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Betting 101: How to bet on golf for beginners
2nd May, 17:18Golf betting can be one of the more profitable ventures of the major sports, with upward of 150 golfers teeing it up each week.
The larger fields provide odds considerably longer than what are seen in any other sport.
Golf fans also have a variety of options from which to choose -- the PGA Tour, European Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and LPGA. Below, we look at the best ways to bet on golf, along with definitions of key terms and an explanation of the odds.
Golf betting: Ways to bet
Access USA TODAY Sports' betting odds for a full list of today's sports betting odds and lines.
Outright: Picking a winner from a field of 120-155 golfers isn't quite as daunting as it seems. The Golfweek/Sagarin world rankings are an effective measure to compare different golfers, as are course history and statistics. Odds can range from +800 (8-to-1) to +30000 (300-to-1), though winners generally come from the +2000 to +10000 range. Placing: Not as profitable as outright wins, but bettors can instead back multiple golfers to finish in the top 5, top 10, or even top 20 in order to ensure at least a moderate profit each week. These bets are best for long shots, as the outright odds for each golfer will decline according to the wider the range of their finishing position. Matchup: Golfers from a similar world ranking or geographical region -- or who share a tee time -- are put in head-to-head or three-ball matchups, with the winner the golfer who posts the lower round or tournament score. Odds typically range from -150 to +150. Groups: World rankings, notoriety or nationality can place golfers in groups of six to 10 for the lowest four-round tournament score. Odds can range from +100 to more than +2000 depending on the number of golfers included in the group and their world ranking. Round betting: Instead of backing golfers for a full 72 holes, look for 18-hole leaders or placings at the end of the first, second or third rounds. First-round leader odds can be higher than the tournament odds for the favorites while dropping slightly for the long shots. Live betting: Jump in on outright odds at any point after the first tee shot. Odds will be adjusted based on the current leaderboard and the positioning of the pre-tournament favorites. It's often best to hope a favorite starts poorly relative to the rest of the field and back them once the odds spike. Props: Generally the least profitable and predictable of the odds in golf; bettors can bet on whether a hole-in-one will be made, or the winner's final score, for example. Futures: Continuously scouting the futures odds for the Masters, PGA Championship, US Open, Open Championship or the Ryder Cup can offer great value. Look for changes among the world's top-ranked values and back them to win a major following a poor stretch of results in regular tournament play. Golf betting: Key betting terms to know Favorites: Typically based on world ranking, but others with strong course history or on a hot stretch of recent top finishes can be viewed as a tournament favorite with odds lower than +2000. Be wary of low-ranked golfers with lower odds than they'd normally possess. Long shots: Priced at +5000 or higher, golfers who generally haven't won much or have poor history on a particular course. Value exists when spotting a top-ranked golfer who has slipped into this range in a particularly strong field. Chalk: Referring to a heavy favorite priced at +1000 or higher. These golfers are never worth a bet as a broad rule, as the return simply isn't worth the risk. Be cautious of a heavy favorite in an otherwise weak field. Parlay: Just like grouping bets from multiple different games in other sports, bettors can back outright winners from different pro tours. It's a good way to get value on the heavy favorites from both the PGA Tour and LPGA in the same week. Golf betting: How do odds work?
As noted above, outright odds in a typical tournament can range from +800 to +30000, depending on how many golfers are in a field and the overall strength of a field. These odds mean a $10 bet can return a profit anywhere from $80 to $3,000.
Several golfers should be backed each week as an outright winner, with a larger portion of your bankroll being devoted to placing, matchup or group bets in order to ensure at least a small return on your weekly investment. There's nothing worse than having your sneaky long shot finish second or third and not getting anything for it.
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