Golf betting online has become more and more popular in recent years, making it one of the more commonly-wagered on sports in the United States. Now, the rise of legal sports is opening the door to the sport drawing in even more betting participants and revenue.
Despite much being written of golf's decline in the United States over recent years, the sport is still enjoyed by 25 million Americans annually. Televised golf has never gotten higher ratings and professional tournaments have never had more spectators. Once seen as a niche sport, golf now finds itself more part of the mainstream than ever before and having the ability to live bet on golf adds another layer of enjoyment.
There is plenty to learn but luckily, BonusSeeker is here to break down how golf betting works and the different tournaments and markets to choose from, plus we'll provide some free golf betting tips and strategies.
Golf is different than most mainstream sports in that it's an individual game with events on the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour that encompass four days of competition beginning on Thursday.
The PGA Tour is the premier professional golf body and events are routinely packed with many of the best players from all over the world, so the high level of competition and the growing number of star players combined with increased visibility of the sport on television hasn't hurt, either. PGA Tour betting predictions have become quite popular in recent years thanks to the advent and progress of mobile sports betting, which has led to more markets being included at the best online sportsbooks in the United States. Another of the reasons wagering on golf has become so popular is that the odds are pretty high in many markets. If one is able to diagnose value and use a logical golf betting strategy to make predictions, it's entirely possible to come out as a winner. There are also a growing number of markets that make actually winning on golf easier.
Most of the world's top golfers flock toward the PGA Tour for two main reasons: It offers the most prize money of any professional golf tour as well as the most possible points toward an official world golf ranking.
Before you tee off, it's important to understand how it all works. Most golf futures picks are wagers on which player will win a given tournament before it begins. Every golfer in the field is assigned odds to win the tournament by bookmakers, which will determine the payout for each player. Think of it like you're answering 'yes' to the oddsmakers asking 'will this player win?'
For example, let's look at the 2019 PGA Championship odds from 888 Sportsbook, one of the best NJ betting sites with a great reputation and a generous welcome bonus for new signups. Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose share the honors for the odds-on favorite at +1000 (or 10/1). This means a $100 bet on either of those players would win $1,000. At +1200 (12/1 odds), a $100 bet on Rory McIlroy winning the tournament would garner a $1,200 payout.
The further you move down the list of competitors, the large the odds and payouts become. Since some events can have up to 156 participants, there are quite a few sports betting options to choose from.
When most novices think of PGA Tour betting predictions, they imagine selecting the outright winner of a golf tournament. While that is still the market that causes bettors to take the most action, many online sports betting apps offer odds for several different types of golf bets prior to the beginning of any tournament.Popular Golf Bet Types
Interest in weekly golf odds used to wane after the beginning of the tournament on Thursday, but that is no longer the case. The addition of so many new markets has given players extra ways to take a betting interest in professional golf tournaments through all four days and has sparked the public becoming more intimate with the PGA Tour and its players in general.
The odds below from DraftKings, one of the best NJ and PA online sportsbooks in the industry, along with the following sections will help make sense of these markets and provide explanations for how each bet type works.
Outright betting in golf is both the easiest market to understand and the most difficult one to handicap. It is equivalent to picking the winner of the tournament and also has the most lucrative odds of any market since you're choosing just one golfer from an entire field.
Sportsbooks set odds early in the week and wagers are generally made prior to the start of each four-day tournament, although the addition of live golf betting has made it possible to pick the outright winner at any time throughout the tournament.
Using the above example from DraftKings Sportsbook, we can use these odds from the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship to understand the basics.
Rory McIlroy is the betting favorite with odds of +600, which perfectly explains the main thing to understand about picking outright winners. is one of the few sports where you can wager on one of the favorites and still get high-paying odds because of how much competition there is. Dustin Johnson, who won the event in 2019, is second with +800 odds.
The further you move down the list of competitors, the larger the odds and payouts become. Since some 2019 PGA Tour events can have up to 156 participants, there are quite a few sports betting options to choose from.
Aside from selecting the outright winner of a tournament, the next most popular category has to do with finishing position. Bettors generally have a choice of selecting a golfer to finish in the top five, 10, or 20. although there are even deeper finishing position markets out there.
Signing up with a FanDuel Sportsbook promo code gives you the opportunity to make PGA tour betting predictions for the top 30 and top 40 positions as well, which opens up even more golfers to consider and a larger margin of error for each selection.
One of the best golf betting tips we can give is to focus far more on finishing position than outright winner. The odds aren't astronomical so the payouts are severely lessened but that is not a terrible sacrifice to make considering that predicting a golfer's finishing position provides a much better chance of actually winning something
With that said, these markets can still come with pretty generous odds and this bet (especially top 10, 20, 30 and 40) provide a significant rooting interest that can last all four days.
In the event of multiple players being tied for the same position, sportsbooks will settle the bet with what are called 'dead heat' rules. An example of this would be selecting a player to finish top 10 and he finished tied for 10th place, which means more than 10 golfers are technically considered as winning top 10 wagers.
