PGA Tour v. LIV: Who are Action Users Betting on to Win the Masters?
All pick data is current as of March 30th, 2023
Masters week serves as the intersection of the casual and experienced golf bettor. Those that don’t fancy tournaments such as the Valero Texas Open will likely be tuning in for the Masters on Sunday afternoon with their buddies, beer in hand, and sweating their bets. The final round of The Masters has been the most watched round of a golf tournament, and the margin isn’t exactly close.
Events like the US Open, PGA Championship, Tour Championship, and The Open see much less viewership than its counterpart in Augusta, Georgia. This is for good reason when you consider that The Masters signifies the start of spring and boasts the strongest field of players. Even with some of the biggest stars seceding to the LIV faction, any player that qualifies for the Masters will still be able to play, regardless of their league affiliation. This is sure to make for a weekend filled with drama and star power!
“Full Swing” and Its Effects on Masters Betting
If you have been following the golf world, then you know that a medley of the PGA Tour’s best players left the PGA Tour to join Greg Norman in the LIV Tour. This has forced a multitude of conversations within the PGA and LIV sides about the sustainability of both factions. This week will be the first time the two leagues come to a head. We could be in for some fireworks! Whether tempers flare or the stars stay level-headed, there is no denying that the world’s best talent will be on display.
Furthering the divide between LIV and the PGA is the “Full Swing” documentary that Netflix released on February 15th. Even the most casual golf fans tuned in for this documentary. Not only that, but this Netflix exclusive did a great job of getting golf Twitter engaged. This will be the first joint event since the documentary was released, so will betting markets see an uptick in activity as a result of the recently released Full Swing?
“The Players” Viewership Increased from Last Year
There is some serious evidence that Full Swing has had a positive impact on PGA Tour viewership. The Players Tournament is often heralded as the 5th major on the PGA Tour schedule. Their 3rd round viewership totaled 2.83 million, up 11% from last year. If you think that is impressive, the 4th round saw 4.14 million viewers on NBC, which is up 42% from last year.
Using our proprietary data from the Action App, we can see that both the number of bets tracked and the total of unique bettors for the Masters has increased year over year as well. Over the last 6 years, Brooks Koepka has received the most bets to win the Masters, with Justin Thomas coming in at 2nd. It is no surprise, Tiger Woods comes in 3rd. This is interesting, though, given that he did not play in 2021. He still received 14 picks to win the tournament for that season. Talk about wishful thinking.
What about this year? Have the golfers featured in Full Swing received more bets than their omitted counterparts? Do bettors think that LIV golfers have a shot against the PGA Tour stars?
Public Perception vs. Betting Tendencies
To track the sentiment regarding certain players after the release of Full Swing leading up to the Masters, we scraped tweets that mention golfers that were covered in the documentary. We ended up with nearly 541,000 tweets that we were then able to quantify the general sentiment that everyday people have towards professional golfers.
Amongst the most favorable players were Joel Dahmen, Matt Fitzpatrick, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Sahith Theegala. As you can see, only one golfer in this list plays on the LIV Tour.
The players that received the most negative tweets following the release of Full Swing included Justin Thomas, Ian Poulter, Jordan Spieth, and Scottie Scheffler. Again, only one LIV player mixed into the bunch.
Now that we know what people are saying about the Full Swing stars, are bettors favoring certain guys? Amongst the golfers that have the most positive and negative sentiments on Twitter, here are how many picks we have tracked for them to win the tournament.
It seems that bettors have been able to separate personal feelings towards a player in the pursuit of profit. Public sentiment doesn’t seem to have a significant impact on who bettors choose to wager, but does league affiliation?
Do Bettors Think LIV Can Get It Done In Augusta?
For this exercise, we will take a look at players that have received bets in the Action App, regardless if the player will be playing in the Masters or not. For the 2023 Masters, 83 total players have received bets to win. Out of those 83 golfers, 19 are from the LIV Tour. This leaves 64 PGA Tour golfers receiving bets to win the Masters. Those 19 LIV golfers received 293 bets, and the 64 PGA Tour golfers received 3,224.
When you divide the 19 LIV golfers that received bets to the 83 total players that received bets, you’ll see that LIV golfers make up 22.9% of the field of golfers that received bets. The 293 bets LIV golfers received out of the 3,517 total bets equals 8.3%. There is a huge disparity here, and bettors are not trusting the LIV players this year against the top PGA players.
It is worth noting that LIV players competing in the Masters had to qualify due to their success at the Masters or other majors previously, since they can not earn World Golf Ranking Points on LIV. This article explains in detail what it takes for a player to qualify for the Masters.
LIV players have qualified for Augusta due to their recent success in the majors, including the Masters. When you consider how predictive a player’s history is of future performance at Augusta National, it is interesting to see that the public doesn’t have much faith in the LIV players.
Make Your Masters Bet Before the Action Tees Off
The Masters Tournament is a staple in the golf world. From azaleas and fresh-cut grass to Jim Nantz and Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, there are plenty of things that attract patrons and fans to the tournament. This year we added a few others: betting, drama, and public perception.
As you can see above, public sentiment seems to have no bearing on who Action customers bet on. Action users also are fading the LIV golfers heading into the Masters, and perhaps rightfully so. They have had a much more relaxed schedule and the LIV’s team format takes off the pressure of individual performance. All that said, you never know who will get hot at the right time. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out on the course at Augusta.
Who do you think will win the Masters this year? Action Network has plenty of offers available for new users to take advantage of. Check out our sportsbook reviews, choose your favorite book, and claim your new user offer today!
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