4 of the Most Common Golf Betting Mistakes

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4 Most Common Golf Betting Mistakes

When you hear the words “golf” and “mistake” in the same sentence, it’s safe to assume that they’re usually referring to your swing. If someone were to tell me all the mistakes I’m committing in mine, I don’t think I’d have enough space in this article to write about it.

When it comes to mistakes people make in golf betting, however, I believe I can provide some explanations that might help you reverse the losing trend. Although underrated in the general sports betting public, golf has great opportunities to capitalize.

In this article, I’ll lay out the four most common golf betting mistakes.

1 – Betting Without Considering Value

Nobody feels confident always betting on underdogs, but in a way, that’s kind of the point.

It can be challenging to put money down on a player when you don’t feel great about their chances of winning. With that being said, not to go on a tangent that reaches far outside of sports or betting but, most good things in life do require some degree of risk tolerance.

In gambling, and real money sports betting specifically, it’s necessary to take underdogs because of the value they provide. Because golf is so unpredictable on a tournament-to-tournament basis, it’s better to spread your money around to as many golfers as possible while still being able to make money if one of them succeeds.


Although I would describe an effective strategy as looking for value in the field, another way to look at it is to be wary of taking favorites. Simply put, overpaying for bets is one of the quickest ways to drain your bankroll and end up struggling to come up with some magic on Sunday.

As a general rule, I try to stay away from betting on the top three favorites at any point throughout the weekend. These players receive so much action that the odds are simply inflated to a point where it isn’t worth the risk to bet on them.

Make it a goal of your own strategy to find a handful of players that might be getting overlooked by the other bettors. These are the ones that are going to carry you to a big payout.

2 – Not Checking for Better Odds

Not to sound like a broken record, but in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, successful golf betting really does come down to getting the numbers.

Just like if you were shopping for the best price on a new stereo system or phone, it’s always a good idea to look around at different sportsbooks to try to find the best odds for your plays. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you need to check 50 different online sportsbooks, but going through a handful of ones you’re familiar with should be part of your everyday strategy, regardless of sport.

If you were going to take, for example, Justin Rose to finish in the top 5 at +250, and another sportsbook had the same play at +265, why wouldn’t you go with the book that offers the best value for your money?

The bottom line is that the action sportsbooks receive can shift their lines, and their lines only. That means there is always going to be some slight deviation between sportsbooks. On a single play-to-play basis the difference might not feel that significant. But if you get in the habit of always shopping for the best odds, the long-term impact is big.

3 – Not Considering All Types of Plays

Golf isn’t quite the mainstream betting sport like football or basketball, and those who are new to betting it can overlook all the possible options that are available.

In fact, the ones that might seem like the most obvious, such as choosing the winner, who will place in the top five, etc. might be the most difficult to win.

The solution that I’ve found the most success with over the years is playing primarily matchup bets. The reason is that these bets allow you to break down your analysis to two (or a small handful of) golfers, which makes it much easier to do research prior to the round.

If you’re not familiar with matchup bets, the good news is they’re extremely easy to learn. Sportsbooks put odds on two golfers, and whoever performs better in that round takes the win.

Visually, they look a lot like a baseball moneyline bet. For example, you might see a sportsbook have it displayed as:

Tiger Woods vs Dustin Johnson
Point Spread
Tiger Woods
Dustin Johnson

Note that only the performance of these two golfers matters for your bet.

Now, if those odds don’t seem particularly appealing, you can take on a little more risk in hopes of a higher payout by going with a group matchup bet. In these plays, sportsbooks put three, four, even up to eight golfers together in a matchup and set odds accordingly.

Obviously if you’re betting on one player to have the highest score out of six potential winners, it’s going to be harder to win the bet. However, the payoffs for these plays can often make it worth the risk.

Remember the section about looking around at different sportsbooks? Another reason that’s imperative is because different sites will have different potential matchup bets. These are set somewhat arbitrarily and most sportsbooks are going to differ in their offerings.

Unlike traditional sports where there are only two teams involved, golf has dozens of players competing at once. Consider the bets that break down the action into smaller, more manageable matchups in order to make more informed plays.

4 – They Make Too Many Live Bets

I love live betting. It’s a way to stay locked into the action and try to predict what will happen next based on what you’ve already seen take place during the round.

While there are tremendous benefits to live betting, there are also some serious pitfalls that you need to take care to avoid.
One thing I’ve seen happen time and time again is the contradictory live bet. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to explain.


Bettors can get emotional and impulsive when things aren’t going their way, and the live bet seems like a great way to correct the bad predictions they made before the round. For example, they might have picked Rickie Fowler to win a group of six matchup bet. As the round progresses, they realize Dustin Johnson might win, and take him in a live bet.

Inevitably (not literally, but it always seems to happen this way), Fowler and Johnson will be competing for the win and your bet is undercut either way.

It’s okay to make live bets, but don’t make a live bet that tries to compensate for a bad bet you made previously. Even if it seems like the right move at the time, remind yourself that there’s a possibility that you lose even more money trying to cover your potential loss.

In my opinion, live betting should be reserved for plays that have nothing to do with the bets you’ve made prior to the start of the event. When those two things get mixed together, the results are rarely going to work out in your favor.


Don’t sleep on golf, and I don’t mean that as a reference to a Sunday nap before the turn. If you take the time to learn basic sports betting strategies, golf can quickly turn into one of your most profitable sports. Believe it or not, it can also be one of the most exciting!

Take some time before the next major tournament and research some picks to see if you can cash in on the action. You might be surprised at how much fun you have in the process.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry fo ...

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