Tiger Woods might not have won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida, where he was the favorite, but his solid play made him one of the big winners of the weekend. Woods, 42, is now a 7/1 pick at William Hill to win the Masters, reflecting strong bettor confidence in a successful comeback after his fourth back surgery.

Tiger Woods
Almost There: Tiger Woods was one stroke behind the leaders at the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, but tied for fifth after consecutive bogeys. (Image: Getty)

Jeff Sherman is in charge of golf odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, and he posted on Twitter that the Westgate made Woods an 8/1 favorite. Dustin Johnson is next at 10/1.

It is the third time Sherman has adjusted the line on Woods in a week. He had dropped Woods from 16/1 to 12/1 on March 9. Shortly after a bettor walked into the Westgate and placed a $4,000 bet on Woods, necessitating another adjustment, this time to 10/1.

Some Oddsmakers Still Doubtful

Internet and overseas sportsbooks are not convinced Woods is ready to win his fifth green jacket. They have chosen the winner of Sunday�s PGA Tour event or the world�s No. 1 golfer as the favorite.

UK Betting giant Ladbrokes has Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Rory McIlroy as the 8/1 favorite, with Johnson and Woods at 9/1. Bet365 has the Irishman tops, but at 9/1, with Johnson at 10/1 and Woods at 11/1.

Johnson is the favorite at 10Bet and BetFred, with McIlroy at 9/1 and Woods at 10/1. One site, BetStars made all three of them 9/1 picks.

McIlroy may have blown past the competition at�Bay Hill on Sunday, shooting 8-under-par to finish 18-under overall, 8 strokes ahead of Woods and 3 strokes ahead of 2nd-place finisher Bryson DeChambeau. But Woods was in contention for most of the day.

Tiger began the tournament as the favorite after his second-place tie at the Valspar Championship a week earlier. He opened as the 5/1 pick at Bay Hill seven days later and opened with a 68, four strokes behind leader, Henrik Stenson.

An even par 72 saw him drop three more shots back going into the weekend, but on Saturday he posted a 69 and moved up the leaderboard. Going into the final round Woods was five strokes behind Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau. In odds for the last day Stenson went off at +190, while DeChambeau was +750. Woods was +1800. McIlroy was +350.

Woods got to within a stroke with three holes to play, but then an out of bounds tee shot on No. 16 sunk his chances. He made a bogey on the following hole as well and finished five shots behind McIlroy.

Woods Seeing Progress

Though he didn�t capture his 80th career victory, Woods did see encouraging signs as he heads to Augusta National for the Masters. This was the last event he will play until heading to Georgia for the first major championship of the year on April 5. He told reporters on Sunday that his back feels fine.

�If I can play with no pain and I can feel like I can make golf swings I’ll figure it out,� he said. �I’m starting to piece it together tournament by tournament and each tournament’s gotten a little crisper and a little bit better.�

That doesn�t mean that he is ready to win at Augusta, but he is encouraged.

�Well, if you would have given me this opportunity in December and January I would have taken it in a heart beat,� he said. �Everything was an unknown. I didn’t know what I was going to feel like, what I was going to do, what swing I was going to make.