Updated: 23 Sep 2020

Golf Betting Strategy

Golf betting, if studied correctly, can provide you with the biggest winners at the biggest odds. Due to the fact that there are so many players in each competition, especially the majors, prices on genuine contenders can be generous.

Additionally, there is often a big favourite – more often than not, Rory McIlroy. In general, favourites tend to underperform, (if you disregard the Woods ‘boom’ a few years ago). This generally leaves the field open for betting interpretation.

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Avoiding Big Names

Looking at a golfing line-up for a big championship, it is likely that your eyes will initially veer towards the familiar names of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and the like. However, it is frequently the slightly less talked-about players that emerge from the pack and challenge for the big events – just look at Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel as examples from the past few years. These players are usually dismissed in the market and so it is the punter’s duty to sieve out these dark horses and find some real value.

Perhaps the most difficult task, however, is trying to asses which golfer is backing himself – i.e. who is riding high on confidence before the first tee which, in turn, will lead others to have confidence in him. The intricacies and eccentricities of golf mean that players go in and out of form constantly; indeed, a player could be out of form for two years and then go and win the Masters.

However, there are concrete signs to watch out for. The fluctuations in golf betting markets can often provide a big clue. If a player who has been off-form is fancied in the market, then clearly there is confidence behind him. As well as this, you must watch out for recent tournaments because, as with most sports, recent form is always a decent yardstick with which to measure potential success.


Although as discussed, players do not necessarily need to have excelled prior to a tournament to perform well. It is therefore a good idea to look at the different courses that respective golfers perform well on. For example, at next year’s Masters, it will be worth looking at Bubba Watson, but also at Peter Hanson, K.J Choi, and Phil Mickelson, for whom Augusta holds no fears.


Other variables to look out for include weather conditions, the ability to handle pressure and the intruding effects of any niggling injuries. Perhaps the most important thing to remember when betting on golf is not simply to back the favourite. In more cases than not, during the event itself the odds of each player will fluctuate dramatically and the favourite can finish at a much bigger price after the close of day one or two.

As such, wait for the event to start and, if you find that your pre-tournament fancy has dropped a couple of shots, you will be glad that you did not back him. Alternatively, if you see your pick playing well, then pile in.

Outright Betting

Golf outright betting can often be one of the most difficult and frustrating activities to do in a bookmakers. However, when you pick that winner, it is always hugely satisfying and, importantly, profitable. Picking a winner in golf is arguably more difficult than any other sport, given that the field can often be made up of 130 or more players.

Of course, the counterpoint to this – and the reason people keep on returning to the televised fairways – is that there are inevitably some very juicy odds on offer. In many tournaments, it is no surprise to see the favourite going off at odds in double-figures. You will very rarely see a favourite in a golf tournament starting at shorter than around 4/1, and even odds that short are unusual.

Value Picks

So, this begs the question of how exactly you identify value picks when looking through the odds:

Golf betting can be a very frustrating business, as you can go weeks without seeing any returns. Golf is unlike any other sport, because you can have a different leader every five minutes. However, when your 80/1 shot finally tops the leader board, it will cover any losses and provide additional funds well into the future.

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Hi, I'm Dean Ryan

"A passionate sports betting broadcaster and journalist with over 15 years spent in the gambling industry."

  • Sports Betting
  • Odds Compiling
  • Horse Racing

Reviewer since June 2016