Betting on golf in the USA became easier in last year thanks to a generous decision by the US Supreme Court.
The court ruled to overturn a longstanding federal ban on sports gambling outside of Nevada.
This paved the way for individual states to make their own decision on the legality of golf betting and sports in general.
Delaware was the first state, followed by New Jersey, who hopped on board and did so immediately after the Supreme Court’s vote. Pennsylvania is now the third US state to offer legal golf betting.
In this golf betting guide, we’ll discuss regulated sportsbooks, how to bet on golf, and we’ll give a few pointers to help make you some loot.
We’re going to get the bad news out of the way first so we can then focus on the positives. Unfortunately, sports betting isn’t legal in every state. In fact, most states still haven’t passed legislation. There is good news. Over the next few years, it appears much of the country will have legalized sports betting.
As of 2020, nine states have legal sportsbooks in operation. Four additional states passed legislation in 2019 and are in the process of licensing gambling operators. A few other states – most notably Illinois and New Hampshire – will have online sportsbooks in 2020.
As you can tell, we’re on the right track and the future looks bright. Here is a state-by-state guide to where you can bet on USA golf.
(Note: To bet on golf online, or any sport, on a mobile device in the following states, you must be located within that state’s boundaries at the time you place the wager. However, you don’t have to be a resident of that state.)
Nevada Sports Betting: Nevada has long been the only state where you can bet on golf legally and it remains the country’s premier destination for sports betting and gambling in general. If you need some action on the next golf tournament, especially if you’re in Las Vegas, you won’t have a problem finding a place to wager. There are sportsbooks on nearly every block in Sin City and many in Reno (460 miles away). Many local casinos such as Station Casinos and MGM Resorts offer free online mobile apps where you can bet on golf from your home or hotel.
Delaware Sports Betting: Sports betting is legal through three state racetracks. Those are Delaware Park Casino, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino.
New Jersey Sports Betting: New Jersey is one of the best states for online golf betting. There are 13 legal NJ internet casinos in the state, which means you’ll have plenty of options if you live there or are visiting. The top mobile betting apps include Golden Nugget, Caesars Sportsbook, and William Hill NJ Sportsbook.
Mississippi Sports Betting: Mississippi has a surprisingly exciting gambling culture. In Tunica (northern) and Biloxi (southern), you’ll find numerous fun casinos. When it comes to golf betting, Beau Rivage (Biloxi) and Gold Strike (Tunica) are the top spots to get some action, but there is a total of 23 sports betting locations within the state.
West Virginia Sports Betting: West Virginia was the fifth state to legalize sports betting in August 2018. As of July 2019, there are five places to bet on golf in the state. Two of those – Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island – offer a mobile sports betting app.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting: The Keystone State is one of the best places to gamble. Pennsylvanians love gambling especially sports betting. Whether you’re in Pittsburgh on the western part of the state or over in Philadelphia on the eastern border, you’re certain to find plenty of action online or at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. The mobile apps include SugarHouse Sportsbook PA, Rivers sports betting app, Parx Sportsbook, and Fanduel Sportsbook PA.
Rhode Island Sports Betting: Rhode Island legalized sports betting in 2018. That’s the good news. The bad news is the state still only has two operational sportsbooks – Twin River Casino (Lincoln) and Twin River Casino (Tiverton).
Now that we have the question of whether or not online betting is legal out of the way, let’s start focusing on golf specifically.
Golf is one of the most exciting sports to bet. There are tournaments worth getting action on nearly every week of the year, with the PGA Tour being the most popular circuit.
The first step to golf betting is to find a reliable online sportsbook. Actually, having a couple of quality mobile apps at your disposal is even better as it guarantees you’ll have access to the most favorable odds on each golf event.
Once you’ve chosen a place to play, you need to create an account and make a deposit. It’s very simple as it requires nothing more than entering your personal information on a safe and secure platform, choosing a payment method (bank transfer, cash at a casino cashiers cage, credit/debit card, etc.). There’s really nothing to it and the process takes a matter of minutes.
