PGA Golf Betting Tips – Learn the Basics, Get PGA Odds for This Week
Golf doesn’t get the attention that football, basketball and baseball do, but it’s every bit as fun to bet on. Golf has gained immense popularity in the DFS and sports betting communities in recent years, and if you don’t currently bet on golf you probably know someone who does. From calcuttas, pick’em pools, and outright bets, the Masters in particular is one of the most popular events in sports betting. With legal online sportsbooks popping up throughout the country, you may be wondering how you can get in on the golf action.
Jumping into golf betting can be a bit intimidating, especially if you aren’t following the PGA Tour week in and week out. Most events have 140 or more golfers to choose from! This golf betting guide will help you overcome any jitters you might have on the tee box – or in this case, the betting menu.
PGA Golf Betting Tips For This Week – The 2019 Travelers Championship
Previous Golf Betting Tips Articles
Types of PGA Golf Bets
There are many ways to bet on golf, but the most common way is wagering on outright winners for a specific tournament. In majors (The Masters, The Open, The U.S. Open, PGA Championship) there are even more options to choose from. Here are some of the type of bets you’ll see on golf betting menus.
- Matchups (for tournament and by round)
- Three Ball and Group Bets
- First Round Leader
- Place Betting
- Each-Way Betting
What Is A PGA Golf Outright Bet?
A PGA outright bet is a bet that is placed on a golfer to win a specific tournament. With a traditional tournament field including up to 156 golfers, you can find +700 (7-to-1) favorites to bet on like Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy or you can find up to +20000 (200-to-1) longshots that include both young golfers trying to make a name for themselves and aging veterans trying to show that they still have gas in the tank.
Because of the large field, you’ll see numbers that you might not be accustomed to while betting other sports.
To be sure, a $10 bet at +700 earns you $70 + your initial $10 investment; a bet for the same amount at +20000, earns $2,000 + the initial $10 investment.
Typically, 70 golfers make the cut after the first two rounds. If your golfer misses the cut, your bet is a loss.
PGA Golf Matchup Betting
After outright bets, betting on golf matchups is the second most popular way people bet on golf.
A matchup or a head-to-head bet is typically made between two golfers. The bettor chooses which golfer he thinks is the best value to win.
Like betting on hockey and baseball teams, matchup betting in golf is based on a moneyline. The moneyline tells the bettor how much they have to risk and how much they will win on said bet. The quickest way to understand the money line is using $100. For example, if Rory McIlroy is a -180 favorite versus Jordan Spieth +150, you will have to risk $180 to win $100 on McIlroy. If you bet on Spieth, you will risk $100 to win $150. To be clear, you aren’t required to bet $100. You can bet as much or as little as your sportsbook will allow.
Sometimes the math can be confusing depending on the amount you want to wager. Luckily, all the best online sports betting sites will automatically do the math for you, and the tellers at live sportsbooks will confirm the final payout before accepting any money.
Matchup betting can be done on a single round or for the whole tournament, i.e., all four rounds combined.
If you bet on a matchup for the round, you only need your golfer to beat his opponent for that specific round. Say Spieth trails McIlroy by three shots heading into the final round, and you bet on Spieth over McIlroy in round four. To win your matchup bet, you only need Spieth to score better than McIlroy in round four. If Spieth shoots 2-under and McIlroy shoots 1-under, McIlroy may have a better tournament score, but for the purposes of your bet, Spieth won the round and your bet is winner.
You can also use pre-tournament moneylines to bet on matchups on all four rounds combined.
In most cases, if golfers tie during the round or tournament, then the bet is graded as a push. When a bet pushes, the bettor gets their money back, neither winning nor losing anything.
Some sportsbooks treat golf matchups like soccer matchups, allowing bettors to bet on the tie and at higher odds. When a tie is available to bet on, then a tie results as a loss if selected one of the two golfers.
The additional risk gives each golfer a better price. Where McIlroy was -180 and Jordan Spieth +150 in the traditional matchup bet, McIlroy might now be -140, Spieth +180, and the tie +600.
