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Golf betting yields one of the most exciting betting experiences available. The long lead time – and build up to moments of aching tension – is an absolutely thrilling experience. There’s also immense value available, as the number of bettors swells massively for any major tournament that Tiger Woods is involved in. All those new bettors and Tiger fans create value for sharp punters. Here’s the basics of betting on golf.

Golf Futures Betting

Futures betting is one of the easiest and most popular ways to bet on golf. It’s also one of the simplest: sportsbooks list the outright winner odds for players at all the upcoming majors, and you can place bets on the player you like to win. You get paid out if your player wins the tournament, and you don’t if he doesn’t.

An outright betting sheet will look something like this:

Player  Odds
Jordan Spieth +900
Dustin Johnson +1000
Rory McIlroy +1000
Tiger Woods +1600

It’s pretty straightforward. The left is the player, the right is their odds. Here, it’s listed in an American odds format.

Futures betting is very simple, but it’s also very strict. You can tie up your money for a long time in a great pick, but if he loses on Sunday to a chip-in birdie on 18, you get nothing. The top 70 (and ties) make the second cut for PGA tour events, so even if your pick makes it to the last day of a tournament, he’s just one of 70+ golfers.

Season Specials

You may have to dig around for these a bit, but they’re out there. Season specials offer you odds that a given player will win a major in the year to come, win x number of tournaments, or finish Top 10 in all four majors.

These bets can often offer value (a 10% return if a golfer doesn’t win a major is lovely) but they involve massive time scales. It’s not as long as tennis, but the first major of the year (The Masters) is played over the first weekend following Easter, and the last (The PGA Championship) is played in mid-August. That’s a long time to tie up your bankroll for a relatively small return.

These bets are almost always offered with highly suspect odds, as they’re often emotional bets by nature. People betting on Tiger Woods to win a major generally are probably not the most discerning bettors in the market.

Live Golf Betting

Closer to the tournament – and with the full field announced – sportsbooks will start offering more betting markets than just the outright winner. You’ll still be able to bet on the outright winner, but you’ll have some other options open to you.

Place Betting

There’s the place market, in which you can bet on a golfer to achieve a certain position (usually either 3rd, 4th, or 5th) or better. In some cases, you’ll be able to bet on a golfer to make the top ten. In few, very specific cases, you’ll be able to bet on players making the cut.

Most sportsbooks will also offer an each-way bet, where half of your stake is wagered on an outright win, and the other half wagered on a place bet.

Group Betting

For some bettors, the field in golf is just too big. Therefore, sportsbooks try to carve it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. They’ll find some criteria that produces a workable field of about a half-dozen golfers, allowing you to place bets on whichever one of them you believe will win the group. You’ll see bets like “Top Australian”, “Top Previous Winner”, or “Top Left-Handed Player.”

Group betting can offer better value than outright bets, as the smaller field makes it slightly more difficult for sports books to include a huge vig, and the arbitrarily drawn groups make it difficult for sports books to come up with sharp lines.

For more golf betting advice and golf odds trackers, visit our golf betting hub.