Golf betting guide
Golf betting guide
More players are picking up the game of golf now than ever before. Due to the newfound growth of the sport recreationally, interest in professional golf has also seen a notable uptick. Aided by Netflix’s behind-the-scenes documentary “Full Swing”, newcomers and casuals alike are tuning in like never before to catch a glimpse of the game’s biggest stars competing on the global stage.
Coinciding with the surging popularity of professional golf is the rise in sports betting on tournaments. If you’re one of those new to betting on professional golf, or just not familiar with golf’s bet offerings, then DraftKings has you covered with the ultimate golf betting guide. Here, you can learn some key basics of golf betting so you can place golf bets on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The PGA Tour season spans the course of a calendar year, with the first event kicking off in September and the season wrapping up in August. The current structure of the PGA Tour schedule has been around since its inception in 2007. The format, branded the FedExCup, is a season-long points competition where PGA Tour players earn points based on their tournament finishes. There are typically 40-50 FedExCup regular season events, followed by 3 playoff events. To qualify for the playoffs, players must be in the top 70 points-earners throughout the year. Progressive cuts at the first two playoff tournaments result in 30 of the PGA Tour’s best competing for the ultimate prize, the TOUR Championship, annually hosted in August at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 52-week-long season affords no scheduled offseason, resulting in players being selective regarding the tournaments that they participate in. With that in mind, the PGA Tour announced the introduction of 17 “elevated” tournaments in 2023, designed to get the top Tour players competing at the same time more often. Among the elevated events remain the 4 Majors - The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and British Open. The Majors are universally recognized as golf’s most prestigious yearly events and attract the most media attention. These events are also the most lucrative when it comes to FedExCup point pay-outs, cementing their status as the most desirable tournaments to play in.
The majority of PGA Tour events follow the stroke play format. In stroke play tournaments, players compete against the entire tournament field by comparing their total aggregate score across four 18-hole rounds. Players are required to hole out on every hole, record how many shots it took them to do so, and add together their shots to calculate their final score. While stroke play is the most popular format on the Tour, there is also typically at least one match-play tournament on the schedule. A match-play tournament is a one-on-one, bracket-style competition that is scored on a hole-by-hole basis. A player wins a hole by recording the lowest score between the two competitors, and the player who’s won the most holes by the round, wins the match. The most popular match-play tournaments on the PGA Tour are the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, the President’s Cup (biennial), and The Ryder Cup (biennial).
Understanding the Odds
The golf tournament odds on DraftKings follow the American odds format by default (although they can be changed to other odds formats as well) and indicate the amount you must wager or can win on any selection based on $100 increments. Simply put, odds are read with a baseline of $100 in mind. A typical tournament page will display negative (-) and positive (+) odds.
Negative odds typically designate the betting favorite in any given tournament or match. Illustrated with a minus sign (ex. -110), negative odds indicate how much money you would have to wager in order to profit $100. For example, if the odds were -200, you would have to wager $200 in order to win $100 (overall payout of $300). The higher the negative value of the odds, the larger the favorite is to win. To illustrate, a player with odds of -500 is a heavier favorite to win than a player that has odds of -150.
Positive odds typically designate the betting underdog in any given tournament or match. Illustrated with a plus sign (ex. +110), positive odds indicate how much profit you’d return from a bet of $100. For example, if the odds were +200, you would need to wager $100 in order to win $200 (overall payout of $300). The larger the value of the odds are, the larger the underdog the player is. To illustrate, a player with odds of +500 is a heavier underdog to win than a player that has odds of +150.
Choose Your bets
The most popular wager in golf is on golf’s version of the “moneyline” bet: the outright tournament winner. The outright tournament winner, simply put, is the player with the lowest score at the conclusion of the tournament. Any players tied for 1st at the end of a tournament will compete in a playoff in order to crown a sole victor. Bets can be placed at any point before the tournament’s conclusion, giving you plenty of time to assess the tournament landscape before wagering. With a typical PGA Tournament field consisting of over 100 players, correctly predicting the outright winner comes with longer odds–and potentially larger payouts.
