Betting on golf can be a roller-coaster ride, but there’s no more enjoyable sweat than holding a futures ticket on a golfer who finds himself in contention heading into the final day of a tournament.
Just like the guys competing, all you can do as a bettor is put yourself in position to win come the back 9 on Sunday. But how do you maximize your chances of doing so? Here are 8 tips to follow.
1) STUDY THE ODDS AND FIND VALUE OPPORTUNITIES
Is the golfer being under or overpriced by books? Oddsmakers know which players the public likes to bet on and it’s usually the top players (Rahm, Rory, Scheffler) so they’ll be priced at shorter odds. But as PGA TOUR fans know, many players can win any weekend. This offers bettors an opportunity to pounce on players who are further down the odds board.
The average starting odds of the winning golfer on the PGA TOUR this season is +4038 through 27 tournaments. Golf bettors are looking for a big pay day when we bet on the outright market, so don’t be shy taking a stab at players in the +3000 to +5000 range.
2) CURRENT FORM IS KEY
How has this golfer been playing in recent weeks? Golfers tend to play good golf leading up to a victory. Look at recent tournaments to see which players are hovering on leaderboards in those events. Golfers that are trending north (ie finishing top 10 multiple times) are far more confident than players who’ve been missing cuts.
Zone in on players who are part of the picture on Sunday in recent weeks and contending in the final round heat. Rarely does a player in poor form come out of the blue to win a golf tournament.
3) LOOK INTO COURSE HISTORY AND PERFORMANCE ON COMPARABLE COURSES
How has this golfer played at this venue — or a course with similar traits — in previous editions of the tournament? An easy point of research is looking at who’s played well at this course in prior years. Golfers are compulsive people. They have favorite courses and courses that are not good fits for their games. If a player has finished in the top 10/20 of a tournament in prior years, there’s a good chance they’ll perform well there again.
Let’s say the course yardage is 7,600 yards (a bomber’s course); focus on players that are longer off the tee and accurate drivers, and veer away from shorter hitters who will have longer approach shots as opposed to players who will be hitting wedges into the greens.
4) ALWAYS PRACTICE LINE SHOPPING
Check each sportsbook’s odds before placing a bet to ensure you’re getting the best price on the golfer you’re targeting. Don’t be loyal to any one sportsbook. This is more important in golf than any other sport. The odds vary greatly from one book to the next, every week. Not all bets are created equal. Where you bet can make a huge difference in how much you profit. Justin Thomas may be +2200 on FanDuel, but +2600 on BetMGM. That’s a $400 difference on a winning $100 wager. Hitting an outright golf bet is not easy, but if you do cash, it’s imperative to capture the best price on your pick. Value is captured through odds shopping.
5) MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS
You must look at golfer’s tee times, as well as the forecast for Thursday and Friday. Some weeks, there’s a benefit to which side of the draw golfers are on (AM/PM wave). Let’s say the forecast is calling for light winds on Thursday, with gusts picking up to 25 mph in the afternoon.
Very likely, the golfers who teed off in the morning wave will be at the top of the leaderboard come day’s end. This is also very important if you’re betting on a first-round leader, a popular market for PGA TOUR bettors.
6) PAY ATTENTION TO SPORTSBOOKS’ EXPOSURE
By and large it’s advantageous to stay away from the golfers commanding a large ticket percentage at sportsbooks. Betting the chalk is not a profitable strategy. Sportsbooks give out this data for free. Check which golfers are drawing the most tickets or betting handle. Zone in on players the sportsbooks are pulling for, as they’ll almost always be in the green in the outright market.
7) KEEP TABS ON MARKET MOVEMENT
Oddsmakers adjust golfers’ odds from Monday to Thursday, so keep an eye out for pre-tournament price movement. This helps you identify who the public is backing. If Tyrell Hatton opened +4800 on PointsBet on Monday, but has shortened to +3600 on Wednesday, this indicates they’ve taken public action on him. The more betting exposure a player gets, the shorter their odds will be by the time the tournament tees off.
8) WHO ARE YOU FADING?
Use this as a process of elimination — ie mark off the golfers you don’t think will win the tournament. Look at the top 10 to 20 favorites on the odds board. Let’s say Patrick Cantlay’s odds to win are +1600, and Jordan Spieth’s odds are +2100. If you are confident that Spieth has as good a shot to win as Cantlay, you’re better off laying $100 on Spieth. So many players are capable of winning, but you can’t bet on all of them (try to keep your futures portfolio to 4 or 5 players a week). Let the board come to you.
I’m a WagerWire Contributor Focused on PGA Tour/Golf Betting
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