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Betting Basics for Golf

The key to golf betting is differentiating the two main wagering options, so we're here to serve as your gambling caddy and give you helpful tips on how to understand PGA golf odds. With golf, you can either bet on an individual to win a tournament or take part in "Matchup Betting" which involves wagering on artificially created golf matchups set by oddsmakers specifically for betting purposes.

"Betting to Win" an outcome event like The Masters is the most common way to wager on golf. Since golf has multiple tournaments over the course of a year, "Betting to Win" obviously offers numerous wagering opportunities.

Keep in mind that not all the competitors in a PGA golf tournament may be individually listed to win, so another golf betting option is the "field" bet which includes all other competitors not listed.

The PGA golf odds on a "field" bet depend on how many golfers are listed and how likely it is for the top golfers to win. In other words, if the same five or six golfers seem to battle it out for the top spots atop the leaderboard from tournament to tournament, the odds on the "field" will be much higher since there is less likelihood that one of the longshots in the "field" will win. However, major upsets seem to occur much more often in golf than other sports, so a "field" bet is typically comparable to a bet on the favorite odds-wise in order to protect sportsbooks from taking a big hit. In exchange for a lesser payout, field bettors do gain the advantage of having more than one entrant that can win for them.

Here's an example:

Favorites or top golfers = 5/1 to 10/1
36 or so other well-known golfers listed individually = 10/1 to 200/1
Field (collection of 36 or more not listed) = 10/1

Some sportsbooks will also allow you to bet futures on the four major PGA tournaments, which is yet another way you can "Bet to Win" that can offer you appealing odds because you are betting far in advance of when the event takes place. For example, betting on the 2006 Masters golf tournament now might get you much better value on Tiger Woods, who may be 10/1 at this moment but dip to 6/1 closer to the event if he is on a roll. For more information on the value of betting golf futures, read How Future Bets Can Pay Off.

"Matchup Betting" offers an alternative to simply betting on a golf tournament's winner. Artificial head-to-head matchups are created by oddsmakers and involve golfers who are all competing against each other to win the tourney, with the bet specifically focused upon how one golfer finishes compared to another golfer in the matchup. Group matchups are another "matchup betting" option particularly popular in golf and auto racing events like NASCAR, where you can select how one golfer will finish compared to other golfers in the group. Both head-to-head and group matchup golf odds are based on the money line (check out How to Read the Money Line for more information).

Different sportsbooks will often feature different matchups, and this is very important to note because you can shop around to different online sportsbooks and try to find the golf matchup that's most worth betting on. If you like a particular golfer going into a tournament, your best move is to compare matchups across multiple online sportsbooks and bet a larger amount on the biggest mismatch in your estimation. Then you can also put down a small wager on your favorite golfer to win the tournament in case he does come through and win the tournament. By betting your golfer to win the tournament and a matchup, you'll have double the fun knowing you've got double the chances to win!

Here are a couple final important tips to consider before picking your golfer:

  • It's advisable to stay away from betting the public's favorite golfers since you won't get much value there
  • Research the golfer's history, especially how he performs on a particular course since tournaments are typically played on the same course each year and some courses definitely play to a golfer's strengths better than others

If you are a knowledgeable PGA golf fan who has a good feel about how tournaments will likely turn out, you should most definitely trust your insights and use them to find strong bets. For those of you with less experience, several sports web sites have power rankings for golfers which should give you a good idea of who's hot on the links and who's not. Of course it's up to you to decide which golfer you want to bet on, but the more you learn about PGA golf, the more prepared you will be when placing your bet. Hopefully now at least you know the basics of betting golf and how to use golf odds to your advantage!

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