Golf Betting Strategy Guide

Lewis Watson

Tee Off in Golf Betting with These Proven and Profitable Strategies

With tournaments generally lasting over four days, golf has grown to become one of the most popular sports to bet on with an influx of betting focused on the in-play markets. The two main tours are the PGA Tour and European Tour, pitting the world’s elite up against one another in world tournaments spanning more than 30 countries. Both of these tours climax in their own end-of-season competitions where the field is limited to those who have performed the best over the season: the Fed-Ex Cup and the Race to Dubai.

The Ryder Cup tournament happens once every two years, but apart from that, the four Major tournaments are always the ones that demand the most attention and subsequently take in the most bets. The US Open, The US PGA Championships, The British Open and The Masters are considered golf’s top four prizes, with huge prize money and accolades handed out for each year’s victor. Winning all four is deemed a ‘career grand slam’, with only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen achieving this feat; Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are currently one major away from joining that illustrious list.

Types of golf bets available

Outright – bet on which player you think will win the tournament.

Three balls – this allows you to bet on who you think will shoot the better round between three players in the field.

Four balls – this allows you to bet on who you think will shoot the better round between four players in the field.

Top 5 finish – bet on a player who you think will finish in the top 5 at the end of the tournament.

Top 10 finish – bet on a player who you think will finish in the top 10 at the end of the tournament.

1st round leader – bet on which player you think will lead the scoreboard after the first round.

18 hole match-ups – this allows you to choose between two players who you think will shoot the best score after 18 holes (can be any round of the tournament).

How to find the best value golf bets

With considerable odds being offered on outright victories, it’s often more sensible to punt for markets over a shorter period; backing three ball or four ball winners and 1st round leaders can often allow you to assess the field before trying to pick an outright winner.

Three ball or four ball bets can provide fantastic value, only requiring limited research and studying of the players involved. When trying to pick a winner from a field that is sometimes 156 strong, so many factors will come into play meaning the price you receive for your choice will nine times out of ten be unrepresentative and short of the real price – meaning zero value to be found here.

Let’s look at a possible three ball example from a major championship.

Spieth vs McIlroy vs Johnson

If these three players were leading the field going into the final round of a championship, we could be looking at odds around the following for the three players.

Spieth (17/10) vs McIlroy (21/10) vs Johnson (6/4)

All of these prices are better than evens, with the market allowing us to assess their form before backing our three ball winner. It is crucial to examine their form in the tournament so far and decide whether their current score is likely to improve or not. If a player has a lead going into the final round, chances are they are subconsciously going to play more conservative golf to retain their lead and not make any mistakes in their final round (something both Spieth and McIlroy know all too well).

Conversely, if a player is chasing the leader of the field, shot selection may lend them to play more aggressively meaning value can be found in them shooting a lower score than usual. Lots of excitement can be discovered in these type of match bets with the result often coming down to the 18th green!

Studying form is another crucial aspect of golf betting. Some of the more glamorous names of the sport will always be priced as the favourites in the outright betting, however, studying a player’s finishes in recent tournaments can lend a huge hand in finding value for their performance in next outings. Golf is a sport that is played as much in the head as it is with the body; a positive belief can take a player to a new level, and this is often seen as a snowball effect resulting in consecutive wins.

Backing players to finish in the top 5, top 10, or top 20 can also provide fantastic value with certain players holding their value by continually going under the radar. You can often find players who are known as ‘cheque collectors’ if you do your homework. These players are renowned for making cuts, finishing strong, but rarely winning trophies. Kevin Na is a prime example of this. With just one career win, the American has notched up over $25 million in prize money by continually finding himself in the running coming into the final rounds of tournaments. Nine runners-up places have helped his cause. However, the consistency of finishing in the top 20 of tournaments has allowed him to earn this wealth. Na would be a prime example of a player showing value for a high finish, without feeling the urge to back him in the outright market.

Winning strategies for golf betting

Study the course! Certain players prefer specific courses – whether it be long, short, links, desert, or parkland. With strong putters, long drivers, and consistent approach shooters suiting a different style, of course, it’s impossible for any player to be sculpted into one who can prevail on any given course, in any condition.

With the course accounted for, make sure you research the history of the players on that specific course. Individual courses can prove to be a real problem for even the most talented of golfers; choosing these particular tournaments to back an outsider could establish a highly successful strategy.

Avoiding players who have yet to pick up a winners cheque is often a sensible strategy. Golf is such a mentally draining sport that usually it takes more than natural ability to get you over the line in winning a tournament. If a player is yet to experience that winning feeling on the 18th green, it is likely that their lack of muscle memory in dealing with pressure is going to let them down when it matters most. Sure, back a player you have a good feeling about to make the cut, reach the top 20 or even win a four-ball, but backing them in the outright market is usually a risky strategy – especially when you consider the size of the field!

Stats will always prove to be a useful tool when assessing the field and who is most likely to succeed at any given tournament. If you can become familiar with terms such as strokes gained (SG), greens in regulation (GIR), fairways in regulation (FIR) and scrambling percentage, you’ll be able to judge which players are in form and what type of courses each player performs on at their best.

Weather can also play a huge part! More experienced players with greater knowledge of how to tackle certain climates and adverse weather conditions are worth looking at, especially if the forecast looks changeable over the weekend of play.

The tee off

An important take-away when it comes to betting on Golf is that it is a sport that relies heavily on form and mental strength. These two factors can change daily across all types of player, so don’t be stubborn with your choices! Just because you have been using specific betting patterns for the previous four tournaments, don’t be afraid to mix things up and change tactics. You can’t be stubborn in gambling – the field is continually evolving and changing.

As with all sports betting – it’s crucial to know what you’re betting on. We’ve all been there – money is sat in your account, and you’re getting itchy fingers to put a bet on something about which you know little. Think of it as a purchase. You wouldn’t buy something without understanding what it is! Find your niche, do your research and the results will start to come.

 

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