How do you bet on golf? Golf betting tips and strategies

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Updated: May 17, 2021

Jason Logan
Clock Icon May 17, 2021 – 8:42 AM ET | Read Time: 5 min

Golf has long been a popular sport to bet on, especially in the UK and other parts of Europe. But it is now one of the fastest rising betting markets in North America as well. The PGA Tour is embracing gambling and is forming partnerships with betting operators. This has led to odds being integrated into telecasts and more betting markets being offered at betting sites.

Whether you’re just starting out in golf betting or you’re looking to improve your game, read on to learn more about how to bet on golf. 

How to bet on the PGA Tour

Professional circuits such as the PGA Tour offer golf odds almost every week, making golf very much a year-round sport. The biggest events in golf betting are the major PGA tournaments:

With more people betting on golf, the ways in which you can wager have exploded. And with tournaments lasting four days, sportsbooks are quick to post updated golf betting odds, offering options far beyond which golfer will top the leaderboard.  

Types of golf bets

Much like major team sports, there are many options on how you can bet on golf. The most popular market is picking the outright winner of the tournament, but you’ll find many other options, including head-to-head matchups and plenty of props. 

Betting on the outright winner 

The most common way to bet on golf is to pick which player will win the tournament. For example, here are the odds to win the PGA Championship, as of May 17, 2021.  

Golfer PGA Championship Odds
Rory McIlroy +1,100
Collin Morikawa +3,000

Here, Rory McIlroy is a +1,100 favorite to win the PGA Championship, which means you could profit $1,100 for every $100 wagered if Rory wins at Kiawah Island. The favorite to win a golf tournament generally see their odds range from +800 to +1,200.

Now let’s look at someone who’s further down the betting board like Collin Morikawa. With odds of +3,000, a $100 bet would profit $3,000 should Morikawa successfully defend his title. 

Each-way odds

Each-way odds allow you to bet on a player to win the tournament but also finish within a certain standing, such as Top 3 or Top 8. An each-way bet is technically two bets with two separate payouts. If a player wins the tournament, they would win both sides of the each-way bet. If they didn’t win but finished third, then just the Top-3 side of the each-way bet would win. 

As shown in the example above, you can bet on which player will win the tournament. These bets are normally placed before the event begins and are graded on the final leaderboard after four rounds. You can also bet on the outright winner between rounds and during play if sportsbooks offer live golf odds. 

Head-to-head and three-way odds 

Rather than bet on one player versus the entire field, you can bet one player versus another in head-to-head golf betting odds, similar to a moneyline. Oddsmakers will set odds on which player will post the higher finishing position and you can pick which player you think will have the better tournament. 

Three-way golf odds simply add a third player to the odds mix and you can bet on which of the three players involved will finish higher at the end of the tournament. 

Four more ways to bet on golf

1

Round totals 

Oddsmakers will set a projected final score for the round for a player and you can bet on whether the player will finish with an actual score Over or Under that round total.  

For example, Tiger Woods’ Round 1 score total could be 69.5. That means that if you think Woods will finish with a score of 69 or better, you would bet on the Under. If you think Woods will shoot more than 69 in Round 1, then you would bet the Over.  

2

Golf prop bets

Betting golf props is one of the fastest-growing markets, with golf odds on everything from hole-to-hole results, odds on a hole-in-one and if a player will make the cut or not. You’ll find the most golf betting props at the major tournaments such as the Masters, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and British Open Championship. 

3

Golf futures 

Futures odds to win the major tournaments are often open well before the week of the event, such as odds to win the Masters or U.S. Open. Golf betting markets for those big tournaments are taking action months before Round 1 begins. 

4

Live betting on golf

Most online or mobile sportsbooks will offer live golf odds as a tournament plays out, constantly adjusting to the results on the course. This includes outright winner odds, odds to win the round and hole-by-hole odds for select players. 

Golf betting tips

When betting on golf odds, there are a few key factors to consider before placing your wager:  

Golf Ball Or Club Current form

Current form is where the oddsmakers start when building out the weekly tournament odds, so it’s where golf bettors should begin their handicapping. Just like teams, golfers can go through hot and cold streaks. 

These streaks can include tournament wins, Top-5 and Top-10 finishes or just playing beyond their usual standard and average finish. You’ll want to look closely at these streaks and what’s driving them. Sometimes it’s an uptick in performance but other times it’s simply competing against weaker tournament fields.

Cold streaks can also manifest themselves, and many times these skids can be connected to a particular part of a player’s game, like poor putting or driving accuracy. Injuries and recovery time, as well as tinkering with swing mechanics, techniques and working in new clubs can also impact a golfer’s results.

Golf Green Course fit 

The popular golf betting term is “horse for courses”: matching a player’s strengths and weaknesses to the current course layout. 

Some golf courses have wider fairways and boast a longer average length per hole, making them better suited to golfers who carry a hefty average distance per drive and can quickly find the green. On the flip of this, courses with narrow fairways and hazards off the tee box reward player’s with greater driving accuracy.

A surplus of water and sand bunkers as well as tricky pin placement emphasizes finding players with an accurate approach and solid scrambling metrics, while unpredictable undulating greens can quickly give those elite putters the edge on the leaderboard. 

Golf Course Course history 

Be it layout, familiarity or just consistent comfort, golfers often take to certain courses and can be counted on to follow their recent history from those past rounds. The same can be said for struggles on particular courses. 

Golf bettors should always look at a player’s history on a course, dissecting for round-by-round consistencies and how the tournament’s layout matches those of the previous years. Regional familiarity should also be considered, as golfers from that state or region likely have experience playing these courses outside of pro events.

Weather  Weather 

Weather can completely change how a course plays, from strong winds forcing players to shorten their drives and lean on accuracy to rain soaking the fairways and greens, making the course play slower. Before betting the golf futures, head-to-head markets or prop odds, always look at the extended forecast for the entire tournament as well the detailed daily forecasts.

From there, you can measure how much the weather can help or hurt a player based on their skill sets or look at which players are used to playing in less-than-ideal conditions based on where they’re from.

Depending on start times, golfers could face varying degrees of weather during the day. A player scheduled to go out in the early morning could face a softer and slower course than a golfer playing later in the afternoon when the sun and heat have dried out the fairways and greens, making them play faster.

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