PGA Championship Odds 2013: Best Bets to Win Year's Final Major

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IAugust 5, 2013

OAKVILLE, CANADA - JULY 26: Hunter Mahan of the United States waves to the crowd after making birdie on the 16th hole during round two of the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abby Golf Club on July 26, 2013 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

In non-shocking news, Tiger Woods is the overwhelming favorite to win the 2013 PGA Championship. 

Bovada lists the 14-time major winner at 7-2. This is leaps and bounds lower than the 14-1 odds on Phil Mickelson, who is the second favorite. 

The odds hint at an epic showdown between the two rivals, but that is certainly no guarantee. Oakhill Country Club, the home for this year's PGA Championship, is going to offer up a difficult and complete test.

That begins in the tee box, with narrow landing areas providing an ominous look at the fairway like this view from the 10th hole:

This difficult course will make a tournament-destroying bad hole a very real possibility for every golfer, and that means this tournament is going to be wide open.

Still, some bets are clearly better than others. Here are my three favorites.  

Odds according to Bovada on Aug. 5. 

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Tiger Woods, 7-2

I almost always shy away from betting golfers with low odds. Golf tournaments are insanely hard to predict. So, when laying down a wager, I typically look for plays that offer a little more bang for their buck. 

However, winning with small odds is still better than losing with long odds, and I have a strong feeling Woods will end a major drought that has now surpassed five years. 

For starters, we have his recent play. Woods won the WGC Bridgestone this past week with complete ease. At 15-under par, he beat second-place Henrik Stenson by seven strokes. 

Still, it is not all good news for Woods heading into Oakhill. 

The last time the PGA Championship was played here was in 2003. In that tournament, Woods finished at 12-over and in 39th place. He hit just 46.43 percent of his fairways for that tournament. I expect him to be much better off the tee this year. 

While Tiger has spent the majority of the year struggling off the tee, he has made big strides in that area recently. 

Going back to the Players Championship, Woods has hit at least 62 percent of his fairways in each PGA start. 

That low mark actually came in his win last weekend. However, Woods also finished that tournament with his highest mark in driving distance for the year. This shows he is getting more comfortable with his driver, and this will allow him to put himself in the position he needs to earn another major victory. 

Hunter Mahan, 33-1

Hunter Mahan has had a wild couple of months. He was in serious contention to win his first major while finishing fourth at the U.S. Open and ninth at the British Open. 

Then, he withdrew from the Canadian Open a couple of weeks ago with a two-shot lead after 36 holes to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. 

Mahan did not play in last week's WGC event, and there is certainly reason for concern that the departure in his playing schedule will throw him from his rhythm. However, I actually think his recent events will aid him. 

Mahan's beautiful swing is grooved right now. There is no doubt he has been playing well enough to win a major—he just has to handle the pressure and put together four good rounds. While celebrating the birth of his child, Mahan will be distracted from the pressure of major golf. This will leave him free to attack this difficult course, while letting his grooved swing lead him to a wonderful tournament. 

At 33-1 odds, it is well worth a bet that Mahan's wild ride will lead to his first major. 

Charl Schwartzel, 55-1

In case your picking up on a theme, I'm siding with excellent ball strikers at Oakhill. Schwartzel definitely fits that bill. 

With the fairways playing tight on this course but length still being a big plus, the sweet-swinging Schwartzel is in good position at this tournament. 

While he doesn't have a top 10 at any of the majors this year, the 2011 Masters champ has also been solid. 

He was 25th at the Masters, 14th at the U.S. Open and 15th at the British Open. 

Last week, he finished 21st in the WGC event. However, he closed with brilliant play. He fired a 64 on Saturday and a 69 on Sunday. And while he finished that tournament hitting just 50 percent of his fairways, he began to dial in his driver as the tournament progressed. 

Schwartzel is a streaky golfer, and I expect him to take the hot hand he found in the last two rounds at Bridgestone into this week. 

If Schwatzel can stay hot for four days, there is no doubt he has the talent to win this tournament. At 55-1, that is a bet worth taking.