PGA Odds and Predictions: A Guide To Golf Futures and Props
Welcome to SharpSide’s featured PGA golf futures and props page. If you aren’t a fan of golf already, try betting on it. All it takes is one Sunday sweat to see why betting on golf is so appealing.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll show you how to boost your return on investment (ROI) on golf futures and props throughout the season.
What is a PGA futures bet?
As explained in RotoGrinder’s Golf Betting Tips, a golf futures bet is a bet that is placed on a golfer to win a specific tournament. A full-field event is made up of 156 golfers, explaining the wide range of odds between golfers. Typically, 70 golfers make the cut after the first two rounds.
Top golfers like Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy can be as big as +700 (7-to-1) favorites to win a tournament depending on the talent of the field, while you find some of the biggest long shots in a tournament are over +20000 (200-to-1) to win. A $10 bet at +700 earns $70 in profits. A bet for the same amount at +20000, wins $2,000.
Beware: PGA major fields are different
Field sizes and cut rules differ in some tournaments, especially in the majors. Each major championship determines its own cut rules.
2020 major championship dates and cut rules:
PGA Championship (TPC Harding Park): August 6-9 (originally May 14-17)
Like traditional tour events, the PGA Championship starts with a field of at most 156 golfers. The top 70 golfers, plus ties, after 36 holes advance to the weekend’s final two rounds.
The Masters (Augusta National): November 12-15 (originally April 9-12)
The Masters has the smallest field of the four majors, inviting only 90-100 golfers. Only the top 50 golfers (and ties) make the cut after the first 36 holes. There is one caveat: any golfer within 10 strokes of the lead makes the cut, whether they are in the top 50 or not.
US Open (Winged Foot): September 17-20 (originally June 18-21)
The US Open has a full field of 156 golfers. Like the Masters, the US Open cut rule used to include any golfer within 10 strokes after 36 holes. The USGA changed the rule in 2012 to include only the top 60 golfers out of the 156-person field.
What is a PGA prop bet?
A prop bet or “proposition” bet is a bet that is related to but not determined by the final results and standings of a tournament.
Betting on props in golf isn’t as popular as it is in other sports. The golf betting market is smaller, leaving bettors with less options. Still, props do exist, especially in major tournaments.
Examples of golf prop bets include:
- Will a player score a hole in one during the tournament?
- Will there be a playoff?
- Who will be the top golfer from X country?
- Who will be the low amateur?
- How many majors will X golfer win in 2019?
PGA futures betting strategy
Like football and basketball futures, odds for golf majors are released long before the actual tournament date, giving you an opportunity to capitalize on less popular golfers early in the season. The key to futures bets is to buy low. You want to be the first bettor to the punch, so to speak. This means betting on golfers who you think have upside before other bettors catch on. By attacking early, you can get the best prices before their odds fall.
To put this into perspective, let’s use Bryson DeChambeau as an example. The former US Amateur winner had only one PGA Tour victory after the 2018 Masters. When odds were released for the 2019 Masters, DeChambeau was +8000. From the start of June to the end of 2018, DeChambeau added four wins on tour and his odds for the 2019 Masters fell all the way down to +2000.
It’s not uncommon to see golfers futures odds change dramatically throughout the season. Check out other examples from the 2019 Masters:
- Kevin Kisner: opened +10000, dropped to +6000
- Gary Woodland: opened +12500, dropped to +8000
- Keegan Bradley: opened +15000, dropped to +10000
- Jason Day: opened +2000, dropped to +2500
- Tommy Fleetwood: opened +3000, dropped to +2000
This shows the type of volatility that a sharp bettor can use to their advantage.
Similarly, golfers’ odds the week of a golf tournament can change a lot from Sunday night to Thursday morning. If you think there’s a value on a golfer and have a hunch that other people might think the same thing, make sure to bet as early as you can. Again, this will allow you to lock in the best possible price.
