Golf Betting 101: Reading odds to understand the implied probability of a golfer winning
Fantasy Golf & Golf Betting

Golf Betting 101: Reading odds to understand the implied probability of a golfer winning


For new sports bettors, it can feel overwhelming when trying to learn about all the golf betting options, how to read odds and understand what they're doing when they wager money.

At Golf News Net, we're here to help. With our Golf Betting 101 series, we're teaching novice bettors the basics about how to bet on golf tournaments and what they should look for when they're placing bets.

Today, we're talking about what odds tell you about the implied probability of something happening in golf.

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What are implied odds?

Whenever you make a sports bet -- in this particular case, relating to a golf tournament -- the sportsbook is telling you what they believe is the probability of that event happening. The favorite to win a golf tournament is the favorite for a reason: The sportsbook thinks that player has the best chance to win (or is being bet on so much by the public that they have to consider that golfer the favorite). At his peak, Tiger Woods was often a favorite by measure of 3-to-1 (also written as +300) to win a golf tournament that he was playing. That's absurd.

Compare the odds of a golf tournament favorite -- typically in the +900 or +1000 range -- to that of a longer shot, which might be +100000 (100-to-1) or even longer than that. That long-shot golfer is a longshot for a reason: They're not expected to win the golf tournament, and the oddsmakers assume the probability of that golfer winning is low.

There's a formula, however, that a bettor can use to understand what that implied odds are of an event happening.

Implied odds formula

The implied odds formula is pretty easy to understand. If you express the odds of something happening as a fraction -- for example 10/1 or 10-to-1 (also known as +1000) -- then you can figure out the implied odds using this equation:

100 / (Stated Odds + 100) * 100

Using the example, 100/1100 is 1/11, multiplied by 100, or about a 9.99 percent chance of something happening.

This is really important to understand when betting on the outcome of golf tournaments. The favorite to win most golf tournaments is implied to win the golf tournament no more than one out of every 10 times. That's the favorite. That means that picking winners of golf tournaments is very hard, and a golf bettor shouldn't expect to be picking a single winner with a single pick. Betting on a bevy of players to win a tournament at various amounts and bet sizes is the best strategy, and even then, that's a big risk.

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About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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