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Golf Betting Tips

Lee Westwood of England and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
How to bet on golf and beat the bookmakers 

Visit the golf section of any self-respecting bookmaker and you will find a wide range of markets for a host of upcoming tournaments, with this sport being covered all year round by operators.

There are events taking place on most weeks of the year, with the bookies pricing up tournaments that take place on the PGA and European tour, while you can expect them to ramp things up when it comes to the four majors and the Ryder Cup.

Why bet on golf?
You get more big-priced winners in golf than any other sport due to the fact that there are usually over a hundred players that line up at the start of the tournament. That means that virtually every player can be backed at double figure odds, with many customers selecting a handful of golfers against the field to provide them with plenty of excitement over the four days.

Due to the nature of the sport, a tournament’s four-day format provides plenty of opportunities to not only place pre-event wagers but also bet In-Play when the event is under way. Some customers might wait until the cut is made at the halfway stage of the tournament before placing bets so they get a definite run for their money, although the juicier prices can often be snapped up before the action gets under way.

What types of golf bets can I place?

Outright bets
The biggest of these is which player will win the tournament? As mentioned, it often pays to have each-way bets a selection of players on this market so you have a portfolio of golfers against the field, with the bigger odds meaning you can bank a healthy profit even by backing half a dozen or more players. The big odds also mean that you don’t have to make a big staking bet to land a profit.

Other outright markets include 1st Round Leader (where you predict who will be leading after the first round) and that is a market which is also popular In-Play where the clubhouse leader’s odds often changes according to the performance of the players out on course.

Two-ball or three-ball betting
Players tend to be grouped in pairs or trios when it comes to tournament play and the bookies will often price up selected two-balls or three-balls so you can bet on which player will card the best score from their particular group. Accumulator betting is also available if you want to make several selections.

For example, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy might all be grouped together and it’s a case of betting on which player will perform the best on the day. You can also find 72-hole match-betting and group-betting markets where you can back Player A to outperform Players B and C, with the bookies selecting groups of players for this purpose.


Tiger Woods is nearly always favourite for the major tournaments of the year.

Why bet each-way on golf?
Many punters like to bet each-way when it comes to golf tournaments due to the fact that it’s difficult to be on the money when it comes to finding the outright winner from a huge field. It can be frustrating to back a golfer to win an event at 100/1 only to see him finishing second, although an each-way bet would instead return a sizeable profit.

Bookmakers tend to offer generous place terms when it comes to the big tournaments so you can back a player each-way at a quarter of the odds if he finishes in the first six places. Therefore, a £10 each-way bet (£20 stakes) on a player at £100 would return £1010 if he won the event and £260 if he managed to finish in the first six places.

Back to lay on the exchanges for a profit
When you have made a shortlist of players that you want to back for a particular tournament, it is worth visiting a sports betting exchange like betfair to place your bets and this applies for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the odds on betfair can often be bigger than you will find with a fixed-odds operator and this is because customers effectively set the prices rather than a trader. Therefore, if you are looking outside the favourites, you might find a player who is 100/1 with Ladbrokes might be 150/1 on betfair.

The good thing about the exchanges is that you don’t need to back a winner in order to make a profit, with customers getting the chance to cash out for a profit by backing a player that ends up starting well and potentially hitting the top of the leaderboard. 

So for example, you might place a £10 bet on a player at 200/1 on betfair and his excellent first-round performance could see the odds drop to 20/1, which means you can cash out a profit of around £50 irrespective of whether he goes on to win the tournament.
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