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Strategies for Betting on Tournament Winners

Betting on who wins a tournament is the most popular way to bet on golf. There is no confusion; the player you bet on to win either hoists the trophy at week’s end or he doesn’t.

One of the advantages to this market is that you don’t have to wait until the week of the tournament to get your money down for the biggest events in the sport. And in many cases, you shouldn’t.

Odds for the majors and team events (Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup) are offered year-round. Almost as soon as the current edition is finished, odds for the next year are released. They’re then updated frequently.Getting your bets in early is one of the best tips for golf betting.

Markets trend toward efficiency as we get nearer to the event. What this means is that the closer we get to the start of a tournament, the less of an edge we are going to find throughout the tournament’s odds.

If you bet on Jordan Spieth winning the Masters at +3300 in January, you’ve already “won” if Spieth closes at +1400 in April.

Let’s expand on this point.

Picking Winners at the Majors

Justin Rose seemingly always plays well at Augusta. If you know you want to bet on Rose to win the Masters, betting on him six months out when he’s in a bit of a slump has a lot of merits.

Catching Justin coming off a couple of missed cuts in a row in October means you might be able to snatch him at +5,000 to win the Masters.  If you wait until he rounds into form in March, his price tag might be reduced to +2,500.

Another strategy for betting on golf majors as it pertains to winning is don’t be drawn in by the appetizing upside attached to the dark horses. Can a sleeper win a major? Absolutely. It just doesn’t happen THAT often.

Shaun Micheel’s name is forever engrained on the Wanamaker Trophy. Nobody can ever take the Claret Jug away from Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton. However, players ranked outside of the top 50 in the world rarely win the biggest tournaments in golf.

Here is a good piece of trivia to help illustrate that point.

Phil Mickelson won the 2021 PGA Championship despite entering the week ranked 116th in the world. Who was the last golfer before that to win a major after entering the week outside of the top 50?

Darren Clarke at the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club. Clarke arrived in England that week ranked 111th.

Betting on a Golfer’s Finishing Position

As you can gather, it’s pretty hard to accurately predict who’s going to win a golf tournament. One way to hedge your action is to attack the top-5, top-10, and top-20 markets.

Here is what your options could look like.

GolferTo WinTop 5Top 10Top 20
Collin Morikawa+1400+320+150-140
Patrick Reed+2000+450+200+100
Sungjae Im+3300+550+275+120
Sergio Garcia+6600+1000+500+225
Joel Dahmen+10000+1600+700+300
Adam Hadwin+17500+2500+1100+450

Most UK-based sportsbooks offer each-way bets, which is an extension of what you see above combined with the “to win” market. You can bet on a golfer each way and be paid out accordingly depending on his finishing position.

This allows you to reduce the variance while still presenting enough upside to make the bets worthwhile.

While a golfer’s odds to be the last man standing will be the most alluring, certain golfers are better targeted in the top-10 markets. Tony Finau is the perfect example. As of the end of May 2021, Finau had registered 38 top-10s since his last victory. Next up on that list is Kevin Streelman at 18.

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