Golf betting has become increasingly popular for casual and dedicated gamblers as more states legalize gambling in the US.
Casinos have continued to report rapid increases in the amount of money wagered on golf each year, and that number will likely continue to rise with easier access to wagering.
On this page we will provide a guide on the various ways to bet on golf, the strategies and statistics to use when betting on golf, and the biggest tournaments that take place every year. Golf is a unique sport in that the season never truly ends. There will be golf tournaments available to bet on around 50 weeks a year all around the globe.
Due to the nature of golf – including the impact of Mother Nature, extensive traveling and course history – it’s a sport in which research can be used heavily to find the right player on the right week.
Best golf betting sites
How to bet on golf
Outrights and futures bets
Outright betting in golf is simply wagering on a specific player to win the tournament. Because of the difficulty of a player winning a tournament in fields that are often around 150, outright odds are much higher than someone betting on team sports is used to.
Strategy: Because the return on investment can be so high, you can bet on numerous players and still make a nice profit if one of your players wins. Betting on a couple players in each “tier” can be effective. For example, favorites (+2500 or lower), contenders (+2500 – +5000), longshots (+5000 or higher). Betting $10 on six players in that scenario would be just $60 invested. Even if you bet on a heavy favorite at +1000, he would win back $100 for a strong profit.
Top 5, 10, 20
A less risky version of outright betting is wagering on a player to finish in the top 5, 10 or 20 in a tournament, depending on what your sportsbook offers. While it doesn’t offer the high odds that outright betting does, it is much less volatile and rewards steady performances from your golfers.
Strategy: If you prefer betting on placement instead of outright, you’ll likely need a slightly larger bankroll to see decent profit. The market for placement betting is completely different than outright. You’re looking for more consistent golfers who may not have the firepower to win most weeks but provide steady results with a high percentage of made cuts.
There are many forms of matchup betting on golf depending on your sportsbook.
Head-to-head: These can be week-long or single-round bets that put two players against each other with odds on who will post the better score. This provides a unique market where you can bet against a player you may be down on for the week compared to his pricing.
Nationality: Many sportsbooks will provide lines on which countryman will perform the best for the tournament. If you’re high on a certain player but don’t want to jump into an outright or top 5 bet, you can get decent value on a nationality bet depending on who is in the field.
3-Ball: An increasingly popular way to bet on golf because it provides a way to gamble on each round. 3-Ball betting typically uses the pairings in the tournament and gives odds on which player in the group will perform the best in the round. This can provide for entertaining viewing if you bet on a player in a featured group on TV.
Betting on the first-round leader is a niche market but seems to be growing. It is still not available on every sportsbook.
Strategy: It’s much easier to lead a single round than win an entire golf tournament, but odds for first-round leader mostly remains the same as outright odds. Keeping an eye on weather conditions is key to pick a player who tees off in calm conditions.
Golf has live betting like most sports, except it allows you to put in much more research with ample time between rounds.
Strategy: Most live betting odds on the outright winner stay true to the leaderboard, but the market often still favors the well-known and highly ranked players. Taking a look at statistics and jumping on a player that is in contention but underperforming in a category he or she usually excels in can be a good strategy in live betting on golf.
Golf betting strategies
Bankroll management can be tricky in golf due to the alarming potential of profit when outright betting. It’s important to stay reasonable and stick to a weekly limit on how much you bet on a tournament. Picking an outright winner is hard and you will often go weeks without getting a winner. But the profit of just one winner will typically make up for multiple weeks and more, especially if it wasn’t a heavy favorite. Pairing your outright bets with top 10 or top 20 bets is a good way to get some return on investment instead of going all-in on outright winners.
Injuries aren’t as common in golf as most sports, so there’s typically not much news on injuries most weeks. But there can be some withdrawals on Wednesday evenings or Thursday mornings, so it’s good to stay up-to-date on any lingering injuries that could come into play and ruin your bet.
