Golf Betting 101
The verdant rolling links, the brutal sand trap -- the whip of a driver and the arc of a white orb as it sails into the middle of the fairway. Golf is both beautiful and agonizing, for players and fans alike. And this temperamental sport also offers incredibly exciting sports betting. The first thing you should become familiar with is how the odds work in golf.
Let’s start with some basic odds.
Let’s assume that Tiger Woods is +800 (also written as 8-1) to win a tournament. If you bet on Tiger to win and he does, you win 8 times your investment. In other words, if you bet $10 at +800 and win, you will net $80.
Often, the odds for a strong player in a golf tournament is between +600 and +1300 while the longest longshot could be in the realm of +50000 (500-1). The potential payoff for the longshot is tremendous, but again, they are long shots because oddsmakers don’t think they can win.
In matchup betting, you pick one competitor to post the better score over another player, either during one round or perhaps over the course of a tournament. Those odds will be much lower than the longshot odds of picking the outright winner of a tournament.
For example, if you are betting $10 on Phil Mickelson to beat Tiger Woods in a tournament and Wood’s odds are -110 you would have to bet $11 to win $10. That -110 is known as the vig or “juice” that sportsbooks must charge in return for accepting your wager.Golf’s major tournaments always attract the most betting action. The four majors include The Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the British Open. TV ratings spike, fan interest goes through the roof, and golf betting amounts increase, too, due to the excitement for these premiere events.
Futures prices are posted early for majors -- sometimes a full year in advance. So, depending on how early you are willing to invest, the prices you find can change drastically.
Other Types of Golf Bets
In an outright bet, you’re simply trying to pick the player you think will win the tournament. Even the favorite to win a particular tournament event will often pay at least 5-1. And because of the large and variable field, golf is a sport where 100-1 or higher odds hit more often than you think. There are usually a lot of players with those sort of odds, so it’s difficult to find the competitor who has the momentum and focus to pull off the win. That said, the longer odds give you a chance to hit a big payday with a small investment.
Golf Odds and Place Finish Bets
In a place finish bet, you pick whether players will finish inside the top five, top 10 or top 20. The payouts aren’t as lucrative as picking outright winners, but these smaller bets give you fast action for a minimal investment.
Many bettors find that their best bets each week will come from top 20s on players who have momentum and play well on the course in question. With a bit of knowledge, you’ll often get at least even money on most of these plays.
There is a catch though. Most sportsbooks will apply dead-heat rules to finishing position wagers. So, if your pick finishes in a four-way tie for 15th and you bet him Top 20, you’ll only win 1/5th of your wager.
Golf Props Betting
Prop bets are another popular form of golf betting. You can bet on very specific events within a tournament, such as the top finishing player from country of origin – in others, you pick the top American, top Australian, top Japanese, and similar props.
In very popular tournaments, the props are even more detailed. You might try to pick the top amateur, the top left-handed player, top senior, and more.
These kinds of bets give you value before and during the tournament. You’ll often see sportsbooks post new props for every day of a four-day event.
Props are a fun way to take part in the action without having to pick the tournament’s outright winner, which can be challenging even if several players have a lot of momentum going into the first day. Golf is, after all, a fickle sport, and one that offers a challenge for even expert bettors.
Bettors can also pick one golfer straight up against another. Usually, this is two players with similar outright odds, so you’ll see lines pretty close to -110. In other words, you’ll never see a Jon Rahm vs. Fred Couples matchup posted.
These bets may help you find players who aren’t playing well and then fade them when they’re put up against golfers with more momentum. Also, specific courses favor a certain players, whether it’s a guy hits long drives, one who has a strong short game, or someone who putts reliably.
These bets may last for a whole four-day tournament or just one round.