Golf Predictions & Best Bets
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March 10th, 2023
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There used to be a time when golf betting was a niche activity, with many online sportsbooks steering clear of the sport altogether. In recent years, however, the number of people betting on golf has skyrocketed.
In addition to wagering on the winner of a tournament, you can now take advantage of multiple golf betting opportunities. With most sportsbooks offering matchup betting, props, and other markets, there is no shortage of options.
The chances are that you landed on this page because you want to learn how to bet on golf. Lucky for you, our golf betting guide covers everything you need to know about gambling on the sport.
Below, we share the best online sportsbooks for betting on golf, explain golf odds and the different types of wagers, share some helpful golf betting tips, and a whole lot more. Are you ready? Let’s tee off!
Why Should I Bet on Golf?
Truthfully, there are lots of reasons to bet on golf. Of course, golf betting dishes up all the fun and excitement that sports betting offers, but it also presents unique wagering opportunities that you won’t find elsewhere.
Here are a few key elements that make golf gambling a great option.
- Golf betting is widely available at all the top online sportsbooks.
- Tournaments are often hugely competitive, making the odds very attractive.
- There are countless events around the world each year, so you will never be short of betting opportunities.
- You can choose from a wide variety of golf betting markets.
- The best golf betting sites allow you place in-play wagers on live events.
- You can find lots of valuable golf betting bonuses and promotions if you bet on golf online.
See, we told you there were lots of reasons to bet on golf! Keep reading to learn about the basics of the sport, the different to
Can I Legally Bet on the PGA Tour?
There was a time when the only U.S. state offering legal sports betting was Nevada. Following the introduction of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, Nevada was the only state with licensed sportsbooks.
In 2018, however, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA, giving states the chance to decide if they wanted to legalize sports betting. Fast-forward to today – more than two dozen states and the District of Columbia offer legal sports betting with more states coming on board in the near future.
It is worth pointing out that not all states with legal sports betting offer both online and in-person gambling. Some states offer both options, some only allow online betting, while others only allow gambling at brick-and-mortar venues. Be sure to check your local gambling laws before you get started.
What Other Golf Tours Can I Bet on?
In addition to betting on the PGA Tour, you can also wager on other tours within in the sport. The European Tour is the leading men’s golf tour in Europe, while the Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, and Sunshine Tour are also widely bet on.
As for the women’s tours, the United States-based LPGA Tour is the highest-profile tour. The Ladies European Tour, LPGA of Japan Tour, LPGA of Korea Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour, and WPGA Tour of Australasia are also prominent tours.
You should be aware that only a limited number of U.S. states have legalized LIV Golf betting. Founded in 2021, LIV Golf is a tour financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, with only a handful of states allowing bettors to wager on the tour.
Basics of Golf
Before you can successfully bet on golf, you will need to learn about the basics of the sport. In order to give yourself the best possible chance of making a profit, you should familiarize yourself with the fundamentals before you part ways with your cash.
Essentially, golf is a club-and-ball sport that requires players to hit balls into a series of holes on a course. Courses typically feature 18 or 9 holes, and the aim of the game is to complete the course in as few strokes as possible.
Let’s take a closer look at golf’s scoring system.
How Golf Scoring Works
Each hole is classified by a par, which indicates the number of strokes a proficient player should require to complete the hole. Most top-level courses are made up of par-three, par-four, and par-five holes, although some courses have holes with higher and lower pars.
A player’s number of strokes is compared to the hole, course, or tournament’s par score. The overall score is then displayed as the number that the player was under-par, over-par, or equal to par.
Here are the most common scores and their respective terms.
- Four under par (-4) – Condor
- Three under par (-3) – Albatross
- Two under par (-2) – Eagle
- One under par (-1) – Birdie
- Par (E) – Equal to par
- One over par (+1) – Bogey
- Two over par (+2) – Double bogey
- Three over par (+3) – Triple bogey
Golf Tournament Formats
There are two basic golf formats – stroke play and match play. On top of that, there are several other forms of golf that are used in different events around the world.
Let’s take a closer look at the different golf formats.
- Stroke Play – For professional golfers, this is the most commonly used format. Stroke play adds up the total number of strokes in a round or tournament to produce the final score, and the player with the lowest score wins.
- Match Play – Match play requires two golfers to play each hole as a separate contest against each other. At the end of the round or tournament, the player who has won the most holes wins overall.
- Bogey or Par Competition – Typically used in informal tournaments, a bogey or par competition is similar to match play. However, players compare their scores to the hole’s par, rather than their opponent’s score.
- Stableford – Essentially, the Stableford system is a simplified version of stroke play. In order to calculate the score, you take the par score, add two, and subtract the player’s hole score.
- Pairs/Teams – You can also play golf in pairs and teams. Common pairs formats include foursomes, greensomes, and four-ball, while popular team formats include scramble and best-ball.
If you’re betting on a professional golf tournament, the chances are that you’re wagering on a stroke play event. Still, you should always check a tournament’s format before you starting betting.
Men’s vs. Women’s Golf
There are several notable contrasts between men’s and women’s golf. Accordingly, you need to approach men’s and women’s tournaments different from a betting perspective.
It is worth noting that male and female players use different clubs, with women’s clubs generally being shorter and lighter. Furthermore, men and women tee off from different positions on the teeing ground.
The tournaments and schedule, too. While men’s professional golf has four annual major championships (The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship), women’s golf does not have a definitive set of majors.
Glossary of Golf Terms
- Aim – The direction in which a player intends the ball to travel.
- Albatross – A hole played three strokes under par.
- Approach shot – A shot that lands the ball on the green.
- Ball – A small sphere with dimples used to play golf.
- Birdie – A hole played one stroke under par.
- Bogey – A hole played one stroke over par.
- Bunker – A hazard on a golf course, usually filled with sand.
- Caddy – A person who carries a player’s clubs and offers advice.
- Chip – A short, looped shot that is intended to end up in the hole.
- Club – The instrument used by a player to hit a golf ball.
- Course – A designated area of land on which a round of golf is played.
- Double bogey – A hole played two strokes over par.
- Drive – The first shot of each hole
- Eagle – A hole played in two strokes under par.
- Fairway – The area of the course between the tee and the green.
- Fore – A warning call given when a stray ball could endanger other people.
- Grand Slam – Winning all of golf’s major championships in a single year.
- Green – The area of short grass around the hole.
- Handicap – A numerical measure of a golfer’s ability.
- Hole – A circular hole in the ground in which players must hit the ball.
- Hole in one – Using only one stroke to hit the ball from the tee into the hole.
- Iron – A flat-faced club with a solid metal head, numbered 1-9 indicating increasing loft.
- Lob – A short, high-arc shot, often produced with a lob wedge.
- LPGA – The organization that operates the leading women’s golf tour.
- Major(s) – The sport’s highest-profile tournaments.
- Match play – A form of golf where players compete against each other hole-by-hole.
- Out of bounds – The area outside the boundaries of a course, also known as OB.
- Par – The standard score for a hole or course.
- PGA Tour – The organizer of the professional men’s North American golf tours.
- Putt – A short shot played on the green, using a putter.
- Rough – The longer, coarser grass that borders the fairway.
- Sand wedge – A lofted club used to play out of a bunker.
- Shank – A mishit that travels a short distance at a sharp angle.
- Stroke play – The most common golf format.
- Swing – The movement a player makes to hit the ball.
- Tee – A small peg in the ground that elevates the ball prior to a driver.
- Teeing ground – The area from which a player hits a drive or tee shot.
- Tripple bogey – A hole played three strokes over par.
- Wedge – The clubs with the highest degrees of loft, used for chip shots.
- Wood – The clubs with the lowest degrees of loft, used for driving.
Golf Odds Explained
Thankfully, golf odds are not difficult to understand. Although there are several golf betting markets to choose from nowadays, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the sportsbooks’ prices.
The most common golf betting odds are outright odds. Also known as futures odds or winner odds, these prices relate to the outright winner of a specific tournament or event.
For example, Rory McIlroy (+900) might be the favorite to win an upcoming tournament. Jon Rahm (+1000), Cameron Smith (+1200), and Justin Thomas (+1400) are his closest challengers, while Jose Maria Olazabal (+120000) and Vijay Singh (+150000) are the rank outsiders.
A $100 wager on McIlroy would win $900, while a $100 wager on Vijay Singh would win $150,000. The higher the odds, the higher the potential profit will be.
You may also come across odds for head-to-head matchups. These odds enable you to bet on a player to outperform another player (or tie) in a particular round or tournament.
For example, you might see Scottie Scheffler (-140); Collin Morikawa (+150); Tie (+700). This means the golf oddsmakers expect Scheffler to outperform Morikawa, with the tie being the least likely head-to-head outcome.
It is also worth pointing out that many sportsbooks have three different odds formats to choose from – moneyline (American), fractional (British), and decimal (European). Although the odds are displayed differently, the prices remain the same.
If McIlroy is priced at +900 to win an event, he is also priced at 9/1 and 10.00. If Singh is priced at +150000, he is also priced at 1500/1 and 1501.00.
Important Dates for PGA Tour Events
Here are the highest-profile tournaments on the 2022-23 PGA Tour schedule. The major championships are highlighted in bold.
- September 18, 2022 – Fortinet Championship
- October 16, 2022 – Zozo Championship
- October 23, 2022 – CJ Cup
- November 13, 2022 – Cadence Bank Houston Open
- January 8, 2023 – Sentry Tournament of Champions
- February 12, 2023 – WM Phoenix Open
- February 19, 2023 – Genesis Invitational
- March 5, 2023 – Arnold Palmer Invitational
- March 12, 2023 – The Players Championship
- March 26, 2023 – WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
- Apil 9, 2023 – The Masters
- April 16, 2023 – RBC Heritage
- May 7, 2023 – Wells Fargo Championship
- May 21, 2023 – PGA Championship
- June 4, 2023 – Memorial Tournament
- June 18, 2023 – U.S. Open
- June 25, 2023 – Travelers Championship
- July 23, 2023 – The Open Championship
- August 13, 2023 – FedEx St. Jude Championship
- August 20, 2023 – BMW Championship
Types of Golf Bets
All the best golf sportsbooks dish up a wide range of golf betting options, from sign up bonuses, futures and matchup betting to props and in-play wagering. In this section, we take a closer look at all the different types of golf bets and explain how they work.
Betting on the Winner of a Tournament
This is undoubtedly the most popular golf betting market available. All you need to do is pick a player and back them to win the tournament or event. With dozens of tournaments taking place throughout the season, you will always find plenty of opportunities to explore this market.
Sportsbooks will release their odds ahead of each event, with the favorites at the top of the list and the outsiders at the bottom. Naturally, the favorites have the lowest prices, while the underdogs have the highest odds. It really is as simple as that!
Head-to-head betting allows you to wager on two players against each other in a particular round or tournament. Also referred to as matchup betting, this market serves an exciting alternative to the regular outright markets.
Sportsbooks will pair two players together, making one the favorite and the other the underdog. If you think the players will register the same score at the end of the round or tournament, you can also select the “tie” option.
For example, a sportsbook could choose to partner Cameroon Young with Keegan Bradley – pricing Young at -150, Bradley at +100, and the tie at +800. It’s up to you to decide which outcome you want to back.
Golf Props and Specials
Props are another exciting way to bet on golf. Essentially, a proposition bet is a wager unrelated to the final score or outcome of a tournament. Instead, a prop bet relates to the occurrence or non-occurrence of a specific event.
Here are some examples of golf props that you might come across.
- Will Rory McIlroy Win The Masters in 2023?
- Will Dustin Johnson Post the Best Score in Round 2?
- Will an American Win the U.S. Open in 2023?
There is no denying that prop bets are among the most fun wagers out there. The top golf sportsbooks offer props and specials for all the big tournaments, so be sure to search far and wide to make full use of all the options.
Live/In-Play Golf Betting
Not only can you place pre-tournament bets, but you can also place in-play wagers. In fact, live golf betting has become hugely popular in recent years, with the best sportsbooks offering lots of in-play markets.
If Tiger Woods leads after seven holes, why not back him to win the round? If Jordan Spieth finds himself off the pace heading into the back nine, why not bet on him missing the cut?
In-play golf odds can often be extremely attractive, as it can be difficult to predict what happens next. With that in mind, it pays to follow the action closely and keep an eye on the live price changes to get the best possible value.
Betting on the Winner of a Round
Most golf tournaments are made up of several rounds, meaning you can bet on the winner of each round within a particular event. More often than not, the tournament favorite is also the favorite to win the first round, but the round odds may change as the event unfolds.
Some golfers are renowned for starting well and fading away, while others are known for starting slow and growing into the tournament. If you can familiarize yourself players’ traits, this market could prove to be a winner for you.
Golf Betting Tips
Now that you’re up to speed on the basics of golf, the best online sportsbooks for golf betting, the different types of golf bets, and a whole lot more, it’s time to wrap things up with some useful golf betting tips.
Sure, you can bet on golf without following any strategies. But if you want to maximize your chances of making a profit, we recommend following our expert tips for betting on golf.
- Study Form and Stats – Before you back a player to win a tournament or a head-to-head matchup, be sure to study the recent form of the field and analyze the statistics behind each contender. In this day and age, it isn’t hard to find helpful stats for all the top golfers. If you’re willing to spend time searching the internet for stats and form guides, you will reap the rewards when it comes to laying down your wagers.
- Examine the Course – You don’t need to overanalyze every single golf course. However, it is important to remember that certain players favor specific conditions, greens, and overall course layouts. After growing up in San Diego and attending Arizona State University, Phil Mickelson clinched each of his first seven victories on the west coast. Coincidence? We think not. That’s why you should back golfers playing in conditions they are comfortable in.
- Shop Around to Find the Best Golf Odds – With hundreds of online sportsbooks out there, it only makes sense to shop around for the best golf odds. After all, prices always differ from one sportsbook to the next. One sportsbook may offer odds of +700 for Lydia Ko to win an upcoming tournament, while another sportsbook may price her at +750 to win the same event. Needless to say, the latter option will give you a bigger profit if Ko wins.
- Explore All the Golf Betting Options – Average golf bettors stick to the mainstream markets like picking the winner of a tournament. You can take your golf betting to the next level by exploring all the different options available. Not only can you bet on the winner of a tournament, but you can also bet on head-to-head matchups, props, and other exciting markets. The obscure options often dish up the greatest betting value, so why not check out all the markets?