The first thing that has to be said refers directly to the title of this article. Note how it says “do well” rather than “succeed”. There is a reason for this. Betting on sport can be unpredictable, favourites don’t always win and on the whole, in the wrong hands in particular, betting can be a mugs game. What you can do though is do everything possible to ensure that your picks at least do well and in some cases win.
Since becoming GolfPunk’s Spiv I have made a profit. Quite a good profit although I’ll never tell you exactly how much. Let’s just say that I’m quite a long away from my dream Ferrari but enough to supplement my income nicely. There are reasons for this.
This article is largely down to a conversation with a friend. “You lucky bugger, how do you do it?” he asked as I revealed that I had first and second on a LPGA event the other week. “Luck? That implies that I just picked them from a hat. This is not luck.”
Whenever I settle down to pick tips for GolfPunk I ensure that I follow a set pattern. Here’s what I do.
1) Understand probability
Yes it sounds boring already doesn’t it but the probability is the challenge that you are ultimately trying to beat. The average golf tournament has about 145 players. Automatically you have a 145/1 chance of guessing the winner. Those odds, however, are high. When picking players I usually pick five to seven players. This lowers the probability considerably from 145/1 to 29/1 if I pick 5 players or 21/1 if I go for 7 players. Before a ball is struck my odd of success have lowered but this alone does not guarantee a win.
To lower the odds further you must then consider a player’s form. Golf is a confidence game after all. If a player is in a rich vein of form then never discount them. Take Jason Day for example. He has strong form at Majors. It was only a matter of time before he won one. Until then placing an Each Way bet was always good for a pay out when he won the payout is bigger.
Some players lack value. At the Wells Fargo recently, Rory McIlroy was priced at 3/1. At odds like this, it is best to avoid. There are times when a higher odds player can pay more on an Each Way. Phil Mickelson was priced at 25/1...by even coming in the top five he paid out more than Rory would have if Rory Lifted the title. Strong players at higher odds are always the ones to look for.
4) The Course
It’s something you may have seen before in Spiv’s tips. “They are well suited to this course”. Different players perform well at different courses for a whole host of reasons. It may suit their game, perhaps it’s not a big hitters course, they might have a strong record there. Either way understanding the course is paramount. Take Jordan Spieth as an example. Augusta is his course. T2, won, T2...this is no accident. As players move around on the Tour they all have courses that they love more than others. As well as looking at the form you’ll also need to research this. What is their record? Missed cut last year...best to avoid.
5) Never...and I mean never change your betting pattern.
When it comes to betting you should always have a set price you are prepared to lose. That’s right, to lose. The truth is that you can never get it right every week. You will lose every now and then. As a rule, the best thing to do is to set aside some money that you really don’t mind losing. Never go all in on one player because you have “a good feeling”. Instead, place Each Ways on five to seven players after doing your research. That way if one breaks into the top 5 you have at least wiped your face.
6) Understand that any system has some failures...namely...golfers.
Players are only human. They get injured, colds, flu, things on their minds away from the course. They also keep a lot of that to themselves. When Bubba Watson admitted recovering from Flu only moments before the Masters then we should have known he wasn’t going to do well. However, he talked like a man who wanted to compete. This happens a lot. Some play events to keep sponsors happy when their heart is not in it. Some come back from injury too early, some surprise you completely. Recently James Hahn won after eight consecutive cuts. No one saw that coming. It is the nature of sport and it’s why we love it so much. No matter how great your system is it ultimately comes down to four days of golf.
You can not get it right every time if you did then perhaps you’d never need to work again but in following these five rules you can at least have some success when it comes to your next golf bet. Reduce the probability by spreading to at least five players, get to know the players and how well they are playing, understand the odds, know which courses particular players love and never bet in the hope that you’ll win each time. Once you master it then who knows...you might end being a Spiv yourself.