Online Betting Guide

Golf betting

Rory McilroyGolf is one of the most popular sports to bet on, due to the high-valued prices on offer from bookmakers.

It’s never been easier to place an online golf bet and now most tournaments around the world are open for the public to bet on.

From the PGA Tour to the LPGA Tour and everything in between, there is money to be made betting on golf where our recommended bookmakers offer the very best in both odds and betting options.

Popular golf betting options

Tournament winner

Bettors must correctly predict the winner of the selected tournament. The most popular option for punters, due to the value odds on offer, tournament winner bets attract not only big punters, but those in the hopes that a $5 outlay can turn into thousands.

In a typical tournament, the favourite – depending on skill level – will be set around the $10-12 (+1100 -+1300) mark. At the other end of the scale, players that are not fancied to win the tournament can pay anywhere in the realm of $1000 (+10,000).

Bettors often like to select more than one golfer per tournament, to ensure they have a better chance at making a profit in the long run. Obviously, both golfers can’t win, but when the odds are so highly in your favour, it pays to cover your bases.

Top five

Much like the tournament winner bet, except you get reduced odds if your player finishes in the top five. The standard rule of thumb is that the golfers tournament winner odds get a 25 per cent deduction to establish their top five price.

For example – Tiger Woods is $20 to win the US Open. His top five odds would be around $5, 25 per cent of his opening price.

Punters enjoy the top five option as it gives them added security and it also gives them the freedom to throw a couple of longshots in the mix as well.

First round leader

Simply select who you think will be ahead at the end of the first round. This option appeals to punters who want a quick collect – as all bookmakers pay out first round leader bets at the day’s conclusion.

There are certain world golfers who play best in round one, therefore they are usually well favoured in the market, despite their overall tournament odds. These players include: Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, just to name a few.

The odds for first round leader are higher than those set for tournament winner. This is because of the probability that a tie will happen in the first round – and there can’t be a tie at the tournament’s end.

If a player’s tournament odds were $12 (+1300), their first round leader odds would sit around the $15 (+1600) mark.

Top 10/20

As the name would suggest, players must finish in the top 10 or 20 for the tournament.

If a player is paying around $13 (+1400) to win the tournament, the odds for Top 10 would be around $2.70 – significantly less than the tournament winner price but with enough added security to make this bet worthwhile. Often the well favoured players consistently make top 10’s and 20’s, so the shorter odds available make for good parlaying (multi-bet) options.

For a Top 20 bet, expect a full point ($1) to come off the Top 10 price.

To make the cut

This option is widely considered the easiest betting option in golf. Bettors select players to simply make or miss the cut. With most tournaments having full fields of 120, where the field is cut to around 70 players after the first two rounds, it makes for a relatively easy option, but the odds reflect this.

Not every player is available to be bet on however. Odds for Rory McIlroy to miss the cut, in any tournament, would sit around $1.08, and that doesn’t appeal to many golf bettors, who are used to betting on bigger odds.

Instead, bookmakers offer players who will likely be near the cut line. Even still, most of these players will range from $1.20 – $1.50 to make the cut, and $3 – $5 to miss the cut. This betting option pays out after round two, allowing bettors to reinvest their winnings.

Group betting and head-to-head bets

The most common bet other than tournament winner. Group betting is the act of selecting a player to have the best score against the other players in his group, on any given round.

Golf groups usually feature between two and four players, therefore, punters must select one player to score better than the others in his group.


First round Group Betting

Tiger Woods – $1.55
Rory McIlroy – $2.10
Jason Day – $3.40

If you decided to bet on Tiger Woods, he would have to beat both McIlroy and Day in the first round. In the event of a tie, deductions would occur. A common strategy is to back two players from each group. If you backed both McIlroy and Day, you would make a slight profit if McIlroy win the group, but a steady profit if Day wins.

Group betting is so popular because there is rarely the same group to bet on. They change most rounds and at every tournament, so the handicapping process changes each time. There are also new markets on each of the four days of a tournament.

Head-to-head betting is where the bookmakers will set featured pairings together. Punters must decide which of the two will beat the other at the conclusion of the tournament. If one player makes the cut, and the other misses the cut, the money is paid straight after the second round.

Market example:

Zach Johnson – $1.87
Luke Donald – $1.87

The two players don’t have to be in the same pairing on the golf course and these bets are most popular when they involved the best players in the world, and during one of the four major championships.

Exotic golf betting options

On most occasions, bookmakers will offer up to 40 different markets to bet on. These include anything from finishing position, top international player and tournament specials, but we will list the most popular and fun bets that bookmakers offer.

Big Guns vs. The Field:

This option is a little more fun and it always involves the best players in the world. The ‘Big Guns’ are usually the top 5-10 players in the tournament, and the odds available for these usually stand around $2.40 (+140), whereas the ‘Field’ would be around $1.50.

