Golf is an excellent sport for arbitrage betting as there are a number of tournaments played throughout the year. The only real dead zone is the northern hemisphere winter, but even then there are a few tournaments running in Australia.
At first glance, golf does not seem to be a sport that lends itself to arbitrage opportunities. At each tournament, there can easily be 150 players in contention and you obviously can’t back them all.
However, by taking advantage of certain golf betting markets, we can find decent arbs.
Below, I’ll delve into the various betting markets and show you how to profit from the many arbitrage betting opportunities available in golf!
Brand New to Sports Arbitrage Betting?
Read my introduction to the world of arbitrage betting!
Golf Betting Markets
The following betting markets are commonly available for golf.
Outright tournament winner
The simplest bet available. Either the player you backed wins or doesn’t. No payout for placing.
Each way betting
Make a bet on a player to win the tournament outright, with an equal stake on them to be ‘placed’, usually at ¼ odds. The definition of ‘placed’ varies by bookmaker but is typically Top 5 or Top 6.
2 or 3 Ball Matchups
Players usually tee off in groups of 2 or 3. Bets pay out on the player who has the lowest score out of the group at the end of the round (not the tournament). This matchup is also sometimes done on players that are not physically teeing off together.
Bet on which player will get the lowest score for a particular hole. Usually done as 2 or 3 player matchups.
Make the cut?
Tournaments usually consist of 4 rounds of 18 holes (1 round per day if the weather is good). After the first two rounds, only the top 70 of the 150 total players will ‘make the cut’ and proceed to the final two rounds (where the prize money is available). This bet is on whether a particular player will make it to this stage or not.
Number of rounds played
Similar to ‘making the cut’, bet on how many rounds a player will play.
Bet on whether the total score for a particular player will be over or under a certain number.
Simple Golf Arbitrage Opportunities
Considering that each new potential outcome for a betting market means another bet that must be placed (before the odds change!), the best arbs come from markets where there are as few outcomes as possible.
Hence, 2 and 3 ball matchups are the main betting market that we like to use. Consider the following 3 ball matchup as an example:
By taking advantage of the 3 ball matchup market, we can find a sure bet.
Assuming total winnings of $500, our stakes on each player would be as follows:
A minimum of $8.83 profit on a stake of $491.16.
A single tournament can throw up many 2 ball and 3 ball matchups, meaning that there are plenty of arbitrage opportunities.
If you can't figure out how I arrived at probability and stake numbers in the tables above, I highly recommend that you check out my in depth guide to arbitrage betting calculations.
It runs through all of the formulas and calculations with tables, graphs and quizzes!
Want to know how to calculate the stakes in the table above?
Read my article on arbitrage betting calculations!
Advanced Golf Arbitrage Opportunities
An advanced form of golf arbitrage is to find cross market sure bets.
Betting on both the number of rounds a player will play and also whether they will ‘make the cut’ can lead to arbitrage opportunities, as a player who has ‘made the cut’, will have made it to the third round at least.
Another advanced arbitrage type is to use the total score market (overs/unders) to find middle opportunities. If there is an overlap between the total score markets for a particular player at separate bookies, it may be possible to find a middle.
This kind of middle will typically be a negative middle, so many arbers tend to avoid these, but they can be quite profitable.
Golf Betting Rules - How They Impact Arbitrage Betting
Finally, let’s look at some of the betting rules around golf. Thankfully, all of the bookmakers follow roughly the same rules, so you are much less likely to be caught out than when arbitraging tennis.
Here are some of the key rules to be aware of.
If players are tied on a score at the end of course, dead heat rules will apply. If you have backed a single player that is tied on the same score as other players, divide your stake by the number of players tied on that score.
That portion of the stake will be settled as a win, the rest as a loss. Note that if there is a dead heat for the outright winner of a tournament, there will usually be a playoff to decide the winner.
Each Way Betting
As mentioned earlier, in each way betting you are betting on the winner of the tournament, but if your selection ‘places’ (in the top 5 or 6), you can still win at ¼ odds. Check with the bookmaker to determine the exact number of places.
2 Ball and 3 Ball Match-ups
If a player doesn’t ‘make the cut’ (proceed to the later rounds of the tournament), they will be excluded from the bet. If no players from the matchup make the cut, then the player with the lowest score will win the bet.
If a player withdraws from the tournament (due to injury or similar), the bet will stand as long as they have played at least 3 holes of the tournament. If they fail to complete these holes, the bet will be void and stakes returned.
Abandonment and Postponement
If a round is postponed due to bad weather, the bet will stand upon resumption of play. If a round is entirely abandoned however, all bets will be voided and stakes returned.
In summary, golf is an excellent sport to arb, due to the number of tournaments on offer each year, the sheer number of players in each tournament and the diversity of the betting markets.
2 ball and 3 ball matchups throw up fairly straightforward arbs, but there are plenty of advanced arbs on offer too, particularly in total score markets.
If you are serious about arbitrage betting in golf, I highly recommend that you invest in some arbitrage betting software. The upfront cost will seem a little high, but it will be easier for you to profit in the long run, so I highly recommend it.
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