Golf Betting Guide 2020

Golf is considered a small segment of the betting industry. That doesn’t mean online sportsbooks neglect the sport, however.

On the contrary, you’ll find TN sportsbooks running promotions around the biggest events of the year in the sport. Like other sports, you can find odds boosts or special deals around the major events. These include the results of the four majors, lesser tournaments, and even things that take place within tournaments.

Since so much action takes place in a golf tournament that people can bet on, live betting is a popular segment for golf. Knowing how it works is crucial to doing it successfully.

This golf betting guide outlines how to bet, futures betting and the four major tournaments available for bettors in Tennessee.

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How to bet on golf at online sportsbooks

Most of the traditional lines for golf tournaments are set up as moneyline bets. Many sportsbooks will post spread bets as well. A golf spread bet is a margin by which a player will win a tournament or finish ahead of other competitors in her/his score. Below is a hypothetical example.

GolferOdds
Brooks Koepka-3 (+800)
Dustin Johnson+3 (-200)

In that example, the spread is three strokes. If you were to bet on Koepka, he would have to finish at least four strokes better than Johnson for your bet to pay out.

For moneyline bets on golf, whether or not you win the bet largely depends on in what place a particular player finishes. There are two main types of markets for golf wagers that most bets fall under.

Outright golf bets

The first and simplest type of outright bet is on a certain player to win. In golf, that’s called a win bet.

You can typically bet on the odds of a player finishing in the top five, top 10, and top 20 too. Many sportsbooks call that an each-way bet.

A unique form of an outright bet is on the winner’s nationality. In order to win this type of bet, all that has to happen is for the winning player to hail from that nation.

Another form of an outright bet usually appears when one golfer is a heavy favorite to win a tournament. In this type of bet, you can wager on that favorite or the field.

If you bet the field, you win if anyone other than the favorite wins the tournament. If you bet the other side of the market, you would only win if the favorite does what he/she is expected to.

Individual match-up bets

The other category of golf bets is individual matchups. Examples of these bets include head-to-head bets and group wagers.

A head-to-head bet is exactly what it sounds like. You bet on one golfer to finish with a lower score than the other.

A group wager expands upon that bet. Instead of picking one golfer to finish with a lower score than just one other, you pick one player to post a lower score than a group of her/his competitors.

One example of a more creative type of individual matchup is wagering upon which golfer will lead after the first round. It’s a good example of how great golf is for those who enjoy alternative bets.

Live betting on golf

One important thing to remember about golf is that wagering between rounds isn’t considered live betting. That’s because there is no action ongoing.

Live betting is only done when players are actually playing the course in the tournament. Bettors can bet on the odds players make the cut, where they will finish, or who will win. There are also prop bets available to live bet on as well.

The lines on these wagers move and change as the event goes along. Because golf moves along slowly in comparison to other sports, a bettor doesn’t necessarily have to be glued to the screen.

Despite the relatively slow pace, there are still plenty of events within a tournament to place live bets upon. It’s essentially the best of both worlds for live wagers.

Sportsbooks adjust those odds based on many factors like a golfer’s history on the course, her/his history against certain opponents, and the weather. As expected, a golfer’s performance in a particular round is one of the strongest determining factors on his odds of success.

Making these bets pay off requires bettors to be familiar with that history of not only individual bettors but courses and tournaments. There is another type of bets which is a little more forgiving on that.

In order to offer in-game betting in Tennessee, sportsbooks are required to use official data from the event. That means results and information from the event will come directly from the organizers of the tournament or an approved data provider.

How to bet golf futures

Sportsbooks also accept futures bets. The name explains these bets perfectly. The bets are set on future events.

In golf, these can include which player wins the most money in a year or who will win awards. While these bets can be seen as less risky, that’s not actually true.

The risk involved is more about when you place your bet rather than what you wager upon. These lines fluctuate throughout the year and if you put your money down too early or too late, you can miss out on the best odds.

