In golf, the objective is to go low in relation to par. In golf betting, the goal is to navigate a variety of players, conditions, courses and tournaments that make this a fun, unique and potentially lucrative sport on which to place action.
The golf bettor has many options, from the 100-plus players that typically make up a starting field, to tournaments on different continents, to different betting options that can reward those who do their homework.
It’s not just Tiger and Rory and Phil — it’s betting head-to-head, taking the field or the favorite or wagering on a top-10 finish.
Golf is a world sport, and it dominates the spotlight around its major events and attracts betting attention to match. But almost every week there are countless other wagering options to consider, making golf a varied and entertaining option to other sports bets.
Free Golf Betting Tips
- Hot Streaks | For example, in early November 2018, Bryson DeChambeau won for the third time in his last five tournaments. That kind of streak isn’t unusual; when players are really feeling it, the performance shows.
- Past Tournament History | Mark O’Meara won Pebble Beach five times, Davis Love III won Hilton Head five times, Jack Nicklaus won The Masters six times. Past performance matters on events that return to the same course.
- Weather | If a player’s scheduled to tee off in the afternoon when forecasts call for gustier winds, consider a player with a tee time in the morning.
- Beware of Recent Changes | Has a player recently changed his caddie, coach, ball or club manufacturer? Tinkered with his swing? To a bettor, they’re all a flashing red lights.
Golf Betting Online Explained
Want options? Golf has them. Keep it simple, betting on a player to win a tournament or lead after a round. Go broad, betting on a player to finish in the top 10. Bet players head-to-head, take the favorite or the field, or a player to have the lowest round in his group. Bet special events like skins games, such as the battle between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
Golf odds are typically shown in a plus/minus format of moneyline betting, depending on whether the player is a favorite or longshot. Bets on players with a minus number means that’s how much a bettor must wager to win $100. Rory McElroy -120, for example, means a bettor must wager $120 to win $100.
Longshots pay better, with the number being how much the bettor would win with a $100 wager. Vaughn Taylor +250, for example, means a $100 bet pays $250. Futures listed as a ratio — say, Brooks Koepka 15-1 — mean that every dollar bet would be multiplied by 15 should the player win.
Best Golf Betting Sites
Odds and types of bets can differ from one book to another, so it’s important to shop around. There are also sites that clearly make golf betting more of a priority and offer more of a selection.
Look for sites that have golf listed higher on their drop-down menu of sports to bet, and perhaps even offer golf betting tips or advice.
Good golf betting sites offer not just odds on that week’s tournament, but also futures, variation in bet type, and perhaps even prop bets like whether there will be a hole-in-one or a playoff.
Is U.S. Golf Betting Difficult?
Few sports are impacted by as many variables, and all of them need to be taken into account. Homework is key, given that favorites win only a small fraction of the time.
Know tendencies. Courses with wider fairways favor the big hitters off the tee, while those with tighter fairways place a premium on iron play. Paradoxically, long courses don’t always favor long hitters, depending on the type of approach shots the layout demands.
Streaks and skids are real, given that golf is a mental game that demands confidence. Some players get on a roll and play well one week after another, or flourish every year at the same event, or fall into a funk that takes months to crawl out of.
Top Online Golf Betting Markets
- To Win | Betting a player to win a specific tournament, or in some cases lead after a specific round.
- Against the Field | A bet offering a choice between a leader or favorite, and everyone else.
- Head to Head | Odds set between two players on who finishes higher that round.
- Futures | Bets on who will win an upcoming tournament, or the season championship.
- Top 3, Top 5, Top 10 | Betting a specific player to finish in the top three, top five, or top 10 of a tournament.
- Make/Miss Cut | Betting a player to either make or miss the cut.
- Two- or Three-Ball | Betting a player to finish with the lowest score in his twosome or threesome, in one particular round.
Top Golf Betting Events
- The Masters | The world’s most prestigious tournament, played each April at Augusta (Ga.) National. It features wide fairways and forgiving rough, placing a premium on approach shots and putting.
- Open Championship | Europe’s biggest event, played each July on British links-style layouts with deep bunkers and overgrown waste areas.
- U.S. Open | Played each June on layouts featuring narrow fairways, small greens and tall rough. It’s hot, it’s hard and it takes accuracy and mental toughness to win.
- PGA Championship | Shifted to May from August to accommodate a calendar realignment, it’s often similar to the U.S. Open in terms of layout and difficulty.
- Ryder Cup | U.S. against Europe in an emotionally-charged biennial team event. The Americans typically have better players, the Euros superior cohesion.
- The Players Championship | A PGA Tour showcase played on a course famous for its island 17th green.