These bet types offer more flexibility, and thus, shorter odds, than the outright tournament winner wager. You can wager on a player posting a final score within the top 5, top 10, top 20, top 30, or top 40 of the tournament leaderboard. In the event that two or more competitors are tied for the final position of the specified leaderboard cutoff, your stake is proportionally cut by how many players are tied for those spots. For example, if you bet a golfer to finish in the top 5, and that golfer is tied for 5th with two other golfers, each of those three golfers is now classified as T-5 (tied for 5th). There are now technically 7 golfers within the top 5, resulting in your return being proportionally lower than what was originally projected in the bet slip at the time of bet placement. Only wagers placed on any of the golfers tied for 5th will have their bets reduced via dead heat reduction. Golfers finishing in spots 1-4 will not have their winnings adjusted. This applies to each of the leaderboard cutoffs (ie. top 10/20/50). For specifics regarding the mathematical breakdown of the dead-heat return cut, see DraftKings’ dead-heat help page for a more in-depth breakdown.
Round Finishing Position
A typical PGA TOUR stroke play tournament comprises four, 18-hole rounds. The Round Finishing Position bet allows you to wager on a golfer to be the outright leader at the conclusion of any of those individual four rounds. If you think a player might jump out to an early lead of a tournament but will falter in the later stages, this bet type gives you the flexibility to only wager on select rounds of your choosing.
Head-to-head & group matchups offer an alternative betting style during stroke play tournaments. Head-to-head pins two players against each other, with the bet winner being the golfer that ranks highest on the leaderboard at the conclusion of the event. Group matchups consist of 3-5 players, with matchups typically featuring golfers that are paired up together for the round. This gives you the opportunity to easily follow your wager via the featured groups viewing option on the tournament’s TV broadcast. If following just one group doesn’t cut it for you, tournament matchups can also be parlayed, allowing you to get in on the action across multiple groups. Matchup bets condense the 100+ player fields into smaller, more manageable groups to wager on - with the final position on the leaderboard at the end of the tournament similarly determining the winner of the group.
Golfer parlays pair up two players, with the listed odds indicating the likelihood that BOTH players finish within the specified leaderboard cutoff (ie. top 5/10/20).
Nationality props pin players from the same country/region against each other. The winner of the group is determined by leaderboard ranking at the end of the tournament.
Golf Tournament Props
Golf tournament props are typically considered the “fun” bets to place during the course of the event. Since the outcomes of the bets typically don’t affect the final outcome of the tournament or match, you’re likely to see some unorthodox options to wager on. DraftKings offers a variety of prop bets consisting of tournament and player props, such as a player scoring an albatross or hole-in-one, forecasting a golfer's score on individual holes, or correctly predicting what the cut line will be after 36 holes.
Always Wager Responsibly
At DraftKings, we believe that life is more fun with skin in the game and we want it to stay that way. It’s important to remember that you should only bet what you can afford and always set reasonable limits for yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re gambling:
- Set a realistic budget that you can afford to gamble. Never play beyond your means.
- Set a time limit on your gambling and stick to it.
- Don’t place large bets in the hopes of winning big.
- Don’t try to make money by chasing your losses.
- Gambling should not be viewed as a pathway to financial gains or shortcut to financial success.
- Avoid gambling if you are in recovery from any dependency or are under the influence of alcohol or any other substance.
We provide our players with tools to set budgets, limits, and cool-off periods, and always give you the option to self-exclude. For more information and resources, consider visiting DraftKings’ responsible gambling help guide. If, for any reason, you feel like you need help, we strongly encourage you to contact your local responsible gaming organizations. Remember, it’s more fun when it’s for fun.
Before placing a bet, it’s important to do your due diligence on the latest golf news and trends. With the season spanning 12 months, it’s always useful to double-check tournament fields and injury reports to ensure you’re up to date with the competition. Familiarize yourself with players’ recent form as well as their past rounds at the tournament you are betting on. Professional golf is unique in that every tournament is played at a different course, so it’s important to consider historical data when assessing a player’s strengths and weaknesses against those of the course.
With no two courses being alike, there are also several defining environmental and topographical factors to weigh before placing a wager. Each course yields a vastly different layout, climate, yardage length, grass type, greens speed, and amount of elevation change - just to name a few. Another critical aspect to take note of is the weather, as rain and wind can play a major role in the outcome of a tournament. Some golfers have a better track record of dealing with adverse conditions, while others struggle. The weather conditions can change several times throughout the tournament, so it’s best practice to check the radar before wagering. Taking careful consideration of the aforementioned player and tournament factors can help you make more informed wagers.
Ready to Start Betting?
With over 40 tournaments year-round, the PGA Tour season provides plenty of opportunities to get in on the action. Different courses, fields, and stakes at every event make golf one of the most involved and entertaining sports to bet on. DraftKings is home to a variety of different golf bets to choose from, allowing you to explore the intricacies of different scenarios, strategies, and more.