With golf, like pretty much every other sport, being on an indefinite break due to COVID_19, I have thrown together some of the strategies and different angels I look at when trying to pick an outright winner on the PGA Tour.
First of all, let me start by saying that golf is by far the best sport you can bet on as, while in football get 90 minutes of excitement out of a bet, in golf you get four days.
As well as that, ask yourself: when was the last time somebody with a realistic chance to win was 100/1? (yes, yes, yes I know Leicester won the Premier League at 5000/1!)
But consider this, so far this season we have had multiple triple-digit winners and another handful at 50/1 + on the PGA Tour alone!
Never bet on Tiger or Rory
People love Woods and McIlroy and will basically bet them at any price so the bookies will price them accordingly.
Saying that; like I bet Arsenal way to often, I’ve also bet my two favourite golfers so this is more of a, “do as I say and not as I do,” kind of situation.
Dustin Johnson doesn’t matter but Chez Reavie does
If Dustin or another top 10 player in the world wins a tournament it doesn’t really give you any insight on what type of golfer can do well at that course since the best can win everywhere.
On the other hand, if a short hitter like Chez or another lower-class golfer with a specific skill set has won or contended you would be wise to factor that into your analysis of the tournament.
Consider the Conditions
While the generic layout of a course is significant, I would argue that the way it plays is as important. So, try to figure out if the course will be playing firm and fast, if the golfers will face a lot of wind, how long the rough will be compared to previous years, what the winning score usually is and so on.
As an example, Zach Johnson could never have won a perfect weather Masters but when he won in 2007 the winning score were unsurprisingly over par.
Pre Tournament vs Live
Be careful waiting to bet favourites live, since their odds in play plummets if they have even a half-decent opening round.
On the other hand, you can get some nice value on outsiders you are high on live even if they are going nicely.
The class player out of form or fancy quandary
Almost every week you will find a couple of world-class players at seemingly way too high a price usually because of lack of form, if you fancy them its important that you back them pre-tournament though.
That’s because, while they are a 30-50 to 1 golfer on Thursday, the books will treat them as a 10-20 to 1 golfers if they get in contention.
In the same vein you also have some top 20 players that the public just don’t like (ahem, Patrick Reed) and therefore are consistently priced 5-10 points higher than their form and class would indicate.
Don’t trust putting
Putting is by far the facet of any golfer’s game most suitable to variance, so make sure to check if a particular good or bad performance can be accredited to the flat stick.
This is also something I use actively when betting live as somebody who despite having one or two bad rounds on the green are still in contention can be good value for a live bet.
It’s the approaches, stupid!
Approach stats are the location of the golf betting business. It’s both one of the most predictable stat categories and the one it’s almost impossible to win without being positive in any giving week.
Take The Players Championship, where since we have had stats at the beginning of this millennium every winner has gained on approach except Webb Simpson in 2018 and he gained an unholy 14.4 (!) strokes on and around the green.
You can’t bet on everybody
While I definitely know the fear of missing out feeling, it’s important to limit your exposure in each tournament.
I personally would like to get minimum 10x what I bet on the whole tournament back if one of my golfers win.
Ultimately, betting on golf should be fun. A good way to test your knowledge and a great opportunity to study those in form and the players who are currently struggling on tour.
But please remember to bet responsibly and never spend more than you can afford. So for more information on responsible gambling please click here.
With that said, stay healthy and let us cross our fingers that we will be watching 350-yard drives, pin seeking approaches, holed bunker shots and clutch 5-foot par saves in the not too distant future.