While relatively few people bet on golf compared to basketball and football, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to cash out. On the contrary, it’s an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other bettors.
The biggest sportsbooks in the country run promotions around the most significant PGA Tour events every year. Golf is also one of the best sports for live wagering.
Like with betting on any sport, knowledge is key. This guide outlines how to bet on golf in New Jersey along with the four major tournaments in 2021.
Best NJ sportsbook apps for golf betting
Types of golf bets at NJ online sportsbooks
Most of the live and traditional bets at US sportsbooks are moneyline bets. There are several types of outright wagers for golf:
- Favorite or the field
- Group wager
An each-way wager is a bet on a specific golfer to finish within the top five, top 10 or even top 20 at a particular event. A win bet is similar because you’re betting on one player to win a specific event.
A slight variation on that is wagering on the favorite for a specific tournament versus the field. In such markets, you bet upon whether the sportsbook’s favorite or any other participant will win that tournament.
Head-to-head wagers are a market between two golfers at an event. To win, you simply have to put your money down on the player who finishes with a lower score.
A group wager expands upon that idea. Instead of just two golfers in the market, there are three or more. Again, to win, your choice must finish with the lowest score of the bunch.
A nationality bet is probably the most unique to golf. The market features all the countries that participants in a tournament call home. To win, you just have to choose the correct one pertaining to the event’s winner.
A wager on a spread has a line that accompanies the traditional moneyline. A hypothetical example is below.
Brooks Koepka -3 (+800)
Dustin Johnson +3 (-200)
In this example, the spread is three strokes. If you were to bet on Brooks Koepka, he would have to finish at least four strokes lower than Dustin Johnson for your wager to win.
There are a lot of ways to bet upon golf that don’t require you to wait until the tournament is over. Live betting is a great way to wager on golf.
What to know about live betting on golf
Remember placing wagers between rounds isn’t live betting. In-tournament bets only take place when golfers are playing the course.
Examples of these wagers usually include hole-by-hole results within a group and whether anyone will finish below a certain score on the current round. It’s called live betting because the odds fluctuate as the action proceeds.
Golf is great for live betting because the action moves along slowly in comparison to other sports. That means you don’t have to be glued to the screen.
Despite the comparatively slow pace, there are still plenty of live markets. It’s the best of both worlds.
There is another category of bets that represent the opposite time frame. It could be months before your wager settles.
Golf futures explained
Sportsbooks also regularly post futures bets on golf. As the name suggests, these are wagers on future events.
Examples of these wagers include who will collect the most prize money over the course of a PGA Tour season or win specific awards. While some bettors may perceive this as less risky, that isn’t necessarily true.
The risk includes the timing of the wager. The lines fluctuate over the course of the year and are based on many factors. If you put your money down too early or late, you might miss the best odds.
Sportsbooks can also get creative within single tournaments. That creativity can lead to many fun ways to make some money.
Golf prop bets in NJ
The volume of prop bets on golf can be overwhelming at times. They can range from events within a tournament to how a match closes.
For example, there are many markets usually posted on how a tournament plays out. These include:
- Will there be a playoff, and if so, how many holes will it take to decide the tournament?
- Will any golfer lead from wire to wire?
- By how many strokes will the winner win?
- Will there be a birdie or a bogey on the final hole?
- Will there be a hole-in-one during the tournament?
- What continent will the winner come from?
While sportsbooks feature lines on lesser events, the best sportsbook promotions usually revolve around the sport’s four majors.
Here are the details of those for 2021.
Betting on the majors
Not only do these events usually feature the best promotions, but they are the easiest to research because there is a lot of information out there. However, the coronavirus pandemic postponed or canceled some events in 2020. Those new dates are noted below.
The biggest events of the PGA Tour calendar this year are:
2021 Masters betting
- Date: April 8-11, 2021
- Course: Augusta National in Augusta, GA
- Par: 72
- Prize fund: $11.5 million
The field for the 2021 Masters, the 85th such tournament, should include the past five champions, such as Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed.
2021 PGA Tour Championship betting
- Date: May 20-23, 2021
- Course: Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, SC
- Par: 71
- Prize fund: $11 million
Koepka won this tournament last year, but Bryson Dechambeau is the current favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook at +800.
It will be the 102nd year for the event. In five of the past seven years, an American has won this tournament. Bettors new to online sports betting may be able to take advantage of that trend.
2021 US Open betting
- Date: June 17-20, 2021
- Course: Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, CA
- Par: 70
- Prize fund: $12.5 million
The 120th US Open represents an opportunity for Koepka to reclaim this event that he has owned recently. He won this tournament in 2017 and 2018. Dechambeau is the current odds-on favorite, however.
