The legalization of sports betting has done wonders for the popularity of many professional athletics organizations, and golf has seen an increased interest in its sport. Sportsbooks across America are getting creative in offering a ton of wagering opportunities for fans and bettors to have more of a reason to be interested in the PGA Tour. Also, other golf tours can be wagered on including the LPGA, European Tour, and the PGA Tour Champions, among others.
There are lots of PGA Tour events, but the biggest tournaments like The Masters will have futures betting options typically all year round where bettors can pick the winner months before the event begins.
One of the newest innovations is live betting, and this is a huge deal for golf. Instead of getting bets in before the start of an event, bettors can make their wagers while the event is happening and watch as odds continue to fluctuate.
In this article, you will learn the basics of betting golf, some of the biggest tournaments, tips for becoming a successful golf bettor, and more.
How betting on golf works
Sportsbooks continue to increase their wagering options as the competition in the industry continues to grow with companies looking to bring in new users and keep their current users happy.
Below is a list of potential sports betting options available at some of the major sportsbooks.
- To win: It’s pretty self-explanatory, but bettors can place a wager on which player will win a particular event.
- The field: Bettors have the opportunity to place a wager on one golfer versus everybody else in the tournament and vice versa.
- Head to head: Sportsbooks will place two golfers against each other, and the bettor gets to choose which player they think will have the better performance.
- Each way: An each way bet involves betting on a player to win as well as that player finishing within a certain range.
- Top 10, top 20, etc.: This is the same idea as an each way bet, but it does not include the player winning the event. Bettors can decide whether they believe a player will finish inside the top 10, top 20, etc. in a tournament.
- Group matchups: Sportsbooks may group several golfers, and bettors can choose which player they think will finish the best.
- Nationality: Sportsbooks may group golfers based on their nationality. For example, bettors can predict which American golfer will perform the best.
- First round leader: Rather than betting on the entirety of the tournament, sportsbooks offer golf betting odds on which player will be the leader following the first round of competition.
For these betting types, the golf odds will look similar to just about any other sport. However, because there are so many competitors in golf, picking a winner could be quite the payout. For example, if the betting favorite to win the tournament is at +700 odds to win it, that means a $100 bet would win you $700. On the other hand, if there are just two options like a head-to-head matchup between the two best golfers, odds may be -110 for each side. The easiest way to understand how to calculate this would be knowing you’d need to bet $110 to gain a $100 profit.
Because bettors are betting on individuals with many competitors in a tournament, golf betting is very unique. The long days lend themselves to having an active market in live betting. So much can happen with so many golfers competing from morning till night, which makes for a large volume of betting while the event is taking place.
Another betting type is spread betting, which is a bit more complex. This idea is similar to buying and selling stocks. For example, golfers will be given a buy number and a sell number. If you choose the buy number, you’re betting the golfer will finish in a position that’s better than that number. If you sell, you’re betting the golfer finishes in a worse position than the number. Points are scored by how much better or worse the golfer finished compared to the numbers set by the oddsmakers.
Golf specific betting rules
It’s always good to read the rules of your particular sportsbook of choice and ask questions about sports betting topics you don’t quite understand, but there are a few betting rules that are specific to the sport of golf. These may differ by the sportsbook.
Bets on individual golfers will be void if they withdraw from the tournament before it starts. If a golfer is disqualified or withdraws from the tournament after starting competition, the wagers will be scored as losing bets unless the outcome of the particular wager had already been determined before exiting the tournament.
Another rule to look at is if a tournament is shortened or affected due to weather conditions, typically all golf bets will be honored aside from bets placed following the last completed round as long as 36 holes have been played and the tournament organization declares a winner.
3 tips for betting on golf
As you get into betting on golf, there are several ways to turn a profit, but the key is to find a way to do that more consistently, which is about as hard as it gets in betting no matter the sport. Here are a few tips that will help you in your next golf wager.
- Research course history: Oftentimes, a player will have particular courses he or she excels at. Before placing your bet, check and see how well golfers have done previously at the course they’re playing at and locate the best value. If there is a longshot that has historically done well on the course, that golfer should have plenty of value.
