How to Bet on Golf

Types of Golf Bets

There are several main types of golf bets, with some of the most popular being outright winner, round leaders, finishing position, matchups, futures, live hole-by-hole betting and tournament props.

Outright winner is simply who will win the tournament that is being bet on.

Round leader bets are based on who is leading at the end of the given round, not the entire tournament.

Finishing position bets are often choosing a player to finish top 5, top 10, top 20 or top 40.

Matchup bets are simply who will win between a pair of players, and the rest of the competitors are irrelevant to the bet.

Future bets in golf can be tournaments happening months from now, or props like whether or not Jon Rahm will win a major in 2022.

Live hole-by-hole betting can be who will win the hole, a player to get a birdie, or even a player to hit the fairway or green with their tee shot.

Tournament prop bets can be on the winning score, if there will be a hole-in-one, the best finisher from a certain country or region of the world, and much more.

How to Place a Matchup Bet

In golf betting, a matchup bet is a book pairing two players together and forming a matchup where users select who will win only between those two players. The rest of the competitors in the tournament are not relevant to a matchup bet.

These bets can take place over the course of one round or the entire tournament depending on which kind of matchup you want to bet on. 

For example, Jon Rahm at -115 odds could be matched up with Collin Morikawa at -105 odds for the first round of a tournament. If Rahm shoots a better score in that first round, a $115 bet wins $100. Meanwhile if Morikawa beats Rahm, a $105 bet would win $100. If the two players tie, it will be a push and the bet will be refunded. 

Matchup bets are valuable because you’re able to directly compare the form the players are in recently, as well as how they fit the course. 

How to Place a Finishing Position Bet

A finishing position bet is based on where the player finishes at the end of the tournament. Common finishing position bets include top 5, top 10, top 20, or top 40.

This is a great way to bet on a player you think will do well in any given week, but don’t want to count on that player to win the whole tournament. With over 150 golfers competing most weeks on tour, it’s incredibly hard to choose a winner.

Finishing position bets provide some room for error, and you can customize how bold you want to be. If a player is playing well of late and has a good history at the specific course or type of course, a top 5 bet may be the best option. If there’s an under-the-radar player you think will break out that week but aren’t too confident in, top 20 or 40 is a safer play. 

On most sportsbooks, dead heat rules do apply in the case of ties. For example, if the player selected for a top 10 bet finishes in a tie with two other golfers for 10th, 11th and 12th, the total payout for 10th place is split among the three golfers tied, so only one third of the potential winnings would be paid out.

How to Place an Outright Winner Bet

An outright golf bet is simply choosing who will win the golf tournament. Since there are often over 150 golfers in any given tournament, even the favorite is usually at least +1000.

There is often value in good players priced between +3000 and +5000, or between 30-1 and 50-1. Winning an outright golf bet can seriously boost your bankroll even while just risking a half unit or less, but it is incredibly difficult to win. 

How to Bet on Golf Futures

A golf future bet is betting on tournaments (often major championships like The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship) weeks or months in advance. There is often value to be had if you anticipate a good stretch of play from a golfer leading up to that major championship. 

Another way of betting futures in golf is through bets that last the whole season, or at least major championship season. Many sportsbooks offer future bets on if a golfer will win any of the four major championships, or even a player to win two or more majors over the course of the year.

Betting on a player to win any of the four majors can be a fun way to follow the biggest tournaments throughout the year. 

How to Live Bet on Golf

Live betting in golf is exploding in popularity. Whether it’s on TV or in person at the tournament, it’s very fun to place a bet for a specific hole and then watch it play out in the span of 10 or 15 minutes.

Some common hole-by-hole live bets include selecting a player to win the hole, two players to tie, a player to get a birdie or better, betting on the exact number of shots, and even betting if a player will hit the fairway on their drive or the green in regulation with their approach shot. 

There is also often value in betting on end of round leaders once a good shot has been hit that could lead to a potential birdie by one of the few players at the top of the leaderboard. Sportsbooks are occasionally slow to update those odds before the score is recorded, even if a birdie or eagle looks very likely. 

How to Bet Golf Tournament Props

Tournament props are another fun way to follow a golf tournament throughout the weekend and hopefully win some money. There are more props during major championships than during the average week on the PGA Tour, but there are still opportunities every week. 

One of the most wagered on types of props is based on nationality or region. Here are a few examples:

  • Who will be the top English player? 
  • Will an American player win the tournament?
  • Who will be the top continental European player?
  • Who will be the top amatuer player?
  • Which left-handed player will finish highest on the leaderboard?

Other props on a weekly basis can include whether or not there will be a hole-in-one, what the winning score will be, an over/under total of the winning score and whether or not there will be a playoff to determine the champion. 

Golf Betting Strategies

Golf is one of the hardest sports to bet on because so little of it is even remotely predictable. Between fluky bounces, tee times leading to different weather, course conditions and other factors, there are a lot more variables in golf betting than other sports. 

One important strategy to think about is how the course fits the player you are thinking of betting on. Are most of the dogleg holes to the right?

If the player moves the ball from left to right off the tee, that could be an advantage. Is there thick rough close to the fairway? If so, driving accuracy could be crucial and it may not be a great idea to bet on someone that misses a high percentage of fairways. 

In addition to those course-dependent stats to keep an eye on, the strokes gained stat gives a great idea of how each golfer is performing in various aspects of their game. 

Live betting in golf can be one of the most effective strategies especially if you have picked up a tendency on a specific hole or part of the course. If a player is one shot back of the lead but coming up on an easy stretch of holes that they do well on, that can be a very profitable opportunity.

OddsJam Betting Guidelines for Golf

Golf Expert Picks

Here at OddsJam, our team has weekly articles breaking down the best bets for that week’s tournament. We have you covered on everything from outrights to finishing position.

Golf Public Betting Data

Betting breakdowns in golf are very different from any other sport because of how it’s structured. Instead of two potential bets on each of the side/total, there are over a hundred different “sides” (outright winners) that people can put their money on.

It’s much harder to get a read on trends and movement, but typically high-profile golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth end up with a lot of the handle, driving their odds down so the sportsbooks aren’t overexposed. 

Golf Projections

Golf is complex in terms of projections and expected value because there is no equal and opposite bet. For example, for a spread or total in any other sport there are usually -110 odds on each side.

For picking the winner of a golf tournament, there is not a “no” or “anybody but that player” option, so like future bets in other sports, it’s challenging to find the fair odds and the profitability of one side. 

For more on implied probability in general, read here: How to Calculate Implied Probability.

Golf Betting Data

For each golf tournament, OddsJam compiles the outright odds from several different sportsbooks as well as the OddsJam perfect line in the days or weeks leading up to the first day in the futures section. The day of, you can find player matchup odds under the games tab in the golf section of OddsJam.

Where to bet on golf?

Now that we’ve gone over the most popular ways to bet golf, here are our favorite sportsbooks to place our bets:

How to read golf odds?

As always, a (-) sign next to the odds means that you have to risk more than your potential winnings, while a (+) sign means that the winnings would be more than your stake. In golf, outright bets will always be plus-money, except live betting in some cases where one player has really pulled away from the field. American odds are based on a $100 bet, so an outright winner at +2500 would win $2500 dollars for every $100 bet.

Who are the most popular golfers?

Tiger Woods is the most popular golfer in the world both in terms of fame and people who love to bet on him. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are also quite popular, among others. Golf is a worldwide sport so players are often very popular in their countries, like Hideki Matsuyama in Japan.

Frequently Asked Questions