For novice gamblers, it can be tough to understand golf betting odds and how to read sportsbook boards — either in person or online. That put folks who might want to bet on golf just a few times per year, particularly around the majors, at at disadvantage or cause them to shy away from some (responsible) fun.
We want to get you up to speed on how to read sportsbook boards, learning the terminology so you’re confident when you go to the window to get a ticket.
How to read and understand golf betting odds
The most common bet someone would make on golf is picking a player to win a specific event, season-long contest (e.g., FedEx Cup, money list) or award. When betting in this situation, you’ll see a list of players and value next to them that either starts with a minus sign or a plus sign, followed by a three-, four-, five- or (rarely) six-digit number, OR a fraction with a numerator and denominator.
That plus-minus figure is the live odds for that player to win that award, reflected against a $100 bet.
If the figure starts with a minus sign, then you’re learning how much you would have to bet to win $100 in exchange. For example, if someone is -110 to win a golf match-up, then you would have to bet $110 to win $100 in return, getting a total of $210 back for winning (the $110 you’d bet and the $100 for winning.)
If the figure starts with a plus sign, then you’re learning how much you would win if you bet $100. For example, if a player is +2000 to win a golf tournament, you would win $2,000 on a $100 bet, getting a total of $2,100 back for winning.
When odds are displayed as a fraction, it’s a slightly easier conversion. You’ll simply multiply however much you want to bet by the fraction to figure out how much you would win on top of your additional bet.
If you’re looking to convert plus/minus odds to the fraction system, then the simple way to do it is to move the decimal place two spots to the left. For example, if you see a player has +5000 odds, they’re going off at 50/1 odds.
In the instance where you the plus-minus odds don’t end in two zeroes, then you’ll need to convert to the nearest hole number to get a fraction. For example, if a player is +550 to win a tournament, they’re at 5.5/1 odds, or, more easily, 11/2 odds.
Hopefully this explanation will help you feel more comfortable understanding betting odds and give you less anxiety in trying to figure out what bets work best for your eye and your budget.