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Golf Betting Strategies

How do we approach betting on golf tournaments?

What factors do we look at?

How much do recent trends or course history matter?

Relax everyone, take a deep breath. Our golf experts wouldn’t leave you hanging without providing you with an in-depth guide on what to consider when betting on golf tournaments.

Depending on the course and the tournament, we will have to examine a few different things.

Let’s start by examining something that changes on a weekly basis in professional golf.

Understand the Different Courses

If you’ve ever played more than one round of golf at two or more different courses in your life, you know that not all courses are created equally. In fact, they’re not even close.

What you may not be aware of is how important this is to placing winning golf bets. It’s important for a few reasons.

First, different courses lend themselves to different skill sets.

If you’re accurate off the tee, you’re going to do better on a course with tight fairways and penalizing rough. If you’re a tremendous putter, you’re going to fare well at courses with challenging and fast greens.

If you’re a surgeon with your irons, you will enjoy course setups where approach shots are guarded by vicious hazards.

Most courses on the PGA Tour “place a premium” on one facet of the game. Of course, to win on the toughest tour in the world, you are going to need to bring you’re “A game” in all categories. However, knowing which courses place a premium on crisp and accurate ball-striking over the ones that require excessive length or great lag putting will help guide you in making your bets.

To make smart wagers, you need to understand what each golfer’s skill sets are and be able to translate that into what courses each should do well on.

That certainly doesn’t mean that a golfer who is short off the tee isn’t capable of winning at a long course or that a golfer who doesn’t putt well can’t win at a course with lightning quick greens.

It just means that they are going to have a tougher time and therefore it may not be as wise of a bet.

Secondly, you need to be aware of the golfer’s history and results at a particular course and tournament. Ask yourself the following questions about the golfers before a specific golf tournament.

  • Have they won or consistently finished towards the top of the leaderboard at this event?
  • Have they consistently missed the cut or underperformed at this tournament?
  • Do they turn into a machine when they get to that particular course or tournament?

You want to know these answers before you start placing golf wagers on a specific week.

Don’t just blindly go throwing your hard-earned money at the wall hoping something sticks.

Doing a little research on the course and the player’s history at that course can go a long way towards padding your wallet.

Factor in the Weather

While the weather will make things equally more difficult or equally easier for every golfer, not every golfer is going to respond the same to the changing conditions. Golfers’ attitudes and skill sets need to be factored in when the “going gets tough.”

Certain guys just don’t enjoy playing in cold, rainy conditions and therefore aren’t as focused and determined on those wet and muddy weeks filled with lower wind-chill temperatures. At the same token, some players relish the opportunity to play under tough conditions. They embrace all weather elements thrown at them and just plug away at the golf course.

The other way to factor the weather conditions into your projections in terms of betting is understanding how certain weather conditions affect golfers and the course they are playing.

An example would be:

If there has been a substantial amount of rainfall and the course is soaking wet, players will not be getting any roll. These circumstances would favor a player who is long off the tee.

Let’s say a U.S. Open is playing extraordinarily firm and fast and the rough is up. In hot and dry weather this tends to be the case. This type of course setup lends itself to a golfer who is deadly accurate off the tee.

The extended roll out on the tee shots will allow the shorter hitters to gain extra distance. It’s the players who can manage their golf ball and keep it “in the short stuff” that will be most likely to contend that week.

What is important to note about this segment is that trying to figure out the exact weather forecast isn’t something to go overboard with. Don’t spend all your time and energy trying to be a meteorologist.

We have all seen instances where sunshine was projected, and it poured cats and dogs. We have expected a lot of wind to come up and it stayed calm throughout the event.

There will be cases when you can have a pretty darn good idea of the type of weather that will be experienced for a given week. Knowing which players welcome and flourish in the tougher conditions is something to keep an eye on.

Understanding how wind and rain affect golf courses and scoring conditions must also be accounted for.

The combination of understanding the course and the potential weather is a fantastic start

to building your betting models for the week.

You don’t have to be building models with this data, but at least try and take the information you are given and see how it applies. Doing that will give you a leg up on your competition.

Be Careful of Big Names / Media Hype

This may be one of the single most important sports betting tips you will ever get. It most certainly applies to the sport of golf. There is so much variance in golf, and not to mention the depth of talent in any given tournament is outstanding.

Many casual bettors like to wager on the popular household names.

Maybe bet on a guy just because he won last week and “everyone else is doing it”.

This is exactly what you need to avoid doing. Winning a golf tournament is hard enough.

Winning consecutive golf tournaments is even tougher. When a well-known player wins an event, his odds for the next event get worse for bettors. You don’t want to take a golfer at 10:1 just because he won last week if that golfer is typically 30:1 to win a tournament.

You need to ask yourself the question:

Do you want to try and look cool or do you want to be a successful golf sports bettor?

We’re assuming it’s the latter. We can also tell you that winning money will feel pretty great as well. For this reason, you need to be extremely careful about what information you choose to use when making your picks.

Do your own research. Ask yourself what you think is going to happen in a golf tournament before you start to look at what the “experts” say. There are plenty of analysts online that are great to follow, but there are plenty more that are just looking to increase readership by entertaining.

If you’re going to use analysts to help you make your picks, make sure you look for ones that understand betting and seem to care about being right more than they care about entertaining.

