Golf Provides Lift to NJ, PA Sportsbooks with Masters On Tap
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The Masters being played in the fall is the result of a surreal year that has seen golf betting as a savior for sports bettors and sportsbooks throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March.
“When the PGA Tour returned in the spring, it absolutely was a huge boon for sportsbooks because it gave us a sport to offer that a wide variety of the public is familiar with and may have bet in passing but not regularly,” said Thomas Gable, director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. “I think it certainly increased the interest in wagering on golf as now bettors started to pay more attention to the golfers and became more familiar with handicapping the sport, which has carried over even after other 'major' sports returned.
”Personally, I’m thrilled that the sport is getting more attention in the betting world as there are so many ways to wager on golf and sportsbooks can get very creative with prop bets for tournaments.”
With tee times announced on Tuesday and with the first two groups teeing off at 7 a.m. Thursday, interest and wagering has picked up among sports bettors in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They will also get to see U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau display his new sponsor — DraftKings.
A newcomer to the New Jersey online sportsbook scene is Germany-based Tipico, which also has seen an increase interest in golf.
“Golf really did save N.J. sportsbooks during the pandemic. Some bettors adapted and wagered on soccer or table tennis, but the return of golf marked a return to sports normalcy for the masses,” said Brandon Friedman, U.S. regional sportsbook manager for Tipico. “Especially the excitement in May with Tiger vs. Phil II that paved the way for the return of betting on traditional golf events, and eventually the major four U.S. sports when their seasons resumed.”
Golf Betting Picking Up Steam
Gable of the Borgata said that Masters wagering has been picking up the last several weeks and it’s always the most-wagered golf tournament of the year.
”Currently (Monday) the competitors with the most tickets written here at Borgata are Xander Schauffele (+1400), followed by Patrick Reed (+2800), Dustin Johnson (+900), Bryson DeChambeau (+800), Jon Rahm (+1000) and Justin Thomas (+1100),” Gable said. “That being said, our biggest liabilities at the current moment are on Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. It should be a great tournament and will be interesting to see how the course plays in November for the first time.
”It will be interesting to have the final round of the Masters on at the same time as NFL games in the sportsbook.”
At Tipico, Friedman said the sportsbook will look out for which longshots become popular as the week progresses, as often one or two emerge that the public love.
“We’re seeing early money for the Masters coming in on Tiger (which is the case for every major) and Bryson,” he said. “It will be really interesting to see how these betting trends differ from past years, since this is an end of year event versus the first golf major of the season, and there is so much data available on the field of players.”
Gable also as some advice for bettors that made a bet before COVID-19.
“Maybe a disclaimer for everyone out there though: if you bet the Masters pre-COVID, check with your sportsbook to make sure your ticket is still valid. Borgata refunded our original Masters pool in the spring when the tournament was postponed, in accordance with our house rules that stipulate the tournament must be played on its original dates. We then reopened a new Masters pool for wagering once the new dates were announced, but make sure you check with your individual book to make sure you still have action.”
DeChambeau is Betting Favorite
DeChambau is the betting favorite to be leading after the first round at +1400, receiving 14% of handle and 10% of bets for this wager.
Group A on BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com feature five of the top six golfers in the world rankings with DeChambeau, Mcllroy, Johnson, Rahm and Thomas. Johnson is receiving 29% of handle to finish the highest of the group, followed by DeChambeau with 27%, and Mcllroy at 20%.
Sports Betting, DFS & Golf
On Tuesday during his Masters press conference, DraftKings representative DeChambeau discussed his perception of how sports gaming has changed and evolved over the years.
“There is a lot more people enjoying, not just betting but the fantasy side of it where these fans are able to engage and feel a part of each player’s lives by putting them on their team,” DeChambeau said. “I think that’s a real cool way to engage fans into a new sport, like golf, as golf has returned and come back to be a part of the fantasy scene.
“I think personally for me that was a no-brainer to engage in that field because I’m all about growing the game. As its grown and developed, I think taking time off from the sport and for having us being the first ones back has really enhanced the game of golf, as well as the fantasy and gambling side. I think it’s a positive thing. It gets people involved and personally for me, I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”