Add some zest to to the gentelman’s game with a sports bet
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes golf feels a little slow. It’s something to have on the TV in the background, but it doesn’t grab me the way a good football game does.
The best way to speed it up, though? Place a bet on the tournament.
You’ll find yourself awfully close to that TV set and screaming at missed opportunities.
Bet on Who Will Win the Tournament
Sportsbooks will assign odds to the top players in each golf tournament.
Golf odds are typically posted as American odds (a large whole number).
Each player listed will have a plus (+) sign followed by a large whole number (above 100).
The “+” will indicate to you how to read the odds. When you see a “+” you read odds in this way: “betting $100 wins you X.”
If Rory McIlroy’s odds for an upcoming tournament are +1100, you read those odds as, “betting $100 wins you $1,100.” This means if you wager $100 on Rory McIlroy—and he, in fact, wins the tournament—then you will receive your $100 stake back, plus $1,100 in winnings.
Also know that the odds are ratios. You don’t have to put down $100. Rather you could bet $10 and win $110. Or, you could bet $50 and win $550.
What the Golf Odds Imply
Golf tournaments are big. There are many golfers in the mix and only one will win. That means odds on any individual player can be quite attractive. For example, some of the odds for the recent Canadian Open were as follows:
- Dustin Johnson +600
- Brooks Koepka +1100
- Bubba Watson +1800
- Matt Kuchar +2500
- Brandt Snedeker +3300
The bigger the number, the higher your potential return. If you bet $100 on Dustin Johnson, you will see $600 in winnings if he does, in fact, win. However, that single $100 bill could turn into $3,300 if you bet on Brandt Snedeker and he wins.
The lower the odds (+600 for Dustin Johnson), the more likely Vegas oddsmakers think he is to win the tournament. The higher the odds (+3300 for Brandt Snedeker) the less likely oddsmakers believe he is to win. Thus, your potential winnings are significantly higher when you bet on the less likely to win golfers.
You task as a bettor: decide who risky you want to get. You, obviously, want the bigger return, if possible. But, you don’t want to keep throwing money away on underdogs.
If you’re betting over the course of time, you’ll want to have a mix of favorites and underdogs.
(Fun Fact: Dustin Johnson did win the 2018 Canadian Open.)
Betting the Field
Remember how we said sportsbooks assign odds to the top players? You are likely to see odds posted for 50-150 of the top golfers teeing off at a tournament.
What if you want to bet on someone else? Someone who isn’t considered one of the top golfers?
Many sportsbooks will include an option to bet the “Field.” These bet indicates you believe someone not listed on the odds board will win the golf tournament.
Betting the field groups many underdog golfers into one bet and you only need one of those golfers to come out ahead to win your bet.
Betting the field groups many underdog golfers into one bet and you only need one of those golfers to come out ahead to win your bet. This can be a fun option!
Note, though, that betting the Field offers less attractive odds in many cases. In one recent golf tournament, individual player odds ranged from Dustin Johnson +750 to Jaco Ahlers +60000. The Field, however, had odds posted at +350.
You get an incredible advantage having several players grouped together in the Field, thus oddsmakers often give lower payouts for that bet.
Psst… Odds Might be Displayed as Fractions
On occasion you’ll see golf odds displayed as a fraction. Fractional odds may be written like “9/1” or “9-1”.
You multiply this fractional number with your wager to get your total potential return (not including your stake).
So, if the odds for Dustin Johnson in an upcoming race are 9/1 then you calculate your return this way:
$100 (wager) x 9/1 (odds) = $900 (profit)
Your profit in this instance would be $900. You add back in your $100 wager and your total return would be $1,000.
Prop Bets in Golf
You can get some fun prop bets in golf tournaments. As a reminder, prop bets are bets with defined outcomes, such as yes or no. Did the event happen?
Here are some fun recent golf prop bets:
- Will the winner cry on the 18th green?
- Who will the winner hug first?
- Number of hole in one shots during the tournament?
- Will this tournament have a playoff?
- Will the winner of this tournament be over or under 35 years of age?