Though the fickle game of golf doesn’t always bounce true, this weekend’s
U.S. Open at Pebble Beach could be the biggest betting event in the sport’s history.
Golf is well-positioned to become a major betting sport. Sportsbook operators have been telling VSiN since our inception that it’s the fastest-growing attraction. Fans have always loved betting on the NFL and college football. That’s nothing new. A high level of interest in golf is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Holding back growth in the past had been the reality that betting the futures board to root for a winner all weekend isn’t very fun. And, betting head-to-head matchups felt too much like baseball, which turns away those flummoxed by moneyline math.
Familiarity is breeding contentment as more bettors learn the ropes (of golf and baseball). Among the main factors driving the surge:
- Squares love to bet on favorites who dominate. Golf now features a few stars capable of bullying the field when playing their very best. Brooks Koepka has humbled foes in recent majors. Dustin Johnson can put a course in a chokehold. Last weekend, Rory McIlroy reminded everyone he has an extra gear that can leave a field in his dust. There’s still significant residual interest in Tiger Woods, virtual muscle memory from his career peak (same for Phil Mickelson). Golf wouldn’t explode as a betting sport if it consisted only of finesse players offering possible long-shot value. The male betting population wants to yell “You the man!” with their money.
- Networks are becoming savvier about golf presentation. Pebble Beach’s scenic locale on the West Coast will allow for prominent prime-time coverage this week. Bettors love sweating their action on TV. Big TV events are big betting events.
- Sportsbooks have recognized growing interest, and reacted quickly to post new options. Many aggressively update “odds to win” through the event. Many offer a variety of head-to-head matchups involving the most popular golfers instead of just a few. New, creative props seem to go up on the board every day. If gamblers want to spend their money, sportsbooks will happily find ways to get them to the counter.
Are you going to tee it up this weekend? Keep any square urges in your bag. Popular players aren’t going to be fairly priced. You have to pay a premium for the honor of cheering them on. Sportsbooks thrive because the public over-bets favorites on the futures board and in head-to-head matchups.
As you consider options at your favorite sportsbook, don’t think about which player would be the most fun to root for. Focus, instead on which big name might be most likely to implode. Who isn’t ready for the rigors of four difficult rounds? Who’s most prone to suffer Pebble Beach’s penalties? Fade him in head-to-head matchups, particularly against consistent lesser-name opponents.
If you’re going to bet golf, bet smart.