How To Bet On Golf - Golf Betting for Beginners

The ultimate guide to betting on golf. We break down all you need to know to wager successfully on the PGA Tour and more.
Published: May 06, 2021 - Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

With a long list of up-and-coming pros and unforgettable personalities, golf betting is an exciting way to get in on wagering action. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have breathed new life into the sport, while players like Bryson DeChambeau (aka The Scientist) are full of new ideas. And now that the LPGA has become a standard feature at many sportsbooks, there's never been a wider range of ways to bet on golf.

Ready for top golf betting tips? Keep reading to learn about:

  • Key betting terminology
  • Top golf events
  • Live betting offers
  • Industry insights from seasoned punters

Understanding The Terminology

In North America, golf betting odds are written in the American system. A player's odds are written with a plus (+) sign and show what the punter stands to win on a $100 bet. If Rory McIlroy has odds of +700 (also written as 7-1), a bettor will win $70 if they bet $10 on McIlroy.

Let's take a closer look at the bets featured on sportsbooks, as well as key terms in golf betting.

Outrights

Outrights or "outright winners" are bets placed on which player will win a tournament. Most PGA tournaments feature more than 100 players, which means even backing a favorite can be lucrative. Favorites are typically listed with odds between +600 (6-1) and +1300 (13-1). Outright bets feature the highest payouts.

Finishing Position Bets

Finishing position or "place" bets predict which players will finish inside the top five, ten, or twenty positions in a tournament. Typically, finishing position bets feature smaller payouts and are subject to dead-heat rules. In other words, if you wager on Brooks Koepka to finish in fifth, but he ties with another player, the payout is halved (or otherwise divided according to the number of players tied in the same position).

Matchups

Matchups are bets placed on which player will win a round matchup (rather than the tournament as a whole) and are an important wager when learning how to bet on golf. In matchups, odds are listed with a favorite (-) and an underdog (+). Punters can wager on spreads or moneylines. For spreads, a punter picks which golfer will win or lose by a certain amount of points, known as a handicap. For moneylines, a punter predicts which player will win that round.

Let's take a closer look at how matchup golf betting odds are written:

Golf betting odds explained

In this example, an $11 bet on Morikawa or Thomasto beat the spread would pay out $10. For the moneyline, odds listed with a (-) show what a bettor must wager on the favorite to earn a $100 payout ($150), while odds listed with a (+) show what a bettor would earn if they wager $100 on the underdog ($180).

Prop Bets

Props bets cover a range of wagers on any given event - and golf betting has plenty. Some prop bets are player-specific. For example, punters can wager on whether Brooks Koepka's first-round score will be over or under a certain number, whether he'll hit a hole-in-one, and so on. Two of the most common prop bets cover: which the champion's nationality and head-to-head bets on which player will be most successful in a group.

Value bets

Value bets aren't a type of golf bet, but a way to describe odds in relation to their payout potential. Seasoned punters look for free bets, as well as wagers with high-value odds. In golf, value bets are determined by comparing a player's chance at winning a tournament to the odds offered by a sportsbook.

Let's look at an example. If Jordan Spieth has +900 odds to win the US Open and a 20% statistical chance of winning based on the number of entrants, then you can determine the bet's value by multiplying both together and subtracting 1. In this case, +900 is 9-1 odds, so it's written as 9.

(9 x 0.20) - 1 = (1.8) - 1 = .8

Golf betting tips recommend wagering only if the outcome is larger than 0, which means backing Spieth (in this example) would be a good move.


Golf Events

The PGA's four Majors tournaments are the most popular times to bet on golf. Let's take a closer look.

  • The Masters

This event is always hosted at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Punters can take advantage of historical data from the course to inform their bets. With a limited number of entrants, there's a possibility of higher payouts.

  • US Open

The US Open is hosted at a different course each year to challenge golfers. Considered the most difficult of all the Majors, the US Open requires golfers to capitalize on drives and stick to the fairways.

  • The Open Championship

Also known as the British Open, this tournament changes drastically based on the course where it is hosted. Players must negotiate coastal winds and other environmental factors.

  • USPGA Championship

As the last Majors event of the year and the only one to exclude non-professional players, the USPGA has major incentives. Younger professionals look to get their name on the map during their USPGA appearances.


Live Golf Betting

With advances in mobile betting options, punters can now wager on live action, whether watching from home or in person. Prior to tee-off, you can wager on events like which player will win the round and how many strokes a player will hit. To take advantage of live bets during a tournament, many punters tally leaderboard action to identify dark horses, then follow a player the next day to wager live on their performance. Heading into the last round of a Major, odds won't be quite as competitive, but live betting allows punters to wager based on updated information.


3 Easy Tips to Bet on Golf

Learning how to bet on golf can take some time. Here are three key insights from industry professionals to help you out.

Understand bet value: Above, we outlined how you can calculate a bet's odds based on a player's statistical chance of winning (fewer entrants = a higher chance of winning). The key here isn't to bet more money, but to know which bets are worth wagering.

Cross-reference player performance: Golf has a handful of big names as well as a slew of smaller fish. A seasoned golf bettor knows who to back - regardless of who they want to win. Study player records for the past 20 events, then look at the greens where the tournament will be held. Players prefer certain courses and usually perform better at their favorites.

Find the best odds: Understanding bet value and knowing which player to back is crucial - but so is finding the most competitive offers. Here at OddsChecker, we do this work for you. Head over the golf betting odds page to quickly compare odds from top sportsbooks. Don' t forget to look for bonus offers.


List of States that you can bet legally on Golf in the US

Looking to bet on golf? You can find live online markets that cover golf in these states:

  • Colorado
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey

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