Bet Multiple Golfers

When you’re picking a golfer to bet to win a tournament, it may be a great idea to bet multiple golfers. This will lower your variance and give you a lot more options to win. A lot of people seem to forget that this is an option as it requires you to understand the payout odds a little bit.

Let’s take a peek at the odds for an upcoming professional golf tournament.

The absolute favorite to win the tournament was listed at +1200. This means that if you bet $100 on this golfer to win, you would make $1200 in profit!

This means that if you bet $100 on 11 other golfers, you would still return a profit if the odds-on favorite won! Let’s look at the odds to win on the top five golfers in that tournament.

Golfer 1+1200
Golfer 2+1600
Golfer 3+1600
Golfer 4+1800
Golfer 5+2500

Let’s say you bet $10 on each of these golfers to win this tournament. Your total bets would be $50. If you only bet $10 on Golfer 1 and they were to win, you would profit $120.

That’s great, but you only have one shot to win. If anyone else wins the tournament, you lose. Following this strategy, you’ve now got five different golfers that can win and you will see a profit.

If Golfer 1 wins, you will get $120 from that win minus the $40 you lost on the other bets. This would be a profit of $80. Not as great as $120, but you gave yourself four additional ways to win If any of the other four golfers won. Here’s the breakdown of how much you would profit if any of your five selected golfers came out on top.

  • Golfer 2 would net you $110 in profit.
  • Golfer 3 would net you $110 in profit.
  • Golfer 4 would net you $130 in profit.
  • Golfer 5 would net you $200 in profit

The important thing to remember here is that you will need to lower your wager amounts to stay within your bankroll. For example, if your budget for betting the tournament is $50 and you’re used to betting $50 on the golfer you like, don’t start betting $50 on multiple golfers.

If you bet five golfers, you’d now be wagering $250 instead of your allotted $50. Instead, bet $10 on each golfer. The payouts will be smaller if you win but you should be able to win way more often with less variance.

People often ask what the correct number of golfers to bet is. Honestly, it’s going to be dependent on so many different things. The best advice we can give you is bet as many golfers as you want that you see value on while still being able to turn a decent profit that you’re happy with if you win.

For example:

Don’t bet 20 different golfers where you would only make a couple of dollars if you win.

If you see three or four golfers you think have a great shot of winning (better than what the sportsbook is paying), then bet those three or four. If you happen to see only two that you think have value, bet just those two golfers.

If the term value is new to you, you may want to read on to our next tip where we will explain what that means and how to look for it.

Look for Value

Betting golf tournaments is not just about correctly betting on who you think will win. It’s about finding golfers who you think have a solid chance of winning and sportsbooks paying out too much money for a win.

When you see the +1200 from our above example on the golfer who is the favorite, that does not just tell you how much money you will make for correctly picking that golfer. It also tells you roughly how often the sportsbook thinks that golfer is going to win the tournament expressed as a percentage.

To find this percentage you need to convert the payout odds to an implied probability. You can take this a step further by removing the casino juice, but for today we will keep it simplified.

If you’d like a full breakdown about how to convert payout odds to implied probability, you can take a look at this dedicated guide on it:

If you’re lazy or like to do things the easy way (which we recommend), you can use the implied probability calculator that we conveniently built for you.

Before you do that, though, let’s talk about what this number means and what we should be expecting to see. The implied probability is going to tell you how often the casino thinks this golfer is going to win the tournament.

They will be paying you out based on what that percentage is; meaning that you will break even if the sportsbook is correct (minus their juice).

But, if you think the golfer is MORE likely to win than the sportsbook says, you have found value. Let’s say that you think the golfer who is the favorite for that tournament will win 1 out of every 10 times they run the tournament.

You feel like the golfer has a 10% chance of winning. You then go and plug +1200 into the implied probability calculator, and you see that the sportsbook is paying out as if the golfer has a 7.69% chance of winning.

As you know that the sportsbook will always pay out more money the less likely something is to happen, you realize that this is a good bet. The sportsbook will be paying you as if it is only about 7% likely to happen, but you feel it is more like 10% likely to happen.

You are always looking for opportunities where the implied probability
is LOWER than what you think the actual probability is.

If you’re right, you’ll make money over the long-run by placing bets like this.

This is the essence of finding value in sports betting and is the key to being a successful sports bettor. If anyone ever tells you they are a professional or experienced sports bettor and does not understand this concept, they are full of themselves.

The Takeaway

This is a good foundation to use anytime you are contemplating who to bet on during the next golf tournament. Now you know what to look for on a given week.

By simply doing a little research on the course and the golfers’ history at that tournament, you can find yourself well ahead of your betting buddies.

Not buying too much into recent play can also help you avoid “being a week late to the party”. Of course, focusing on recent form matters. You want to bet on golfers who have shown signs of solid play in recent tournaments.

What you don’t want to do is run to the online sites and wager a bunch of money on a golfer this week just because he shot 20 under par and won the week before. In fact, shying away from last week’s winner isn’t a bad philosophy.

Most recreational bettors will be betting on last week’s winner, so leave that silly stuff to the public. You want to be a sharp bettor. What sharp bettors do is focus on the stuff that really matters. The categories we have broken down above are those aspects that sharp golf bettors are looking at.

Study the material and don’t be afraid to do a little homework. You will be winning money betting golf quicker than you ever imagined!