The Ultimate Guide To Betting On Golf Online: Strategy Tips From Each Way betting to Top 20 to Tournament Match Bets

Betting on golf is becoming more and more popular year in year out. Online sports betting in the US has been legalised and we are seeing a golf betting boom on the PGA Tour and European Tour, while betting on Women's golf is also increasing in popularity. 

betting on golf in the modern era
Crushing the online golf betting markets

Golf betting expert Bryan Nicholson takes us through the ins and outs with some winning strategy tips and nuggets of information

The fantasy sports era in the US saw a huge rise in the study of strokes gained stats and the course fit variable as the best indicator to predict player performance in golf. With sports betting now being legalised (or legalized!) across the US States, this methodology has transferred to golf betting and betting in general. The emergence of sites like golf bet and a number of savvy writers in this area is contributing to an exponential growth rate in the popularity of betting on golf in the modern era.

Our legendary golf bettor and author of golf betting book: 
Angles and Edges: a journey through the evolution of golf betting and the markets - kindly takes time out to walk us through how to bet profitably on golf in the modern era

Strokes gained is a metric that measures player performance in each different area of their game - with accuracy which is not necessarily construed in the stats and round by round scores. This helps teach people how to bet on golf, with a big advantage to be garnered if you can quantify a concept known as course fit.

What Is Course fit In Golf Betting?

Course fit for dummies in golf betting is basically how suitable each individual player is to different courses re their specific skill sets. For example: a 7,500 yard course with big undulating, tiered greens,  generous fairways, lots of water and little rough. Lets say the Golf Club Of Houston. Well what players are going to excel there? Do you want a short hitter coming in with long irons? Or maybe you want an average, accurate enough hitter that will be coming in high from approaches to tricky pin positions? Russell Henley? He may not be the longest but he is a regular at the very top of the approach stats and hits it high. This means he can get at these pins better than most of the field. The strokes he gains due to this over the tournament are significant. Of course Henley is a winner at the Golf Club Of Houston.

The significance of course fit is lost on most and I include experienced golf traders and even some syndicates in that. There are no real numbers available for course fit and the ones that are out there are for the most part crap. Sorry to be so blunt but that is the reality - course fit is simply too hard to quantify unless you really are a specialist in the area and have spent years studying it empirically. There's no points for laziness, or academics analysing bare data, you're playing with the big boys now and that will get you only so far....

If you want to study course fit in depth - essentially the golden goose in golf betting, buy my book "Angles and Edges". Simple. The best 20 quid you'll spend...

online golf betting

How do we win versus the golf betting markets?

Well that's easy, attack something that's not factored into the prices? Course fit. Conditional probability is the key to beating all betting markets never mind golf. If you've never heard of Bayesian Inference google it. Each week on tour you can essentially eliminate half of the field via the course conditions and set up. Of the other half, get rid of the ones out of form and focus on the players with what I call progressive form. Again, all this is in my book.

How to find an edge in golf betting

Volume, volume and more volume. I'm going to dispel a myth straight away: Less bets are not better. Sure we can be selective but the value out there each week in golf outrights is crazy. We don't see too many 100/1 shots that should be 33/1 shots anymore but what we do see is a myriad of smaller edges. 0.5-1.5% edges in implied probability which equate to quite a juicy expected value. The way to win in golf betting is juicing as many of these as you can. If you back 10-15 guys per tourney at 66s that should be 50s or 125s that should be 80s, quid's in. What's more, do it right with a savvy staking plan and you'll reduce variance down to a very manageable degree. When I talk about volume I'm talking about amount of bets, not how much you stake - that's turnover.

Bet the extra places

Ignore the people telling you to back 1/4 5 places as the payouts are more. It's not 2009. What's 25% of nothing? That's right, nothing. Golf is so competitive now that finishing in the top 5 is tough. Every week you'll hear people crying about their guys finishing 1 shot out of the places, well that's because you didn't back enough places not because you were unlucky. Lowering that variance and volatility is the real key to successful golf betting and that's because there is so much combined juice available in these markets.

