Golf Betting Odds
PGA golf is one of sports gamblings hidden gems when it comes to entertainment value and opportunities to place a bet.
With 50 scheduled events on their calendar annually, the PGA golf season has become year-round, providing plenty of opportunities for bettors to enjoy all the action.
Golf betting provides so many different types of possible bet options. Each tournament will consist of four rounds and sportsbooks will provide updated odds for each golfer after each round is complete.
Bettors also have the opportunity to wager on head-to-head action, instead of just picking tournament winners. There are also Top 10, Top 20, Make the cut and all kinds of interesting Prop bets for each PGA event.
Maybe the most exciting part of betting on PGA golf is that each tournament typically has somewhere close to 144 participants, and the odds for a golfer to win a tournament can be quite large.
It can be a huge thrill to have a 70/1 ticket in your hand as one of your golfers selected is in contention on a Sunday afternoon, staring at a large payout.
Handicapping golf is unlike trying to handicap any other sport. When you are trying to predict a winner in an NFL game, or in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and most other sports, you are trying to decide between two teams.
When it comes to picking a tournament winner in golf, you are dealing with almost 150 golfers per event.
It is easy for handicappers to focus on the top-ranked players in the world, but the sport of golf has become so deep and all the players are so talented, the best handicappers are analyzing golfers from top to bottom in the entire field.
Martin Laird, Hudson Swafford, Brian Gay, and Stewart Cink all won golf tournaments in the 2021 PGA season. All four of those golfers were 200/1 long shots before the tournament started and ended up hoisting the trophy at the end.
50-year-old Phil Mickelson found his form at the PGA Championship last year and at 250/1 odds, became the oldest major champion of all time.
Probably the most important part of handicapping a PGA event is to understand the recent form of golfers coming into the tournament.
A golfer who has been playing well the last three to five weeks prior to an event is deemed to be in good form and more likely to score well as opposed to someone who has been struggling of late.
Playing well doesn’t mean they have won a tournament recently. You will want to look at their recent cuts made. Are they on a streak of six or seven consecutive cuts?
You will also want to look at their finish position recently.
How many Top 10’s and Top 20’s have they posted in the last five or six weeks?
In most cases, checking to see that a golfer has been competitive and playing well for the last few weeks before an event is a good indication that they are in good form and have a chance to contend on Sunday.
Horses For Courses
Horses for courses is a term used by handicappers to explain golfers that have success at specific events each year. Obviously, golf courses are all designed completely differently.
Some are very long, requiring a real emphasis on driving the ball and distance. Some courses are very narrow and tight, requiring a real focus on accuracy. Some greens are considered extremely quick and winding, while others are more straightforward and easier to judge.
The fact is, some courses just feel better for some players in comparison to others. Mark Calcavecchia very famously played one ball flight for every shot. Courses that demanded a right to left ball flight would have played tough for him.
Charles Howell III has had a great career, but his streak at the Sony Open of reaching 21 consecutive cuts speaks to how well that course suits his game and how comfortable he feels there.
All good PGA handicappers have a sense of each tournament of players with a history of success at that particular event.
Success doesn’t necessarily mean winning the tournament, but with Top 10, Top 20 and Make the cut bets all available each week, there are definitely opportunities to capitalize on a golfer with a proven track record at a specific event.
Maybe the biggest advancement of golf handicapping over the last few years is the development and understanding of golfer data and analytics.
Strokes gained is the average amount of shots it takes a golfer to get the ball in the hole from different locations. Strokes gained looks at the tee to green, short game, putting and gives a detailed view of how a golfer is performing against the rest of the players.
Many courses emphasize different skill sets. Some tournaments require very skilled putting, some require precision tee shots.
Experienced golf handicappers will have a good understanding of some of the skills they want to focus on each tournament and then match that up with Strokes Gained data to select the best golfers in those categories.
We have already mentioned players like Stewart Cink, Hudson Swafford, and Martin Laird, who won tournaments with odds of 200/1. Another very popular form of betting in golf is head-to-head bets.
These types of bets will set a moneyline for two specific golfers, allowing a bettor to decide which golfer will shoot the lower score.
Head-to-head wagering allows a savvy bettor to take advantage of moneylines in their favor. Golf is a really hard game, even for professionals.
It can be difficult to predict player performance in golf, even within the four rounds of a tournament, very few players are great for all four days.
Underdogs in head-to-head bets can provide an edge to a golf bettor who has done their homework.
Name and brand recognition can inflate odds and in a sport where even the greatest win such a small percentage of their starts, there is often great value going against the chalk names.
Go Line Shopping
This one is obvious and transcends to all types of bets you make, but might be especially relevant for your PGA golf bets. A smart bettor is always shopping lines and playing the numbers that best support their bets.
For the majority of golf bets, we are making moneyline wagers. There might not be a huge financial reward when you take a +110 line when a +120 was out there.
However, as you continue to make more wagers over time, that kind of price difference actually turns into a very large number.
