The PGA has enthusiastically adopted wagering as part of their new culture for both players and fans
If you have lost confidence in your pigskin prediction ability lately, this weekend brings some welcome relief. The 'Super Bowl' of golf, The Masters at Augusta National offers a FOUR-day opportunity to turn your luck around. Not only that, but perhaps as many wagering options as you might find in an entire typical NFL Sunday!
Thanks to new technology and our cultural need to always have it now, PGA golf has embraced in-game or in their case 'in-play' wagering, to provide bettors a seemingly constant chance to bet on the game's biggest stars throughout the tournament.
Quick Primer on In-Play Betting
In-game wagering or in this case 'in-match' or 'in-play' wagering is simply betting on an event while it is happening. Sportsbook odds for in-game will usually only change during a timeout or commercial break. In golf's case, the result of each golfer's shot.
Like traditional pre-game odds, every top sportsbook could have different in-play odds. The probability of the in-play event occurring comes from a proprietary algorithm from the sports wagering app software.
Each of the top major sportsbooks adds their desired edge to the algorithm's probability and odds are computed and offered to the customer. In-play odds may be different even if sportsbook operators use the same mobile wagering app and algorithm for their in-game odds.
As just one of hundreds of ongoing examples spread out from Thursday until Sunday at The Masters, this reflects an option a bettor might see on the Bovada website:
Hole 5 Winner / Player to shoot the lowest score on the hole
Brooks Koepka +175
Justin Thomas +175
Matthew Fitzpatrick +175
Different from Proposition Wagering
There are an endless variety of in-game wagering options to choose from including who will win a specific hole, whether a specific player will meet par, birdie, or bogey, etc. They differ from proposition wagering which covers specific time lengths, including a group of holes (front nine, back nine) or whether a certain golfer will meet a certain criterion for the day (over par, under par). Also, those opportunities for player vs. player head-to-head prop wagering.
A check of all top sportsbooks can reveal some excellent values among golf proposition wagering as well. I was surprised to scan BetOnline and discover this intriguing opportunity:
Will there be a Hole in One in Round Four (Sunday)?
OK, I understand this is The Masters involving the world's top golfers. But, still evaluating the odds of a hole in one at any level of play on any course, that is more than tempting odds to consider a No -190 wager. A more than reasonable value compared to some of the best starting pitchers who got cooked during the MLB playoffs at worse odds.
Scanning upon specific PGA golfers obviously the worst values focus upon its most popular stars. Top of the list of course is Tiger Woods. Many bettors will place hope (and money) upon Tiger at any time and the sportsbooks realize it. Odds are of relatively poor value along with others on the current glamour list including Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, and newest star Bryson DeChambeau.
DeChambeau is coming off a win at the US Open in September and became the first pro golfer to wear a logo of a sports betting or fantasy sports company during The Masters, after agreeing to a partnership with DraftKings. That became possible because on June 1, the PGA Tour approved a policy change allowing players to have sponsorship deals with betting operators. In mid-October, Jason Kokrak wore a BetMGM logo on his hat during the C.J. Cup tournament in Las Vegas, which he won.
Will the PGA Continue Promoting Wagering?
It isn't a stretch to watch the PGA start to consistently promote wagering as a way to increase ratings and boost the bottom line. DeChambeau's sponsorship is only the beginning. We can only imagine the diverse opportunities Tiger Woods has linking up a mammoth sports wagering sponsorship contract.
Earlier this year the PGA Tour formed a partnership with The Action Network to produce and promote regular betting content. Last year the Tour announced a partnership with IMG Arena to distribute proprietary ShotLink data with betting operators. A move that could potentially lead to on-site, mobile-betting products at tournaments very soon.
"ShotLink gathers data from every shot; there are more than 30,000 shots in a golf tournament," said Andy Levinson, senior VP for tournament administration with the PGA Tour.
"We're collecting multiple data points, and they are going to be potential betting points. There's going to be opportunities over a season to have millions of markets created in golf. You are talking about distance, ball location, whether it is on the fairway or in the rough. If a player has a 10-foot uphill putt, there is going to be historical data on that shot. Our sport is perfect for it."
"It’s all about engagement,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said last year. "When done right, it gives fans the opportunity to engage with your sport over a longer period of time and have more interest in what’s happening across the entire player field."
"We have spent a ton of time preparing for this eventuality," Monahan said. "I think the opportunity is there to engage more people around our sport and our Tour. … I think it’s going to be fascinating to see the way people and fans consume our sport, particularly people that have not been following it."
Therefore, do not be afraid to click that remote this weekend while you're checking out your football games. There might be a better Masters prop bet to consider OR an in-play wager tempting you to change your luck.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.