This option is extremely popular in the majors, as punters rely heavily on the well fancied players to play well. Often, when the world’s very best are included: McIlroy, Woods, Mickelson, the price for the ‘Big Guns’ will drop.

Will there be a hole-in-one:

Unlikely to happen right? Considering the odds of scoring a hole-in-one are around 12,500/1. But, we’re betting on tour professionals here, and they are better than us!

The odds for a player to make an ace in a tournament usually pay around $1.24, which isn’t much but it does provide a nice boost for the parlays and multi-bets. However, in some tournaments around the world, the Par 3’s play easy – like in the Humana Challenge, where bookmakers offer $2.50 for a hole-in-one to be made, and an incredible $1.50 for no hole-in-one.

This type of bet is the definition of a golf prop bet and the enjoyment factor isn’t overly thrilling, but finding value is the main priority with this bet.

Will there be a playoff:

No – $1.30
Yes – $3.50

Those are the common odds for this betting option. Playoffs aren’t all too common in the majors, but they happen quite frequently on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour. Because the fields are so even, the probability of a playoff increases as they likelihood of a runaway winner lessens.

This option makes the final few hours of a tournament more exciting, and remains popular with bettors.

Live betting golf

Live betting in golf can be a fine art. Most professional golf bettors like to take a handful of golfers pre-tournament, and then live bet on other golfers throughout the tournament, to ensure they make a profit.

How is this done?

Let’s say you select five golfers at $10 a piece. Your expected return if any of your five golfers wins is roughly $200. As the tournament progresses, you will be able to track to results of your five players – if one or two of them are near the leaders, most bettors would place a bet on some of the surrounding golfers to an amount which would secure a profit.

If by round three, two of your five players are situated in the top 5, you would place a bet on the other three – but only enough which earns you a profit regardless of who wins. This is called golf management and whilst it takes away the ‘big win’ feeling, it is a good way to make money through the live betting option.

Major tournaments

Men’s golf has four major tournaments played in the calendar year. These are the US Masters, US Open, Open Championship and the PGA Championship.

U.S. Masters

**** Link to Masters betting guide *****

The Masters is the first major of the year, which takes place at the same venue each season – Augusta National Golf Club. Considered the most exciting major of the year, the Masters is the tournament most punters go after.

The course plays very tough and often suits the same players each year, therefore punters see a good opportunity to find the value with these players.

Played in mid-April each year, the Masters consists of not only the best American professionals, but the world’s top 50 players, and includes national qualifiers as well. Past winners also get an invitation to play so that makes betting the older golfers a fun prospect.

The tournament started in 1934 and carries a current prize purse of US$9 million. The winner receives a ‘Green Jacket’ which is presented to him following his victory.

The betting market for the U.S. Masters is the first to open with bookmakers.

U.S. Open

As the name suggests, the U.S. Open is open to any player that is good enough to qualify. The second major of the year, the U.S. Open changes course each year which makes for an exciting tournament.

Establish 120 years ago, the U.S. Open was the pinnacle for most golfers around the world, but especially those who lived in North America. The field is made up of 156 players, including amateurs, and recent winners have included Germany’s Martin Kaymer, England’s Justin Rose and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.

Played in June, the U.S. Open is played mid-season, unlike the Masters, and often the results are mixed, depending on which course they play. In recent times, McIlroy has won with a score of -16, but in 2012 and 2013, the winners won with over-par scores.

Betting for the U.S. Open usually opens following the final round of the Masters and it continues to be one of the most popular betting events around the world.

Open Championship

Held in the United Kingdom, the Open Championship boasts the biggest field of all four majors and has the tagline “Toughest major in the world”. The ‘British Open’ is the oldest major where players compete for the Claret Jug.

First run in 1860, the Open Championship is one of the oldest competitions in the world and is usually dictated by the wild weather of the U.K.

The odds are influenced by both the Masters and the U.S. Open, therefore the market usually comes out in June – however some bookmakers have all major markets open all year, and the Open Championship is played in July.

PGA Championship

The final major of the season is run by the PGA Tour of America and takes place at a different course each year. It is played in mid-august with a big purse of US$10 million, which makes it the biggest purse of the four majors.

Often referred to as the “fourth major” the PGA has a long list of winners that include Rory McIlroy (twice), Tiger Woods (x4) and Vijay Singh (x2).

The current PGA Championship favourite is Rory McIlroy at $6 with Tiger Woods at $12 and Adam Scott at $15.

PGA Tour schedule of events

In calendar order*

Tournament of Champions
Sony Open
Humana Challenge
Phoenix Open
Farmers Insurance Open
Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Honda Classic
World Golf Championship
Houston Open
U.S. Masters
World Matchplay
Well Fargo Championship
The Memorial
U.S. Open
The Greenbrier Classic
John Deere Classic
The Open Championship
Bridgestone Invitational
PGA Championship
Wyndham Championship

Fed Ex Cup Playoff schedule:

The Barclays
Deutsche Bank Champonship
BMW Championship
Tour Championship