On the other hand, be sure to check odds the night before the tournament. There could be a price on a golfer that you didn’t like early in the week but ends up worth betting after the majority of bets have been placed.
Fade the chalk
The public loves betting on big names like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and others. These names are routinely at the top of betting boards and bettors flock to these names on big weeks.
Because of numerous factors such as the large field, weather, and putting, golf is inherently a sport of variance. The difference between a good round and a bad round can be as little as four shots. There’s little value in betting on golfers that everyone else is betting on. In other words, it can pay to fade the public.
What stats to consider
In particular, try to find golfers who aren’t finishing at the top of leaderboards but are showing good form by looking at strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained approach. Putting plays such a big part in who walks away a winner week to week, but it also happens to be one of the noisiest, most unpredictable statistics in the sport.
Most bettors don’t dive into these statistics. Your best bet is to invest in golfers who the public perceives to be playing poorly, but are in fact striking the ball great. You can easily detect this by finding golfers losing strokes on the green, but who are gaining strokes elsewhere against the field.
When there’s less data
Whether it’s marketing, business, or betting, we live in a big data world. Oddsmakers and bettors alike try to use it to their advantage, but what if there’s no data to take advantage of?
We encounter this problem all of the time in golf when young golfers of a certain pedigree turn professional. There’s no PGA combine and very few college/amatuer golf stats are worth looking at. Golfers like DeChambeau and Jon Rahm joined the PGA Tour after dominating the amateur golf scene. When they joined the tour, there was no real data to compare them to veterans. These golfers had monstrous odds leading up to their first PGA Tour victories compared to where oddsmakers put them at now.
In his first win, DeChambeau cashed +5000 tickets at the John Deere Classic. Rahm won his first tournament at the same odds in the 2017 Farmer’s Insurance Open.
Don’t be afraid to bet on golfers who you think have the potential to win early on the PGA Tour just because there’s no data for you to look at. If you think there’s a young golfer who will win sooner rather than later, then put them on your betting card before they get their first PGA Tour victory. Keep your eyes on the Web.com Tour and top amateur golfers to find diamonds in the rough.
Sportsbooks have live odds during tournaments, allowing you to hedge your bets if your long shots find themselves at the top of the leaderboard towards the end of the weekend. If you want to decrease your variance, bet on guys who weren’t on your initial betting card but have a chance of winning late in the tournament.
You can also do this by betting on final round matchup bets if your golfer is in the final pairing. Most of the time there will be a moneyline between your golfer and other golfers in contention. You can hedge by betting on whoever your golfer is matched up with for the final round.
Of course, this doesn’t come without additional risk. In these large fields, it’s not uncommon for some to come back from a few strokes behind by going low on Sunday. Assess the leaderboard heading into the final round, look at how many golfers have a realistic chance at winning, and bet or hedge accordingly.
Betting on golf is as much a mental game as playing golf. Finding the winner out of 156 or more golfers isn’t easy. Help yourself by creating a betting card of four, five, or six golfers per week, spreading your exposure across the field. Even with a betting card, you still need to prepare yourself for losing weeks. Remember, hitting a golfer at +5000 or more can take care of your betting for most of the year.
We’re playing the long game here. Manage your bankroll accordingly and don’t be discouraged if you go several weeks without finding a winner.
More PGA odds, predictions, futures, and prop betting links and resources
To be a profitable PGA futures and prop bettor, you need to use all information at your disposal. We’ll continue to update this page with links, news, and tools to help you be on the sharp side of PGA futures odds long term, but be sure to sign up at FanDuel Sportsbook, FOX Bet, and other sportsbooks so you have more futures and prop market prices available to choose from. By using more sportsbooks, you can help minimize the over-round that sportsbooks use to make their profits.
Check back as we update this page with links to futures and props articles for specific tournaments throughout the season. We plan on taking advantage of the things we touched on in this article to cash in big golf futures this season. See you soon!