Q & A with Sports Bettor and Poker Player Bryan Nicholson

We get the low down from golf betting expert Bryan Nicholson, one of the men behind Pro Betting Tips.....

Q: Hi Bryan, please can you tell our readers a little bit about your background of how you got into the wagering game and into golf betting specifically?

Bryan: Hi guys. I think I got the betting gene from my Grandad. He had a mathematical background and was always playing with numbers. He loved a flutter and I remember stopping into some bookies with him for the horses, and watching the boxing on a Saturday night.

Re golf in particular, it's one of the sports I grew up playing so I had a genuine interest in watching it too. I only bet on what I know, and I believe any edge you may have in betting a certain sport will be greatly enhanced by knowing the mentality and intricacies of the game. It became apparent to me from early on that there were inefficiencies in a lot of the golf betting markets, and thus potential for strong profits. On a sport such as golf, working with very long odds, there are always going to be areas of the markets to exploit.

Q: Without giving away too many secrets what can you tell us about your methodology when trying to find value betting on golf tournaments?

Bryan: A brief rundown of my methods for compiling my own tissue to 100% involves firstly weighing up the strength and depth of the field to formulate my rankings; this can only be done precisely through an in depth knowledge of the players, the courses and the markets themselves, built up over time.

I am very much course fit orientated. I profile players for specific courses and generally target a different playing style each week, suited to the particular test. Then I set my odds using a combination of current form, course form, key metrics and other hidden variables. I've always priced giving heavy weighting to course specific key metrics and player attributes.

I then break the market into sections: the top 12 or so in the betting, the next 25 players or so, and then the field. I assign a combined percentage to each of these brackets based on the strength and depth of the field, then tweak each player until my implied probabilities add up to 100%.

Q: Which resources do you use to assist in your form study?

Bryan: I mainly stick to the official PGA Tour and European Tour sites for course and tournament info and key stats, as well as my own info. For form, I also use OWGR, and a shout out to Mike @smartgolfbets for his data sheets which are superb. I've now got my own course fit model and manual as well as my progressive form ratings too.

Q: Which Tours do you bet on and which is your favourite to watch and bet on?

Bryan: I've bet the two main golf tours - the PGA Tour and the European Tour for over 15 years or so. I've been betting seriously in patches for the last 15-20 years I suppose you would say. I have no real preference for either tour - I love them both and the time zones mean golf golf golf. The game is getting tough. I've dabbled in secondary tours and feeder tours. For anyone just getting into golf betting I'd actually recommend the LPGA and Women's Euro tour where coverage is growing and there will be lots of potential value in the markets.

If live pictures are not accessible, it's not really for me as I like to know the 'why' behind the data. I've been getting more and more into Lady golf now as it's growing in popularity. It's exactly the same thing - course fit, get to know the player attributes, the courses and what makes them get into gear. One of my big wins was on Anne Van Dam in the first round leader market at Renaissance. She was pushing 3 figs and I was onboard because of here power on what was an easy and generous test.

Q: Which markets do you bet into and why?


I mainly bet the outright each way, top 10, top 20 and first round leader markets. I can back the win only market on the exchange if I want to trade or get involved in play. These for me are the most exploitable and profitable markets pre event. The sub markets such as first round leader and top 10 and 20 have been quite lucrative for me down the years but edges now are decreasing even in these. In play has become more of a focus and I'm also looking more at golf match bets these days where I'm finding some angles and some value.

The top 10 market is being squeezed with the competition so deep now on the main circuits, and just 1 shot can sometimes be the difference from your golfer finishing say tied 5th or 6th, to not even finishing inside the top 10. The first round leader market has been extremely inefficient for many years but has finally been adjusted to fall more in line with actual probabilities. I think it is an intriguing market and one that can still be exploited if you dedicate time to studying it.

Q: Do you bet on fantasy golf with Draftkings or any other DFS bookmaker? If so, do you have a set methodology for picking your ‘teams’?


 I'm improving all the time at fantasy golf. It's all about combinations / combinatorics, and permutations rather than just odds and probabilities. I use similar methodology to betting to pick my core of players, then I perm and combine lineups through that player pool to narrow down the field. My edge if I have any will come from this rather than entering a huge volume of lineups. I feel game selection is huge in fantasy golf (as is selecting betting markets) and I still haven't optimised this area of my game.

Q: Which golfers have done you the biggest favours financially in your life as a golf punter? And which ones have you struggled to catch right?

Bryan: I've had some big winners through the years and some on the exchanges at massive prices. Two that come to mind are Louis Oosthuizen when he won the Open Championship at 400.0, and SSP Chawrasia when he won the Avantha Masters at over 500.0. Geoff Ogilvy was a player I used to love backing in various markets, and he added a lot of profits to the coffers over the earlier golf betting years. Jimmy Walker was good to me and the 2021 season has been quite amazing in terms of golf betting - probably my best ever year in terms of ROI and big priced winners, and I've had a lot of good years! We've had a couple of recent big wins on Lucas Herbert and and KH Lee at around the 200/1 mark. I flagged up Ted Potter before Pebble Beach when he won. He traded at 1000.0 on the exchange pre event. I was mainly on him top 20 but some followers took him outright on my info. One guy tweeted me a screenshot of an all green betfair book for 33k! No "thank you" or beers, just the screenshot!

I like to be well ahead of the curve and have had early success with the likes of Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed when they were still being priced big. Patrick Reed was one of the best returns for the blog when tipped at top price 145/1 to win the 2014 Humana Challenge. The most satisfying wins are when the profiling really pays off. It's given us winners like a then little known Thomas Pieters at 90/1 in the Czech Republic, and we crushed Portugal on the blog last year with the aforementioned Lucas Herbert in the first round leader and EW market, and Tom Lewis in the outright at big prices. Hideki Matsuyama was targeted at 66/1 in the 2014 Memorial Tournament due to his strong proximity with the irons on what is known as a second shot course. He duly obliged.

The Ryder Cup in France was a great shout. For months I was adamant that the win prices were the wrong way around due completely to course fit. I wasn't having any of it. It certainly proved that way on a track I knew well in Le Golf National.

Q: If you had to choose one golfer to back every time he/she tees it up in the next 12 months to make a profit who would it be?

Bryan: If you put me on the spot I'd have to choose Cameron Champ who has such a high upside and positive expected value potential. Cameron has the ability to win many events and may offer some of the biggest disparity between implied probabilities and actual chance on various courses. It might not be too long before Champ joins the elite. (Edit - Cameron has since won the 3M Open and we were indeed on board at 125/1. The track was a great fit for him)

BBU: Any other words of wisdom or a long term tip for our readers?

Bryan: PATIENCE, patience and, a little thing called patience. Variance is huge in golf betting and many people give up within a few months or a year. It's all about finding value, that's the bottom line. You will win in the long run once you are finding value and implementing a strong staking plan to deal with the variance and manage your bankroll efficiently. Did I mention patience?

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