Golf is one of the most underrated sports in the industry for betting. It’s grown massively over the last decade or so and the number of markets that are now on offer is huge. It’s the lure of the big pay day from the outright betting market that is the big head turner for golf bettors though.
What’s great about this market is that there are so many players that can win the many different tournaments. Many people see this as a minefield, but if you know what you’re looking for, the outright betting market can be one of the best that you can choose.
It’s worth noting that there are several tours involved with golf, with the main tours for both men and women occurring in Europe and the United States, respectively. These are going to be good places to start if you are new to betting on the sport given the plethora of information online, but as you get more advanced you can start to target tours that take place in Asia and Africa that are still strong but aren’t as well covered.
The way this market works is very simple. You are betting on the player to win the tournament outright. This will be the player who has the lowest score over the 72 holes that the tournament runs for.
Golf betting rules
Before we move onto the strategy section there are a few betting rules that you need to be aware of that apply to golf. One of the most common is that of dead heat rules.
This is where there are two or more players tied for a certain position. Now, there are no ties for 1st place, as if two or more players are tied after 72 holes then they go into a play off to determine a winner; but ties can happen for any other position on the leaderboard and they are actually very common.
The dead heat rule applies to two or more players tied for the same spot. When this happens, the bookmaker adjusts your stake to accommodate the number of people included. For example, if there are three players tied for a place, then you would divide your stake by 3 and this would be your new stake for the purposes of working out winnings.
Secondly, whilst it is rare for tournaments to be cancelled, there may be times where they lose a round due to the weather. If this is the case then it can be that the tournament is reduced to 54 or even 36 holes in severe weather. When this happens, the bookmaker goes off the official result set by the tour for the outright winner.
As with most bet types, you can apply a decent amount of strategy to golf. Here are some of our best golf betting tips.
Asses the course
People often dive into predicting which player is going to win and they base this solely on the form of the player. Whilst this is very relevant and something that we will address later, one of the aspects that is massively overlooked is the course.
One of the interesting things about golf is that no two courses are the same. They all have different characteristics such as the layout, the length, weather conditions, size of greens, size of fairways, thickness of rough and countless other variables.
This means that each course is going to suit a certain type of golfer more than another. For example, links courses are those often found in costal locations. They contain very few trees and their defence is that often the weather conditions can change very quickly. They are usually short courses as they are often old, so haven’t been designed with modern day clubs and balls in mind.
In order to overcome how short the courses are, you need to be very accurate to play well there. You don’t need to hit the ball miles, but you do need to be very strong off the tee and then great with your shorter irons.
If we were looking at stats, an obvious place to start would be the strokes gained on the field at links courses historically. This basically means the combined areas of their game that come together to create an area that is overall stronger than the field. For example, if the “field” on average shot 70 at links courses and a player on average shot 68 at links golf courses, then you would say that they gained 2 strokes on the field. 2 strokes are a lot in golf.
To look at actual players, we can see that those such as Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Steve Striker, Zack Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald are all names that are right up there when it comes to total strokes gained at links venues. You wouldn’t consider any of these to be “bombers” of the game and whilst they aren’t all “short” by any means, their strengths lie in accuracy rather than distance.
Of course, we can create this information for any course type in the world. The key is understanding the characteristics of what makes up the course and then the attributes that are needed from the players to be successful at that golf course.
Horses for courses
Whilst this carries on a little from the above strategy (working backwards from choosing the player that suits the course), you can also work with courses that suit the eye of the player as well. Sometimes, trends can be harder to work out but they are easier to find.
One of the easiest places for this is the Augusta National, which is home to the Masters. It’s the only major that is at the same venue every year, which makes it a special trip for many. It’s also the only invite-only major of the year as well.
Sometimes the link between player and course is worth more than just form alone. Jordan Spieth is a great example of this at Augusta. The two-time winner has the highest strokes gained number of any player since Ben Hogan.
Spieth gains on average 3.26 strokes over the field average scoring. Given the difficulty of the course and the strength of the field, this is an amazing stat. It’s higher than the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.
From a punter’s perspective, you could pretty confidently back Spieth to go well over the next decade or so at least, just based on the success he has had over the last 5 years. Certain courses always hold special appeal for certain players, so make sure that you are able to find any connections like Spieth’s to Augusta National.
Pick more than one player
When betting on the outright winner, picking just 1 player from a field that might be 150+ strong is tough. In fact, if this is your strategy then it’s likely going to cost you a lot of money over time given how hard it is to win.
The best way to do it is to spread your bets.
We like to include at least 3 or 4 picks as winners for each event. This may sound a lot and you need to make sure that you are betting within your bankroll, but given that it’s not uncommon to see 50/1 winners, the smaller stakes that are spread make for great rewards.
Creating a player stable is something that a lot of professional bettors like to do. This means that they have around 10 – 20 players whose game they know inside out and can fire into form at any time. They know the courses that suit them, the courses that don’t, and the price that they need to find good value for each bet.
The work that goes into creating a stable is vast. You need to do a lot of research and find a mix of players that have strengths in certain areas. This could be big hitters, great putters, great ball strikers, super consistent players, wild cards and plenty others. You can then apply them as you need to go well at certain tournaments based on your research.
The reason bettors have a stable is because then they won’t need to research every single player in the field for each event, which would be pretty much impossible anyway. It saves a lot of time and it also means that you get to know a good group of players over a decent period of time.
A stable will be constantly evolving; as players performances dip over a prolonged period, then they can be cut from the stable with new additions added in that might have similar features to them, but with better form.
Back to lay
One of the most advantageous things about golf betting is the vast range of stats you can get your hands on. We like to look at scoring averages for the first and second round for players and then as they get off to fast starts, lay them off.
Here is how it works:
The first thing we want to do is start looking through stats-based sites that highlight scoring averages for the 1st and 2nd round. What you will find is that there are a lot of people who have low average scores, but low win ratios as well. This is good, as we need to the low win ratio for the bet.
You see, when you bet on outright markets, the bookmaker is basing it all on if they can get over the line. It’s fine having two good rounds, but if a player follows that with 2 poor rounds they aren’t going to be winning.
The price for these players to win is likely going to be high, even as much as 50/1 or even better. The concept of this bet is to back them pre-tournament at long odds, and as they drop in value, which they will if they get off to a good start, then we lay that off on the exchange to guarantee a profit.
So, we bet on a player to win at odds of 50/1. They lead the 1st round and are now cut to 10/1, so then we lay this price on the exchange to make a profit on if they win or not. The best thing about all this is that golf isn’t fast moving, so you’ve time to work out the price you want to take on each result and the liability you want to leave on that golfer if needed.
Shop around for the best price
This may seem super obvious, but shopping around for the best price is probably more important in golf than pretty much anything else. The reason is that the odds for each selection can range massively.
If you look at the comparison table above, it will give you a good idea of how they might differ. Let’s take Jorge Campillo as our example. If you bet with SportPesa and only that bookmaker, then you would be looking to get odds of 8.00, but by doing just a few seconds of odds shopping you can see that other bookies are offering as high as 15.00 for the same bet. This is almost double.
These differences work their way right down the leaderboard and you can see other examples in the table above. Try and have active accounts at least 3 or 4 bookies so you can jump on and get the best price from your portfolio.
Even if you only bet with 3 or 4 different bookies as opposed to searching everyone on the internet for best odds, you can still make yourself a lot more money than just betting with one single bookie.