This basically means that although you are still a winner and will earn a portion of your payout, it won't be equal to the original amount. How much you win is dependent on the amount of player vying for the finishing position in question.
Props in golf are wagers on whether or not an event will take place that isn't tied specifically to the result of the entire tournament. These markets aren't as mainstream as outright winners or finishing positions, oftentimes delving much deeper into more specific categories. Below are some examples of golf prop bets you may come across
When it comes to gambling on major events, there are even more options. For example, the 2019 Masters had the following markets available for just Tiger Woods.
Some of these props can pay pretty handsomely if bettors target the correct wagers before a tournament begins. Because oddsmakers aren't pouring over these markets the same way they do over outright winners or finishing positions, value can be found by researching specific players and identifying a little-known category.
Below, we'll get into some specific prop markets such as golf matchup betting and how it works when wagering on specific airs or groups.
Picking one player to win a tournament isn't exactly an easy thing to do, hence the high odds for doing so. Finishing position markets make cashing in on PGA Tour events a bit more realistic, but not all golf betting markets are centered around where one player winds up against an entire field.
To narrow down the amount of competition facing one golfer, plenty of bettors opt for head-to-head matchups where one player is pitted against another. The odds are much more modest in comparison to picking an outright winner, but it is another way to create four days of rooting interest with a completely legitimate chance to win.
Betting on head-to-head matchups can be less about picking out a player you favor since a popular golf betting strategy for matchups is to select a particular player who may not be set up for a strong tournament. Let's use the following head-to-head matchup as an example: Rory McIlroy (-150) vs. Tiger Woods (+130).
If we select Woods to finish in front of McIlroy only, regardless of where he winds up on the leaderboard for the entire tournament, a $100 wager could net $130 in profit. On the other side, McIlroy needs to defeat only Woods as opposed to the entire field. At -150, NJ sports betting players would risk $150 to win $100 on this bet.
Specific matchups tend to vary from site to site but oddsmakers will generally create head-to-head odds for players that are somewhat evenly matched. These competitions could last the entire four days of the tournament or may be offered on a round-by-round basis.
Some types of matchups can also be referred to as 2-ball or 3-ball, which is where betting on groups come into play. Each grouping on the PGA Tour is generally broken up into twos or threes, which is where the names for these bet types come from.
Whether it's 2-ball or 3-ball, you are wagering on one member of a group to defeat his playing partner(s) as opposed to gambling on a matchup between two golfers paired together by oddsmakers. In 2-ball golf betting, a player must only defeat his playing partner while 3-ball betting rules require you to select which player will shoot the lowest score of a three-person group.
Generally, 2/3 ball golf betting gains its popularity from the fact that the matchup is easy to track because the players are all in the same group. This makes it simple for bettors to stay updated on the status of the match without tracking multiple groups on different parts of the course. Odds for these wagers are available for an entire tournament or can be offered for a single round.
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In general, sports betting is not something one can be successful at without having a plan. Nobody goes into it blind and establishes any type of consistency because if it was that easy, anyone could do it. Golf is no different and in fact, golf betting strategy may be even more important than in other sports.
When it comes to choosing specific golfers to perform well on the PGA Tour, there are some factors to keep in mind. Check out these free golf betting tips to keep in mind the next time you do some gambling on the PGA Tour:
The very first golf betting tip for making predictions on a PGA Tour event is to check which course is being played that week. Every playing track is unique, and some golfers have a different playing style than others. Course layout can suit certain players more than others, so it is certainly one of the things that can set a golfer up for success (or lack thereof).
Long courses tend to favor players who hit the ball far while smaller courses or ones with many obstacles like sand and water may be more conducive to a player with great accuracy and finesse. Be sure to look into how a given golfer has performed in the past in that tournament and more importantly, at that golf course specifically.
Unlike other sports, golf odds pay extremely well up and down the board because the nature of golf betting allows players to be profitable even if when picking the odds-on favorites.
With over 100 golfers taking part in most PGA Tour events, events are difficult to win and selecting which player will do so four days in advance is the hardest take a golf bettors will encounter. This explains why odds are so high, even for the players that are expected to wind up near the top.
While it can be unlikely for the betting favorite to win an entire tournament, don't purposely avoid the names at the top of the board just because other options pay more. The golfers with the lowest odds can still earn you a juicy payout plus on most occasions, oddsmakers have certain players at the top for good reason.
If you are indeed attempting to handicap a PGA Tour event four days in advance, there is something you can do to give yourself a better chance. While doing your pre-tournament research, try to finds odds you prefer for more than one outright winner.
Each additional player selected increases the chances of one actually winning and earning that huge payout. This market pays well and that allows bettors to absorb the loss of one wager in exchange for another raising the trophy. So because it's far too easy for just one player to be out of contention, consider more than one if you're committed to selecting a tournament winner.
It's worth mentioning one more time that it's so tough to pick outright winners when betting on golf and for that reason, going after finishing positions is a much more lucrative way to try and make money on golf. So rather than selecting a player to beat the entire 150-man field, consider betting on that golfer to finish top 10, 20 or even 30 depending on if your site allows it.