When you make your first deposit, be sure you’re entering a bonus code. Most online sportsbooks offer a free bet or some sort of match bonus that is only available with your first deposit. It’s free money that you can’t afford to miss out on.
Golf betting differs greatly from many other sports, most notably the team sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and baseball. You won’t find any point spreads available at your online sportsbook when betting on golf because there are none. The same can be said for the over/under.
Instead, the main golf wager is on which golfer will win the event, otherwise referred to as a “To Win” bet. In this case, you’re simply betting on the golfer you think is most likely to win or has the best value attached.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can only bet on one golfer. In fact, in most cases, it’s best to choose a few separate bets to give yourself a better chance at making money. Don’t put all your chickens in one basket.
Let’s take a look at how a PGA Tour betting board on a to win bet might look like:
This is just a small example and there will be numerous other golfers available to wager on. But for this example, you can see that Tiger Woods is the favorite. The player with the lowest + next to his name is favored to win. Now, that doesn’t mean that golfer WILL win. It just means the handicappers believe he is the most likely champion.
In this example, a $100 bet on Tiger Woods would pay $600 (6-1) if he wins the event. For Dustin Johnson, at 12-1, you’d get $1,2000. You get the point. The reason it’s a smart idea to bet on a few golfers is you can still turn a profit without relying on just one golfer to come through for you.
Let’s say you put $100 on Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, and Sergio Garcia. That’s $300 invested. If any of them win, you still turn a profit. If Tiger wins, you’ll lose $200 on the Spieth and Garcia bets, but collect $600 from the Tiger victory for a $300 net profit. Not a bad day at the office.
Another common type of golf wager is a “versus the field” bet. This typically doesn’t come into play until the later rounds of the tournament where there is a clear-cut favorite. So, say, Tiger is up 3 strokes heading into the final two rounds, you can get some action on the entire field – everyone else in the tournament – against Tiger. If Tiger wins, you lose. But if anyone else ends up winning, you win.
Making smart bets in golf, actually just sports in general, is crucial. Taking random shots in the dark or wild bets that have little chance of coming through will kill your bankroll. We don’t want you to go broke. So, here’s a bit of advice.
The best bets to make on golf are value bets. What we mean by that is you should always be thinking about the profitability of the wager.
Are you getting the correct odds to make the bet?
In golf, there are no guarantees. You might think Jordan Spieth is the perfect golfer to tear up a specific course, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to win. Golf is a funny game where even the golfers have off days or just unlucky bounces go against them.
The way you should be thinking is, “is this bet profitable over the long term?” If not, don’t make it. As a sports bettor, you should be focused on making the right decision. Don’t have a results-oriented mindset.
One of the best features of legal sports betting is the live betting aspect. Live betting allows you to place a wager in the middle of a round. No longer can you only bet before the round or tournament starts.
The best feature of live betting is that it makes each round a little more interesting to watch. And for the TV networks, that’s a good thing because it means better TV ratings.
So, how does it work? You can actually bet on how a golfer will perform in an upcoming hole (eagle, birdie, par, bogey, double bogey, etc.). Live betting also includes updated to win odds that you can wager on.
Golf has four major tournaments – Masters, The Open (formerly British Open), US Open, and PGA Championship. These events are considered the four most important golf tournaments each year on the PGA Tour. Careers are made or broken by how well a golfer performs in these events.
Masters: A tradition unlike any other. The Masters is the first major each year and has been hosted in Augusta, Georgia at the Augusta National Golf Club since 1934. Many consider this April event to be the most prestigious tournament in golf.
US Open: The United States Open Golf Championship first teed off way back in 1895. Unlike the Masters and The Open, the US Open is hosted at a different course each year. In 2019, it was hosted at Pebble Beach in South Carolina.
PGA Championship: The PGA Championship is also more than a century old. It is also hosted at a different venue each year, much like the US Open.
The Open: Previously referred to as the British Open, The Open Championship is the only major outside the United States. This one takes place each summer at a variety of historic golf courses in the United Kingdom, including the Royal Portrush Golf Club.
The PGA Tour, a men’s tour, isn’t the only major golf tour in the United States. There are two others, which will explain below, that feature many exciting events to bet on.
