Guest post by Paul Micelli
Summer can be a fantastic time for finding less-than-obvious betting action. The past fortnight has seen us enjoying the drama of the 2010 Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships and even though the England national football side has failed us yet again after our humiliating defeat to Germany last weekend, our cricketers continue to go from strength to strength and proudly hold an unassailable lead in the current one-day international series.
One particular sport that tends to be overlooked at this time of year is one that can produce excellent results, especially for those who tend to take their betting seriously. As the warm summer moves on, golf will be throwing up numerous opportunities.
As well as the imminent return to the Old Course at St Andrews for the 139th Open Championship this month, there is some fantastic Ryder Cup action to look forward to as well as some highly competitive USPGA events involving some of the best golf players in the world.
Although online bookmakers now offer a variety of novelty bets on golf, the serious sports betting enthusiast will usually limit their wagers to just three possible results. It is possible to bet on the outright winner of a tournament or to pick out a player who looks likely to finish in the top three. Additionally, there are a large number of bettors that profit from selecting a golfer to finish higher in the final order than another.
UK betting odds on golfers are relatively easy to understand. As an example, a bookmaker may have the following odds on display for choosing the outright winner in a tournament;
- Tiger Woods @ 7/4
- Phil Mickelson @ 5/2
- Ian Poulter @ 4/1
- Lee Westwood @ 11/2
- Ernie Els @ 8/1
The odds listed indicate that a £10 bet placed on Tiger Woods before the tournament starts would result in a return of £27.50 and profits of £17.50. A similar £10 bet on Lee Westwood would result in a return of £65.00 and profits of £55.00. On most major golf tournaments, bookmakers will also offer a ‘field’ betting opportunity. This allows bettors to back multiple golfers who do not have a price listed on the main sports book. However, the players included within a field bet will largely be a collection of amateurs and seasonal also-rans and this type of selection is usually best avoided.
When sports betting enthusiasts opt for a player to finish in the top three, the odds will usually be offered in traditional each way terms. Generally, payouts are made at a one quarter of the starting odds for an outright victory although many bookmakers are now offering special bets on a top three finish that offer much better value for money. It is important to note that an each way stake will be twice that of a traditional win only bet.
Betting on a player to beat another competitor on a head-to-head basis offers some fantastic in-play opportunities and even if a chosen golfer doesn’t win the competition outright, there are still excellent profits to be enjoyed. Head-to-head bets are usually made on games where two golfers tee off together in a tournament and this makes progress remarkably easy to track.
As an example, let us assume that Tiger Woods and Ernie Else are going out together on the penultimate day of the tournament. Woods is currently enjoying a two-shot lead over his rival before play begins and because the American is in with a great chance of winning the overall tournament, the bookmakers will usually offer the following types of odds:
- Tiger Woods @ 4/9
- Ernie Else @ 7/4
A £10 bet placed on Tiger Woods would result in a return of £14.44 and profits of £4.44. A similar £10 bet on Ernie Els would result in a return of £27.50 and profits of £17.50. Betting only continues for the round being played and is not influenced by any previous or future outings during the tournament.
These relatively standard wagers are usually the most profitable and are looked upon favourably by those with a more serious attitude to sports betting. Sports fans will usually have very little trouble in understanding these simple bets. However, there are a number of other bets that can still be enjoyed by those who prefer a more speculative wager. Many of these are offered as special bets and can be found before the turn of each year.
The forward-looking sports betting enthusiast can opt to bet on players that have shown the ability to win elusive championships on previous occasions by selecting them to win a major title at any stage during the golfing year.
This type of wager has proved popular with bettors who follow the fortunes of golfers such as Ian Poulter or Rory McIlroy, both of whom are usually knocking on the door for glory at most major events. Those with a patriotic fervour will enjoy betting on the next British golfer to win a major tournament. Wagers can also be placed on Ryder Cup selection, PGA earnings and the forthcoming 2016 Games where golf will make a long-awaited return as an Olympic sport.
Many betting opportunities arise in play and those who enjoy the use of online bookmakers can place wagers on the number of shots a golfer will take to complete a particular hole or how many shots they will complete their total round in. Hole-in-one bets are also available and it is also possible to place wagers on players making the cut during major tournaments.
As popularity continues to grow, the full range of golfing bets seem far from exhaustive. However, the majority of these wagers should really be considered optimistic at best and more consistent profits are usually found with outright or head-to-head betting. With an action-packed calendar available throughout the remainder of 2010, golf offers daily betting opportunities that should be seriously considered by those with an eye for steady and consistent profits.