By Phil Simon
Couple one of the hottest betting markets with one of the coolest new ways to wager and you have the perfect storm for novice and professional gamblers. The game of golf has been on the rise at nearly every sportsbook since there are professional tournaments just about every week during the year. And the shops want to keep the money flowing, which means the pro tours in the U.S. and Europe get plenty of attention. In the past all action would stop on a game or tournament once it started. Technology is a wonderful thing, though. Online sportsbooks have the ability to offer in-game or live betting for nearly every sporting event. And it totally makes sense for golf with tournaments typically spread out over a four days. In order to understand how to use the live betting platform for golf we first need to know what it is. So, here we go.
What is Live Betting?
We touched on the basics of live betting in other articles, but we’ll tackle it again to get everyone up to speed. Sometimes referred to as in-game or in-play betting, live betting is just what it says it is. Instead of shutting it down and waiting for the tournament to end to see if your wager paid off, you can throw down at any point during the event on a number of different wagers. This is especially helpful for golf since things can change over the course of a four-day tournament.
Odds change constantly depending on how things are going on the course. If you’re pre-tournament pick stumbles out of the gate his odds will go up. And that’s where the value lies. But keep in mind that the favorites will have shorter odds even when the numbers are adjusted. For example, Dustin Johnson was the betting favorite at +800 before the tournament started and he’s six strokes off the lead in the second round. At that point his odds to win could still be around +2500, meaning a $10 risk would reward you $250. A lesser golfer might be three shots behind and his odds could be at +5000 simply because the sportsbook doesn’t think he can emerge victorious.
Now you don’t have to use the live betting platform, but if it’s something you’re interested in, it’s best to shop around at different online sportsbooks to find out which ones offer live betting and how invested the book is to the platform. Not all sportsbooks offer this unique way to wager and some books added it as an afterthought.
Live Betting Golf
The basic wagers offered before a tournament starts are also available through live betting. You can drop coin on an outright winner or for a golfer to place. For immediate gratification you can bet on the first round leader. Live betting allows people to really get in on the action. The pace of the game is such that odds can be updated during a specific hole, which allows the public to wager on a group matchup. A round will consist of two or three players in a group teeing off together. Most sportsbooks offer odds on which player will emerge with the lowest score among his group.
Let’s go back and take a look at the odds for Dustin Johnson, who happens to be one of if not the best golfers in the world today. DJ entered this particular tournament as a +800 favorite. If you wagered on him before play started you’re locked into that number. That could be either good or bad depending on how things play out. A $100 wager on DJ for the win would pay out $800 plus your initial investment. If he got off to a smokin hot start and led the field by six shots after 54 holes his odds would be much shorter, maybe half the original number ( +400 ). And your potential payout is also halved.
The concept of live betting is simple. You’re make a wager like you normally would before the tournament. Only the action is unfolding in front of you and the odds are shifting constantly. Nearly all sportsbooks have limits on live betting, so while the odds may shift in your favor the ability to cash in big doesn’t exist. Another drawback is that since odds are always moving you have to be tuned in. Some folks may like betting on golf and they may like playing the game, but watching it can be painful.