PGA Tour: This is the crème of the crop for golf in the world. The best male golfers in the world compete on this professional golf tour and many of them earn millions of dollars annually in prize money and sponsorships.
LPGA Tour: The LPGA Tour is the premier golf tour for women. Much like the PGA Tour for men, this one features the most talented female golfers in the world.
PGA Tour Champions: Unlike many sports, golf is a game that senior citizens can excel at. Maybe not as much as when they were younger, but you’d be surprised how many over-60 golfers can still crush it. The PGA Tour Champions, formerly the Seniors PGA Tour, is a professional golf league for former PGA Tour golfers aged 50 and above.
It’s hard to narrow things down to just five because there have been so many incredibly talented golfers throughout history. But we feel we’ve done a pretty good job narrowing the list down to the best of the best.
1.Tiger Woods: No golfer in history has been more dominant in his era than Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. He’s also the richest. Tiger has 15 major titles, second only to Jack Nicklaus. But the reason we ranked him ahead of Jack, who was an incredible talent as well, is because he faced tougher competition.
2.Jack Nicklaus: “The Bear” has a record 18 major titles and won them all between 1962 and 1986. Jack had one of the greatest rivalries in golf history with Arnold Palmer.
3.Arnold Palmer: No, not the iced-tea and lemonade mixed drink that is so delicious. Arnold Palmer was also a great golfer who won seven majors, which is rather impressive considering he was always in competition with Jack Nicklaus.
4.Bobby Jones: Bobby Jones was the first great professional golfer and will always be an iconic name on the PGA Tour. Jones won an impressive 13 majors during the 1920s up until 1930. He is truly a legend of the game.
5.Ben Hogan: Ben Hogan was as important to the game in the 1940s and 1950s as Bobby Jones was a couple decades earlier. Hogan won nine major titles and was the most dominant golfer of his era…by far.
Playing on the PGA Tour is exciting, but it’s also quite a lucrative career. There are six and seven figure paydays at stake in many of the events. But the golfers also earn some nice coin through sponsorship deals.
1.Tiger Woods: It’s no secret which golfer tops this list. Tiger Woods has earned over $120 million, making him one of the richest athletes in the world, not just golfers. He earns millions from his Nike sponsorship and also earns millions more just in prize money for playing the game.
2.Phil Mickelson: “Lefty” is another golfer with some major sponsorship deals, most notably KPMG and Callaway Golf. Mickelson has earned over $94 million playing golf. That will buy you a fancy house, or 20.
3.Vijay Singh: Vijay Singh is getting up there in age and hasn’t had the success he once did in recent years. But throughout his brilliant career, he’s earned more than $76 million playing this beautiful game.
4.Jim Furyk: Jim Furyk was one of the most feared golfers in the early 2000s, consistently competing for major titles. As a great golfer, he’s made around $70 million.
5.Justin Rose: British man Justin Rose has been a consistent performer on the PGA Tour for many years. As such, he’s earned some big bucks (about $69 million).
The answer to this one is Tiger Woods and it’s not even close. He’s worth well over $100 million thanks to his nine-figure PGA Tour earnings and even more from his longstanding relationship with Nike.
One type of wager we haven’t yet covered is a golf each way bet. An each way bet is a bet offered by bookmakers consisting of two separate bets: a win bet and a place bet. For the win part of the bet to give a return, the selection must win, or finish first, in that tournament.
You hedge a bet in sports gambling is when you have a lot at stake but could end up winning nothing if your bet doesn’t come through. Hedging means you place a wager against your initial bet to ensure you come away a winner. For example, let’s say you bet on Tiger Woods to win and would stand to win $10,000 if he does. He enters the final round with a three-shot lead but you also know Jordan Spieth, who is in second place, could win. So, what you should do is put some money down on Spieth just to ensure you still win money if he wins the tournament.
Golf handicapping is a numerical measure of a golfer’s perceived talent. In stroke play, it is used to calculate a net score from the number of strokes played during a competition, allowing golfers of different ability to play against each other on essentially equal terms.