By Phil Simon
Picking the outright winner of a golf tournament is the easiest and most common wager in golf betting. Next in line is betting on tournament matchups. The increased popularity of the sport has led to sportsbooks coming up with more interesting and intriguing ways to bet on it. A matchup, also called a head-to-head bet, is made between two golfers competing in the same event with no regard to who actually wins the event. Bettors pick between selected matchups offered at the preferred sportsbook and choose which golfer he or she thinks will win against the other.
Betting Golf Matchups
The concept behind matchup betting is pretty straightforward. Much like baseball and hockey, the matchup bets in golf are based on a money line. As explained more in depth in another article, the money line tells the bettor who’s favored in the particular matchup and how much they have to risk and how much they can win on a wager.
Most sportsbooks come up with a list of matchup odds for a single round or an entire tournament. Your wager is only on the matchup of your choosing. For a single round bet, typically the first round at most shops, you need the golfer you wagered on to have a better score after the completion of that round. Say Rory McIlroy scored -4 in the first round and Tiger Woods -3. If you bet on Rory in a first-round matchup you win the bet, even if Woods ends up winning the tournament.
Now, if you threw down on the Big Cat to have a better score at the completion of four rounds, congratulations, you’re a double winner. The head-to-head pairings have nothing to do with the overall outcome of the tournament. Below is an example of how the matchup wager would look at sportsbooks:
Rory McIlroy (Tourn) -125
Tiger Woods (Tourn) +105
Rory McIlroy (1st Rnd) -120
Tiger Woods (1st Rnd) +100
As you can see there is a first-round and tournament matchup featuring McIlroy and Woods. Rory is the tournament favorite at -125, meaning you have to wager $125 to win $100. For Woods a $100 risk is worth $105 in profit. You can wager as little or as much as your sportsbook allows. Also, keep in mind that sportsbooks offer different odds and wager amounts so it does pay to shop around when considering a wager.
At some sportsbooks you can bet with a spread. Using the above example say McIlroy is listed at -1.5 and Woods +1.5. McIlroy would have to win by at least two shots to cover while Woods could lose by a single stroke, tie, or beat McIlroy overall for the win.
Should the players in your matchup pick have the same score after the wagered round or tournament, the bet is considered a push and the original wager is returned. There are sportsbooks that offer a tie on the betting line, much like a soccer game. The odds are higher for that option for obvious reasons. Keep in mind however, that if you wager on a player to win when the tie option is available, should the players have identical scores your bet is a loss.
Things to Consider
Much like a straight up golf wager, there are things to evaluate before placing a bet. It helps to know the course and how the players perform on it. Is the layout better suited for long ball hitters or accurate shorter shots? Like any athlete golfers can go into a funk and have difficulties on the links.
Also, is there any advantage one player might have over the other? This is always something to consider in head-to-head battles. Rankings points, current form, familiarity with the course or correlated courses? There are a number of things to consider and doing research on players is a way to know how they might perform on a given week and make you an enlightened and informed bettor.