How to Bet on Golf – A Guide to Golf Betting Strategies

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OddsJam StaffMay 5, 2022, 03:30 PM

In case you haven’t noticed, the game of golf has been growing in popularity for a while now. We have an influx of talented young golfers who are changing the sport. Golf has left its outdated elitist ways in the dust for a much brighter and enjoyable experience — when it comes to both watching and betting.

Let’s break down how to bet on golf.

How To Bet On Golf

Looking to get in on the action? Let’s first learn the basics of golf odds.

Typically, the betting favorite at any given tournament will be somewhere between +700 to +1500 and the biggest longshot could be as lofty as +25000 (250-1 odds).

For a real-life example, let’s look at odds for the 2022 Masters. Hideki Matsuyama, the reigning champion, was posted at +3000 ahead of the tournament. That means a $100 bet on Matsuyama would have won a whopping $3,000 had he gone back-to-back at the Masters.

Do these odds seem extreme? Do they look like future Super Bowl odds? That’s good, they should. Most sports have two or maybe three outcomes — consider a regular-season NFL game. There are only 3 outcomes: Team A wins, Team B wins or the very rare tie.

Now, consider any single golf tournament.  Each tournament usually has either 132, 144 or 156 golfers who could win any given week. Quite a BIG difference, explaining these elevated odds golf provides us with.

Luckily, there is so much more to betting on golf than just selecting the “outright” winner, which obviously, can be extremely difficult.

Golf Betting Types

The extensive betting options that golf offers on a weekly basis (practically year-round) will surely provide you with something that tickles your fancy.

Matchups

Player vs. player matchups for either a single day or over the entire tournament. Example : Justin Thomas (-125) vs. Xander Schauffele (+110).

Finishing Position

This is selecting a player to finish in the top 5, top 10 or top 20. Some sportsbooks allow you to bet on a player to “Make or Miss Cut.”

Outright Winner

Discussed above and very rewarding when winning. However, picking an outright winner from 150 of the best golfers in the world is tough.

Round Leaders

FRL (first-round leader) has become an increasingly popular bet. Considering only 18 holes instead of 72, much more variance should be expected.

Top Golfer by Nationality

Top American, Top European, Top Asian and Top Rest of the World are some other bets offered each week. Each tournament has a unique field, creating different values on a weekly basis.

Futures

These are betting odds that are offered way in advance of the event. All golf Majors, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup are examples. If you can afford to have money tied up for long periods of time, you’ll typically get great odds before the books tighten up as the event approaches.

Prop Bets

Each sportsbook will differ in which prop bets and how many they offer. Will there be a hole-in-one? How many strokes will the winning margin be? How many eagles will be recorded in Round 2?

The table below provides a sample of what six golfers’ pre-tournament odds could look like in four different betting markets (to win, top 5, top 10, top 20).

GolferTo WinTop 5Top 10Top 20
Collin Morikawa+1400+320+150-140
Patrick Reed+2000+450+200+100
Sungjae Im+3300+550+275+120
Sergio Garcia+6600+1000+500+225
Joel Dahmen+10000+1600+700+300
Adam Hadwin+17500+2500+1100+450

Golf Live Betting Strategies

Some of the swings a gambler can experience when your golfer is coming down the back nine can be so exhilarating, more so than any other sport. Given the variety of bets one can make throughout a golf tournament, utilizing live betting opportunities becomes essential in order to regularly make a profit.

One strategy you can use effectively is hedging. Let’s say your pre-tournament card usually includes five to eight golfers who fit the model for each course. Once the cut has been made, you can evaluate your position and determine if live action is needed. If a few of your golfers are in contention, this is a great time to hedge with some of the other golfers near the top of the leaderboard.

Another profitable strategy is to ride the hot golfer. You can usually live bet each hole (at least with the top contending golfers). If you’re watching the event and Cameron Smith is sticking every green and sinking putts left and right, you should ladder bet him every hole until he finally cools off. If Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson are dueling each other very evenly, you should make a live bet on a tie for the hole.

Where Can I Bet On Golf?

Nowadays, nearly every sportsbook will post golf odds every week. However, some are certainly better than others. Here are the top-rated sportsbook for betting golf:

Sportsbook NameStates Legal Sign-Up Bonus
caesars logoAZ, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, MD, CO, VA, NJ, NC, NY, TN, WV, WA, DC, & NVFirst Bet Insurance of Up to $1,100
AZ, CO, DC, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, MS, NJ, NV, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV & WYFirst Bet Insurance of Up to $1,000
AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, NY, PA & VA$250 Bet Match*
CT, NJ, & PA$250 Bet Match*
AZ, IN, IA, NJ, PA & VAFirst Bet Insurance of Up to $250
AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV & WYDeposit Match of Up to $1,000
fanduel logoAZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV & WYFirst Bet Insurance of Up to $1,000
CO, IL, IN, IA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, VA & WVFirst Bet Insurance of Up to $2,000
*Note BetRivers and SugarHouse are the same sportsbooks

How Much Should I Bet On Golf?

Golf betting is unique in comparison to other sports. That means managing your bankroll becomes even more essential. Always have a betting game plan before the tournament tees off. Once you’ve done your research and selected your betting card, you should divvy up your money proportionately. Place more on the favorites that you like and then sprinkle on the longshots.

Let’s say you’re willing to wager two units pre-tournament. For example, in 2021 we had consecutive winners, Adam Long and Andrew Landry, with odds of +50000 & +20000, respectively. If your unit size is $50, you need to spread your $100 across your seven favorite golfers. Even if you put a mere $7 on Long to win last year, you would’ve hit a $3,500 ticket!

You can always add to your ticket via live betting if your longshot is doing great early. Keep in mind that hitting a winner at +50000 is extremely rare, but shows how extreme the variance is in golf betting.

Building a Golf Betting Model

Over the course of the PGA season, a variety of courses are played. Certain players dominate certain courses and some can’t even manage to make the cut. A player’s form is always good to consider when selecting your betting card. 

Strokes gained data has provided us gamblers with an analytical approach to predicting outcomes. Use this data to study a course and find three or four stats you deem crucial for success on a given course. Let’s look at a few examples:

Courses played at par-72 have four par-5s, typically making “Par-5 Scoring” a very important statistic compared to a par-70 course, with only two par-5s.

If the golf course has tiny greens, it likely has a low GIR% (greens in regulation) — meaning you should prefer golfers who are great at scrambling (“SG: Around the Green”).

If the course plays very long and the rough isn’t too deep or difficult, then you should look toward golfers who are long off the tee (“SG: Off The Tee”).

Your method for selecting golfers can vary drastically from others, and that is perfectly okay. Golf has more variance than any other game and betting on it must be done carefully. Always remember to manage your bankroll and don’t overstretch your card. Good luck to you all.

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