How to Bet on Golf
The sport of golf has a long history with betting. It’d be rare to find a frequent golfer who hasn’t at least bet $10 with a friend on a “closest to the pin” or a “longest drive” competition while out for a round.
With the surge of sports betting sweeping across the world, that long-standing relationship has been extended from betting on a Saturday round with a friend to betting on the professionals. Whether it be the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the European Tour, or any other professional circuit around the globe, sportsbooks are offering odds on just about any tournament out there.
Let’s take a look at how to bet on the sport of golf and the different types of wagers you can make.
Betting on an Outright Winner
The most obvious and easy to understand bet to make is to bet on a golfer to win a given tournament. If you’re placing this bet pre-tournament the odds can range anywhere from around +300 (3/1) to +100000 (1000/1). Factors such as the skill level of the golfer, their history of success, the strength of the field, and how well they’ve played recently are used to determine what their odds will be set at.
For example, Rory McIlroy’s odds may be set at +900 aka 9/1 to win The Masters. If you place a $100 bet on him before the tournament at those odds and he goes on to win the Green Jacket, you will win a profit of $900.
The higher the odds are, the less likely the bet will win but this means you’ll win a lot more money if the long-shot golfer comes through for you. Back in August of 2020, Jim Herman won the Wyndham Championship at 600/1 odds. If you were smart enough to place a $100 bet on Herman pre-tournament, you would’ve walked away with a cool $60,000 profit.
Most sportsbooks also offer “live odds” which can wagered on while the tournament is ongoing. If you want to wait until the final round to place a bet, you can certainly do that but you’ll get shorter odds on the guys at the top of the leaderboard than what you would have got pre-tournament.
“To Place” Bets
These bets work exactly like tournament outright bets but instead of betting on a golfer to win the tournament, you can bet on them to finish inside a certain position, whether it be top 5, top 10, top 20, or even top 30.
While these types of bets obviously don’t have as large of a payout as bets on a golfer to win the tournament, they’re perfect if you’re looking for a lower-risk bet. These bets are also a good idea if you think there is a long-shot golfer that will perform well in the tournament but you don’t think they’ll perform well enough to win.
Tournament Matchup Bets
Another popular way of betting on golf is tournament matchup bets. This is where you can bet on one golfer to finish ahead of another golfer in the final standings. Since this is just a 1 v 1 bet, the odds are quite a bit shorter but you have a much better chance of winning.
If a sportsbook determines that the matchup is a 50/50 shot, you’ll usually see -110 odds on either side. For example, Brooks Koepka could be -110 to finish higher on the leaderboard than Rory McIlroy. At -110 odds, you’d have to bet $110 in order to profit $100 on a winning bet.
You may also see matchups between golfers of varying skill levels. In those cases, you’ll see odds skewed to favor one golfer or the other. For example, Viktor Hovland may be a -180 favorite over Kevin Kisner which means you’d have to wager $180 on Hovland if you’re hoping to profit $100 on a winning bet.
These bets last throughout the duration of the entire tournament. If one of the golfers involved in the bet misses the cut, the win is given to their opponent. If both golfers miss the cut, the bet is considered a “push” and will be refunded.
3-Ball and 2-Ball Bets
3-ball and 2-ball bets are perfect for bettors who don’t want to wait for the entire duration of the tournament to find out if their bet is a winner or loser. These types of bets are solely for one round of the tournament and it’s a bet on who will win the group, or pair, that they’re playing in that day.
For example, if Jason Day, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson are grouped together for a round and tee-off at the same time, you can bet on which of the three golfers will finish that round with the best score. Since there are three golfers in a group you’ll usually get plus-money odds on your bet.
In most tournaments, golfers play in groups of three which is why it’s called a 3-ball bet. In some events, usually during the Saturday and Sunday rounds, golfers may be grouped in pairs instead of groups of three. In this case, this type of bet is called a 2-ball bet.
This is the perfect type of bet for anyone who just wants to bet on single-round action and with the odds usually at plus-money, you can get a decent payout if your golfer finishes with the lowest score in the group.
Finally, there are prop bets. These are more of the “fun” type of bets that you can place pre-tournament. There’s usually less strategy to prop bets, but they can be quite a bit of fun to cheer for. An example of one of the more popular types of prop bet is “will there be a hole-in-one?”. All you’d need to happen for this bet to be deemed a winner is for any golfer across any day of the tournament to score a hole-in-one. Easy, simple, and fun to cheer for.
Other types of prop bets include “over/under lowest round of the tournament”, “will the tournament be decided by a playoff?”, and “what will be the worst score on any given hole?”.
Odds for prop bets can vary quite significantly depending on the likelihood of the outcome.