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How to Bet on Golf: 5 Tips and Strategies

by June 1, 2020

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To an inexperienced bettor, betting on golf simply means picking a player to win a tournament. However, golf betting offers much more variety than that by way of creative future and prop bets.

One thing that is very appealing about golf betting is the massive potential payouts. In many tournaments, players with a decent chance of winning can be found at +10000 odds or better. In what team-based sport can you find odds like that?

Bettors need to keep in mind why these payouts are so high. The odds of finding the one golfer out of 100+ competing to win a tournament are heavily against a bettor. Thus, to be a profitable golf bettor one needs to be aware of smart bets versus sucker bets.

Here are our five best tips and strategies to use when betting on golf.

Avoid First-Round Leader Bets

The favorites to win a tournament can typically be found at odds of +800 to +1500. However, bettors are often enticed by larger odds on these players to be the leader after the first round. Bettors think wagering on the first-round leader puts them at a more advantageous situation since they have to worry about one round of play instead of four. The same golfers who were +800 to +1500 to win the tournament are likely to have FRL odds of +1500 to +2000.

FRL bets should be avoided altogether. There is simply too much variation that can happen in any single round of golf. Sure, some experts will tip who has the advantage to be the FRL after looking at a weather report. They may determine that early morning versus late afternoon starters have a better chance to score low given a change in wind or other factors throughout the day.

However, a FRL bet is nothing more than throwing a dart at a dartboard. It is not often that a golfer goes “wire-to-wire” and leads a tournament at the end of each round. This adds to the sentiment that anyone is capable of leading after the first round. Therefore, do not trick yourself into confidently believing you have the answer.

In addition, many bettors can get hurt by a sportsbook’s “dead heat rule” when it comes to FRL bets. A dead heat rule means in case of a tie, a bettor’s payout would be divided by how many people the player was tied with. Suppose you had a $100 bet on Brooks Koepka to be the FRL at +1000 odds. If he finished in a three-way tie as FRL, your $1000 would be divided by three and you would only win $333 for your bet.

Which Side of the Draw Has the Advantage?

Though looking at weather was dismissed for first-round leader purposes, forecasts should absolutely be taken into consideration when attempting to pick a tournament’s winner.

Before a tournament starts, all threesomes and tee times are posted for the first two rounds. Thus, looking at weather will only give you an advantage for half the tournament. Tee times for the third and final rounds are determined by players’ scores. However, given that the cut happens after the second round, you want to make sure the player you bet on is sticking around and playing golf on the weekend.

In some tournaments, the better draw weather-wise can gain more than a stroke on their counterparts. With tournaments like the Open Championship, when the wind will blow and how hard is vital information. Simply put, do not place a futures bet on the winner of a tournament without first looking at a weather forecast.

Wait Until After the First Round for Futures Bets

If you are an avid golf bettor, you have likely placed a bet on a golfer to win a tournament only to see their hopes go up in flames after a poor first round. There is an old saying that “you cannot win a golf tournament after the first round, but you can lose it.” Thus, some bettors find themselves ripping up their betting tickets 25% of the way into the tournament.

Instead of taking a risk on all four rounds, it is wiser to wait until the first round is completed to make such a wager. Most sportsbooks offer a live betting option during and at the end of each round.

Granted, waiting to see how the first round plays out before making a futures bet can lessen players’ odds significantly. However, unless a player is running away with a tournament and opens up a four or five-shot lead after the first round, one can still find enticing enough odds on all players.

Top 10 and Top 20 Markets Can Provide Nice Payouts

Bettors insistent on placing futures bets on golf tournaments should take a look at Top 10 and Top 20 markets. These are bets on players to finish in the top 10 or 20 at a tournament’s end as opposed to winning. Thus, it gives a bettor a lot more chance to win instead of rooting for a first-place finish.

One issue with these bets is there is almost no value in wagering on the best players. The favorite to win a tournament might have odds of -2500 to finish in the top 20. Thus, bettors should be using these markets on longshots to win a tournament but who are capable of being competitive.

Take Advantage of the 50/50 Props

Bettors who are used to wagering on other sports may not be as comfortable with solely betting on future odds. If that is the case, golf still offers more “50/50” propositions similar to betting against the spread.

Most sportsbooks offer a head-to-head matchup option between two players. This head-to-head matchup can be bet on for a single round or the entire tournament. In addition, 50/50 props are commonly offered through live betting. Bettors can wager on which player will score lower on a single hole. Or, one can place a bet on if a particular golfer will score a “birdie or better” or a “par or worse” on a particular hole.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Betting 101, Betting Tips, Golf, How-To