Guide to golf betting as PGA Tour prepares for return

Guide to golf betting as PGA Tour prepares for return

Sports bettors thirsty for action got some much-needed good news when the PGA Tour announced it would return to play on June 11-14 with the Charles Schwab Challenge. Fans will not be allowed to attend, but the event will be broadcast live on television and, most importantly, sportsbooks will be accepting bets.

Golf betting has grown exponentially in recent years. Here are a few tips for new bettors looking to get in on the fun.

Bet Types

Unlike the major sports which focus on the spread, money line and total, golf revolves around a different set of bets.

The most popular bet type is outright winners or “to win” bets. This is pretty simple. You are betting on which golfer will win the tournament. For example, Rory McIlroy is the favorite to win this year’s Masters at 7/1. This means if you bet $100 on McIlroy and he wins the green jacket, you win $700 plus you get the $100 that you risked back.

Every golfer will have a specific price, with longer-shot picks in the 50/1 to 100/1 range. While many bettors will focus on the favorites, there is value on betting long shots, specifically in the mid-tier 30/1 to 50/1 range. If they win, you cash a huge payout. Or you just need them to contend into the final round on Sunday and then you can take advantage of a hedging opportunity, meaning you bet on someone else who is also near the lead, all but guaranteeing a profit.

“Place” bets require a golfer to finish in any of the top 5, 10 or 20. While the payouts are much smaller, you increase your chances of cashing. A lot of pros target top-20 bets, which pay out even or short “plus” money.

“Matchups” are an easy introduction for new golf bettors. Here, you are wagering on which of two golfers will finish higher in the tournament or a specific round. These can be smart bets if you identify an edge for a specific player in a one-on-one scenario. Maybe his game is better suited to the course or he’s been playing better as of late.

Then there’s prop betting. This would include yes/no props on whether or not a golfer will make or miss the cut. You will also have props on specific golfer Over/Unders in terms of strokes each round.

Another favorite prop is whether or not anyone will shoot a hole in one, which is a long-shot bet but offers a hefty payout. Another is betting on who will be the top golfer for a particular nationality. If there are a low number of countrymen, like say, only three golfers from South Africa, these props can provide sneaky value.

Lastly, bettors can target “group” betting. Sportsbooks will group together three or more golfers and then bettors can pick who will come out on top among the group. Futures betting is also popular. An example of a future would be “How many majors will Tiger Woods win this year?”


No one becomes a golf expert overnight. Like any other sport, it takes time, effort, hard work and experience to turn from rookie to sharp. The first steps to success are knowing the field, studying the players and familiarizing yourself with the courses. Different players have different strengths, whether it may be accuracy off the tee, a stellar iron game or an ace putter. Try to tailor the golfer to the course and look for “course form.”

For instance, golfers who drive the ball far and straight are smart bets on long courses with big fairways. Shorter courses are more suitable to golfers with strong iron games. It’s often said that golfers “drive for show and put for dough.” Good putters hold a distinct advantage across almost all courses. Bettors should also consider tee times, the weather and even injuries when betting specific golfers. Also, if a specific golfer has performed well at a course in the past, he might be good bet to repeat in the future. Lastly, lean on golfers who are playing well recently and have a lot of top-20 finishes.

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