While the matchup bets are based on a moneyline, you might come across the option of betting on spread between golfers. The favorite is usually favored by -1.5 strokes, and the underdog is +1.5 strokes. On spreads like this, the favorite would have to win by two or more strokes to win; the +1.5 underdog could lose by one stroke, tie, or win outright and your bet would be a winner.
PGA Golf Three Ball and Group Betting
Three Ball betting is a lot like the latter matchup bets. But instead of a tie, an additional golfer is added, forming groups of three to bet on.
For bigger tournaments like major championships, the groups can get even larger. You could have the option of betting on a golfer from a group of five or six golfers.
PGA Golf First Round Leader Betting
With so many players in the field and so many variables within a tournament, including weather, tee times, course conditions, etc., golf has a lot of variance. Rory McIlroy, who some consider the best golfer in the world, only won twice between 2017 and his 2019 win at the Players Championship.
Variance is even more significant when you cut what is normally a four-round bet to a single round. You can do this by betting on first round leader.
Betting on first round leader is similar to betting on an outright golfer to win the tournament, only for betting’s sake, the “winner” is whoever leads at the end of the first round.
One advantage of betting first round leader is that you don’t have to wait all four rounds for your bet to be graded out. You know if you win or lose by the end of Thursday.
A sharper reason to bet on first round leader is to take advantage of long shots who you believe can go low in a single round, but who may have less confidence in betting for a whole tournament. You can get premium odds on these golfers while avoiding the risk of them regressing after the first round.
Since the tournament isn’t over in the first round, your golfer may end up tied for lead with others. In this case, a Dead Heat rule comes into play at most sportsbooks.
When the rule comes into effect, your payout is divided by the number of “winners” tied at the top of the leaderboard. If you originally placed a $10 bet on 20-to-1 odds and your golfer is tied with three others, then your original $200 payout is divided by four, resulting in a $50 of profit.
PGA Golf Place Betting – Top 20, Top 10 and Top 5
Picking outright winners is no easy task. Even when you have a card of six to 10 golfers, winning weeks can be far and few between. Place betting may better suit the more risk averse sports investor.
By place betting, you pick a golfer to place in the top 20, top 10 or top 5 rather than counting on your golfer to win outright. Of course, golfers’ odds are significantly reduced in these bets.
In many cases, you can even bet on whether your golfer will make or miss the cut.
PGA Golf Each-Way Bets
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than betting on a golfer to win and having them come in second place. They beat 154 golfers of the 156-person field – over 99 percent! – yet your ticket is just as big of loser as your friend’s whose golfer didn’t even make the cut.
For bettors who find the reduced risk in place betting appealing but want to keep the excitement and upside of outright picks, some sportsbooks offer a hybrid option between the two called an each-way bet.
Each-way bets are essentially two separate bets, but with the ease of one click and ticket. Half of your bet is to win, and the other half of the bet is to place, providing insurance if you make a good pick that falls just shy of winning.
Tips for First Time Golf Bettors
Golf prices are volatile and fluctuate from site to site more than other sports. This makes it even more important to shop around for the best odds to help your long-term ROI. Be sure to look for the best sign up bonuses and promotions, too.
Pay attention to golfers current form, particularly by looking at stats like strokes gained tee-to-green, strokes gained off-the-tee, and strokes gained approach. Don’t put too much stock into putting. Putting is one of the noisiest stats in golf. A golfer that is generally considered a bad putter can get hot in any given tournament. On the other hand, a golfer who averages 270 yard drives isn’t magically going to start hitting it as far as Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.
Bet on more than one golfer. As mentioned before, it’s not easy to pick a winner. Spread out your exposure by making a betting card that includes multiple golfers you think are good values. Don’t pick too many golfers, though. I generally pick 4-6, but this can vary depending the odds of the golfers you’re betting one. If you like a lot of longshots, feel free to make a bigger betting card. If you like a couple of the favorites, then it might be best to keep your betting card small.
(Top Photo: Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)