While most people think the most important thing to learn to be a profitable sports bettor is what you should do, they ignore the fact that what they shouldn’t do can be equally if not more important. What we want to talk about today are the biggest and most costly golf betting mistakes that we see made day in and day out from bettors of all skill levels.
These mistakes are not just bad for your ego, but they can be detrimental to your profitability and win rate as they can cause you to leave money on the table, lose bets that you would have otherwise won, and make bets that you have no business making. In this guide, we’re going to fix that. We’re going to show you the most common golf betting mistakes and what you need to do to protect yourself from making them.
Yes, it’s important to know what to do when betting on golf, but it’s just as important to know what not to do.
One of the biggest mistakes that newer golf bettors make is ignoring the course conditions. To be clear, we’re not just talking about the obvious stuff even though that gets ignored too. The course conditions can play a huge role in which golfers have an advantage and who will be at a disadvantage. For some of you, you may be looking at the conditions, but you might not be looking at all of the right things.
First, realize that the conditions are not going to be the same all day for every golfer. If someone is teeing off early, things are going to be different than things for the people going off later. Things like heat, moisture, wind, and more are all affected by the time of day.
Second, you need to make sure that you’re not just looking at the conditions on the day of the tournament but also the conditions leading up to it. For example, if you look at a tournament and it’s going to be sunny and dry, you might assume the greens are going to be tough, and the fairways will have a lot of roll favoring some golfers. But, what happens if it rained heavily the day before? The course is certainly not going to be dry especially if it has any drainage issues.
Make sure when you are making your golf bets that you take into account the predicted conditions, the time of day the golfers are playing, and the conditions leading up to the tournament. All of these are important to figure out which golfers will have an edge and might be smart bets.
Each golf course that professional golfers compete on is wildly different from the rest. If they played on the same course every week, it would be pretty boring to watch, and the same golfers would probably win over and over again.
But, they don’t do that. They play on different courses that lend themselves to different golfer strengths. Some courses are great for long-ball hitters, and some are great for strong putters. Some courses favor meticulous iron play while some are forgiving with large greens. The point here is that every course is different which means that you can’t approach each one from a betting standpoint the same.
Take the time before you start picking out your bets to research the course. Figure out what types of golfers it’s going to favor and then use that information when you’re making your picks. If you’d like to get more information about how to break down a course properly, make sure you check out our Golf Betting Strategy Guide where we give you all of that information in more. It’s the sister guide to this one where instead of telling you what not to do, we tell you what to do.
Golf is a game of inches. What does that cliché phrase mean? It means that the smallest of things can have a huge effect on a golfer’s final score. One of these things that are often overlooked or downplayed by bettors is injuries. Have you ever tried to play golf with a sore back or a minor ache or pain? If you have, you know that it can have a dramatic effect on the quality of your swing and your overall score.
We say this next statement a lot, but it’s true. Pro golfers are not immune to this. When they have an injury, they have to go through the same recovery that we do. Yes, they probably have access to a lot more trainers and professional help 24/7, but their bodies still have to recover just like ours.
So, what does this have to do with betting? Make sure that you’re not downplaying the severity of a golfer’s injury just because you want to bet on them or because they said in a press conference that they are fine. One of the worst sources of information on an injury is the injured person. How often have you told someone you were fine when you were in a lot of pain? If you’re like us, more than a time or two.
Be wary of betting injured golfers or golfers who are coming off of an injury. Four full days of golf can take a toll on the body, and if it’s already broken somewhere, it’s going to exacerbate that problem. This is not a good thing to happen to a golfer that you chose to bet on.
Before we make our point here, we want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with betting on huge favorites. At times, it can be a wise bet, but more often than not, people get carried away betting favorites because they just want to book a win. While it feels good to win, the payout odds for the risk you took usually don’t match up with big favorites.
Why? Well, as you probably know already, the online sportsbook will adjust payout lines based on the money they have coming in on each golfer. Their goal is to have balanced books where they can take the money from the losing golfers and use it to pay off the winner while taking a small percentage off the top as their profit. Effectively, they want to be able to make money no matter who wins, and they achieve this by balancing out the money that comes in.
So, this means that the more people that bet on a particular golfer to win, the less the sportsbook is going to pay you out if you jump on the bandwagon after them. So, even if you think the favorite is going to win, it might still be a bad bet to make.
The point here is not to get carried away always betting the favorite. It can feel great to book wins, but if you’re not getting paid out properly and there’s no value in the bet, you’re going to lose money over the long run.
Stats are awesome. While our brains and our eyes have a tendency to lie to us from time to time, numbers and statistics are true. But, our brains come back into the equation when we go to pulling conclusions from statistics which means there are once again areas for mistakes. What we’d like to briefly talk about are mistakes that golf bettors tend to make when looking through statistics.
First, we want to commend you if you’re someone who takes the time to look at stats when you’re making your predictions. Too many people are either lazy or just don’t have the time to dig through the numbers, but that’s truly where the edges can be found.
Now, regarding mistakes, one of the worst things you can do is use stats that are outdated, not updated, or are incorrect. There are some great sources for stats online including the PGA’s website. But, before you use any stats, you should at least double check that they are accurate. You don’t have to check every single number, but you should spot check here and there periodically to make sure that you’re getting accurate information.
Second, you need to make sure that you’re not just looking at career numbers as a whole. While this can give you a general idea of what you’re working with, it doesn’t give you the specifics that you need to gain an edge betting on golf. For example, if you look at a golfer’s average finish, that’s great for getting a general idea of how they are performing, but it doesn’t help you as much as you might think to know how they are going to perform at an upcoming tournament.
Why? Well, as we already talked about, each course is different. The golfer might crush at courses that are nothing like the upcoming one but struggle at courses similar to that one. If you just looked at their average finish and it was good, you might be inclined to fire a bet off on them. But, if you break it down and look at their performance by specific course, you’d see that is not a smart bet to make.
This is just one example of how you should be looking at statistics when betting on golf. What you need to do is ask yourself if the conclusion you are drawing is useful or if there is a way that you can make it more specific and more effective in predicting results. The more specific that you can get, the better.
We’ve linked to it above, but we want to make sure that you didn’t miss it. Now that you know what you’re not supposed to do when betting on golf, we’d like to point you in the direction of what you should be doing. Check out our Golf Betting Strategy Guide for a full breakdown of how to go about handicapping a golf tournament and finding bets that have value. Make sure to keep in mind everything you learned here, put in some hard work, and you’ll be on your way to being a profitable golf bettor.