chandtrue at 12-1 and the trio of Storm Surge, Flamenco, and Scipion at 15-1.

In the Juvenile Fillies, Classic Elegance is the favorite at 8-1, followed by Inspiring at 10-1, My Miss Storm Cat and Dream Time at 15-1, and Paragon Queen and Sense of Style at 18-1.

All of the odds on the eight Breeders' Cup races, to be run at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, can be found at ballysraceandsports.com under the "horse racing" header. They are up just in time for Avello's annual free online contest in which handicappers can compete by locking in their future book prices each week and earning points based on the odds and where their horses finish in the Breeders' Cup. The grand prize is a trip for two to Bally's for next year's Kentucky Derby party. The top 40 finishers in each race also earn prizes.

Avello said he will be posting Kentucky Derby futures sometime next month.

Sports book notes

No betting is offered on the Olympics in the state of Nevada, but sports fans and bettors watched in shock Sunday as the U.S. men's basketball team lost to Puerto Rico. Offshore books had the U.S. as a 22-point favorite and with the odds of an outright upset at 25-1. Cynical bettors who risked -140 (bet $1.40 to win $1) at BetWWTS.com that the U.S. men's team would not go undefeated were able to cash earlier than even they expected. Bettors who took +110 that the U.S. would run the table, well, they didn't get much bang for their buck.

* One of the NFL preseason betting trends that gets mentioned each year is to back teams that have already played a game vs. teams playing their first. This year's record? It was 0-2, as the Redskins and Broncos - the participants in last Monday's Hall of Fame Game - both lost outright as 3-point favorites. (I guess the trend next year will be worded "bet on teams that have already played a game vs. teams playing their first, as long as they're on seven days of rest or more.")

* In the college football season opener on Aug. 28 at FedEx Field in Andover, Md., defending AP national champion Southern Cal is a 17 1/2-point favorite over Virginia Tech at most Vegas sports books. The Caesars properties have the line at 18. Odds are also up on five games to be played that following Thursday, Sept. 2 (of note are Mountain West Conference favorite Utah -9 1/2 vs. Texas A&M and Boston College -17 vs. Ball State) and one game on Friday, Sept. 3, with Washington State -2 over New Mexico.