It is unclear how many futures bets Tennessee will allow, as the regulations seem to suggest there is only wagering on sporting events, so extraneous things, like awards, might be off-limits.

Prop betting on golf

The types of prop bets available to golf fans can be overwhelming. There are several categories of prop bets to choose from ranging from the results of the tournament to events that might transpire during the event.

For example, there are bets on how the tournament will play out. This includes things like:

  • Will there be a playoff?
  • Will there be a wire to wire leader?
  • Will there be a birdie or a bogey on the final hole?
  • How many strokes will the winner win by?
  • Will there be an albatross?

You can also bet on who will be the top finisher from a certain nationality or a continent.

Betting on golf’s four major events in 2020/2021

There are four major events every year on the PGA Tour. These often come with some of the year’s best promotions at sportsbooks around the country. These are also among the easiest to do research because there is a lot of information available on the events. The details on all four are as follows.

2020 Masters Odds

  • Date: Nov. 12-15, 2020
  • Course: Augusta National in Augusta, GA
  • Par: 72
  • Prize fund: $11.5 million

The field for the 2020 Masters, the 84th such tournament, will include the past five champions including 2020 champ Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed, not to mention movers and shakers of the 2020 PGA Tour such as Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa.

Check the table below for the current 2020 Masters odds as of Nov. 10.

GolferOdds
Bryson Dechambeau+750
Dustin Johnson+900
Jon Rahm+1050
Rory McIlroy+1300
Justin Thomas+1300
Xander Schauffele+1600
Brooks Koepka+1700
Tyrell Hatton+2500
Patrick Cantlay+2800
Jason Day+3000
Tiger Woods+4500

2021 PGA Championship betting

  • Date: May 20-23, 2021
  • Course: The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island,  South Carolina
  • Par: 71
  • Prize fund: $11 million

Collin Morikawa won the 2020 PGA Championship played in August instead of May. Now entering its 103nd year, that makes for six American winners in the past eight years. Bettors new to online sports betting should take note for 2021l

2021 US Open betting

  • Date: June 17-20, 2020
  • Course: Torrey Pines South Golf Club in San Diego, CA
  • Par: 70
  • Prize pool: $12.5 million

The 120th US Open was a chance for Brooks Koepka to reclaim an event that he has owned recently but Bryson DeChambeau had other plans. DeChambeau won by six strokes with an overpowering performance off the tee – atypical of usual winners.

2021 Open Championship betting

  • Date: July 15-18, 2021
  • Course: Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England
  • Par: 70
  • Prize fund: $10.75 million

This is the 15th year that this event, also known as the British Open, will be played in Sandwich. The last time was in 2011. The 149th Open Championship will feature dozens of top players, who missed out on the chance to play the Open Championship in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

How to find free bets at online sportsbooks

Many online sportsbooks will allow you to get in on golf betting action for free. That’s especially true if you’re a new customer for the particular operator.

These types of free play often come in two forms. Those include guarantees against lost bets and deposit credits.

After you register or sign in, you can take advantage of deposit credits once you make a deposit into your account. Many times these promotions feature an offer to match your deposit up to a specified limit.

Guarantees against lost bets are exactly what they look like. If you lose your bet, the sportsbook will refund your wager anyway.

With these promotions, it’s essentially like playing with house money. Regardless of whether you have used actual cash or free plays, you’ll want to keep on top of the action.

How to stream PGA and other golf events live

Unfortunately, no US sportsbooks have deals to allow streaming of events through their apps or websites in regards to golf yet. That doesn’t mean you can’t watch these events on the go, however.

CBS and ESPN are two of the primary broadcasters of PGA events. These broadcasters have their own streaming platforms, CBS All Access and ESPN+.

Some cable and satellite providers will allow you to stream live content on your devices through your subscription with those companies. Additionally, live TV streaming services like YouTube TV can provide mobile access to these events as well.

