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The Top 5 Bet Types for Beginner Golf Bettors

by January 29, 2020
FedEx St. Jude Classic PGA Tour Betting Odds, Picks & Guide

Do you enjoy watching golf but have never learned how to bet on it properly? You’ve come to the right place. Wagering on the links can seem overwhelming at first, but with our help, you’ll learn the ropes in no time on your way to becoming a profitable golf bettor.

Here are the top five bet types for beginner golf bettors.

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Pre-Tournament Bets

This is the most common and simplest type of golf wager. Since the majority of tournaments start on Thursday, getting your bets in before action tees off is the best way to find value. Given the size of the fields, it can be tricky to pick a winner, so don’t get frustrated if the player you chose fails to make the cut. All you have to do is pick one or more golfers, and you’re locked-in for the duration of the event.

The favorite for any given golf event usually falls in the +700 range, meaning that if that player goes on to win the tournament, a $100 bet will win you a profit of $700. PGA Tour members like Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, and Rory McIlroy usually find themselves at the top of odds lists with short odds, but it never hurts to pick some long shots that could create massive payouts.

Three-Ball/Head-to-Head Bets

The majority of golf events start in groups of three, so sportsbooks will give bettors the option of picking whichever golfer they think will have the best score of the group in the specified round. Three-ball bets will be decided at the end of that round, so bettors won’t have to wait until the tournament is over to in order to collect their potential winnings. If at least two of the members of the group are tied for the lowest score after 18 holes, the three-ball bet is lost.

Head-to-head matchup bets are especially fun because they pit two players against each other based on the individual rounds as well as the overall tournament matchups. If Thomas and McIlroy are both in the field at a tournament, their odds to win the matchup would likely be even at -110 apiece.

Prop Bets

Props are arguably the most fun form of golf betting, and there’s no shortage of props available at sportsbooks for big tournaments — especially for the four majors (the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship). The variety of props can include the winner’s nationality, whether or not there will be a hole-in-one, and how many players will finish under par.

You can find significant value in props, so while they’re meant to be fun, they’re also an excellent way to make some money.

Live Betting

Live betting has been one of the fastest-growing forms of wagering across all sports in recent years, and it’s no different in the golfing world. Unlike team sports, live betting in golf can come down to a single swing of the club to either make or break your bet. Let’s say you’re betting on the final round of the Masters, and two players are tied for the lead on the 18th hole — the difference of one stroke can lock in a win or guarantee a loss.

If you have an inclination on who you think is going to win, you can place a live bet on that golfer before he even tees off to increase the stakes. Live betting can be done throughout a tournament, and it’s a nice alternative if your pre-tournament wagers failed to come to fruition.


Futures bets are a great way to lock-in your picks well before an event begins. It’s an excellent method to capitalize on value months in advance, as your bet won’t be subject to any further odds moves the sportsbooks make before.

If a player you think is going to go on a hot streak is +5000 to win the Masters in January, you can bet him immediately. If he plays well down the stretch and is +3000 before play begins at Augusta National in April, you’ll still have him at the +5000 number.

It can be frustrating to see the money tied up in your account months ahead of the time, but the potential payoff can certainly be worth the wait.

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Luke Miller is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Luke, check out his archive.

Betting 101, Golf