With sports betting becoming legal and regulated in a number of U.S. states, and with more working to build the proper regulations and infrastructure to handle sports betting, there are going to be more opportunities for golf fans to plunk down a few dollars here and there to have some golf action.
As the golf season is starting to heat up, it's probably a good time to help golf fans understand some of the basics of golf betting. That's why we're covering some of these golf betting fundamentals in a little series we're calling Golf Betting 101.
In the start to this short series, we're going to go over two of the most common golf bets on the board: the win bet and the each-way bet.
As you might imagine, a win bet is pretty self-explanatory. After handicapping the field, you're placing money on a player to win a golf tournament. If the player you wager on wins the golf tournament, you win on your bet.
For example, at this week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Dustin Johnson is the favorite to win the tournament. He has 5-to-1 betting odds that he'll win.
In a sportsbook, you'll see that 5-to-1 line written as +500. Sportsbooks will typically write their lines this way as an expression of the money you'll earn by winning a $100 wager. In this case, if you bet $100 on Dustin Johnson to win at Pebble this week and he does, then you'll win $500 and get back your original $100 for $600 altogether. If you bet $100 on Jason Day, who is at +1000 to win, then you'll win $1,000 and your original $100 for $1,100 altogether.
These are the bets in golf that have the potential biggest payout because you're looking to predict the result of a multi-day event with many players. You can back favorites to win, but you'll get less of a multiple for a win, or you can look toward longer shots and get paid out more. Of course, you can bet in small increments or larger amounts.
Each way bet
Since there's only one winner of a golf tournament, the chances of identifying that golfer aren't great. That's why there's such a premium paid for getting golf tournament winners right. However, for the more risk-adverse bettor, there's another common bet that allows them to trade higher odds for a better chance of winning. This is called the each-way bet.
An each-way bet allows a punter to bet on a golfer to finish inside a certain threshold in a tournament. At some sportsbooks, that's the top eight. At the 888 sportsbook available in New Jersey, the each-way bet pays if the golfer bet finishes in the top five (including ties). They call it a top-five bet, which is easier for inexperienced American bettors to get.
This is a good bet when you're looking toward a longshot that you love to have a high finish but don't feel they're good enough to win the tournament outright. Typically, each-way bets pay about one-fourth the odds of a win bet, though that's not universally true.
There are typically restrictions on these types of bet, primarily that the tournament has to be considered official when finished to count. So, if a tournament goes 18 or 36 holes and gets washed out, becoming unofficial, the bets are called off and returned.