Watching these events is more fun when your bets are going well. That partially depends on having placed the correct wagers.

Golf betting tips for beginners

Most successful golf bettors win because they did their research. It’s important to know recent form, course form, suitability to conditions and scrambling percentage when considering the odds on a golf wager.

Recent form is simply how a golfer has fared in her/his most recent events. The most useful information here is identifying a player who has been playing well but hasn’t necessarily finished among the winners because of factors outside of her/his control.

Course form is helpful in identifying a player’s history on a particular course and courses that are similar to the course being taken into consideration. For example, if a player has done exceptionally well on a course in the past, it’s easy to expect her/him to do the same again.

The trap to that, however, is the sportsbooks will have the same information and use it to set the odds on golfers. The real value may be more in comparing how groups of players perform against each other as opposed to how a single golfer has fared on a particular course.

Suitability to conditions can augment or decrease a golfer’s performance significantly. Some golfers fare better on courses that play longer or in warmer temperatures, for example.

Scrambling percentage is a somewhat advanced golf statistic, but it isn’t complicated. It simply denotes how well a golfer recovers from missing the green to still make par on a particular hole.

That stat speaks to a golfer’s resiliency and the higher the number the better. Just like how golfers are more likely to succeed if they know the rules of a club, bettors should know sportsbooks’ rules which are unique to golf.

Common rules for betting golf online

Sometimes the weather will suspend play during a tournament. A general rule of thumb at online betting sites is that wagers remain valid for 48 hours after the suspension.

If the suspension lasts longer than that, most sportsbooks will cancel the bets and return your wagers. The same thing goes if you place a bet on a player who fails to make the cut for an event.

When a golfer incurs a penalty, the resulting strokes are counted in her/his score by the sportsbook just as if he/she had physically taken that number of strokes. If a player withdraws after having started a round, sportsbooks typically do not award her/him any wins regardless of the score.

There are other things that bettors should know about golf wagering. These facts are unique to the game.

Golf betting FAQ

How does golf scoring work?

Golf scoring is very simple. A golfer’s score is the number of strokes he/she took to complete a round of 18 holes. Most tournaments feature four rounds and combine the scores to determine a winner. If two or more players are tied at that point, a playoff of two or three holes is the most common tiebreaker.

What is 2 ball/3 ball betting in golf?

This terminology simply refers to the number of balls in play in a group that is being wagered upon. Each player has her/his own ball.

Two ball is another way to say a head-to-head matchup. Three ball denotes there are three players in the group.

To win either type of bet, you must correctly wager upon the golfer with the lowest score of the group. In these types of bets, where the player finishes among the final standings doesn’t really matter.

What are greenies and sandies in golf betting?

A greenie is when a golfer hits her/his ball onto the green off the tee and finishes the hole at or under par. If more than one player in a group also hits the green off the tee, the golfer with the ball closest to the hole gets the opportunity for the greenie.

A sandie (or sandy) is a bunker shot from a fairway or greenside that is followed by a putt that finds the hole. As is the case with the greenie, if multiple players’ balls end up in the same bunker, the closest ball to the pin denotes which golfer gets the first crack at a sandie.

How do I find the best golf betting lines?

This is a matter of shopping around and timing. While it’s likely that most lines at most US sportsbooks will be quite similar, there are some variations you can exploit.

On top of checking around at all the books to see who has the best odds on the player you’re considering, it’s important to strike when the iron is hot. For example, if a golfer had a bad round at an event but is coming up on an event he/she normally does well at, the best time to pounce on the action for the upcoming event would be right after the bad round.

What is a good resource for finding statistics on golf?

Golfstats is one of the premier websites that will enable you to build custom reports and dive deeply into a reservoir of information about courses and golfers. There are free resources that are less immersive on the PGA’s own website, however.

One of the best things about golf is that there is no real offseason. That means you can find golf betting action no matter what time of year it is and if you’re able to identify value based on your research, you stand a good chance to make some green on the greens.