Beating the margin in golf betting

Backing the favourites? Think again. If we compare the favourites in golf betting markets in the sportsbooks to the Betfair win price we are often looking at a theoretical margin of 1.5 - 4% applied to most of the guys (individually) at the front of the market. Avoiding the top of the market and getting rid of the no-hopers at the back of the pack and you've eliminated what looks like a big overround in the golf markets than can be priced to 160%. That's how the bookmakers make their commission (or juice/vig). You're now off a level playing field with prices that have no course fit or progressive form incorporated into them. Golf markets are the most fickle markets ever.... 

For example:

Hank Lebioda was backed into 33s to 40s for a tournament after 3 top 10s in a row. The guy had never been double figs before. Just 6 weeks later he's back to 150/1 in a similar field, over 200s the following week. Fluctuations like this happens all the time, that's the way golf betting markets work. On the other side of the coin you have Kevin Na priced up at 28s at Summerlin as he's expected to have a lot of love.  Immediate form and course history dictate the prices wherever they are originating from - be it odds compiling companies, traders or exchange seeders.

There are a number of ways to profitably bet on golf in the modern era. We will go through some of the weekly golf markets and some of the in play markets below. In play betting is taking over with the likes of IMG arena now supplying real time player and shot link data to certain sportsbooks such as bet365. This is leading to a wide array of inplay markets and props in their golf product. Keep scrolling for more golf betting info....

If you want accurate stats and ratings for golf betting, the Nicspicks expert course fit profiling manual is the no. 1 bit of kit:

Each Way golf betting online

Each way golf betting is the simplest form of online golf betting. Basically we are making 2 bets: 1 win bet and 1 place bet. The advantage of ew betting is that we'll get much better prices on the place part than we would backing place only. And herein lies the biggest edge in the current era and why you should target the extra places. With the win odds being tighter than previous years, the value has moved to the place part of the bet: if we can pick up small + EV on the win bet, or even neutral EV but get a great value bet on the place side, this is an efficient online golf betting strategy.

Are tournament matchups and 3 balls worth betting?

Heck yeah. Even at Pinnacle prices. The bread and butter for many pro golf bettors is tournament match bets.  I'd recommend trying to pick match bets where the underdog is slightly odds against and you feel he should be actually be slight fave, rather than trying to find an edge with the odds on players - strike rate needed is too high for that. There are many opportunities like this if you shop around the different sportsbooks. It's possible to have a longterm strike rate in these types of tournament or round matchups circa 55-60% if you're really good which equates to a ROI over 10%.

1 day 3 balls is another area to target, especially day 1 with groups where 1 out of form player that likely won't feature. Of course the trick is to know which players you can all but exclude whether it's lack of form, injury, tiredness etc. We are talking 9% - 11% overround books for these markets which is easily beatable if we shop around for best prices.

Sub and derivative golf betting markets

Top 10 betting and top 20 / 40 betting are markets which offer plenty of betting opportunities to exploit. These markets generally become liquid later on Tuesday through Wednesday. First round leader markets and top Nationality markets are also very popular. If you really want to narrow down the field and prefer betting on some shorter prices - like a horse race - I find top Nationality markets throw up some very good prices. The 1st round leader market is the most popular sub market to bet in golf. The way to play here is to target the outsiders and keep an eye on the draw and the weather forecast. 

If you are new to golf betting I would suggest thinking about making women's golf a part of your portfolio. There is a lot of women's golf televised nowadays and the women's golf betting markets are becoming more liquid. The standard of pricing will leave a lot of opportunities. The fact it's on TV means we can really get that course fit and profiling edge, and it's also more aesthetically pleasing to watch that the men's golf ;)

If you enjoyed this preview there's plenty on what's behind my methodology and thought process, plus loads more in my golf betting book "Angles & Edges"....

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