Tips for Betting on Golf

Tips to Betting on Golf

The international golf calendar is in full swing with major tournaments like the AT&T Byron Nelson, PGA Championship and U.S. Open all taking place over the next couple of months.

With tournaments taking place almost every week and so many different options in each one, golf provides a plethora of opportunities for bettors. There are numerous different ways for sports betting, even in golf, each of which will be explained here.

The most common way of betting on golf at an online sportsbook is to pick the outright winner of a tournament. Each player entered into a competition will have odds relating to their perceived chances of winning said tournament. 

These victors can be particularly tough to call, meaning there is a lot of potential value in outright winner golf bets. The favorite for a tournament is typically offered at odds anywhere between +600 and +1300. For example, Dustin Johnson is favorite to win the U.S. Open in June at odds of +1000, meaning a $10 stake would net $100.

Outsiders are offered at especially long odds; Keegan Bradley is currently at +25000 to win the same tournament, offering winnings of $2,500 off of a $10 bet. With odds like these, it’s no wonder golf is such a popular sport with bettors – it offers big rewards from relatively little investment. 

Take, for example, the punter who netted themselves $679,894.66 last year off of a $1 bet by picking 20 winners correctly.

The trade-off is the difficulty in successfully picking winners. Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas are all offered at +1200 to win the U.S. Open, highlighting tight things can be at the elite end of the spectrum.

So, there are other betting options, such as each way bets. This involves placing a stake on a player to win the tournament with an equal stake on that same player to finish the tournament ‘placed.’ What constitutes a ‘place’ will be outlined by the bookmaker, but it’s usually a top 5 finish in the tournament, though odds can also be offered for top 6 or 7.

The bookies will also outline what odds are offered for the ‘placed’ finish – ¼ of the win odds is common for a top 5 finish. In this scenario, if the player you placed an each way bet on places in the top 5 but doesn’t win the tournament, you would win ¼ of the winnings you would have netted had they won the competition.

Take Johnson’s U.S. Open odds, for example. A $10 stake at +1000 for him to win outright would net $90 profit, so an each way bet would be ¼ of $90, which is $22.50. So, if you placed an each way bet on Johnson at the U.S. Open and he came second, third, fourth or fifth, you would win $22.50.

It should be noted that, with an each way bet, you are placing a stake for that player to win outright, and then an equivalent stake on them to place in the top 5 should they not win outright, so there is additional risk there.

A similar, but simpler, bet is a top 5, 10 or 20 one. These odds relate to whether a player will finish in the top 5, 10 or 20 on the leaderboard at a given tournament. Obviously, these odds are not as generous as outright winner ones but they can be easier to predict, as there’s a wider margin of error. 

McIlroy, for example, might be offered at -150 to finish in the top 10 at the U.S. Open. A $10 bet on this would return $16.67 should the Irishman finish anywhere in the top 10.

Although golf tournaments do not include head-to-head matchups, you can place bets on one player’s performance against another’s. Bookmakers will pair players together and offer odds for each regarding which one will finish higher than the other in the leaderboard.

Players will only be matched against those with similar outright winner odds to them, meaning matchup odds are usually offered around the -200 to +200 range. For example, a bookmaker might offer a line for Justin Thomas against Brooks Koepka at the U.S. Open, with Thomas at -150 and Koepka at -100. This reflects the fact that their outright winner odds are close; Thomas is at +1200 and Koepka at +1400.

Golf also offers prop bets, sometimes referred to as groups, which group golfers together into various categories; usually this is nationality, or the continent they are from. The odds on offer then relate to who will be the highest placing player in that group.

Golf and betting have a long and storied history, which makes a lot of sense given how much value the sport offers to bettors. Due to the scale and structure of tournaments, even the favorites are offered at generous odds, meaning there is the potential for some seriously big winnings. If picking an outright winner seems too risky, there are other options like each way and prop bets to increase your chances of netting a profit.

Matt Saternus

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