- Identify 50/50 bets: One of the most popular bets in golf is simply which player will win the tournament. It’s the easiest bet to understand, but it’s unlikely you’re going to win with that strategy long term. Even the top betting favorite is unlikely to win because there are so many high-level competitors. Instead, you’ll have roughly a 50% chance of winning a head-to-head wager, much greater than the odds of picking the outright winner.
- Check weather reports: Depending on what the weather looks like for the weekend, it could change how you view the competitors. For example, if the course is wet without much roll, that would favor those who can drive the ball far before the first bounce.
Live betting on golf via mobile app
Oftentimes, betting from your mobile device is the best way to place wagers. The major legal sportsbooks will have a mobile app available for download, and it typically makes for a user-friendly experience for bettors. Also, live bets can be placed from your phone, which continues to become one of the most popular ways to bet on golf.
Bettors no longer have to submit their wagers before the start of the competition, and they can place a bet while the event is taking place. Odds will fluctuate rapidly, and bettors need to be quick on their feet to make sure they’re getting the best number possible. It is much easier to predict the winner of the tournament after three rounds have been played than it would be if bets needed to be in before the start of the first round, so there can be value to be had in live betting the winner.
There are so many live betting options to get to, so it would be impossible for oddsmakers to set that many lines, which is why sportsbooks will typically use an algorithm that will adjust odds throughout the tournament.
Betting on golf futures
There are plenty of futures bets available to bettors, and here are some of the more popular items.
- Majors: Odds for the four Majors are typically going to be available months in advance of the start of the event. If you have a particular golfer you think will win it, you can make that prediction well before the tournament begins.
- Ryder Cup: The Ryder Cup features Americans against Europeans and sees quite a bit of wagering action on the futures market.
- FedEx Cup Champion: Odds may be available for which player will finish as the champion of the PGA Tour season.
Fun prop bets in golf
Here is a look at some of the more popular prop bets bettors can make when wagering on golf.
- Hole in One: One of the fun props to wager on is whether there will be a hole in one made throughout the tournament.
- Nationality: Bettors could wager on the best golfer grouped based on their nationality.
- To go to a playoff: Whether or not the final round will be decided in a playoff is an item that could be wagered on.
Betting on the golf Majors
The PGA Tour has four tournaments that are the most popular for fans and bettors, and they’re called Majors. Here are the four of them and some information about each.
- Masters: The Masters is typically the first major of the year in April and is the most popular golf event. The event is played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The prize pool can be around $11 million most years, and previous champions include Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and others.
- PGA Championship: The PGA Championship doesn’t have a specific home but typically is played in May with a prize pool of around $11 million. Among the champions of this event are Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Justin Thomas.
- U.S. Open: The U.S. Open takes place in June without a specific location for each of its tournaments. Prize money is around $12 million, and recent winners include Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Tiger Woods, and Brooks Koepka.
- British Open (Open Championship): The British Open is the oldest golf tournament in the world and is the final major, usually held in July. The prize pool is around $11 million, and prior winners include Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and Shane Lowry.
Golf betting bonuses and free bets
Sportsbooks may offer plenty of golf free bets, so be on the lookout for those because it’s the rare win-win for the sports bettor and the sportsbook. Always check the promotions page for the sportsbook you’re using because there’s a possibility of available free bets especially for some of the bigger events on the golf calendar. Also, try to search around the internet for different promo codes that could earn you a free bet.
Streaming golf matches online
Sportsbooks may offer their users the ability to watch golf events live through their accounts. The books may operate this differently, but typically users will need to be logged in to their account, and there must be funds in the account to watch a live stream if it’s available to view.
Bets to try for golf betting novices
Now that you have the basics of betting on golf, here are a few bets you might want to consider.
- Top 10, top 20, etc.: We know it’s difficult to pick the exact winner of a tournament but if there’s a golfer you like, you’re much more likely to win the bet if you pick that athlete to finish inside a certain threshold like top 10 or top 20.
- Head to head: To give yourself roughly a 50% chance to win the bet, pick one of the head-to-head matchups that place two golfers against one another.
- Live bet in the fourth round: Give live golf betting a shot and at some point during the final round of play, it might be fun to place a wager on who you believe will win as the tournament nears its end.