Value Betting in Golf

What is Value Betting and How can we Find Value bets in Golf?

“Drive for show, putt for dough” is a well-known saying in golf but in betting we could just as well say, “winners for show, value for dough” and, counter-intuitive as that may seem, the savvy golf punter is looking for value, not winners.

Of course, you need winners to, well, win, but the winners aren’t decided until Sunday afternoon, whilst the value can be gauged on a Wednesday night. The point is, nobody can KNOW who will win until the crucial putt has dropped (probably holed from 25 feet by Jordan Spieth!), but we can and must seek value from day one.

What is Value?

A value bet is, quite simply, one where the odds are too high. That is to say, the probability of the outcome happening is higher than the probability the odds imply. So, if we take a coin toss, this has a 50% chance of landing on tails. Odds of 5/4 imply a probability of 44% but the real probability is 50% and so the “true” odds should be evens, or 1/1, rather than the bigger price of 5/4. If you’re getting 5/4 you’re winning, that’s for sure, and should take those bets all day long.

Value in Golf Betting

The problem with betting on golf, as opposed to the toss of a coin, is that we can never know the TRUE probability. A coin is a 50/50 outcome but there is no certain way of calculating the probability that, say, Tiger Woods will ever win another major. If you’re betting on the British Open, you might calculate that Rickie Fowler has a 10% probability of winning, which would make odds of 20/1 amazing value, but your 10% can only ever be an opinion, an estimate, and never a fact.

Finding value is all about doing your research, looking at course form, current form, the weather, assessing a player’s confidence and how their game will suit a given course. Of course, our golf betting tips will essentially do this for you but picking your own value bets is very much part of the fun of betting on golf.

Of course, the easiest way to tip the value in your favour is to use free bets – and we’ve got loads of those! Free bets and enhanced odds offers create value regardless of what you bet on and so we highly recommend cashing in the generosity of the various betting sites by trying them out with their welcome bonuses. In addition this is a great way to give them a trial run and see which you personally think is the best golf betting site.

Value v Winners

Many self-proclaimed betting experts still insist that winners trump value and if you ask us on Sunday did we want our value bet on Rory Sabbatini or your winning bet on Spieth, of course we want Spieth. But that’s being wise after the event and taking the value is the only way to go to make long term profits betting on golf.

Perhaps the simplest way to illustrate this point is to take things to extremes. Say you like to bet on the Masters every year and this year you think Rory McIlroy is the man to bet on. You think Bubba Watson has a chance but McIlroy’s your man. Okay, let’s say that Rory is 10/1 and Bubba is 25/1. At those odds you might be happy with Rory but what if Rory was 8/1, or 6/1, or 4/1? And what if Bubba was not 25s but 100/1. Is the better bet Rory at 4/1 or Bubba at 100/1?

Whatever the odds, in this scenario Rory is the more likely winner but, at the extremes given, he isn’t the best bet. You can back Rory and he might win but 4/1 means you would expect him to win 20% of the time, whilst 100/1 for Watson means you expect him to win less than 1% of the time. Bubba already has two Masters to his name so it’s safe to say we can probably expect him to have a better than 1% chance of success!

In the short term winners might pay off if you happen to get a few of them, but in the long term value will always win, simply because nobody can know who is going to win and so after 10 bets or 20 bets or maybe 100 bets, the better value odds the savvy punter has been taking will pay off.