Course form and recent form
Form will be talked about endlessly when taking in any content from golf betting experts. Not only is recent form important like it is in most sports, but the unique-to-golf course form is also a key factor. Finding players who perform well at a course in the past is an element that should always be considered when betting. Augusta National is a course that strongly favors course history due to its tricky nature, but an easier, simpler course like TPC Deere Run shouldn’t weigh course history as strongly.
Golf requires a lot of traveling at times and has a very exhausting schedule at some points in the year. Keeping an eye on players traveling on short rest from overseas or someone who has played multiple weeks in a row can be a simple way to fade players who might be getting too much love from the casual eye.
Most normal golf tournaments don’t have much line movement throughout the week leading up to the tournament, but some sportsbooks will have more favorable odds than others. If you see someone early in the week that might get a push to lower odds because of talk from the media or a storyline, it’s smart to jump on it quickly. Otherwise, it’s usually fine to take your time.
Golf has a lot of external factors to keep in mind each week. Weather is something you should always look at before betting. There are players who excel in easy conditions and there are those who do better when the wind is blowing and good scores are harder to come by. Getting ahead of the curve by checking the forecast and taking players who fit it is important. Motivating factors from week-to-week can also play a role – FedExCup points needed, a win to get a Masters invitation, local support etc.
Golf stats: Which ones matter?
Thanks to websites and podcasts specializing in golf betting content, knowing the golf stats that matter each week has gotten increasingly easier for bettors. But there’s still plenty of individual research to be done that can help you get ahead of the market on a player that might be peaking at the right time. Generally, the strokes gained statistics are the golden measure in golf. But certain courses will favor “strokes gained: off-the-tee,” certain courses will favor “strokes gained: approach” and certain courses will favor “strokes gained: putting.” Most courses will favor that statistic year-to-year, but it can change depending on weather and how the course is set up.
It is generally smarter to favor players who excel in ball striking statistics – driving and approach shots – due to their ability to run away with a tournament if they have a good putting week.
Golf majors: odds and trends
The 2020 Masters will take place starting on Nov. 12. The event is usually the second weekend of April. It is always held at Augusta National in Augusta Georgia and is one of the most famous courses in the world.
Recent winners’ odds: Tiger Woods (2019): +1400, Patrick Reed (2018): +5000, Sergio Garcia (2017): +3000
The Masters favors course history more than any other event on the PGA Tour based on Data Golf’s course history tool. Creative ball strikers excel, as evidenced by recent winners like Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
The PGA Championship will likely be the first major held in 2020 with all of the schedule changes. Golf Channel reports the tournament is set to remain at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco in early August. It’s usually set in May.
Recent winners’ odds: Brooks Koepka (2019, 2018): +1100, +2000, Justin Thomas (2017): +3000.
The PGA Championship is typically the easiest setup of the four majors and the most similar to a regular PGA Tour setup. That means if conditions allow, the tournament favors long and high hitters. TPC Harding Park is a tree-lined and tighter course, so it could allow shorter and accurate players to have a better chance than most years.
The US Open was recently postponed and is now looking at a September date, according to a Golf Channel report. They hope to still host it at the tough Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, but the reports said it could be moved out west to Torrey Pines or Pebble Beach in California. It is usually set in June.
Recent winners’ odds: Gary Woodland (2019): +7000, Brooks Koepka (2018, 2017): +2000, +4000.
The US Open is typically the toughest test of golf in the world each year. The USGA sets it up to ideally be a challenge to break par, which is often the case when looking at the winning score. Length and accuracy off the tee have been a key statistic in recent years as the courses have gotten longer.
The Open Championship has been canceled for 2020. It was supposed to be held at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in England. The 2021 tournament is at the famous St. Andrews in Scotland. Its normal date is mid-July.
Recent winners’ odds: Shane Lowry (2019): +6600, Francesco Molinari (2018): +2500, Jordan Spieth (2017): +1400.
The Open Championship is always held at a classic links style golf course that often has windy and tough conditions. If the weather is calm, players can go low and any style of player can win. But windy conditions favor solid ball strikers who can keep the ball low. It’s one of the few golf tournaments where long hitters don’t have much of an advantage.