Although not specific to golf, I had to throw this one in as it is just so important. Those who know, would be aware, that I am continuously bleating on about the importance of keeping records. I will not go on here, as I am sure you have heard it all before, and do not particularly want to hear it again. Do yourself a big favour though, and set up a spreadsheet to track every golf bet you make! Do not say you will – actually do it!
Access Good Information
You will find it very difficult to become a consistent winner, if you have not got your hands on quality information. Information need not cost a fortune. One of the must haves for any half serious golf punter is a book titled ‘Elliott’s Golf Form’.
The book is an annual publication and gives detailed player profiles, and detailed descriptions of every tournament played on both the European and USPGA tours the previous year. Some great statistics, and generally speaking, is just a brilliant tool for any golf punter to possess.
Aside from the use of Elliott’s Golf Form, there are numerous excellent websites, on which to find the latest on the players and upcoming tournaments. For the European Tour, go to www.europeantour.com and for the USPGA Tour go to www.pgatour.com
Take the Best Price on Your Selections
Regardless of which sport you are betting, all punters should seek always to find the best prices possible. Consider holding three different accounts, which will help you to find a good price. I would suggest two bookmakers’ accounts and an account with Betfair. Each week, compare the prices between the bookmakers, with which you hold accounts and Betfair, and take the best available.
One bookmaker which you must have an account with is Pinnacle Sports. They opperate on the lowest margins for golf match bets out of any of the other bookies. A real must have account!
If you have a number of accounts, consider using an odds comparison service to identify where you may be able to find the best price on your selection. A couple of good odds comparison services are Betbrain, Oddschecker. Odds comparison services provide a comparison with a good number of (sometimes up to 60) different bookmakers, on the one event. Odds comparison services are very handy resources.
Support the Leading Groups
Take note that the last group (the two leaders) to play on the fourth day, are at an advantage, excluding of course, poor weather conditions. It is these players who know the scores they have to beat. If they hold a one shot lead on the ‘clubhouse leader’, then they know, that they just need to play very conservatively to win the tournament. Conversely, if they are a shot or two back, they know that they have to play aggressively, and shoot for the pin to make up ground.
Players Getting On
Do not be afraid to back players who are getting on in age IF they have a proven record of winning on the tour. We certainly do not want to be chasing a player still holding out for a win after ten years on the tour!
The age of technological advancement certainly has not escaped golf. As a result of recent advancement, the gap has closed in driving distances, for instance. Although, generally speaking, the younger players still hit the balls further, the older players are not all that far behind. The gap has closed, to some extent, between the bigger hitters and the rest of the field, but the advantage is not as great as it used to be.
Beware of players who, towards the end of the year are fighting to keep their tour cards. Generally, the added pressure to play well, will be a definite negative for the player.
Backing Multiple Players
As touched on in the introduction, one of the toughest aspects of golf betting is the fact, that we have so many players in each tournament, and that it is very possible to encounter long losing runs.
It is not uncommon for the favourite to be at odds of 10.0 – 20.0 in the betting. Even if a punter is a great golf handicapper, it is very possible to go extended periods without adding to the betting bank. Unlike a horse race, where there may be between 8 – 20 runners; or a tennis game, where there may be a choice of only two players to win (unless you are betting in the tournament winner market); with golf betting, there are some 140 players competing.
Of course, it is fun to go for the big win, but the yearly profits could be relying on the one big win, which is very nerve racking. Also, confidence could be lost in the approach, through not finding the winners, or becoming frustrated by the selected players continually finishing close to the winner, at decimal odds of 101.0 or so. This is a problem that must be overcome. There are a number of ways to reduce the wild bankroll fluctuations, such as, each way betting, betting player match-ups, trading on betting exchanges during tournaments, place betting etc.
Another clever way, in which to reduce fluctuations, is to ‘dutch’ bet a number of players in each tournament. By that, I mean, simply back a number of players. Due to the nature of a golf betting market, quite often, I will back ten players to win a golf tournament. I calculate the bets so that it does not matter which one of my ten bets is successful, I will win the same amount of money. We will outlay more money on the selections, which are shorter in the market, and outlay less money on the players, who are at greater odds. I use a computer program, which we developed for this purpose, to calculate the required answers. You well may have heard of dutch betting, and you already may be using this betting method yourself.
In the Masters of 2005, before the start of the tournament you may like . . .
1. Phil Mickelson @ 10.0 ($33.70) – 337.00
2. Davis Love III @ 36.0 ($9.36) – 336.96
3. Retief Goosen @ 20.0 ($16.85) – 337.00
4. Sergio Garcia @ 22.0 ($15.32) – 337.04
5. Darren Clarke @ 44.0 ($7.66) – 337.04
6. Stuart Appleby @ 70.0 ($4.81) – 336.70
7. Stewart Cink @ 70.0 ($4.81) – 336.70
8. Charles Howell III @ 90.0 ($3.74) – 336.60
9. Scott Verplank @ 90.0 ($3.74) – 336.60
We have backed nine players to win the event. If we were considering a total outlay of $100 on the tournament, then we would bet the above amounts (in brackets) on each of the players. Now, if we were to place our bets with a bookmaker, rather than a betting exchange, we would need to round the bet amounts on each of the players. For this example, we will use the exact figures. Therefore, whichever player wins, we will collect approximately $336.98 for a net profit average of $236.98 or a 237% profit.
Another way to structure bets, is to use ‘savers’ on players, who may be considered as threats, but we are not overly confident. If a player is backed as a saver, and wins, then we will win the total amount we have outlayed on the event. For example, we may believe that both Mickelson and Goosen have been in poor form leading up to the event. However, they are both class players, who should be in contention right to the end. We then could structure our bets as follows:
1. Phil Mickelson @ 10.00 ($10.00) [SAVER] 100.00
2. Davis Love III @ 36.00 ($16.09) 579.24
3. Sergio Garcia @ 22.00 ($26.33) 579.26
4. Darren Clarke @ 44.00 ($13.16) 579.04
5. Stuart Appleby @ 70.00 ($8.27) 578.90
6. Stewart Cink @ 70.00 ($8.27) 578.90
7. Charles Howell III @ 90.00 ($6.44) 579.60
8. Retief Goosen @ 20.00 ($5.00) [SAVER] 100.00
9. Scott Verplank @ 90.00 ($6.44) 579.60
If Goosen or Mickelson win the tournament, the return would be $100, and thus, we would break even. However, if one of the other players wins the event, then our profit would be $479.20! An extra $242.22.
Dutch betting really makes sense in golf tournaments. It is a great way of reducing bankroll fluctuations. You will pick up more collects, which will not only keep you in the game, but will increase confidence in your selections.
Relative Field Strength
The relative field strength is a factor, which must be considered in every tournament. The players in each tournament will change from week to week. One week, there will be Ian Poulter at odds of 51.0 to win an event, and the next week, he may be 11.0 favourite. You may use the order of merit (European Tour) and the Moneylist (US Tour) to provide a rough guide as to the quality of players entered. Obviously, the higher the players on the respective lists, generally, the better the player. You may also like to consult the player’s world ranking. This information is availabe here Official World Golf Ranking.
Field strength is vital in establishing if a particular player is value at a given price. It is quite easy to be persuaded into believing that a player is at massive odds, especially if he has been much shorter in recent times. Generally, in this case the field strength would have increased, which has resulted in the player’s price lengthening.