The golf betting industry is growing, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Last month, Golf DataTech, a top golf market research firm, released the first-ever “Gambling and Golf Study,” which affirmed golf’s progression as a popular sport to wager on.
The study gauged the gambling interest of about six million “serious golfers,” but does not account for the 20 million “less serious” golfers who play for leisure.
The United States sports betting market doubled in 2021, with about $53 billion wagered, according to the American Gaming Association. DataTech reported that more than $4.5 billion was legally wagered on professional golf. Although golf is worth a small fraction of the sports betting handle, the ways to be on the sport are evolving.
Read more about golf betting.
Golf Betting is Going Beyond the Course
No longer are fun side bets with friends and family the sole way to gamble on the golf course. Odds are all over television broadcasts and sports apps.
John Krzynowek, a partner at Golf DataTech, said, “Many golfers have a voracious appetite for regular action. Televised golf tournaments regularly show the odds for the various outcomes on air, so where gambling was once a shadow industry it’s now commonplace to see the odds at the professional level”
While major tournaments have stronger mainstream betting appeal, the opportunity to bet on smaller events on the PGA Tour schedule such as the Zurich Classic or the Valspar Championship add some viewing spice, encouraging professional gamblers who may not be golf fans to try their luck.
The “Gambling and Golf Study” featured several insights. More than 80% of respondents said they are likely to wager on golf while playing. Younger players are more likely to bet on the course and online.
Other insights that are featured in the study include the average amount wagered on the course vs. on professional tournaments, how many wagers are over $50, what props are most popular (winner, finishing position, props), and if the odds for bets are “fair” or “skewed.”
Maximizing Reward and Minimizing Risk
Although broadcasts are saturated with odds, some viewers do not understand what the odds mean. Odds pertaining to tournament and round matchups can thump viewers who are new to this gambling world.
Sportsbooks will differentiate between tournament matchups and round-by-round matchups. If you think Jordan Spieth will finish better than Jon Rahm at the Open Championship, you will need to place that bet before the tournament begins. Round-by-round matchups are between players in the same group, which will obviously vary across the four days of an event.
So what are the best golf bets to make? Selecting the correct tournament winner may be enticing, but doing so over and over again provides little reward and a lot of risk.
Matchup bets offer more security. If you are watching a tournament closely and have a keen eye for a player’s body language, the way they are striking the ball, or how confident they are in dropping medium-length putts, look toward playing live matchups.
Golf involves some gambles. Deciding to go for the green instead of safely laying up on a par 5 could have dooming consequences. But like in golf, and gambling, when you succeed, you feel like you are on top of the world.