Back in July we visited the world of betting on golf and touched on what could be a useful and profitable addition to a portfolio approach to punting. With the 2023 Ryder Cup taking place later in the month it seems an appropriate time to revisit the topic.
For those that may not be familiar here is an introduction to what for many consider one of the world’s greatest sporting events.
The Ryder Cup
Every two years, 24 of the best players from Europe and the United States go head-to-head in match play competition. Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of “fourball” and one four-match session of “foursomes” and the final day is reserved for 12 singles matches.
In “four-ball”, each member of a two-man team plays his own ball, so four balls are in play on every hole. Each team counts the lower of its two scores on each hole, and the team whose player has the lowest score wins the hole. If the low scores are tied, the hole is halved.
In “foursomes”, each two-man team plays one ball per hole with the players taking turns until each hole is complete. Players alternate hitting tee shots, with one leading off on odd-numbered holes, and the other hitting first on even-numbered holes. The team with the low score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.
And finally in singles, each match features one player from each team. The player with the lower score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.
The Ryder Cup scoring plays out with each match being worth one point, with matches ending in a tie worth ½ point to each side. The first team to reach 14 ½ points wins the Ryder Cup.
If the matches end in a 14-14 tie, the team holding the Ryder Cup retains it.
Since 1927 there have been 41 renewals of the Ryder Cup and the USA currently hold sway with 27 victories and Europe having won on 14 occasions.
Last time around in 2021 the United States, fielding its youngest team in its history, regained the Ryder Cup with a record 19–9 victory which was the largest margin of victory in a Ryder Cup since 1967.
The 2023 teams were announced at the beginning of September and the bookmakers are favouring the USA which are generally priced up at 10/11 whilst team Europe are 5/4 with most books although 13/10 was available with a few.
As a punting medium we very much put the Ryder Cup into one of those watch and enjoy and keep the powder dry.
However outside of the Ryder Cup there are Golf events taking place across the PGA and DP World Tours pretty much every week of the year and there are plenty of opportunities to profit and even alternate ways of punting on them.
Win Big Golf
Since the start of 2023 we have been running a live trial within the Platinum Members area of On Course Profits and at the time of writing the Irish Open has just completed at the K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
At the halfway stage of the Irish Open, Jordon Smith was sitting pretty (traded 2.02 on the exchanges) but couldn’t sustain the run and he dropped back into a Tie for 12th place.
On the other hand, Vincent Norrman managed the final stages with a flurry of birdies and with his close rivals all making errors he emerged the winner by 1 shot which was great news for our selections as he was one of them with 1.50pts EW at 40/1.
Overall, a welcome haul of +45pts profit were added to the pot and the 2023 tally moved on to +221.59pts coupled with a +12.98% ROI.
From the start of the year we have provided weekly selections, which are a mix of Robert Reed’s golf method and a Value based Strategy, and these have found winners such as Max Homa (22/1, Farmers), Marcel Siem (50/1 Indian Open), Chris Kirk (38/1 Honda), Nick Bachem (60/1 Jonsson), Corey Connors (29/1 Valero), Simon Forsstrom (110/1, Soudal), Nick Taylor (66/1 Canadian), Brian Harman (70/1 The Open) and the aforementioned Vincent Norrman (40/1 Irish Open).
Almost all the main PGA and DP World tour events are extensively covered by the mainstream bookmakers but from a personal perspective I also use the exchanges which allows me to not only take advantage of bigger outright win prices, but also the opportunity to lock in potential profits by backing and laying.
There can be times of frustration when one of your golfers has slipped the field and you are looking at potentially big payouts, only for a slip up to result in dropped shots which quickly changes the complexion of the event.
An example of how things can change in the space of a few shots happened at the Travelers Championship in June of this year. In addition to the OCP selections I placed a few small bets on Betfair. As we moved through the rounds Keegan Bradley and Denny McCarthy found themselves a few shots clear and having been available to back at 110 they were now trading at much lower prices.
I took the option of locking in some guaranteed profit by placing a few lay bets on the aforementioned golfers. Of course, this reduced the potential upside but as you can see from the following screenshot it also meant that if neither of them went on to win I had at least 80+ pounds of profit.
As it turned out Denny McCarthy made several poor shots and ultimately finished in a Tie for 7th place. Keegan Bradley however went on to win by 3 shots so on this occasion the returns topped the two hundred pounds mark.
Of course, the key to this back and lay technique is to be on at decent odds pre-tournament, but week in week out there are opportunities as most of the Win Big Golf selections are 33/1 or bigger and we generally have a few in contention as the rounds progress.
But we digress, as fundamentally Win Big Golf is primarily a straightforward backing strategy albeit with Each-Way stakes.
Golf provides a great opportunity to back a big priced winner or a placer. Most events on the tour involve 150 or so golfers and away from a select few such as Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy the prices available can go all the way up to 100/1, 200/1 and 300/1+. Think about that for a moment, as with each event there are the top 150 golfers on the Tour taking their chance, and each has the ability to win at the end of 4 rounds of golf.
We advocate placing Each-Way bets as generally there are 8 places available and in the case of the Major’s 10 places at 1/5 of the odds.
That means a 200/1 shot pays out at odds of 40/1 with a finish in the places which is the main reason that punting on golf can be a handy and profitable addition to a portfolio approach.
In the original article back in July we highlighted what we believe is a credible edge on the value front with punting on golf. The exchanges operate separate markets for the win and place elements whereas the bookmakers generally offer fixed fractions of the win price with their Each-Way terms. We used the example of the golfer Russell Henley who was competing in the US Open and could be backed Each-Way at odds of 110/1 with 8 places available and paying out at 22/1.
At that stage the exchange markets were offering the equivalent place odds of around 14.30, based on the average of the Top 5 and Top 10 markets. With some simple maths the place odds offered by the bookmakers on Russell Henley were +53% higher than the market expectation of the exchanges.
We also must consider the win odds on the exchanges as they are generally higher than those offered by the bookmakers, so in value terms, this reduces the overall “Edge” but even after taking that into account we believe we still have a value edge of circa 15-20%.