How to Bet on Golf – Betting Guide

The leading online sportsbooks provide customers with an exciting range of betting options on hundreds of different golf tournaments each year.

It is often challenging to pick the winner from a star-studded field at major tournaments and PGA Tour events, so the top sports betting sites provide a range of additional markets. For example, you can bet on a player to secure a top 10 finish, or you might decide to wager on the outcome of a 2 ball or 3 ball matchup between specific golfers.

This guide explains how to bet on golf. We will highlight the key options at your disposal and teach you how to read the odds. This page will also steer you towards the best sites and mobile apps for golf betting, highlight the best bonuses and list our top tips to maximize your chances of success. Keep reading for a detailed explanation on how to bet on golf.


Golf Betting Explained

Golf betting offers an exciting opportunity to profit from your knowledge of the sport. You can make predictions on how a tournament will unfold, and you will be paid out if your selections prove to be successful.

Prior to 2018, Nevada was the only state in which golf betting was legally available. However, the Supreme Court then overturned a federal ban named the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. That allowed any state to introduce legal sports wagering, and many have done so.

New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Indiana, Maryland and Colorado are just some of the large states that now permit legal golf betting. You can place pre-tournament bets and live bets on a huge variety of events via a mobile app or website in 26 states, and the list continues to grow.

If you are wondering how to bet on golf, first you will need to sign up with a licensed online sportsbook. You can then browse a range of options on upcoming tournaments and make your plays. We will explain where to bet on golf, how to read the odds and what the main betting options entail over the course of this article.


Golf Odds Explained & Calculation

The golf betting odds at online sportsbooks will be presented in the American format. They start with either a minus (-) or a plus (+) symbol.

This is an example of odds available 3 ball golf bet:

  • Hideki Matsuyama (-130)
  • Aaron Baddeley (+280)
  • Doc Redman (+330)

In this market, you just need to predict which of the three golfers will end the round with the lowest score.

When the golf betting odds start with a minus, the numbers highlight the dollar amount you would need to risk in order to generate a $100 profit. For example, a $130 bet on Matsuyama at -130 would net you $100. You will be given your bet amount – known as your stake – back if the bet wins. That results in a total return of $230. You can bet any amount you like – for example, bet $13 to win $10, or bet $2,600 to win $2,000.

If the odds start with a plus, it explains the profit available from a $100 wager. A $100 bet on Baddley would net you $280, while a $100 bet on Redman would generate a $330 profit. The odds show you that Matsuyama is the favorite, with the highest implied probability of success, whereas Redman is the underdog.


Golf Bet Types

Leading online sportsbooks such as PointsBet and BetMGM provide a huge volume of betting options on a tournament. That is helpful, as it improves your chances of finding a selection that perfectly matches the way you expect the event to unfold. These are the most common betting options for golf fans to consider:


Outright Tournament Winner

This is the easiest golf bet to understand, as it simply requires you to predict who will win a tournament. The sportsbooks will rank the various golfers in order of their chances of success, and they will then offer odds on each player winning it.

The list will start with a favorite. It might be the player that is currently top of the world rankings, a golfer that has been very consistent in recent weeks, the defending champion or perhaps a player well suited to the course. The odds will then grow longer on each golfer as you move down the list, eventually reaching the huge underdogs at the bottom.

Just click on the odds next to any golfer, and that selection will appear on your betslip. Type in a bet amount, and the sportsbook will highlight your possible winnings. You can then click “Place Bet” to confirm the wager, and it will pay out after the tournament if you guessed correctly.


Place / Finishing Position 

You can alternatively bet on a player to secure a top 5 finish, top 10 finish, top 20 finish and so on. If you bet on a golfer to finish in the top 5, you get paid out if he ends up first, second, third, fourth or fifth.

It does not matter where precisely he finishes, as your payout will be the same. You will receive a smaller potential payout by betting on a golfer to finish in the top 5 as opposed to winning the tournament. The potential payout will decrease again if you bet on him finishing in the top 10, as you are making things easier for yourself. This flexibility allows you to choose your own preferred level of risk.


Golf Player Matchup Bet

This is a straightforward bet on which player will shoot a lower score. It can focus on the overall tournament, but it usually requires you to predict who will shoot the lowest score in a specific round.

The sportsbook will provide a list of 2-ball matchups for you to consider. For example, you might find:

  • Scottie Scheffler to beat Viktor Hovland (-130)
  • Viktor Hovland to beat Scottie Scheffler (+110)

All you need to do is decide who will perform better that day – Scheffler or Hovland? All the other players in the field are irrelevant, as it focuses very narrowly on two players.

You may occasionally find some handicap markets too, such as:

  • Justin Thomas -1.5 vs. Rickie Fowler (-110)
  • Rickie Fowler +1.5 vs. Justin Thomas (-110)

In that example, a bet on Thomas would require him to win by a margin of at least 2 shots, whereas a bet on Fowler would pay off if he won, tied or lost by a single shot.


