Despite a slight slump a few years back, golf betting is surging across the country, fueled by a PGA Tour roster full of young stars, a returning Tiger Woods, and so many events that wagers can be placed almost daily.
With top players from around the globe, a schedule spanning the calendar, and a history that dates back to 1929, it’s easy to see why the PGA Tour has long been one of the world’s most popular betting markets.
But in perhaps no other sport are there more variables at play.
Weather, wind, course routing — how most holes dogleg can favor either right-handers or left-handers — and course features like lots of rough are among the factors that can affect outcomes.
Given that golf is such a mental game, hot streaks and cold streaks are real things. Knowing your options can help remove some of the mystery.
Nothing can have a bigger impact on a tournament.
Weather can especially play a role at events held on the U.S. West Coast during the PGA’s early spring swing (it can be rainy and windy there at that time of year) and at British events like the Open Championship, where wind can howl in from offshore.
How has a player been performing his last few times out? The mental game is key, and when confidence soars, it shows on the course.
It’s not unusual for wins to come in bunches; Johnson, for instance, won three times in five starts last spring.
At the same time, slumps are real; if a player has missed several cuts, beware.
Wrists, shoulders, and backs can taking a beating, and PGA golfers are such fine-tuned machines that even small injuries can impact in performance.Look at Woods, and all the battles with his back.If a player’s spending a lot of time in the physio trailer, be careful.
Many PGA events return to the same courses year after year, and some players just develop a comfort level on layouts where they’ve played well in the past.Find under-the-radar options by looking for players who perhaps have knocked out a number of top-10s on the same course hosting that week’s event.
Golf is a business, and sometimes it shows. Players change caddies, swing coaches, agents, club manufactures, and ball type.
Adjustments can take time. If a long-time Taylor Made player shows up carrying Callaways, maybe give them a few weeks.
When betting PGA Tour golf online, look for books that makes the sport a priority, and offers options. Is golf listed higher in the site’s drop-down menu. That’s a good sign.
So is posting odds on PGA and European tour stops. So are futures for majors like the Masters or U.S. Open.
Also make sure there’s a variation in bet type, and you can wager not just on tournament winners, but head-to-head or against the field, on special events like skins games, and perhaps even on prop bets such as whether a player will score a hole-in-one.
And as always, shop around, given how odds can vary from one site to another. We highly suggest starting the top bookmakers listed above.
The simplest type of PGA bet is to wager on a player to win a tournament. Odds are shown in a plus/minus format, with a plus number paying more and a minus number paying less.
Jordan Spieth +200, for example, means a $100 bet earns $200 if Spieth wins. Justin Thomas -120 means a better must wager $120 to earn $100 if Thomas wins.
Tournaments can also be bet in advance though futures — for example, odds on the Masters, held in April, were already easy to find in December.
Futures can be in plus/minus format or a ratio such as Dustin Johnson 15-1, meaning that every dollar bet would be multiplied by 15 should Johnson win.
Golf also offers wagering on a player to lead after a round, to post the lowest score in his group, and other options. We’ll explain those later.
"An experienced bettor with a decade writing about sports and gambling, Dan's expertise includes college football, college basketball, golf, the NFL and more."