There are a lot of different strategies and ways to be successful when it comes to betting on PGA golf, however, the biggest and easiest advantage all bettors have access to, is the ability to shop around at different sportsbooks and to find the best odds that support your bet.
Popular Golf Online Bets
When we think about betting on PGA golf, we think about picking tournament winners. Whether we are looking at pre-tournament odds or waiting to make our bets until after the second or third round, chasing leaderboards and cheering on guys to close it out on Sunday is a very popular play.
When it comes to picking winners, it has to be remembered that golf has to be considered a long-term play. When you have winners cashing in at 200/1 odds or even higher, all of a sudden your bankroll can climb in a hurry with just one win.
However, when you are dealing with fields that are 150 players deep, picking winners can come few and far between. The majority of serious PGA golf bettors will develop a financial strategy that allows them to pick several golfers each week.
You will definitely want to be cheering on a couple of the big names each week. Who wouldn’t want to have Jon Rahm win at the Masters this year or Rory McIlroy at the British Open.
However, there is such huge value on golfers listed at 40/1, 100/1 and even much higher, that developing a financial model to allow for multiple picks each tournament will give you your best chance at success.
Another interesting aspect of PGA golf betting is that it takes place over four days and four rounds. After each round, the odds reset for each golfer and there’s an opportunity to analyze the standings as the tournament progresses and make new bets.
One of the important things to remember in golf is that the path to victory is not a straight line. There are ebbs and flows to a four-day long golf tournament and golfers in the majority of tournaments will have a varying degree of success each time out.
This provides more opportunities to develop a strategy for how to bet on a PGA tournament while it is going on.
Different courses and different tournaments allow for better or worse scoring conditions. Understanding whether the current event will be won with a -20 final score or a -5 final score is actually a very big deal.
In a tournament where players are going to be regularly scoring well below par, there is a greater opportunity for players to make up ground. At courses that are more wide open and less penalizing for mistakes, there is less of an advantage for some of the more precise and skilled players.
Top 10 and Top 20 Bets
If picking winners seems like a daunting task when you are dealing with over 140 players at each event, then betting on players to finish in the Top 10 or Top 20 might be more of a preference. The same type of pre-tournament research will be required for these types of bets.
It is important to remember that Top 10’s seem a lot easier than winning a tournament (and they are) but they are still difficult to achieve. Last season, Patrick Cantlay had a remarkable year, winning his first event and finishing in the Top 10 nine times in 27 starts.
That means Cantlay finished outside the Top 10 in two-thirds of his starts. It was also the first time in his career that Cantlay had more than five Top 10 finishes in a single season.
The point we are trying to make is that finishing inside the Top 10 is still a difficult achievement, even for the top golfers in the world.
One strategy for these types of bets is to avoid picking the top-ranked golfers, whose odds become significantly reduced for Top 10 and Top 20 bets. Instead, look for some golfers who have higher odds to win the tournament.
Yes, their odds will still be reduced for a Top 10 or a Top 20 bet, but you will still be able to get them at a price that provides a decent return.
Head To Head
Head-to-head betting on PGA golf more resembles traditional betting than trying to predict tournament winners.
Sportsbooks will provide moneyline odds for two players, normally these players will be playing in the same group. A bettor simply has to choose which golfer they believe will shoot a lower score
Many of those who enjoy betting on PGA golf believe that head-to-head betting provides a small advantage to those willing to wager on lesser-known golfers and underdogs.
Of course, the great golfers will normally be favored in these types of bets.
However, golf is anything but a predictable sport. Even within each tournament players will have varying degrees of success during their four separate rounds.
Be bold with your selections when betting head to head in golf and make sure you don’t get locked in on just taking big names and favorites.
Like most popular sports, PGA golf provides its fair share of prop bet options. The top 10 and Top 20 bets which we already discussed above are a form of prop betting. Betting on the first-round leader is a very popular PGA prop bet.
Some of the more creative props can be course-specific: How many players will hit into the water on #17 at the Tour Championship? How many players will make an eagle at the 18th hole at the Sony Open?
Just like the head-to-head bets, the value play is often found on the plus (+) moneyline and underdogs when it comes to props.
Betting On The Majors
A lot of what we talked about above requires bettors willing to go against the chalk names and search for value with underdogs.
However, when it comes to golf’s four major championships, history tells us big names win the big events.
Last year, Phil Mickelson shocked the golf world when he won the PGA Championship. At the time of the event, Phil was ranked outside the Top 100 in the world.
However, prior to Lefty’s big win, the last player ranked outside the Top 50 to win a major was Darren Clarke, way back in 2011.
Experienced handicappers will often try to buy golfers on futures bets many months before a major is set to take place. Maybe a golfer is going through a little slump or has taken a few weeks off and their odds drop a little
A tournament like the Masters, which is played at the same course every April has a handful of golfers who play very well there almost every year.
By identifying these golfers well in advance of the tournament, a bettor has a chance to monitor their odds and place a bet when they feel there is an advantage in their favor.