2021 Open Championship betting
- Date: July 15-18, 2021
- Course: Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England
- Par: 70
- Prize fund: $10.75 million
It is the 15th year that this event, also known as the British Open, will be played in Sandwich. The last time was in 2011. The 149th Open Championship will feature Jordan Spieth, who won this tournament in 2017.
Some of the promotions for these events at sportsbooks will include free wagers. This tournament is a great way to familiarize yourself with betting on the sport with no real risk.
How to find free bets at online sportsbooks
If you’re a new NJ sports betting customer, sportsbooks will often try to entice you to join with free bets. There are two common types:
- Deposit credits
- Guaranteed bets
Deposit credits are when a sportsbook boosts or matches your deposit amount. With guaranteed bets, the sportsbook will return the amount you wagered if you lose your bet.
Regardless of whether you bet with cash or credit, you’ll want to stay on top of the action. Watching events is more fun when you have skin in the game.
Where to find live streams of PGA events
Although no sportsbooks have made deals with the PGA Tour for live streaming of events within their apps yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to watch the action online. There are several options.
CBS and ESPN are two of the primary broadcasters of PGA tournaments. They each have their streaming platforms, CBS All-Access and ESPN+.
Some cable and satellite companies will also allow you to stream content live if you pay for such services. A final option is to live streaming services like YouTube TV.
Not only is it more fun to watch the tournaments when you have money on the line, but it’s even more enjoyable when your bets are winning. Placing winning wagers is most often the result of being educated about the golfers and the tournaments.
Golf betting tips for beginners
When considering a market for golf, several things can help you know where the smart money is. These include:
- Course form
- Recent form
- Scrambling percentage
- Suitability to conditions
Course form is how a golfer has fared on a specific course or similar ones in the past. If a player has done well before, that bodes well for the future.
Recent form is simply how a golfer has performed in her/his most recent events. There are various ways to read a golfer coming in on a cold or hot streak, however, so the next item is of equal importance.
Scrambling percentage is how well a golfer recovers from missing the green to make par on a given hole still. It speaks to a player’s resiliency and the higher the number, the better.
Suitability to conditions is important to know because it can have a significant effect on a golfer’s performance. Some golfers fare better in windy conditions than others, for example.
It’s also important to know sportsbooks’ house rules when placing your bets. Although they may vary a little from book to book, there are some pretty standard ones.
Common rules for PGA betting at sportsbooks
Among popular sports, golf is one that faces weather delays often. The common rule is that suspended play doesn’t affect your bets up until the 48-hour mark.
At that point, most sportsbooks will cancel your bet and return your wager. Sportsbooks often do the same thing if you place a bet on a golfer who fails to make the cut for an event.
Sportsbooks usually don’t differentiate between actual strokes and penalty strokes. If a player withdraws after having started play, sportsbooks usually cancel the appropriate bets.
There are many other questions you may have about golf and betting on it. Find your answers to some of them below.
Golf betting FAQ
How does golf scoring work?
A golfer’s score is the number of strokes he/she takes to complete a round of 18 holes. Most tournaments consist of four rounds, and the player with the lowest score wins.
What is two-ball or three-ball betting in golf?
It is the number of balls in play in a group. Two-ball is another term for a head-to-head bet, while three-ball is a group bet involving three players.
What are greenies and sandies in golf betting?
These are terms commonly used in golf prop bets. Those bets usually focus on a certain hole on the course.
A greenie happens when a golfer hits the green off the tee, setting up a chance to finish the hole at or under par. If more than one golfer does this, the player whose ball lands closest to the hole gets the first crack at a greenie.
A sandy is a bunker shot that similarly sets up a putt to birdie or make par. The same proximity rule applies if multiple golfers’ balls end up in the bunker.
How do I find the best lines on PGA events?
Like with anything else, this is a matter of shopping around. Check the odds at all the legal sportsbooks in your state before placing your bets.
Timing is also essential here. One tip is to look for lines on a golfer who struggled in her/his last outing but has a high scrambling percentage.
Where can I find statistics on courses and golfers?
If you’re willing to invest some cash in your research, Golfstats allows you to build custom reports and dive deeply into its wealth of information.
A good free but less immersive resource is the PGA’s website. It’s an excellent resource for beginners.
Perhaps the best thing about golf is that there are events nearly every month of the year. If you’re successful in turning your research into winning bets, you can make some green on the greens all year long.