Tips & strategies to become a more successful golf bettor
Ok, so the Masters is coming up in a few weeks, and you want to place some bets, what are your options? Golf is one of the fastest growing markets to bet on. There is an abundance of wagers you can place on any given tournament; so let's start with the basics.
Arguably the most popular betting option, you have the ability to wager on which golfer will win the tournament. Here is an example of some odds from the upcoming 2022 The Masters (via PartyPoker).
The bigger the favorite, the smaller the payout. We can see that current #1 golfer according to the Official World Golf Ranking, Jon Rahm is the favorite to win the tournament. He is being offered at +800. This means for every $100 bet on him, you could win $800.
A golfer like Sergio Garcia (currently ranked 48th) who has not been playing particularly great golf as of late, is available at +6600. This means for every $100 wagered; you could win $6,600.
With a field of roughly 90 golfers, picking the Masters tournament winner is no easy feat. Golf is known to produce some unlikely winners, so if you are looking for a great pay day you can put a few dollars on some long shots. For example, a dark horse such as Danny Willett (2016 Masters Champion) is being offered at +20000.
If you are not interested in wagering on the tournament winner, you can bet golfers head-to-head. One way to do this is to bet on tournament matchups. Sportsbook will pick two golfers and offer them up against each other. Let’s use the following example:
If you bet $100 on Jon Rahm, and he won this matchup, you would win $75
If you bet $100 on Rory McIlroy, and he won this matchup, you would win $120
If they happened to tie, this bet would be a push (no action).
Individual Round Matchups
This works the same as the tournament matchups, but you can bet on any of the 4 round matchups. For example, you can bet on Round 1 matchups. These bets only involve the golfer's performance in the first round; so what happens in round 2,3 or 4 is irrelevant to the bet. Individual round matchups allow bettors to have action on every round of the tournament.
2-Way Bet vs 3-Way Bet
What is the difference between a 2-way and 3-way bet? A 3-way bet has a separate payout for a tie. Whereas in a 2way bet, if a tie occurs, the bet is pushed (no action).
In rounds one and two, golfers are grouped into pairings of three. A 3-ball bet consists of all three golfers playing against each other, as opposed to the classic format of just two golfers. For your golfer to win a 3Ball bet, he must have the lowest score among the three golfers in his group.
Popular Golf Prop Bets
If you enjoy betting props, golf might be the sport for you. Golf tournaments have a great variety of props available to bettors.
The Missed Cut
You can bet on whether a golfer will make the cut of a tournament. For those who are not familiar with the sport, roughly 130 golfers will participate in a PGA tournament. After rounds 1 and 2, the top 65 players (and ties) will advance to play rounds 3 and 4. Those who do not qualify, do not make the cut.
The better players tend to make the cut at a reasonably high rate. So taking the best golfers in the world to miss the cut can pay pretty handsomely. A player like Jon Rahm for example, can pay in the neighbourhood of +600 to miss the cut.
Winning Margin of Victory
You can place wagers on how many strokes you believe the winner will win by. For example, if Jordan Spieth wins a tournament and shoots -10, and his nearest competitor shoots -5; then the winning margin of victory is by 5 strokes.
Another popular prop bet is the hole-in-one bet. Sportsbooks will offer you the prop question, “will there be a hole-in-one?” Some books also offer this for each individual round as well.
When it comes to golf, the prop bets are a fun way to place some bets and enjoy the action. Other popular prop bets include:
- Individual round scores
- Top 5 / 10 / 20
- First round leader
- Will there be a playoff?
Future Golf Bets
The most popular future golf bet involves the tournament winner. We already talked about that at length. Other future bets include:
- Will player x win a major in 2022?
- PGA Player of the Year
- PGA Tour Money Leader
Golf Betting Tips & Strategies
If you want to increase your chances of being a successful bettor, here are a few tips to help you on your way:
- Price Shopping: When placing a bet, you always want to make sure you are getting the best price/line possible. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Different sportsbooks offer different prices; and they fluctuate throughout the day. If you want to save a ton of time, check out betstamp.app. It's free to join, and all the line shopping is quickly and efficiently done for you. You get updates in real time of which sportsbooks are offering the best line.
- Track Your Bets: Keep records of your wagers and stay on top of what is working and not working for you. Without documenting your bets, it is difficult to see where you are winning or losing as a bettor.
- Bankroll Management: Set your bankroll and learn to manage it properly. Don't deviate too far from your average bet size and ensure that you are always betting within your limits.
- Weather: The weather can play a major role in a golf tournament. High winds are a golfer's worst nightmare. Not only must golfers factor the wind into their club selection, but high winds can dry out greens, creating a really sleek putting surface area. Rain has the opposite effect; it softens the greens and allows the players to go flag hunting. Before placing wagers, see what type of weather is in the forecast. This is also a tool which can be utilized during the golf round. If winds unexpectedly pick up, maybe it is worth taking the over on a player’s round total. Or maybe there's a difficult par 3 with a water hazard; increased winds will increase the odds of a player hitting a water ball, so maybe a live bet on a golfer to bogey that particular hole could prove to be advantageous to you.
Strokes Gained Statistics: Professional golf bettors use strokes gained statistics. These statistics represent how well a golfer has historically performed at all aspects of his golf game compared to other golfers.
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Strokes gained: off-the-tee measures the player performance off the tee on all of the par-4s and par-5s.
Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green
Strokes gained: approach-the-green measures player performance on his approach shots. Approach shots include all shots that are not from the tee on par-4 and par-5 holes and are not included in strokes gained: around-the-green and strokes gained: putting. Approach shots include tee shots on par-3s.
Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
Strokes gained: around-the-green measures player performance on any shot within 30 yards of the edge of the green. This statistic does not include any shots taken on the putting green.
Strokes Gained: Putting
Strokes gained: putting measures how many strokes a player gains (or loses) on the greens.
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
Strokes gained: tee-to-green measures all strokes not taken on the putting green.
Sharp bettors will use these statistics to map out the probability of a golfer's performance. They will then apply these projections to the lines issued by sportsbooks. If they find an edge on a matchup, they will bet it. The greater the edge, the greater the bettor's success rate.
If you would like to learn more about the strokes gained stats, I would recommend the following article available on the PGA Tour website: