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How to Bet on Golf

Jordan Spieth PGA Tour

It’s a good time to be a golf bettor with the sport giving young stars like Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas a chance to shine. There’s also women like Brooke Henderson and Sung Hyun Park who are becoming household names, making the LPGA exciting to watch too. From the Ryder Cup to the Masters to the US Open, golf gives bettors something to wager on year-round. There’s also that Tiger Woods guy. You may have heard of him.

Whether you’re a first-time golf bettor, a seasoned pro or the ghost of Will Smith in one of the worst movies of all time, The Legend of Bagger Vance, knowing how to read golf odds can help you make smart bets.

Basic Odds and Betting Options

The most common type of golf bet is to wager on which golfer will win a tournament. Let’s say Happy Gilmore is a real person and a favorite in every tournament he plays in – like Tiger Woods in his prime. A line for Gilmore would look something like this: +700

This indicates that Happy is a 7-1 favorite to win the tournament and you would need to bet $700 to win $100. Because he is the favorite, this bet requires you to wager more money on him. However, if you were to bet on an underdog in the tournament you would need to wager less and you’d see a larger payout if you won your bet.

Side Bets and Other Wagering Options

Many tournaments offer side bets in addition to betting on which golfer will win the tournament. These bets include head-to-head matchups as well as prop bets.

For example, a bettor who wants to wager that Roy McAvoy – Kevin Costner’s character from Tin Cup – will outperform Ty Webb – Chevy Chase from Caddyshack – at the British Open could bet McAvoy heads-up against Webb. A bet like this doesn’t take into consideration where these two fictional golfers placed in the overall standings. Instead, this bet would only cover which of the two finished with the better score.

Golf Props

You can also make prop bets. For these examples we’ll use Shooter McGavin because if he were real, he’d be the most entertaining golfer to watch. Prop wagers would look something like:

  • Will Shooter’s first round score be OVER or UNDER 70.5?
  • Will Shooter hit a hole in one?
  • Will Shooter place in the Top 20?

Nationality Bets

This type of bet involves betting on the country a player is from instead of the player themselves. You could bet that the US will have a certain number of players in the Top 10 or that only players from China will be in the Top 20.

Match Bets

Match bets are wagers that you place on who will shoot the lowest score out of a two or three ball group. You can also make match bets on two individual players who are playing the same course but in different groups.

Golf Betting Strategies

One of the great things about golf is that on any given weekend, a new star can be born. The elite golfers will often be at the or near the top of the leaderboards, giving bettors a good chance to make a small profit by wagering on them. However, there are dozens of golfers right below the elite tier who can come away with a tournament win if they are getting the right bounces and sinking their putts.

Bettors should always be studying the field and getting to know as many golfers as they can. Aside from your top picks, you could also find some value picks who are primed for upsets with huge payoffs.

Even if you have your large bets on one or two favorites, you could also place smaller bets on live +3000 or +4000 plays that would pay off well even on small wagers. This knowledge will be especially helpful in smaller tournaments. Many of the top golfers skip the smaller tournaments, providing excellent betting opportunities for golf bettors who have a deeper understanding of the field.

These pages will help you handicap your golf bets:

Odds Shark’s Golf Pages
  • Betting News: All the golf betting news necessary to give you an edge when placing your wagers
  • Odds/Futures: A comprehensive list of every golfer and their odds for upcoming tournaments.

Where to Bet on Golf

Most sportsbooks are going to offer similar lines and similar favorites in many tournaments. But, every sports book is different, and the difference between spiking your upset pick at +3000 compared to +4000 could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Compare and contrast lines among the major sportsbooks for both major and minor tournaments to see which cater best to your golf betting needs. We have vetted the majority of the sportsbooks out there and have whittled the list down to the top ones. Check out our review of the safest and best online sportsbooks here.