Golf Bets

Golf Bets While golf intrigues and delights millions of fans around the world, it is not a sport that caters to all tastes. For those who fail to get excited at the thought of the best golfers on the planet making their way round the course for four days, betting can add a much-needed bit of spice. On the other hand, seasoned supporters of the sport can take their enjoyment to the next level. Moreover, they can use their insight and knowledge to make some money from the four majors and the regular Tour events that take place virtually every week of the year.

The number of betting opportunities available online has grown exponentially as sports betting has expanded in recent years. From the smallest European or PGA Tour events to the major championships and the Ryder Cup, as well as the women, seniors and lesser tours every professional tournament can be bet on. That means golf punters can bet on outcomes from Scotland to South Africa, or from the United Arab Emirates to the United States.

In addition to the greater volume of betting opportunities in terms of the range of events, there is also the offer of a vast variety of betting markets. Bookies will offer a wide range of markets for the tournaments which attract a large field, or one likely to capture international attention. If any of the world’s top 50 golfers are present at any given tournament, there are likely to be many different outcomes and odds on which bets can be placed. Even the smallest tournaments on the less glamorous tours will usually have a decent range of betting options to keep you happy.

Here are a handful of the most commonly featured markets in golf betting. While the following are only the tip of the iceberg, they are the most popular golf markets and will feature in betting on most tournaments. With bookies expanding the range of markets all the time, there are even more ways to become immersed in betting on golf. If you’re new to the world of golf betting, or perhaps just looking for a new angle, we’ve got you covered!

Winner

The most common of all markets, betting on the winner of any tournament is the simplest bet possible. The payout is just as simple: betting £10 on a 20/1 shot will land the customer £200, plus their original stake.

The odds vary from tournament to tournament, and depend on a number of factors. The form a player is in and the way they handle the course they are playing on that week are important factors that impact on the odds, and former major winners will often have shorter odds when attempting to regain their crown. Sergio Garcia, for instance, will invariably be offered at short odds in his native Spain where he has an excellent tournament record, but will be priced at much longer odds for the Open or Masters due to the fact he has never won a major tournament.

The biggest benefit of betting on an outright winner in golf is the fact short odds are very rare. Even clear favourites will be priced at around 7/1 or 8/1. However, given the large fields that compete in tournaments and the fact that an outsider winning is commonplace, it can often be tricky to call a winner. The potential winnings of picking an outright winner in golf are much greater than for football, boxing or tennis, and it is the simplest market to make use of, so it is no surprise it is the most common market for golf betting.

Each Way Betting in Golf

As we discuss in greater depth in our each way betting feature, this type of bet is hugely popular when it comes to golf due to the long odds that feature. Winners at odds of 25/1, 50/1 and even 100/1 or more are far from uncommon in golf due to the large fields.

Moreover, there is more variance in golf than in many sports, with the world number 500 in golf capable of having a great four days and beating the world number one in a way that just wouldn’t happen in tennis or other sports.

These long odds and unpredictability mean that each way winner bets are a great choice. An each way bet is two bets in one. A £10 each way bet costs £20 and sees £10 bet as normal on the winner market featured above, with £10 also for the player “to place”.

Place terms vary from bookmaker to bookmaker and event to event but four or five places is standard. The each way portion of a bet normally pays out at 1/4 or sometimes 1/5 of the standard odds. If your player finishes anywhere in the top four (or more commonly five), this bet wins.

A player that wins a given tournament will deliver a win on both parts of an each way bet. One that fails to place will lose both bets, whilst a golfer finishing second to fifth (for example) will win one wager and lose the other. Note that dead heat rules apply and are commonly relevant to each way golf betting.

Each way bets are perfect when you fancy a long odds selection to go well but aren’t sure they will win. However, in golf, where favourites are rarely priced at odds of less than 7/1, an each way bet on one of the key contenders is also an option. This type of bet is good where you just can’t see the player failing to contend. The each way bet effectively covers your stake (and depending on the odds may even yield a small profit) whilst the win portion of the wager becomes a “bet to nothing”.

Top 5

If picking an outright winner seems too risky, then you can hedge your bets somewhat and back a player to place in the top five. Other bookmakers may offer top three or top six, or even top 10, with odds varying based on the number of ‘winning’ positions.

Backing a player to finish in the top five will naturally increase the number of chances of winning compared to a top three spot, but will reduce the winnings. It works a little like the place portion of an each way bet in horse racing, in that it does not matter whether the player finishes first or fifth: the winnings would be the same.

While it is naturally a safer bet than picking an outright winner as there are more opportunities for success, picking one of the better players in the field to place highly is more often than not the soundest choice possible. The world’s best players may lose out due to one or two exceptional performances, but the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will usually place highly bar the occasional poor performance. Similarly, backing an outside shot to win is a risky strategy, but placing a bet on a lesser-known player in good form to break into the top spots could bring a very positive yield.

The “top…” markets are also a good option for players who struggle to get over the line, with players such as Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia good examples. These are top golfers who often go close without delivering as many wins as they should. Betting on such a player to finish in the top five or even 10 is often a better option that going for an each way bet as you won’t risk losing half your stake.

