Golf Betting Odds Explained

In addition to my addiction to Fantasy Sports, I also enjoy the occasional wager on a particular sporting event I find of interest.  However, I have never actually wagered anything on professional golf for one very simple reason: I have no idea what the odds, money lines, or parlays mean as they apply to golf.  After speaking to a few friends I learned that while many people completely understand how to work the lines for other sports like football or basketball, golf was somewhat a mystery.  In other words, I was not alone in my ignorance.

When looking to place a wager on a sportsbook, either online or at a casino, you will notice there are many different types of golf bet options available.  The most common option, of course, is to simply choose a player who you feel has the best chance at inning the tournament.  The odds offered for this type of bet are usually pretty generous considering the difficulty involved in choosing the correct player among a field of 100+ competitors.  As such, and as with other sports, the greater the long-shot the higher the pay-out.

For example, Steve Stricker is the current favorite to win the Sony Open and therefore has been assigned 8/1 odds.  This means if you place a $10 bet on Striker to win, then you will take home $80 if he captures the title.  However if you choose another golfer with lower odds, say 100/1, then the payout will be much higher if they actually win (or $1000 in the example I gave).

But what about other bets, such as the Money Line?  In most sports this will usually be a three-digit number with a "+" or "-" symbol.  This system is often referred to as the American Odds system, and it can also apply to golf.  In the American odds system, each golfer is listed with a positive or negative number next to his name.  These numbers show how much money you have to risk in order to win $100.

While online gambling is not legal in all states, you can still use these wager systems and odds explanations the next time you make a trip to a casino or other sportsbook.  For more information on online betting and its legality in your state, visit for a complete list.

For example, let's say you are wagering on a tournament and Tiger Woods has a Money Line of -180.  This means that you will win $100 for every $180 you wager on Woods in the tournament.  On the other hand, if a player has a Money Line of +180 you will win $180 for every $100 you wager on that player.  This system is also useful when wagering on "match-up bets", which pits one player's performance against another's.  This method is beneficial if you prefer to wager against friends or another person but do not necessarily believe either player will win the tournament.

Decimal bets are also available for golf wagers, however usually apply if you are choosing a golfer to win a tournament.  Decimal odds are commonly seen as the easiest to understand because you know exactly how much money is returned to you on a winning wager.  For example, if you have a golfer that has a Decimal Line set at 4.50, you simply need to multiply your bet by this decimal line to determine how much money you can win.  In this example, a $100 bet will win you $450 total, which includes your original wager.