Sports are fun. Making money on sports is even more fun. However, there is a fine line between gambling and betting. Gambling is very bad and dangerous. It will lead to a lot of frustration, a dwindling bankroll, and a desire to “make it back on the next one.” Every bet that is made should be perceived as an investment. Sports betting requires careful research, modeling, and other forms of handicapping. If you do not have the time to perform the ample amount of research to make each bet an “investment,” you are merely gambling. However, there are plenty of people who spend all day modeling, researching, and handicapping various sports. Finding a handicapper you trust is very important if you struggle with the time required to consistently find winners. Understanding how a handicapper chooses bets is important when tailing that person.
For the PGA Tour I will provide insights into how I chose golfers for any given week. Broadly speaking, my process is rather straightforward. The core components of my PGA Tour handicapping include Course History, performance on Correlated Courses, Current Form, Long Term Form, and Scoring Upside. Some golfers perform very well on certain types of courses, and using course history and correlated courses you can find value on golfers who might be going overlooked. Using current form and long-term form, you can find golfers who consistently perform well in certain statistical categories that can indicate future success on a particular course. Lastly, scoring upside is something I look into because certain tournaments historically have a range of winning scores. Choosing a golfer who grinds out Pars in a tournament where the winner will be -20, is not usually the best strategy. Finding golfers who excel in a particular one of these categories, or is above average in multiple categories is how I choose my golfers. In my write-ups I will provide details as to what led me to choose a particular golfer.
A basic overview of my PGA betting strategy:
- I will choose 5 golfers to win outright for every tournament. Each individual bet is for .2 units. This means that if none of my chosen golfers win, I have only lost 1 total unit.
- I will also have a betting card with Top Finish bets. This card will normally be 10-15 bets. The goal with the Top Finishes is to hedge any loss on the outright card. The Top Finish bets will normally be closely tied to the Outright bets. For example, if none of the 5 chosen golfers win the tournament, but if there are good placement amongst those golfers, we will still have a profitable week.
How to pick a unit size:
As a general rule of thumb, 1 unit should be equal to 3-5% of your total bankroll. For example, if your total bankroll is $1,000 then 1 unit should be somewhere between $30 and $50 depending on your risk tolerance. If you choose 5% ($50) as your unit, stick with that number until your total bankroll has changed enough.
I like to be very consistent with my units. Flat betting is key to long-term profitability. I try to keep all of my Top Finish Bets to 1 unit and my total exposure in the Outright market to 1 unit. Occasionally, I will make a Top Finish bet that is for .5 units, but none of my individual bets will ever exceed 1 unit.