Finishing position betting gives you an improved chance to win and each player has some margin for error since they don't need to win the whole event. It also provides a rooting interest that may last all four rounds as opposed to picking one golfer to win the tournament and having them be out of contention for most of it. The lines on the upper-tier players may not be as robust but giving yourself the best opportunity to win, even for a reduced price, is still a worthwhile bet.
These markets are also particularly popular for taking a shot with one of the many lesser-known players, who probably have no chance to win the whole event but can wind up in a decent finishing position with generous odds.
Why select a golfer that hasn't been playing well in recent tournaments? Being aware of the current form of players can be extremely useful when it comes to making golf picks.
When getting started, it would help to take into consideration which competitors are performing at the top of their game. Many golfers are streaky over the course of an entire season and momentum can be real when it comes to building confidence.
Golf betting picks should be made on players whose recent results would give them a reason to be confident heading into a given tournament. Part of the confidence comes from past results, so be sure to check on how golfers have performed previously in the same event and at that specific course.
If the payouts for the top players are good, imagine how lucrative things must be when you're selecting underdogs? Because there are so many good golfers on tour and not every player fits every course, every week has big names on the board with massive payouts.
As mentioned above, oddsmakers list favorites as such for a reason. Whether it be past success at a specific tournament or a game that suits a particular course or both, there's something that warrants those golfers having the lowest odds.
With that said, the depth of each field does allow for there to be value on golfers that aren't at the very top of the odds board. One thing to balance on a week-to-week basis is how deep into the field to look for a winner. Just because we call them longshots doesn't mean they are all no-name players because many of them have impressive resumes of their own.
For example, 2019 Masters odds at online sportsbooks had past major champions like Bubba Watson (+4000), Henrik Stenson (+6600) and Patrick Reed (+6600) as heavy underdogs with all three listed outside of the top 15 odds-on favorites.
Every single tournament features players with odds that could pull in massive payouts with a win at and in these cases, should be worth a look even if they aren't favored by oddsmakers.
It's always safer to go players who possess ample experience when making golf betting predictions, especially before the biggest events on tour such as majors.
There are so many options before a tournament, why go with a player that's never taken home a trophy before? Your run-of-the-mill tournaments feature new winners all the time, but the stacked fields of the larger events in addition to the majors mean that competition is at its highest point. Sure, every player with a PGA Tour win had to get his first at some point, but chances are much better with a proven player.
This goes back to the course and results playing a huge role as well. Some very important annual events such as THE PLAYERS Championship, the Masters, and the TOUR Championship are played at the same exact course every year and many of the best in the world have long enough resumes at these venues to judge whether they're worth putting your money on.
When push comes to shove, take the player with a past to speak of, especially if they have performed well on that course and in that event before.
Most predictions are made because we have confidence in a given player or team, but golf betting strategy changes a bit when it comes to head-to-head matchups. It isn't only about the golfer you choose but about his opponent, which is the only other person in the field you are concerned with.
Sometimes, the easiest wins in head-to-head are made come by fading one golfer more than endorsing another. It can be very beneficial to figure out which golfers are in poor form as to know who is playing well going into a given tournament.
Things like the course, recent results, and history at the event could play a huge role in deciding when and where to strike with head-to-head golf picks. Whatever method you use, look to bet against struggling just as you'd wager on players at the top of their game.
Most online sports betting sites in the US provide some type of odds for all events on the PGA Tour, which has a nearly year-round schedule and provides tons of betting options almost every week. Professionals are required to take part in a certain number of tournaments throughout the season, so not all players are present at each four-day event.
When it comes to the majors, however, you can be sure the best in the world will be taking part and competing in one of the sport's most distinguished events. Here are the four golf majors for each year, known for being career-defining, prestigious events to win, including the dates and course in which each will be played in 2020.
Despite there only being four major events, there are plenty of other tournaments that are held in high regard and feature nearly many of the top professional players in the world as options to finish atop the leaderboard. Below are some of the annual highlights on the PGA Tour schedule aside from the major events:
*PGA Tour playoff event
It's widely believed that part of golf's growth in recent years can be attributed to the addition of fantasy golf to the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) format, which has helped grow interest in the game. Not all states allow sports betting, and DFS has allowed more fans to get involved with making golf predictions online.
Each and every week, DFS platforms offer a wide range of tournaments to choose from for PGA Tour events. Players can narrow down the options by going through the varying game styles, experience levels, contest types, entry fees, and prizes that are available to find the perfect contest for them. From there, you compile a six-golfer roster under the required salary cap (varies by site) and enjoy the four days of action while hoping your team qualifies for one of the many prizes.
It doesn't come as much of a surprise that two huge names are at the top of the DFS mountain. When first signing up, players have the option of choosing a First Deposit Match Up To $20 at FanDuel, or going after a FREE $15 Contest Entry at DraftKings. In fact, why not sign up for both? There are other options as well, including the ability to Get A Deposit Match Up to $500 at Monkey Knife Fight, which has its own unique take on DFS.