3 Ball Golf Bet

A 3 ball golf bet groups three players together. You then just need to guess which of those three players will end up with the lowest score. There is normally a favorite in a 3 ball bet, along with a couple of interesting challengers.

You can also place a group bet, which allows you to predict who will shoot the lowest score in a group of four. The more players listed, the harder it becomes to pick the winner, so you are rewarded with a larger potential payout.


Round Leader

This is a prediction as to who will be in the lead at the end of a specific round. For example, before a tournament gets underway, you can bet on who will be the first round leader. All bets will be graded at the end of the first round, so you do not need to worry about how your chosen player performs after that.


To Make or Miss the Cut

You can bet on whether a player will make the cut or miss the cut at a big tournament such as the Masters. The odds on each golfer will vary depending on how well he or she has been playing that year.


Golf Prop Bets

There are all sorts of prop bets available on golf tournaments at the best online sportsbooks, which broadens your range of possibilities. For example, you can bet on the best performing American, European or Asian golfer at the event, or you might decide to bet on a major being claimed by a first time winner.

Additional prop bets focus on the likelihood of an event occurring during the tournament, such as:

  • Will there be an albatross?
  • Will there be a hole in one?


Golf Live Betting

Golf is one of the best sports for live betting. The sportsbooks will continue accepting bets on markets like the tournament winner, finishing positions, round leader, 2 balls, 3 balls, groups and props after the tournament has started.

This allows you to watch the action and react to developments. You should be able to continue betting on it until the end of the tournament, allowing you to ramp up the excitement as the event approaches its conclusion.


Betting on Golf Majors

Sportsbooks release odds on the golf majors several months before they take place. You can bet on the tournament winner, and more markets will then appear as the tournament draws closer. These are the majors to bet on:


he Masters 

The Masters is the first major of the season. It is also the only one to take place at the same venue each year: Augusta National. The world’s finest players head to Georgia in the first week of April to vie for the famous green jacket.

Many fans contend that this is the most prestigious of the four majors, and it is always fiercely contested. You will be offered dozens of different wagering options, and bettors may find this one easier to call than the other majors, which take place at different courses each year.


The PGA Championship

The PGA Championship is now the second major of the year, having moved from its historical mid-August slot to the weekend before Memorial Day in May. It is the only one of the four majors that exclusively welcomes professional players, and American stars have dominated it in the modern era.


The US Open

The US Open is the most lucrative of the four majors. It takes place in mid-June at a different course each year, and it tends to be characterized by low scoring. US Open odds will be offered well in advance of the tournament, but they will change dramatically in the weeks leading up to it, reflecting recent results and each player’s momentum.


The (British) Open

The Open Championship, often referred to as the British Open, is the world’s oldest golf tournament. It is the only major that takes place outside of the United States each year. The Open can be held anywhere in the British Isles, but it generally takes place at a coastal links course in Scotland or England in mid-July.


Other Popular Golf Betting Competitions

You will be able to bet on a steady stream of golf tournaments throughout the year, including events taking place within the LPGA, Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Australasia Tour, Korn Ferry, Symetra, Challenge Tour. Sportsbooks also take bets on exhibition events such as The Match, pro-am charity events, international competitions like the Ryder Cup and the Presidents’ Cup, and much more. However, these are the most popular tours for golf bettors:


Betting on the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour remains the dominant force within the sport, despite a fierce and controversial challenge from LIV Golf. Some key players have defected, but most of the world’s best players still ply their trade on the PGA Tour.

The season begins in September each year with the Fortinet Championship, which is one of nine official FedEx Cup events played during the fall. There are currently 47 events, concluding with the Tour Championship at the end of August, with the FedEx Cup winner crowned at the end of it. Prize money for the season stands at $428.6 million.


Betting on the European Tour

The European Tour, known as the DP World Tour for sponsorship reasons, has historically been the second largest professional golf tour. That status is now challenged by the emergence of LIV Golf, but the European Tour nevertheless hosts a selection of popular tournaments, many of which are steeped in heritage.

The action generally takes place in Europe, but there are also events in other parts of the world, concluding with the Race to Dubai. The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai offers prize money of $10 million. You can bet on every tournament at the best online sportsbooks.


 Betting on LIV Golf 

LIV Golf has turned the genteel world of golf on its head since launching in 2022. It has lured many of the sport’s leading stars away from the PGA Tour, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith, sparking a furious war of words between the rival camps.

The Saudi-bankrolled series features the same players at each event, many of whom are paid huge retainers simply to take part. There are just 54 holes as opposed to the standard 72, and there are various team events to bet on. You can place wagers on each LIV Golf tournament at elite sportsbooks.


