The size of a PGA Tour field on any given weekend can range from 120 to 156 players, an overwhelming number for any bettor to fully contemplate.
Everybody knows the big names that dominate the golf betting markets — the likes of Rory, Rickie, D.J., and Phil. But Kevin Tway, Martin Trainer, and Adam Long, all PGA event winners during the 2018-19 campaign? Not so much.
And not only are the chances of picking a tournament winner long — surely, everyone had Keith Mitchell at the 2019 Honda Classic, right? — even on those rare cases when Rory McIlroy or Rickie Fowler comes through, the odds often don’t make it the most lucrative of wagers.
Some golf bettors still take a swing at it; for others, there are perhaps better ways to reduce risk and increase the chances of more regular returns.
The alternative are bets that sound like golf games themselves: two-ball and three-ball, depending on the size of the player groupings in any given round of any given tournament. Rather than betting on a player to best the entire field, you’re wagering on a player to shoot the lowest score in his two-man or three-man group. The chances of picking winners are greatly increased, and the odds of underdogs in the group can be quite appealing given the limited number of players.
Players typically tee off in threesomes in the opening two rounds of a tournament, and twosomes in the latter two rounds. Some books allow for betting on a tie as well, while others void the bet in that instance. Bets can also be voided or impacted should one player in the grouping not tee off, or withdraw before the round is complete.
Which players to choose for a two-ball or three-ball bet? While personal preference plays a part, it’s important to weigh a player’s performance in recent tournaments as well as showings in that particular event.
It’s not uncommon for a player in a slump, for example, to rediscover his form and regain his confidence on a course where he’s enjoyed success before.
Also, which round are you betting on? Early rounds allow more room for underdogs to rise up, where final rounds carry a degree of pressure that not every player has faced before. It’s important to keep abreast of weather conditions, and know how long or tight courses historically favor big hitters or more accurate iron strikers, respectively.
Breaking the immense field down into more digestible pieces helps a bettor make a clearer assessment of each grouping, and better manage risk. Achieving regular returns in the two-ball or three-ball markets takes research and practice, and savvy golf bettors go in with a strategy of how they want their wagers to be placed.
Some make carefully selected bets, limiting their risk to just those players in a few groups. Others spread their bets across several different pairings, with the aim of covering themselves against potential ties. Still more use the two- and three-ball market as a hedge against bigger risk plays.
However you choose to do it, the two- and three-ball markets offer more variety and value, better odds, a better chance of winning, and more fun. They give bettors the chance of cashing tickets, even if Keith Mitchell takes home the trophy.
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