By Tom Wilkinson
How do you go about betting golf? Golf betting is available on the two major Tours, the PGA Tour and the European Tour. There are two main golf bets that we’ll consider, the pre-tournament bet on which player will win the event and the tournament head-to-head matchups. We’ll also consider some of the prop bets that are sometimes available on major tournaments and we will also take a look at some other golf betting odds that are available at the online sportsbook. Let’s break down the golf bets you can make.
Betting to Win Tournaments
The first option for betting golf is to bet who will win the tournament. These bets are made before the tournament starts on Thursday and they are money line bets. For example, you may see someone like Rory McIlroy listed at odds of 7-1 or +700 to win the tournament. You would be getting a return of 7-1 for every one dollar wagered. If you bet $100 on McIlroy winning the event, and he finished first, you would win $700 plus your original $100 wager. Golfers will be listed at odd ranging from about 5-1 to 100-1 or more. Some sportsbooks will list every golfer in the tournament with some golfers having odds of 500-1 or more, while other sportsbooks will just list the top 75 or so and then put the remaining golfers into a field bet. You may also get odds on who will lead the tournament after the first round and those odds are very similar to the odds on players to win the overall event.
Top 2, Top 3, Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20 Betting
Some online sportsbooks will also offer odds on players to finish in the top 2, Top 3, Top 5, Top 10 or Top 20. The odds on each player will obviously be much lower than the odds to win the overall tournament, but if you like a particular player and want to bet with a little more margin for error you could choose one of these options. For example, if you liked McIlroy to win you may also want to bet him to finish in the Top 10. You may only get even money on that bet, but your chances of McIlroy finishing in the Top 10 would obviously be greater than him winning the tournament.
Golf Matchups Betting
The second main option in golf betting is to bet the golf matchups. These are posted by the sportsbook and will pit one golfer against another. You might see Rory McIlroy listed against Justin Thomas with the odds near a pick. You can choose either of those golfers and the golfer that finishes with the best score is the winner. The sportsbook will put up multiple matchups so you have a lot of players to choose from as they are paired up against another player. The matchups are based on a money line, so you might see McIlroy listed at -130, while Thomas would be listed at +100. If you wanted to bet on McIlroy you would lay $130 to win $100 or the 13-10 equivalent. If you liked Thomas you would risk $100 to win $100 or the 10-10 equivalent.
Some sportsbooks will list a small group of golfers and you can choose which of those golfers you think will finish with the best score. You might see a group of three golfers and you simply pick the one you like. It could be that McIlroy is grouped together with Thomas and Tiger Woods. You would then get odds on each golfer and you pick the one you like. It is kind of like the tournament bet, but in this case you are only dealing with three golfers and not 175. The odds on this could be something like McIlroy -110, Thomas +160 and Woods +200.
The prop bets are normally only available on the major tournaments, the Masters, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Open Championship. You will see props on a hole-in-one, the winning score, nationality of the winner, etc. The props give bettors more action for the high profile tournaments.
There are usually odds on the board at the sportsbook for who will win the next major. This is simply another tournament bet, but you can place it far in advance of when the tournament is played. For example, you might see Masters odds for next year listed in the previous calendar year. During the season you will get futures odds on whatever major is coming up next. Before the season begins you may also see odds on which player will win the FedExCup and which player will win the Race to Dubai. Those are the two season-ending championships on the PGA and European Tours respectively.
Golf betting has become very popular in recent years and sportsbooks are putting up more golf betting lines with bettors enjoying the exciting golf action on a weekly basis.