Online Golf Betting Sites: Where to Bet on Golf

Golf betting is available at every licensed online sportsbook in the United States. It is generally featured in the “Popular Sports” section on any high-quality sports betting app or website.

There are several traits to look out for when selecting a golf betting site:

  • Coverage of a vast range of tournaments throughout the year.
  • A broad selection of betting options on each tournament.
  • Sharp golf betting odds with a low house edge.
  • A tendency to release early golf betting lines before rivals.
  • A large sign-up bonus with a 1x playthrough requirement.
  • Lots of additional promos, odds boosts and loyalty rewards.
  • A variety of free, convenient deposit methods with large limits.
  • Quick payouts through lots of options.
  • 24/7 customer service.
  • A user-friendly interface with value-added features such as stats.

We have reviewed all the leading golf betting sites in the country, and we ultimately decided that BetMGM and PointsBet are the top two. They nailed all the criteria listed above, offering more golf betting options and superior bonuses to their competitors.


Golf Betting Apps

Golf betting apps provide the most convenient way to bet on a tournament. Every licensed online sportsbook operator in America provides a native mobile app, which you can download via Google Play on an Android device or the App Store on an iPhone.

Mobile sports betting apps are free to download. The best apps, such as BetMGM, PointsBet, FanDuel and DraftKings, are quick, user-friendly and highly dependable. They allow you to pick up your phone and make golf bets in seconds by tapping the screen a few times.


Free Golf Bets & Promo Codes

You will receive a sign-up bonus when you register with any golf betting site or mobile app. For example, BetMGM offers first bet insurance worth up to $1,000. If your first golf bet loses, it will give you the money back in bonus credits. You then need to play them through once before withdrawing your winnings.

Some of these bonuses require a promo code. However, you can just click through to one of our featured sportsbooks from LearnTheLines to automatically redeem the best sign-up offer. That will apply the best promo code to your new account, so you will not need to type anything in.

They also provide customers with ongoing promotions. Many of them are aimed at football, basketball and baseball bettors, but you can find golf promos too. Examples include the “Swing for the Greens” contest at FanDuel and odds boosts at sites like PointsBet, Caesars Sportsbook and FanDuel. Many run loyalty programs for golf bettors too, including BetMGM, PointsBet, Caesars and DraftKings.


Golf Live Streaming 

Online sportsbooks do not currently offer live streaming of golf tournaments. They show basketball, football, hockey, baseball, soccer, tennis and various other sports, but a sportsbook has not yet tied up a golf streaming deal.

The leading streaming platforms show PGA Tour events and the majors. Your options include fuboTV, YouTube TV and Hulu. ESPN+ is a cheaper option, as it provides multiple streams of each PGA Tour event. A combination of ESPN+ and Peacock will also cover you for streaming the majors


Golf Betting Strategy 

You can improve your chances of long-term success as a golf bettor by following some simple strategies:


  • Conduct Detailed Research | You can use statistical analysis to guide your betting decisions. Analyze the course and then delve into the types of players that have won there in the past, and use that information to make projections about how an upcoming event will unfold.


  • Find the Best Odds | Different sportsbooks offer contrasting odds on the same player. For example, one sportsbook might offer +1000 on Rory McIlroy winning a tournament and another may offer +1200. A $10 bet would earn you an extra $20 in profit if you were to use the second sportsbook. In the long run, regularly grabbing the best available odds can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Register with lots of golf betting sites to ensure you always get the best odds.


  • Consider a Range of Betting Option | It is tempting to simply bet on the winner of a tournament. However, most events feature several world-class players, so it is difficult to call the winner. Your chances of success will improve if you go for 2-balls, 3-balls and finishing position bets instead.


  • Redeem Golf Bonuses | Several golf betting sites are competing for your business, and they offer bonuses to convince you to sign up. They then offer promos to reward you for staying loyal to the brand. Claim a variety of bonuses from different sportsbooks to cut down the house edge they take on their golf lines.


  • Manage Your Bankroll | Set aside a sum of money that you will use for betting on golf during a season or calendar year. Make sure it is not money required to pay bills or rent, or to buy food and other necessities. Choose a percentage of it as your unit price, such as 1%, 2% or 3%. Place 1 unit bets on golf tournaments. Stay disciplined, and do not exceed your base unit. This will add a degree of precision and consistency to your golf wagers.


Golf Betting Picks & Tips 

Expert picks can provide useful inspiration when considering how to bet on golf. Professional handicappers offer their advice on how a tournament will end, and you can either follow their suggestions (known as tailing) or go against them (fading).

It is important to find proven cappers that have strong credentials and winning records. You can take their suggestions on board, but we also recommend conducting independent research to ensure you agree with their picks and tips before placing your wagers.


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