Profiting From Tiger’s Woods

I have wanted to write about golf betting for a while now and after watching the final round of the US Open yesterday, decided this is the time. First though, I would like to touch briefly on a couple of other topics.

Two weeks ago, when I explained the basics of soccer betting, I expected that the North American teams would be finished already and that interest here would have faded by now as well. But low and behold, our little conference (CONCACAF) has produced some good soccer from its three representative teams (Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States) and with the US win last night (or was it this morning?) over Mexico, there may be some interest left here after all.

I talked to Kent, Bodog’s top bookmaker, this morning about action on the US games. “Many North American books are getting their lines from European sources as that is where the best soccer handicappers make their living. The books in Europe charge a premium for the UEFA (European) teams so there has been some good value for North American players betting against these clubs. With France, Portugal, and others playing poorly and making early exits there has been some decent profits for players from this side of the water. The US game last night was fairly balanced but had a little more action on the American side as that is where the majority of our players are.” Next up for the US squad is Germany and it will be interesting to see if the American public embraces this team at all in the next few days.

Next topic is the NBA (yawn) Championship series and Stanley Cup Finals. The NBA Finals were never in doubt but at least the Stanley Cup offered up a triple Overtime thriller and went to five games. “Overall”, according to Kent, “action was solid on both series, particularly on basketball, despite the sense of a predestined outcome. It wasn’t the greatest playoff for the House as many games finished tight to the lines, but we grinded out a small profit and more importantly didn’t give back our hard-fought gains from the regular season. It would have been nice to see more even competition and have both series go a little longer to boost interest and handle.” Oh well, now the book managers can get a little more sleep and get ready for the busy weekends ahead. NFL training camps are almost here and the first pre-season game is just six weeks away!

All right, now back to golf. I want to focus not on Odds-to-Win an entire tournament, but rather on the head-to-head match-ups between individual players that have become very popular in the last couple of years. I must pay homage to King Creole (of who sent me an article he wrote on this topic a couple of years ago. It changed my way of thinking about every sport I bet on and introduced me to the profitable world of golf betting. In essence, his article detailed why golf head-to-head match-ups should be considered the simplest form of sports betting. Let me explain.

When you bet on team sports, you have at least five and as many as fifty players that will have an outcome on the game. Bettors often look for psychological reasons to play on or against a team, but those reasons must be clouded a little when you are trying to determine the mental state of dozens of players. Imagine Kobe is a little down, maybe Shaq is pumped up and Robert Horry is in a zone where he can’t miss. How would you play on this situation? But in a head-to-head match-up in golf, there are just the two players to consider (do the caddies really count?).

How about time clocks and referees? Have you ever lost a bet on a bad call or because your team “ran out of time”. I am sure the answer is yes to both. In golf head-to-heads, there is no clock to run out and referee decisions are as rare as a Shaq 3 pointer (OK, maybe not that rare, but you get the point). The match is also held over four days so breaks, good or bad, tend to even out.

Also, these match-ups are easy to handicap. You can view a player’s performance in recent weeks to see if he is hot or cold or you can view previous year’s results on the same course. Every player has a slightly different set of skills and play better on some courses than others.

Similar arguments exist for auto-racing match-ups but you never have to worry about a golfer blowing a tire on the last lap or running out of gas (unless you have ever bet on Phil Mickelson or Greg Norman but I digress…). Injuries are also less of a concern in golf than they are in other sports. If a golfer cannot play, he doesn’t get paid so they take good care of themselves (and hopefully nobody is running into them) and if they are injured they tend to take some time off and make sure they are fully healed before participating to prevent permanent injury. How many times have you bet on a team and then found out a key player is hurt? Yeah, I hate that feeling too.

I think you get the idea. Every Wednesday, you should be looking through the weekend’s PGA match-ups as thoroughly as you would the baseball or basketball card if you want to be a more profitable sports bettor, especially if you are a golf fan (or just plan on watching the final round on TV and want it to be a little more exciting). Many bettors don’t like golf wagering because their money is tied up for four days. This is a poor excuse and is indicative of poor money management. With a little research and a little planning, betting golf head-to-heads can make you a more profitable bettor and make rainy Sunday afternoons a little more exciting.

I am off to Las Vegas next week and will be back in two weeks. Feel free to write me if you have any questions or if there were any topics you would like to see covered.

The enjoyment of your wagering experience with us is my number one priority. Should you have any questions, concerns, or comments, I will personally ensure you are satisfied with your Bodog experience.

Good luck with your wagers!
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Rob Gillespie is President of Bodog Sportsbook & Casino