5 Tips for Winning Golf Matchup Bets

Golf Background Tips

You heard it here first – betting on golf is one of the most overlooked aspects of a profitable, and ultimately entertaining, betting strategy.

For many bettors, the idea of learning the strengths and weaknesses of all the pros on the tour is too much to handle.

This is especially true when you consider most sports fans aren’t spending an entire weekend in front of a TV watching a full tournament.

Matchup bets provide an opportunity to focus only on a handful of golfers, which is much more manageable – both in terms of betting and watching.

In this article, I’ll lay out 5 tips that will help you be successful with golf matchup bets.

1. Consider the Odds

If you’ve ever played golf with your buddies, you understand that some days you have it, and some days it’s just bad. The pros experience the same issue (albeit less frequently) and have tournaments where the results don’t necessarily match up with the expectation.

What does this mean as a gambler?

My takeaway is that there is a huge opportunity at golf betting sites to gamble underdog-heavy in hopes that the value you gain will be worth the risk.

In order to give yourself both the opportunity to have a somewhat reasonable chance at hitting on your plays, as well as capitalize on value, place your bets with a word in mind that is usually relegated to the investment world: diversify.

I’ll lay out the method I currently use that has resulted in some success:

First, it’s important to take a few golfers whose odds are around the +120 range. This number indicates that although they are the underdog, it wouldn’t really be a surprise if they won. These are at the lower end on the scale of “risky-ness.”

The next level of bets involves taking on a little more risk. These golfers still have a reasonable chance to win their matchup, but the odds are going to suggest a bit more of a gap in what the house expects. The number I look for here is around +200. This is a number I would put in the “high value” category. Even just a couple wins in this range can give you a serious boost when looking at your bankroll.

Finally, the last component of your diversification strategy should be, what I call “the longshots.” These are your golfers in the +400 to +500 range. I would recommend making smaller bets on these plays since hitting just one will cover your other two losses in any case.

The bottom line is that in an unpredictable environment, it pays to make decisions with value in mind. Be wary of heavy favorites who might fall victim to the “it’s just not my day” phenomenon…which you likely know all about if you play golf.

2. Look at Individual Performance at the Course

Most golfers on the tour are going to have played each course at least once before. This is valuable data that should be researched on all of your matchup bets.

Even if you discover that a player has never played at a specific course in the past, it’s likely that you can find a course with comparable characteristics (i.e. long, straight fairways, challenging greens, etc.). What you’re really looking for is to find mismatches within your individual matchup group.

For Example:
The type of information that would cause you to bet a little heavier might be if the favorite historically underperforms at a certain course, and the underdog has an above-average track record at the same course. Because many bettors will only see the name on the card and not do the research, you can gain a considerable advantage by looking a bit deeper.

While you aren’t always going to find information that gives you an advantage, you’d be surprised at the insights you can gain with just a little bit of digging. If nothing else, you’ll avoid that feeling of, “I should have known that,” which comes when you don’t put in the work and end up losing money as a result.

3. Consider a Bigger Group

When one vs. one matchup bets aren’t working out for you, it might not be a bad idea to start looking at the other options.

One type of golf matchup bet that every gambler should try is the group matchup.

Please Note:
These function just like one vs. one matchups, but because there are more potential winners, the odds are a bit more favorable.

Obviously, because of the added golfer (or golfers, these bets can include several players) there is more risk involved. However, that risk is offset by the extra value if you win.

Although I still think that head to head matchups between only two players should be the bulk of your golf betting strategy, it never hurts to try your luck with a variation of the standard.

My recommendation would be to only bet on one multi-player (meaning not just one vs. one) matchup bet per round.

4. Check Different Sportsbooks

One of the aspects of golf matchup betting that is unique is the fact that different online sportsbooks can offer entirely different matchups. For example, one book might have Justin Thomas vs. Dustin Johnson available, and another sportsbook might not.

So with that information in mind, what does it really mean?

The takeaway is that you should be looking through a number of different sportsbooks in order to find the best play for you. This would also be a good time to remind you that you should be doing this each and every time you make a bet, as line-shopping is an easy way to improve your bottom line.

Justin Thomas And Dustin Johnson

As I just mentioned, not only do different sportsbooks have different offerings, but they also have different odds on the same matchups. Sticking with the previous example, if you were going to take Justin Thomas at +130 against Dustin Johnson, you might be able to find Justin Thomas at +145 on another site.

Always remember that public action moves the lines and not every sportsbook is going to receive the same distribution of money on each bet.

I understand that it’s not the most convenient thing in the world to browse a half-dozen sites before placing each wager, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about getting the most out of your plays.

5. Consider Live Betting (But Only Sometimes)

Live betting sites are a great way to use your insights as a spectator to make some additional money.

When it comes to golf, live bets let you spot that comeback before it happens, and get in on it while the price is still low. Unfortunately, there’s another side to live betting that can be dangerous.

I would wholeheartedly suggest giving live bets a try under one condition: you didn’t bet on the same matchup already.

Bettors frequently fall into the trap of live betting the opposite of their original bet in an effort to save themselves from losing.

Let’s go back to the JT vs. DJ example.

Thomas Johnson Squatting

If you’ve picked Thomas to win the matchup before tee-off, don’t try to live bet on Dustin Johnson if it looks like he’s going to win. Contradicting your initial bet isn’t just confusing, it simply isn’t worth it financially. The risk does not equal the reward.

With that being said, if you want to live bet a matchup that you didn’t bet on before the match, go for it!

If you become a skilled live bettor, you can take advantage of some high-value plays in a way that you wouldn’t be able to if betting only before the match.


Golf is a sport that goes overlooked by way too many sports bettors. If you’re looking for a way to become a value-based gambler, golf matchups are the perfect place to start.

As always, be sure to do your research beforehand and stay within the bounds of your bankroll.

Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.