Margin of Victory

Perhaps you see betting on the outright winner as too dull, or not offering enough of a reward. You could be so sure that your pick will win that you want to make as much money out of them as possible. In that case, guessing the margin of victory is a good option. Choosing not just who wins, but how many strokes they will win by, increases the potential winnings.

More commonly though, this market refers to simply a bet on what the margin of victory will be, regardless of who wins. If you are not sure of who will win but are certain it will be a tightly contested tournament, or one in which the favourite canters to victory, the margin of victory can be bet on without a winning player being named.

Most bookmakers will offer a margin of one, two or three strokes, with the option to bet on a player winning by four or more strokes as well. It is possible to get even more specific selections with some bookmakers, but these choices are based on the fact most tournaments won outright are decided by between one and three strokes. It is also possible to bet on the fact the tournament will be decided by a play-off, and not won outright.

The odds are much greater when the margin of victory bet is combined with a bet on who will win the tournament, as the specific nature of the selection makes a perfect prediction very difficult. Without the benefit of brilliant luck or foresight, guessing the margin of victory offers good odds and, as the lead the frontrunner holds changes a lot over the course of four days, this bet keeps viewing punters intrigued right to the final putt.

Top Player by Nationality

Rather than backing a player to win against the rest of the field, often bookmakers will offer odds on players being the best of their nationality. This can yield good returns if the nationality is carefully selected. It is hard to name the top American at the Masters, for instance, as there are so many of them. Selecting Henrik Stenson as the top Swede or Nicolas Colsaerts as the best Belgian is more often than not a safe bet as they are by far the best of a smaller field. To increase the options and the potential winnings, some bookmakers offer markets such as Top Scandinavian or Top Australasian. Players outside the host nation or region could also be selected for a Top Rest of the World bet and of course the top UK or English golfer is also usually an option.

Wire-to-Wire Winner

Winning a tournament ahead of a stellar field is tough enough, but one of the crowning achievements for any golfer is winning a tournament wire-to-wire. The term ‘wire-to-wire’ means leading at the end of play after all four rounds.

Jordan Spieth famously became the first wire-to-wire winner of the Masters in 39 years when claiming the green jacket at Augusta in 2015, but in the post-Tiger Woods era it is rare for a player to be so dominant, especially in one of the bigger tournaments.

Like the Margin of Victory bet, there is no need to bet on a specific player. Some bookmakers will offer a bet simply claiming that any player will be a wire-to-wire winner. Putting a name on the bet lengthens those odds even further. Naturally, betting on a wire-to-wire winner offers better odds than naming a favourite to win outright, though backing a specific named outsider is normally more lucrative than betting on ANY player to lead for all four rounds.

Dual Forecast

Dual forecast requires an even greater amount of judgement (or luck) as it involves betting on who will finish first and second in any given tournament. It does not mean that you have to pick who will finish first and who will finish second, as the two picks can finish in either order. However, picking two players from a large field is extremely difficult.

If there are two clear favourites, or you are stuck between two good picks, a dual forecast is an option worth considering. It offers much better odds than simply picking a winner, but does rely on one player not letting the other one down. Combining a favourite with an outside chance increases the odds even further while still making the outcome plausible.

Other Golf Bets

The preceding are the bets made most often in golf, and more often than not those markets will be the ones bookmakers offer and customers go for. There are, in fact, many more markets in golf betting, offering an even wider range of option for the discerning punter. A handful of those options are:

Pairings Bets

A number of bets can be made based on the pairing or group that is going out on any given day. You can bet on a certain player to do best out of their pairing or group, predict the winner or clubhouse leader will come from a certain pairing or group, or guess that the tournament winner will come from the last pairing out on the final day.

Winning Nationality

If picking a winner seems too specific, you can select the nationality of the winning player. Betting on an American to win the US Open does not yield great odds, but does pay off when backing a smaller group of talented players.

Betting on a Brit at the 2016 Masters paid off for punters when Danny Willett, not necessarily the first choice for outright bets, was victorious. Moreover, with Westwood, Paul Casey and Matthew Fitzpatrick all finishing with a few shots of Willett, Brit-backers had plenty of irons in the fire on the final day.

Hole in One/Albatross

A hole in one is a rare feat, but one that tends to happen more than a few times in a year with so many events being played. It is a handy bet for a major that features a large field, or a course with very accessible par 3s. An albatross, or a double eagle, is exceptionally rare. A bet on an albatross being scored would pay out at big odds and is worth considering if a course has driveable par fours or short par fives.

Play-Off?

A simple yes or no bet, the punter is asked whether the tournament will be decided by a play-off after four rounds.

Make the Cut?

Another yes or no, this bet is applied to individual players. The punter is asked whether a certain player will make the cut after two rounds, or will be eliminated for being too far off the lead.

Specials

Bookmakers will offer a wide array of specials, and can sometimes give odds on any special the customer cares to name. Most of the regular specials bets include naming the winner of money lists such as the Race to Dubai, or guessing how many majors a certain player will win in a year. Betting on whether Tiger Woods will turn up or not could also be considered a specials bet!