Things to Do and Avoid When Betting on the PGA Tour

Golf Course - PGA Tour Logo - Do's and Don'ts

Golf is one of the most popular recreational activities worldwide. Courses across the globe are filled by a vast cross-section of society every weekend.

Yet, golf remains almost a fringe sport. Sure, golf gets plenty of love in the form of TV coverage, but only the majors draw much viewership.

Because of the outlier status golf has, it makes for some fantastic sports betting opportunities. The casual sports bettor isn’t betting on golf but maybe four times a year unless they happen to be an avid golf fan.

I believe more sports bettors could benefit from betting on golf. There are some tremendous values to be found in golf.

However, there are gambling pitfalls you must avoid, like any other form of betting. Check out these dos and don’ts of betting on the PGA Tour, and you’ll be able to tackle the tour confidently.

Always Do Your Homework

One of the most vital keys to performing well betting on the PGA Tour is doing your homework. Golf has statistics that carefully cover every aspect of the game.

You can see stats ranging from driving distance to sand saves with every possible metric in between. Don’t ignore the massive amount of information provided by the statisticians; these metrics can significantly impact the player’s score for an event.

You’ll also be well served to not merely place your wager on the favorite. When Tiger was ripping courses to shreds, he was always a great choice.

However, Tiger helped spawn a new breed of golfer, and nobody touches the dominance he once showed.

A player’s recent history plays a key role because recent performance goes a long way in golf. Players tend to get hot for periods on tour.

These hot streaks are where everything is in complete synchronicity, and the “feels it.” You should also account for how a player has done on a course in the past.

I’ll cover each of these in more detail shortly, but I want you to be in the mindset from the beginning that you’re going to be doing a lot of homework. This research can pay huge dividends as you begin to put the pieces together and discover a profitable system for betting on the PGA Tour.

Much like anything, you’re going to get out of it what you put into betting on golf.

Avoid the Public Darling

Many golf enthusiasts get into trouble betting on the PGA Tour by merely betting on the favorite to win outright. This can lead to frustration and heavy losses because it’s anybody’s game week to week on tour.

Trying to narrow it down to a single player over a 72-hole tournament is near impossible. Half the field believes they have a chance to win most weeks, and they’re not necessarily wrong.

Fortunately, golf offers several ways to bet. One of my favorite ways is to pick 3 players to win an event. If any of those 3 are in the top 3 favorites, I’ll drop them and add my number four player.

I do this because the players bunched at the top usually have the most insufficient odds in the field. So, the value is greatly diminished.

I get much better odds by picking players that sit as undisputed contenders that aren’t public favorites. When these players inevitably win, I’m able to cash out for far more than taking the favorites.

Avoid the public darling’s and make bets based on your head rather than your heart. If you cannot pick a group of solid contenders, you need to start doing more research.

Recent Form Means a Lot on Tour

One of the most overlooked aspects of evaluating talent on the PGA Tour is recent performance. Players work tirelessly to perfect their form and hone their craft to the most delicate point.

When a new swing thought or minor alteration clicks, there’s no stopping them. Part of the reason Tiger was so dominant is pure athleticism; there’s no disputing that.

Still, he outworked everybody. Tiger would spend all day tweaking his swing or putting stroke until it was flawless and, most importantly, repeatable.

Look at the guys that have been heating up over the past month. When players are streaking and get on a course they love, they may be difficult to stop.

Pay Close Attention to the Weather

I’m a fair-weather golfer. It hasn’t always been like this, but age has made me realize that I have nothing to prove.

We’d play on August days with 115 heat index or in February on days hovering just above freezing with light rain. The harsher the conditions, the more pride we took in our rounds, and sometimes we’d walk 36-holes just to prove the golf pro wrong.

Players on the PGA Tour rarely face such adverse conditions on tour. However, the weather can play a major role in a player’s performance.

Rainy rounds are a beating for everyone; you’re constantly battling to keep your hands dry, then a towel, and eventually, it’s all a soupy mess.

PGA Tour - East Lake Weather - Golf Course

The best players on the planet don’t necessarily need to bother putting forth the maximum effort; their future is secure. The players at the bottom or in the middle may rise to the occasion and steal their first win.

Wind can be brutal for a golfer; the unpredictable nature of wind confuses some players. So, when the wind is up, look for players that excel in windy conditions.

Lee Trevino grew up playing in the ridiculous winds of West Texas. That gave Lee a tremendous advantage playing windy conditions; he has 2 British Open victories to prove it.

Fellow Texan, Jordan Spieth, is a solid player all around. He also holds an edge when playing in the wind.

I’m not suggesting you bet on Spieth if it’s windy, but he’s worth a look. I’m merely trying to get you to begin seeing the whole picture.

Know the Metrics

You can do all the research your mind can handle, but it won’t mean a thing without understanding the key metrics.

Things like driving distance, putts per round, and greens in regulation are pretty straightforward. But do you know how these statistics relate to performance on the course?

Then there are the more complicated measurements like strokes gained. Strokes gained has been a revelation for golf fans.

The metric covers each player’s shot and compares it to the rest of the field. This information is broken down into four categories; from the tee, approach shots, from around the green, and lastly, putting.

You can gain a ton of insight into how a player is competing by looking for the areas where they are beating the field

For example, if the tour average from 180 yards is 2.3 strokes and a player averages 1.7 strokes, he’s gaining 0.6 strokes on the field.

Carefully examine these stats and become intimately familiar with what they mean and how that affects your betting. 

Examine How the Field Performs On a Specific Course

Players on the PGA Tour are human, and they all have their favorite and least favorite courses. One area I like to look at before an even is the previous performance for the field at the course.

Jon Rahm is a brilliant and shining example of a player loving a course and it paying off in a fantastic manner. Rahm got his first win on the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines back in 2017.

Since then, he’s never finished outside the top 10 in an event at Torrey Pines. Rahm even proposed to his wife on the grounds at Torrey Pines.

The place clearly holds a special place in his heart. Which Rahm made abundantly clear leading up to the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He was practically gushing over what a fantastic course it is.

So, you had Rahm, who is having the best year of his career, coming off an event where he was forced to withdraw from an event due to a positive COVID test with a 6 stroke lead after 54-holes, and playing what may be his favorite course on the planet.

It wasn’t much of a surprise when he fired an impressive -6 round and coasted to a 4 stroke victory, albeit from a few groups ahead of the leaders.

Important: Pay attention to players matching up with specific courses.

Don’t Be Scared to Change Things Up

Golf provides several viable betting options for sports bettors. Don’t focus solely on betting for an outright winner; that’s too unpredictable to be profitable for many.

Look at the options like head to head. This wager pits two players in the field against one another; the winner takes all.

It’s sometimes much more accessible to pick a winner from head to head than trying to pull a needle out of a haystack by selecting one player to best the entire field.

Live betting in golf can provide excellent opportunities for golf fans. Golf tournaments are drawn out over the course of 4-days.

That leads to odds shifting quite a bit between Thursday morning and Sunday afternoon. If you can spot a player making a charge before the sportsbooks move lines, there’s some extraordinary potential lying there.

Conclusion

These dos and don’ts of betting on the PGA Tour will give you a solid foundation for launching into betting on golf. By considering metrics that the public never think of, you’ll be starting in an advantageous position.

Still, don’t assume that the sportsbooks aren’t pouring over more data than you could ever wish to. But, if you focus on a small group of players, it will be much easier to spot something the handicappers missed.

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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.

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